Magical Knowledge, but limited power?

7 Feb

I’ve just got half an idea dancing through my head.

Basically, the main character is a girl with a limited magical talent – nowhere near a full-fledged sorceress. She ends up working in a library rather than going out into the world can carving out her own career. Everything seems dull until she accidentally casts a spell that gives her all the knowledge stored within the library – including dark and forbidden spells that no one is supposed to know…

Chris

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6 Responses to “Magical Knowledge, but limited power?”

  1. Paul Howard February 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Well, I don’t really like “accidental” spells in general and/or spells that “magically” give somebody “vast knowledge”.

    However, I think the idea of somebody having less power than others but having greater knowledge/skill than others would be an interesting idea to work with.

    I could see situations where that person could “beat the pants off” of somebody more powerful than him/her thanks to have greater knowledge/skill. Sort of the way that a master in certain fighting skills can “take down” somebody stronger than him.

    Of course, the character with less power (but greater knowlege) could still be jealous of those with greater power.

  2. The Deposed King February 8, 2012 at 12:18 am #

    Could be fun. Like the, Dragon Who Sometimes Wins! says, having too obvious a gimme could ruin it. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t just fall into all this knowledge. A supposedly minor imp could actually be a bound demon of some kind. And simply saying the words ‘i wish I knew everything related to the works of Heironeous The Mis-Enchanter within the library, before realizing her mistake and hastily adding, as defined under the Bound/Unbound wish fulfillment accord.

    Which basically is suppose to protect you from being bound in any way shape or form to any magical entity granting the off hand wish of a non-bonded magic user or citizen with low magic power. It also does a little thing like keeping joe-teenager from going from a mud-blood to Phenomenal Cosmic Power!!! In exchange for a little thing like your soul. it also is defined as not giving you knowledge that would obligate you or cause your immenent destruction by entities who would be pissed you knew their true names and such like thing.

    This little imp/demon lord on the other hand, is more than happy to grant her off handed wish and since by its very definition just about everything within the library is related to the very few works of Heironeous the Mis-Enchanter, which works are currently buried in random places around the library, either by actual similarities, being magical tomes or personal journals, or simply by being in proximity to the desired works because they are all knowledge that has been contained and stored within the library…

    From there you could have a cool little twist on her demonic gift. Which might not even be demonic in nature. For instance. The demon over hears the wish and because he’s been bound in the library. Perhaps the library staff is unaware he’s even bound inside. He’s part of a personal library donated by a now deceased wizard. They just know the book has a high magic threashold and so is in the mild security area but because he’s been bound so strictly, its not even in the lirary’s small restricted area, and a far cry from the iron bound dark arts section.

    So maybe the Demon/imp farms out the actual wish fulfillment to a third party. Say a leaprecan or even just a minor fae spirit. Because the non-binding accords specifically preclude gifts or powers from dark entities, he goes to a minor knowledge spirit. Not like Bob-the-Skull in the Harry Dresden Series, maybe its some ditzy mushroom or bookworm fairy that has been in the library before. The bookworm-faery, owing the ‘minor imp’ a solid for saving it from the librarian staff agrees to gift the little hedge-powered Librarian its ability to absorb the knowledge of any book it comes into contact with. The power even extends a couple feet around it maybe, at least it does when its placed in a mortal. Because as we all know, mortals are more in tune with the mortal plane and just radiate power. Maybe she gets a second power. A finding ability from a fourth minor fae.

    Oh wait oh wait. It just came to me. The Librarian is trying to summon a minor familiar, like an owl or a cat, she’s really hoping her power’s big enough for a cat. They are cute and much more stylish than the mice and such other low powerred librarians have. She absolutely detests the idea of getting a snake. The imp encourages the book-worm or other minor fae to answer her summon familiar spell. Maybe at first she think the spells a failure because it seemed to work but no familiar showed up. But the fae is just too strong a personality to just obey her every wish.

    When she eventually finds out, after her powers start to manifest. She has to hide the fact she’s now a librarian with a Familiar that a magic eating book worm. Or Tomb Worm.

    Also as one of the side effects of having this familiar. Which also neatly gets around the wish fulfillment aspects of our Imp with his own agenda. If our young erstwhile librarian is sitting at her desk or bringing back a book for a customer and really wishes she had the time to sit down and read this book. Or maybe is longing for the free time she’ll never have to study herbalism, its a subject she’s always wanted to know more about but it doesn’t pay the bills unless you already have the knowledge and can afford to grow exotic magical plants at home. But she has neither the knowledge nor the money to get the knowledge.

    However with her new powers, anything on the book rack 5 feet behind her pigeon hole of desk that has any knowledge on the subject she desires, she slowly absorbs over the course of the day and after she goes home. when she wakes up the next morning she has assimilated the herbalism knowledge in a book or two on the rack behind her. Because the rack might just be the sort rack. The knowledge might not even be the sort of herbalism information she wanted in the first place! Its a grab back of recently returned, damaged, and new donated material in need of sorting.

    It takes her a while to realize that she really is getting knew knowledge, not something she just happened to always know but forgot. Then longer to hunt down what’s happening to her and realize every new bit of knowledge she is learning is acossiated with a book in the library that now sporting a little earthworm hole through the cover.

    its passed off as another blasted earth worm in the library, and its up to her to repair the damage or whoever the curator is, when its discovered.

