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The Library of the Unwritten




the UK edition of The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith, a black book with red flames and the title written in white, on a pile of opened books

When books grow restless, unruly or real, they run, and it is the Librarian’s job to catch them. In Hell’s Unwritten Wing of the library one book has taken form and escaped. The librarian, Claire, has cornered a book in the form of a pale coltish girl, and it is begging not to be sent back. Claire’s assistant, Brevity, a sprite-like creature who failed to be a Muse, hands Claire a scalpel which she pockets. Claire tries to reason with the girl, her author is still alive and she must go back to the book either of her own accord or if her pages are damaged. The girl touches the pages, but she doesn’t return, so Claire uses the scalpel and the girl turns to ink. Now the situation is resolved, Brevity informs Claire that someone is here to see her from the Big Guy.


The messenger, a human-adjacent entropy demon called Leto, is sweating bullets. His grinchiness is reporting a missing book by an early twenty-first century author who is still living. The book has escaped and gone looking for its author in Seattle. Fetching her tools of the trade and filling her pockets with them, Claire closes the library. With Leto and Brevity following, Claire heads to the back of the library to a large card catalog to retrieve the book's calling card. With the book title, Nightfall, author’s name, Guinevere McGowan, in hand and confirmation the book is still in Seattle, it’s time for a field trip.  


Inside the Librarian’s log is the solution to Leto’s problem, though for now, he follows the Head Librarian and Brevity through the library into an office where he is fully expected to join them on their quest. Walter, an overly dramatic giant, provides them with summoning candles, called ghost lights, and a pass to up top. Walter pulls down a jar filled with mist, intending to set them down at the base of the Space Needle. He twists the lid off the jar, upending it over Brevity. Brevity disappears first, leaving Claire and Leto standing in the middle of the room, but then the world drops and painfully, Claire and Leto are pulled through reality to Seattle. 


Leto looks at Brevity and Claire and notices Brevity has taken on a more human-like appearance and he himself is more… squishy. Brevity hands them both their ghost light candles, disguised as lighters, which act as their passports to the mortal realm. Don’t lose them, and don’t give someone a light! These should keep them in the mortal realm for about a day. Because of their limited time and lots of ground to cover, Brevity asks if they can get a cab, and Claire agrees, sure she can fold the money they will need to pay for one. Claire spends the whole journey ripping paper from a book and making complicated folds she uses as payment. She hands the driver the folds of paper and gives him a story. The transaction doesn’t sit right with Leto, but Claire tells him the story is still valuable. 


Following information on the calling card whose information keeps changing, the trio begin looking for the leather bound book or person who it’s turned into. Either way, it will stand out. Claire spots The Hero straightaway sitting in a coffee shop across from his author, definitely violating all the rules. Bloody heroes, why couldn’t it have been a damsel? Claire needs a distraction so she can separate the book from its author so she turns to Brevity for a wild public display of drama. 


Ramiel, or Rami, is essentially an angelic TSA agent working in Purgatory and is currently with the soul of an accountant declaring a piece of paper covered in Enochian black magic. This is definitely something that needs to be declared, so Rami takes it and the accountant to Uriel. The accountant answers Uriel’s questions, but it turns out that the paper isn’t a coupon or shopping list, it’s a page from the Devil’s Bible. Uriel then tasks Rami to collect the other pages. The Creator has been pulling away, so Uriel and the other archangels have had to step up in her place. One page of the Devil’s Bible won’t draw the Creator back, but all of them certainly will. In exchange, Uriel will make sure Rami is seen by the Creator and recommend that he be forgiven and be able to come home. 


Brevity’s acting skills are top notch and Leto is awkward, but their classic display of public drama works to draw the author’s attention. Claire sneaks up to the Hero, her scalpel in hand, and Leto can see Claire angrily whispering to the Hero. After their distraction ends with a kiss, Brevity and Leto meet up with Claire and the Hero who informs them that his book is hidden and he has no intention of going back to the shelves and so he has come to inspire his author. The Hero doesn’t understand how his presence twists the author and the damage it’s causing. At last and with reluctance, the Hero agrees to go with them and give them his book, but only if he can give Guinevere a proper goodbye. Claire’s not happy about it and only agrees if he is stamped as an Inter World Loan. Using her blood as the ink, Claire stamps the Hero’s hand before giving him 20 minutes to say goodbye and fetch the book. 


