“He doesn’t remember who he is?” Hector questions.
Greybeard sighs. “It seemed a good way to end his story.” The librarian’s contorted face demands further explanation. Wiping his blackened quill clean on a stained shirt, the old man begins walking toward the bookshelf. Reaching his stick-thin arm to the highest shelf, he stretches himself, just hooking one of his twigish fingers over the top of a large leather book’s spine.
Slowly, it slides out from between the other prestigious volumes, ‘til it falls, its massive pages fluttering open like a dove’s flapping wings. Landing on the old man’s chest, the book nearly throws Greybeard to the floor. Swaying under the weight of the massive article, he staggers backward before finally gaining his balance.
He carries the red leather book to the center of the room, stopping at the head of a long table. The tome hits the tabletop with a thud. Following after this wizened figure, Hector comes up behind Greybeard. Gazing over the old man’s shoulder, he reads: The Fall of Azeltop.
The cover depicts a medieval styled image of seven mounted knights with their lances pointing upward at a tower, as if intending to tilt at the young figure standing upon the parapet. He had a small crown, and Hector rightly judges him to be a prince. Behind the prince a large figure, standing hunched in the shadows, arches his back toward the troubled child, looking over his shoulder with an overdramatized expression of contempt. The prince himself gazes into heaven, holding both hands over his head as if reaching up to the sun above.
“Read the subtitle,” Greybeard wheezes.