Cedric Thorne is the head librarian at the Talloke Main Library. He is rumoured to know everything there is to know.
Cedric Thorne is a Wizened Author. He was a slave in the library of a True Fae who identified himself as the Bookkeeper. Cedric himself, during his time in Arcadia, became book-like. His skin is leathery, cool to the touch. His hair is long, pulled back simply into a long, dusty brown ponytail. Cedric identifies as a man in his late thirties. His figure is slight, yet his eyes reveal that he has much knowledge stored away in him. He is kind, quiet, and still loves books. Though the Library still holds the main entrance into the Freehold Hollow, he has carved his own secret hollow into the basement of the Library around the stairs. It holds a vast amount of books that relate to the Lost and the Gentry. If there is something you need to research, he can help you… for a small price.
Thorne was a simple man, back in his day. He’d left his hometown of Talloke to achieve his dreams of becoming a critically-acclaimed author. He poured himself over research, stories, tomes, scrolls… anything the library at his school could offer. It soon became something of an obsession. Sometimes, he’d find he had been reading in the vast library for days on end, not even realizing it.
One evening, after completing his finals, Cedric decided to stop in the library once more before heading home for his winter break. He had only one semester left of school, and would soon be graduated. His bitterness for the school system was becoming apparent; he knew so much from all his research, more than any of his peers, and yet still he had to do the same monotonous work for a sheet of paper. It was that night that he stumbled across the thin, blue journal that would change his life. It was plain, with a worn navy velvet cover. The hard little book had old hemp paper, and was preserved perfectly. The ink seemed to dance before his eyes, telling stories of a great library that held all the books in the world ever written. It seemed too good to be true. He delighted in the tale, reading the book cover-to-cover that night. He missed the train home.
That same night, at exactly 3 AM, he was approached by a figure. The librarian was a humble sort, no doubt an old man who volunteered to watch the aisles during the last week of finals. He smiled a wide, crooked grin; some of his teeth were missing. There was a spark of something strange behind his dark eyes. “So ye found me book, eh?“
Cedric was taken aback. How could this man know of this small journal, probably just something a student had written for a short story and misplaced when studying? It was simply a delightful tale, nothing more. Or was it? He begged the question, stammering, “Y…your book?“
The old man nodded his head once, slowly. “Indeed. I wrote it a long, long time ago, after my travels during a semester abroad.“
“Where did you go? Was there a particular library that inspired this?“
“Aye, but no library that ye have heard of. ‘Tis a secret for only those who truly are worthy of wandering it’s great halls.“
This had been exactly as he was thinking. Looking back now, Thorne grimaces at his naivety. There’s always a catch, he’s now learned, but at that point in time he knew no better.
Cedric got his wish that night, to go and see this library. However, it was not as he had hoped. He was never deemed worthy enough to actually read the books in the great, endless halls. Instead, the Bookkeeper, his own Keeper, enslaved him. Thorne had to shelve every book that was taken down by various members of the Gentry. He became extremely bitter. They never actually read them, no. They just sent him on the arduous task of retrieving the tomes for their entertainment. The shelves were incredibly high. The top shelf could not be seen from the floor. The halls wound about in mazes that, after time, only he knew. The labyrinth of shelves would sometimes change itself, adding a new wing or another top shelf as more books were written. Still, it became a challenge to see if the human could find any book upon request.
There was no challenge he could not complete.
It pained him to see the vast collection of stories, and never once be able to read them. He was punished most often with being weighted down by a hundred encyclopedias, or given particularly hard to find books for retrieval. The punishments got worse and worse over time, so eventually he stopped trying.
Finally, he was given his last task. For this book, he had to go into a particularly wild section of the library. Eventually, there were no books on the shelves at all. However, his deductions of where the book was located, he knew it would be at the very end of the corridor. It was full of cobwebs, the shelves bare and hollow. His footsteps echoed, quiet at first, until they built up to such a great noise that it shook the very bones in his body. His skin, now weathered as if it were leather, lost the cool temperature and became ice cold, clammy. His pace quickened; it was not long before he broke into a run. His own footsteps were chasing him, but in his mind, it was his Keeper, coming to punish him for not finding this book. He raced and raced, lungs burning, until he suddenly saw something up ahead. His footsteps slowed, the echoes silenced themselves. Now, he was walking in nothingness. The shelves had gone from dead, shaped wood to living plants. They had an almost hedge-like quality to them. There was no sound but his own heart beating and the thin breaths his lungs were taking. Time felt as if it were slowing. He reached to grab the book he was told to retrieve. It was a thin, blue journal. He grabbed it, knowing full well what was inside. He tore a strip of cloth from the rags he wore as clothing and tied it around the book. Glancing up, he saw that the shelves had dissolved into thin vines that had held the book up at eye level. Thorne glanced back. Nothing was in the empty corridor. Without hesitation, he pushed through the weak vines and broke free from his horrible existence.