Eventually the Hero returns with his book in hand and gives it to Claire. As they begin to walk away, the Hero mentions making a suitable comment to his author. Suddenly Claire pulls the Hero’s arm and forces him into an alley demanding to know what he did. Smugly the Hero admits he gave his author his opening pages. Despite the Hero’s argument that unwritten books should be allowed to meet their authors and inspire them, and the pain of self mutilation, he broke up with his author and now she’s burning his pages. 


Rami has transported to the accountant’s apartment and starts searching for clues. Unfortunately there is nothing, however he has other methods. Using a silver compass and one of his feathers, Rami creates a warning system for any demon that comes to or from the city; he just needs to wait. Good thing he’s had a lot of practice doing that. 


Claire asks Brevity to take Hero’s book back to Hell while she and Leto complete one more job. They walk to a pier as Claire explains what a ghost light is before she points out Leto isn’t asking the right question, why does a demon need a ghost light? As memories and feelings crash through Leto, he realizes he was once human. When you die, you get what your soul's debt demands. Claire’s decided she needed to be the Librarian in Hell while Leto’s soul chose an amnesiac demon. Leto can’t remember anything before delivering the message to Claire except the sense of being a demon. 


As Claire and Leto are talking on the pier, Rami approaches and sticks a sharp blade between Leto’s shoulder blades. Claire is unimpressed and explains who and what they are. With a sneer, Rami removes the blade and demands the book. Claire starts mocking the fallen angel about bodice rippers and coming to the library during opening hours, but Rami has no sense of humor and shows them the page of the Devil’s Bible he already has in a little baggy, and demands the rest. Claire refuses to help because she protects all the books in her care. Leto, seeing Rami getting angry and not truly understanding what is going on, grabs the bag with the page from the Devil’s Bible in it and together, he and Claire escape by jumping into the water where they pull out their ghost lights. 


Claire and Leto land back in Walter’s office. After a cup of tea, Claire spends hours restoring Hero’s book, needing to find out why a fallen angel would be interested in an unwritten fantasy novel. Despite all her efforts to coax the words, the new pages stay infuriatingly blank, so she turns to the page Leto was able to take from Rami. Claire quickly realizes that page that doesn't fit, the book rejecting it despite her efforts. When the book jerks, Claire loses her grip on the page and a wildfire of images flash through her mind, that page is definitely NOT from an unwritten book nor is it a book of Heaven, but Hell has no literature of its own. The Hero waking up distracts Claire’s ruminations. 


The Hero is pale after his self-page-mutilation and subsequent burning, but he has enough energy to sass Claire, so he must be on the mend. Claire tells him she needs him to help coax the words back to the beginning of his book so he lays his hand on the pages and… absolutely nothing happens because the book does not recognize him. Well, until his book recognizes him, Hero will stay in special collections, perhaps they can call him Janitor instead? 


In the meantime, Claire and Leto head to the Arcanist to ask about that page Rami had. It’s a long walk down hallways and stairs to the Arcane Wing, a giant, dusty cabinet of curiosities. As they walk, Claire calls out for Andras, a former Arch-Duke of Hell who led a rebellion and is now the resident Arcanist. The demon appears from the shadows and after introductions, Claire upends her bag, the page from the Devil’s Bible dropping to the desk. Claire explains where they got it from and Andras goes quiet, so quiet that Claire almost needs to force answers from him. Andras tells her it’s indeed from the Devil’s Bible and that the humans would say a medieval monk made a deal with the devil to create a holy tome in a night, which is rubbish, but there was a book created and Lucifer claims ownership, therefore it is the Devil’s Bible. 


The book stayed unnoticed for centuries on Earth until something must have spooked Lucifer and he ordered a replica to be made by their predecessors during some great human uprising causing a fire. After the chaos of the fire, ten pages of the original Devil’s Bible went missing, but because the book is finished, it would never have made it into the Unwritten Library. Orders from on high were not to go looking for the book, which is ridiculous to Claire. Claire snags the page and heads out of the Arcane Wing screaming for the Morning Star. Andras manages to stop her, which is good, because if it’s reported to the Court of Hell that Heaven had a page from the Devil’s Bible, they would use it as an opportunity to pillage the library and get rid of them. Andras points out they still have time on their ghost light, however the last time the book was seen Bjorn the Bard was Librarian, and his soul is at rest in Valhalla. That means they must visit the Ravens. 