    The Imp’s master plan is to get her a few books on dark magic and his name so he can ultimately be released from his prison.

    Maybe he’s even willing to go so far as let the little hapless librarian go her own was as soon as he’s free. After all his damage is done. She’s now a magical typhoid mary as far as ancient tomes are concerned. And a security risk to anything with knowledge more sensetive than what’s stored in a public library. So either she hides the truth and starts living a lie or she losses her job. All in a demon’s daily work and he did it with the certain pride of knowing he beat those blasted Non-Binding accords.

    For her maybe this ‘curse’ is just too valuable to give up, even after she figures out the cure. She just has to buy a book and the next day she knows what’s inside it. And because she’s a trained librarian one of her own native abilities. Or a magical memory tower ability with near perfect recall, that’s the only benefit of her time at college and her qualification for the job. Or however you swing it. A strange unexpected side effect of the fact she’s not a tome Worm and so doesn’t consume knowledge to live in the mortal plane.

    so unlike the earth worm who slowly forgets the books and then gets hungry for new knowledge, she retained everything she’s learned. The Imp realizes this unexpected side effect of her new abilites and hatches a new plan. One that will see her release him from his captivity. Perhaps by getting her to absorb the knowledge in his book. But only once she’s aware of her abilities. She’s been staying away fromt eh dark magic section. Aftera ll you are what you eat and she doesn’t want any more of that, than after her first mistake with the sort rack. But his book is only in the restricted section and so when she is tempted into reading his book she absorbs more than just the knowledge contianed inside. She absorbs the bound demon as well.

    Maybe its not a straight possession and she can work a deal to bind him. Or maybe it is and he runs around in her body making trouble for a day or two before jumping out and into someone willing to sign a possession contract, maybe a guy who’s willing to trade his body for riches so his wife and kids are taken care of after he dies of cancer or some black magic curse that’s slowly eating away at him. then the demon could return to plague our misguided librarian.

    After all its been a few decades or centuries locked away inside the stupid book and the worlds changed in the mean time. He only knows the library and its staff. So he turns up to answer her ad int he paper looking for a room mate or looking to sub-let a room for some cash. He’s willing to sign on the dotted line of any rental contract she’s offering, (a shark like grin).

    Maybe she realizes who it is or maybe it takes a while. This would nicely segue into book two. My Demon Roommate or how about The Roommate from Hell.

    Series: The Tomb Worm Librarian

    Book One: My One Little Mistake

    Book Two: The Roommate from Hell.

    Book Three: The Magic Hit Squad (where she runs a foul of either the government or the black magic mafia, ‘its just a spot of grey magic officer, honest’)

    Book Four: Black Magic Hazmat (Things have changed in the demon world since our guy started doing hard time in the library and after an encounter back in Magic Hit Squad, he’s now back on the underworld’s radar. Trouble soon follows our former demon lord home. Everything from an evil succubus looking to get in with the roommate (in every sense of the word) and then sell him out to his rivals of course, she’s also insanely jealous of our Librarian. All the way to former underlings and still in power rivals sending cabalists to recruit or re-bind our sometimes helpful roomate, or just plain kill him) As far as our librarian is concerned demon attacks on the condo or appartment just isn’t covered by the rental agreement. Either fix it or move out! But of course she gets sucked into the mix anyway.

    I suppose you could switch the series and book one titles.

    You know what Chris. I actually like this idea. I might just have to use it for a story of my own.

    Have a blast!!!

    The Deposed King

    P.S.
    (hell this looks like fun)
    you can use the ideas for your own work but don’t get pissed if you see me put out a similar work. I am officially retaining the right to write a story based off this idea!

  3. chrishanger February 8, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Well, my general concept was that she would absorb all the knowledge within the library, but she wouldn’t always have the power to use it. But that would include ways to maximise her own power, or perhaps use smaller spells to get the same results – and it wouldn’t include the maturity she’d need to handle her new knowledge. I was thinking that the magical government (however defined) would want to hang onto spells that have ‘pocket-nuke’ style effects, but not actually allow anyone to read them. But now SHE knows all of them and the Big Bad might want to get his hands on her…

    But I like your ideas too. Actually, they might form part of a YA series. I’ll have to give them some thought.

    Chris

  4. The Deposed King February 8, 2012 at 11:02 pm #

    Well your ideas makes book one the the book with explosions and you can have the magic mafia or terrorists or whatever dark forces you have in your world knowing about her and trying to drag her kicking and screaming to help them.

    In mine you could have the same thing only it’d take a while and a little more planning.

    When they figured out she had the power to absorb the knowledge of any book in her vicinity and only leave some small damage that looks like a tome-worm attack… well the black magic underworld would be hatching all sorts of plans to get her within striking distance of restricted magical books. From private collections to government secure facilites. I mean if the wards are most of the way down she doesn’t even need to physically touch the book, let alone take off with the knowledge inside it.

    you could have lots of fun with her on the run from the law and the underworld. Or forced to work with alternately shady thugs or brutal law enforcement types and everyone it tying to put the squeeze on her. The only difference is their methods. Loss of life and limb or a little roughing up and a life time in solitary confinment.

    the Deposed King

  5. chrishanger February 9, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    How does The Bookworm sound as a title?

  6. The Deposed King February 9, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

    Sounds fine. Probably better than My One Little Mistake which is what I’m using.

    The Deposed King

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