 

Rami expects more of an outburst from Uriel when he updates her on losing the artifact, having no leads, and being bested by a human and demon. While all his faults are being listed, Rami realizes that he can track the human’s soul through multiple realms. Uriel advises him to make preparations and mentions that if the Librarian should get in the way… Well, Hell can’t get its hands on the book.


Claire orders the library to be closed which sends Brevity into a panic until Claire explains the seriousness of the situation. Claire asks Hero to help them, to protect Brevity and Leto and make sure they are safely returned to the Library, and in return, she will ask the Muses to be more focused with inspiring his author. If he chooses not to help, she could leave him in the Damsel suite where side characters have gained autonomy from their books because they are dissatisfied with their stories. The Hero agrees to help the Librarian. 


Andras is talking to hulking horrors, his new assistants, which Claire isn’t pleased about because the Library doesn’t normally deal in torment or tormentors. Andras takes them to a cage filled with the Arlid’s Ravens. All they need to do is pull a feather, give the bird an important treasure and run like the dickens after it. Simple. Andras goes first, followed by Brevity, Hero, Leto and Claire. As Leto runs after the Raven, he can hear voices from his past, including his own. He arrives at Valhalla after Claire, not totally unconcerning as the Raven roads always change direction, but Leto’s anxiety is high and Brevity helps him recover.


Together, the group walks further into Valhalla where they are met by Arlid who calls them squishy. Claire announces that they are from Hell’s Library and are there to see Bjorn the Bard but learns that they will need to pass a trial first. They all turn to their warrior and though Hero isn’t particularly happy about it, he agrees to fight, though Claire, as their leader, is also made to fight. Claire protests but Bjorn the Bard comes along and declares they will fight with a tale. 


Before entering the arena, Bjorn demands Claire put her notes away for their battle, down a glass of mead of poetry, and enter the battle ground where their fights will take place at the same time. Hero will fight a huge and extremely intimidating beast, but Claire needs to concentrate on her own battle in which she and Bjorn will throw quotes at each other and identify their author. Despite a good fight, Bjorn wins their battle. The quote he uses to wrap Claire tightly, forcing her to concede, is one she is unable to identify, written by Claire Juniper Hadley. Hey wait!


Sitting sipping tea in Bjorn’s study, Claire accuses him of cheating. How dare he quote an unwritten author nevermind quoting her! But considering she helped Hero win his battle by throwing a quote at his opponent, they’re pretty much even. Anyway, they have a feast to prepare for now and they've learned that two angelic visitors will be joining them. Worried, Claire tells Bjorn they will need to leave, but Bjorn warns her that it would be a bad idea because the angels will be watching, so instead, she needs to relax, enjoy the feast and let everyone recover, and in the morning, he’ll answer her questions. In the feast hall, Brevity and the others, minus Hero who is with the healers, have already staked out a table and Claire warns them that there are angels there. Against Bjorn’s suggestion, Claire makes plans for a rescue, Viking napping, and to have a conversation with an Angel.


Rami is enjoying the ale, Vikings always make a good drink, while scanning the room for exits and Hell’s contingent. Uriel is not making any friends at the door, she obviously dislikes the Vikings and their revelry, and frankly they’re not particularly happy with her snobbishness either. Claire knocks her tankard against Rami’s as he is lost staring into it. Andras comes over too and he is clearly a demon. Claire asks Rami questions, but he’s not evasive, just awkward and annoying. Claire warns Rami that the book is under Hell’s protection and Heaven has no claim on it. Rami heads to Uriel and lets her know about his interaction with Claire and Andras. Uriel wants to capture the Hell contingent and trusts they will go somewhere in Valhalla they shouldn’t and that the eyes of Valhalla aren’t watching. 


Claire and Andras head to Bjorn’s study where they hear Hero bothering Bjorn long before they see him. Brevity and Leto are also in the study. Claire wants answers and learns that Bjorn was tasked to find the book. He and the Arcanist then used magic to create a calling card for it which he claims to no longer have in the clutter he has accumulated. There aren’t Library means to track the book, but it’s a book of the realms so there are other ways to find it. Claire will need to give up her books in favor of the old ways and listen for the song of the book. It’s risky, very risky, but Claire agrees, handing all the tools of her trade she must relinquish to Brevity. 


Hell’s contingent, human, demon, book and muse, are sitting at a feasting table drinking while Claire leaves with Bjorn to learn the location of the book. The only thing she finds out is that it is somewhere in the Mediterranean and Claire will still need to listen for its song. As they debate travel arrangements, Uriel makes a dramatic entrance spurring them to hurry. Andras stays behind to run interference as the others follow Bjorn. Brevity will return to Hell to look after the books while the rest take a boat to leave Valhalla. They’re able to row far enough that Rami and Uriel aren’t able to get them when they reach the shore.


Brevity lands back in the Library and apprehensively opens the Library up. She isn’t confident, she’d always worked with Claire but now she needs to take charge. One of the Damsels, Aurora, finds Brevity. She says she heard something in the Library, something that doesn’t belong. Brevity locates a ledger and orders the books to execute a full inventory. She’ll find out what’s going on soon.


Claire wakes on a Mediterranean beach, possibly Malta. She checks that she still has the Book’s calling card before trying to listen for its song. She can hear it faintly. Unfortunately, Leto let Hero leave with his book while she was unconscious because he said he was going to get supplies. That was a blatant lie, so Claire chases after him. When they return to Leto, Andras has joined them. Claire listens for the Book's song again and knows it’s on the island, but it’s difficult to pinpoint where. Spotting a tour bus, they decide it would be the best option to search the island, and Leto has an idea how they can pay for their ride, he just needs to borrow Hero’s smile. 


Hero is humiliated but he manages to sweet talk the ticket seller onto the tour bus. Claire listens for the Book’s song and can feel it in Mdina, the Silent City. As they search, Claire complains that it just doesn’t feel right, the song feels muffled. They’re approached by someone who asks if they want a tour of antiquities and rare books, curated by someone called Ms. McAllister. Suspicious, oh yes, but they’re out of options. They pile into a horse drawn carriage, and their guide takes them deeper into the old city. As they go, Claire can hear the Book and its Calling Card and confirms they’re drawing near. Their guide leaves them which makes this definitely feel like a trap. 


A bodyguard steps out from the shadows but gestures Hell's contingent down a dark hallway into a brightly lit, cluttered study. Ms. McAllister is standing, reading a book and she looks familiar to Leto, but he can’t place her. Hero says “Warden?” when he sees her, Claire however reaches into Hero’s coat and pulls out his pistol, firing it at Ms. McAllister. Dark, black liquid blooms from her throat as Claire orders the room locked. The book is definitely here.


Rami and Uriel are on the lake shore in Valhalla. Uriel orders Rami to track Hell's Contingent while she has other business to conduct. Eventually they reach Mdina however the city is warded against them, against all non-humans, so someone must have let Hell’s Contingent in. Uriel is unconcerned, she has made arrangements to make them come to her. 


Claire tries to urge the others to look for the book, but they want answers as to why she shot their means of information. Claire is the only one searching when the body suddenly disappears and the demands grow. Claire finally admits she wasn’t a person, she was a book character, one of hers. She helped her escape and removed her from the records. Suddenly a loud groan bucks the earth under Claire and Leto, and howls only they can hear rent the air. Uh oh. Claire and Leto’s Ghost Lights have gone cold. Hellhounds are coming for them. Despite the Hellhounds being relentless hunters, they don't appear to be getting any closer. Ms. McAllister suddenly reappears and explains they are stuck outside the city because of the treaty of Mdina. Excellent, this gives Claire time to explain what the heck is going on. 


When Claire was new to the Library, she was mentored by Gregor, the Librarian at the time. She found her unwritten books amongst the stacks and slowly became obsessed with visiting them, then touching them, until Ms. McAllister, or Beatrice, appeared. At first, Claire kept her hidden, but then they devised a plan for her to escape. The plan went wrong and Claire killed Gregor with words of power he’d only just taught her that unravels a soul. She became the Head Librarian then. Leto is disgusted that Claire is a murderer and runs off while the others have mixed emotions. After Beatrice came to Mdina, she made a friend and together they built the archive and recently acquired the Book and she had hoped Claire would come to retrieve it. Ignoring this, Claire asks if the city stops Angels as well as Hellhounds. Theoretically yes but if they were invited in by a resident they would be granted access just as Claire and her companions have been. This isn’t good. 


Brevity has run the inventory three times and everything in the library is accounted for. As a failed Muse, she knows imagination and Aurora wasn’t imagining hearing the sounds she heard. Gathering her courage, Brevity goes to check the doors and finds the double doors to the Arcane Wing open. It’s deadly silent inside but there are horrors in the shadows. Brevity turns and runs back to the Unwritten Wing and seals the library with wards. Something is outside, testing the wards, wanting to be granted entrance.


Leto wanders the streets of Mdina but Claire is still able to find him. There is a lack of trust between them now however Claire isn’t asking for trust, just for them to work together because she trusts him the most out of their little cohort. Leto agrees and they return to Beatrice's, who is refusing to give up the book. Leto and Hero leave Claire and Beatrice to their standoff to raid the kitchen. Beatrice pulls out her book and asks Claire to fix it, and Claire agrees to, for a favor. As Claire works, Beatrice warns her about Hero. He’s pretty on the outside but… Claire soon realizes the truth of Hero’s nature. After a confrontation about their non-relationship where hurtful things are said, Beatrice finally gives Claire the other pages of the Devil’s Bible. They were folded into the back pages of her book all along. 


Pages retrieved, it’s time for them to leave, but Claire needs to confront Hero first. She finds him in the kitchen eating cake with Leto. Claire asks to see Hero’s book and uses it to whack him upside his head. She wants answers and has neither patience or inclination to ask nicely and accuses him of being the villain of his book which he doesn’t deny. Instead Hero starts threatening Claire and is willing to blackmail her about Beatrice and Gregor. 


Andras reports that the angels are on the outskirts of Mdina. There’s an exit to the city which only the locals know, but it’s likely the Hellhounds will get them in the couple of minutes they need to run to the ruins and the gate back to Hell. Andras begs Claire to stay in the city, to give him the pages and live a human life. Claire can’t do that, she’s the Librarian. Leto on the other hand doesn’t want to go back. He wants to stay and be human and sadly Claire agrees to it. Only Claire and Hero run for it and they are saved by Uriel before the Hellhounds can get them; however, standing next to Rami is Andras. This was his plan all along. He wants the power of the Library to help his campaign back to power in Hell. 


Uriel announces they are all prisoners of Heaven and they need to hand over the pages of the book. Rami touches Claire’s elbow and a chill passes through her, making her forget what she is doing there and become bone weary tired. Andras looks through Claire’s pockets, but the pages aren’t there. She’s given them to Leto and he should be at the gate by now because they’ve managed to distract them all long enough. Claire and Hero back up to the city wards while Uriel goes absolutely crazy and pulls out her sword and the Hellhounds start snapping as her hold loosens but Rami holds them back. Suddenly Claire and Hero are pulled back into Mdina. 


When things calm down, Rami confronts Uriel over her cruelty. Uriel claims that the pages are the only way to bring back The Creator. Everything is falling apart and she and the rest of Heaven want her home. Uriel orders Rami to track the humans while she will make preparations for Hell since the pages seem to be headed there. 


Leto is able to make it to the cave Claire told him would take him to the realm gate. Beatrice helped him find another exit to the city while Claire and Hero distracted the Hellhounds and Angels, but his guilt urges him to tell Beatrice to check the outer ward for the others. Leto continues into the dark catacombs but it's soon met by Andras who knocks him down and takes the pages. Andras pulls out a gemmed dagger and cuts Leto, explaining that the dagger can consume a soul. He needs to send a message to Claire with the proper gravitas: she needs to stay away from the Library. 


Leto wakes up surrounded by Claire, Hero, and Beatrice. He’s been cut up and his arm is broken and confirms Andras was the cause. Eventually they reach a pit filled with bones that they must pass through, the realm gate, and have no time to argue as they can hear the Hellhounds coming fast. Leto is first to go and wakes on the shore of a dead river. In the river, a monstrous looking crocodile surfaces and in their heads, the creature says “be judged.” It doesn’t answer Claire’s questions, but she’s able to work out that this must be the realm of a very old religion whose believers are gone. The creature opens its mouth and inside is a scale with a pure white feather on one side. Claire knows the realm isn’t Egyptian, but that it's possibly an offshoot religion where final judgment is the same. The crocodile creature tells them again “be judged.” Claire, incensed, heads back to the realm gate where she is met by Rami. 


Rami clearly doesn’t understand the workings of Hell and the danger of Andras being there with the pages. As far as he’s concerned, demons belong in Hell and the Library is in Hell ergo, there is no issue, but Claire challenges his apparent naivety. She also points out the angels have done nothing to prove she can trust them, though she tries to strike a bargain, she will leave Leto behind if Rami grants her and Hero safe passage out. Unfortunately for Claire she doesn’t realize Leto and Hero are having an impassioned conversation behind her, which results in Leto stepping away toward the feather. When Claire spots Rami’s expression and realizes something is going on, she tries to stop Leto but it’s too late and he disappears. Claire blames Rami and promises to bring all of Hell down upon him. 


Brevity comes to inside the Library, Damsels surrounding her, coming to complain about the loud creaking reverberating through the Library. Brevity shoos the Damsels back to their suite and then a boom and creak rents the air. Something is trying to get in, but she is a muse filled with inspiration, maybe she can create a monster of her own. 


Nothing is sitting well with Rami after watching Leto sacrifice himself. He is already dead and has been judged, so being judged again makes him become a lost soul like the ones Rami used to work with many many years ago. Rami returns to Heaven and reports back to Uriel, advising what happened in the realm with the crocodile. Meanwhile, Uriel has maps spread out and is planning to invade Hell. Uriel sounds crazed as she explains that instead of a piece of paper, she will present a whole new kingdom to The Creator when she returns. Calmly Uriel dismisses Rami and says she will speak to The Host when this business is finished. Before he leaves, Rami says he wants to rescue the lost soul, Leto, and playing on Uriel’s mania, he says Leto may be able to help them into Hell. Uriel agrees. 


Feeling rage at Leto’s judgment, Claire and Hero cross the river over the crocodile toward the crumbling wall and into a labyrinth. Hero tries to explain to Claire why Leto did what he did, but it just makes her guilt worse. Eventually they reach a set of stairs which is unusual. Is it a way out or will it just take them to the inevitable creature living in the labyrinth? The only way to know is to climb up and find out. They come across an opening and inside is a cottage in springtime… Hero’s home. He spots someone he knows, Owen, but he was killed. Claire tries to reason with Hero but he doesn’t want to listen. Thankfully after she begs, he does listen and they move on. When they rest later, Hero admits he no longer hears the other characters in his book.


After a couple hours of sleep, Claire and Hero share some cakes taken from Beatrice’s kitchen when Hero starts feeling strange and his stamp glows. It’s the Interworld Loan; Hero is being pulled back to the library, leaving Claire alone. Hero demands Brevity send him back to Claire, but as they talk, the attack on the wards worsens. The first ward, the dream ward, is broken. Andras must be using the pages as weapons, burning them up. Hero asks what he can do. A snide comment by Hero about hiding with the Damsels gives Brevity a plan. They head to the Damsels’ wing and she asks them to head to their books for their own safety but they refuse, they’re stronger outside their books and demand weapons. Hero congratulates Brevity on her inspirational trickery.


## TRIGGER WARNING: mentions of suicide ## Please skip to the next paragraph if needed.

Rami has gone in search of Leto’s lost soul and found a bedroom in darkness with a human teenager curled up looking at a dozen pills lying on his bed. Leto feels guilty for the death of a friend who had suicidal ideation. One day he snapped and told him to do it, and his friend did. Rami reminds Leto he has other friends who need him now, like Claire. Leto recognizes Rami and remembers the Library, but asks who is the old hipster dude in the corner with tiger striped hair and cold eyes? Rami can’t see anything, but that’s definitely Andras. Leto saw him before his death too. Alarms start ringing for Rami, Andras has been planning his takeover of the library to reinsert himself as a power in Hell for a long time and involved the human world. 


Together Rami and Leto travel to purgatory. Leto has forgiven himself and as a now Purified Soul, doesn’t belong in Hell anymore but he really wants to go back to the Library. Rami relents but tells Leto not to touch anything or he'll be forced to stay. Rami decides to go with Leto to make sure he remains Pure, or really, he just wants to help to stop Andras, too. Rami and Leto have a moral debate and the human bests the Angel, but Rami is setting rules if he takes him back to the Library.


Claire continues along in the labyrinth, wondering how Andras has been able to plot and plan so much, ultimately concluding Lucifer must know what is going on. Eventually she comes across the exit but it looks like it leads to Beatrice’s office. Slowly, tiredly, she makes her way toward it before realizing the labyrinth is giving her what she wants, so in frustration, she throws her shoes at the office. Howling then vibrates all around Claire and she realizes it's coming from the Labyrinth’s Minotaur who is standing in the middle of a courtyard. Surprisingly, when it speaks it sounds like a familiar overly dramatic second rate pirate, it’s her friend Walter from the Library! He’s guarding the gate, and it turns out that he guards all the gates which makes him Death! Huh. 


Claire asks Walter to be sent to the Library, but as her Ghost Light is extinguished, Walter has to eat her. Well, that won’t do. She could fight but it wouldn’t end well. Claire asks Walter what his weakness is, and because he’s never been asked before and there are no rules against it, he tells her it’s his eye, one of which is milky white while the other is brown. Walter apologizes and charges, not really wanting to eat his friend, so Claire turns and runs. She finds a pillar and is able to climb it. From her pockets she pulls out the Book’s calling card and the Ghost Light, sticking them together. Walter charges the pillar and Claire falls, tossing what is in her hand, and the Ghost Light Calling Card goes into Walter’s mouth causing flame to lash from his nose, ears, mouth and even his eyes before he passes out. Claire grabs the key round Walter’s neck but Walter points to his dead eye. Claire needs to use Walter’s own claws to dig the eye out, which is the real gate key. 


Rami literally walks into Hell because the doors are open. It’s very quiet for an invasion. Leto spots the Library’s gargoyle stuck in an attack position, and as Leto is looking at it, light fills the hall and throws him back. The library’s ward is still working. From the double doors, shouting can be heard, but it doesn’t sound like a battle. Suddenly Claire appears, looking dirty and tired, wearing lots of medallions but no shoes and she instantly denies Rami access to the Library, but then she spots Leto. Rami intercepts before they can hug since Leto can’t touch anything in case it corrupts his soul. Claire asks Leto if he remembers being human, and he tells her yes, he remembers being Matthew Hadley. Rami and Claire realize Leto is her grandson, but they don’t say anything to him about it, there's no time for that now. Claire sorts through the medallions she pilfered from the Arcane Wing for something to help the gargoyle, but they weren’t the only things she took. She pulls out the page that started this chaos. 


Brevity and the Damsels have been gathering weapons, reading unwritten war books, and constructing barricades. Hero tells Brevity that she must not be found and retreats to the great stacks because Andras needs the acting Librarian, so she listens and hides. The wards soon fall and Hero and Damsels make their stand against Andras and his eldritch horrors. The Damsels fight well, but the giant worms and horrors are overwhelming. Brevity watches the Damsels' books turning into their graves. Andras has Hero, covered in cuts and ink, and stabs him with a dagger in the thigh. Andras demands to know where Claire is but realizes he should actually be looking for Brevity. 


Brevity steps forward. Andras is willing to accept her surrender and she agrees if he doesn’t hurt anymore books. Andras is willing to concede, except for one book. One of Andras’s horrors starts ripping Hero’s book to pieces when suddenly there is a loud boom before a temporary ward Andras set falls and the great Library doors open. Behind the gargoyle is Claire, Rami and Leto. Claire looks at the damage and registers Hero’s wounds. Andras is disappointed with the HellHounds and orders his horrors to kill them. The gargoyle sweeps away some of the horrors before moving to deal with the gigantic eldritch worm while Rami faces the rest of the horrors and Andras makes a run for it. Arlid’s freed ravens from the Arcane Wing attack more of the horrors, and a couple stop Andras from escaping, so he throws something which sets fire to the books. Brevity sets off the fire prevention system, stopping it instantly. Claire approaches Hero and he gives her his sword telling her to end this.


Claire goes deeper into the stacks which is obviously a trap and she’s proven right a moment later. Andras is there and Claire is disgusted that he “greased the rails” for Leto to kill himself. Claire notices then that Andras is standing next to her books, and then he kills one book and tells Claire to step down. He kills another. Andras does his bad-guy monologue and mocks Claire before flipping the dagger in his hand and lunging. Claire is no swordswoman and loses the weapon. On her knees, Claire begs for help, not from Andras, but to the books, waking the Library from a very long sleep. Andras backs up from the book horde, they don’t care who or what he is, and they attack. Ironically, Andras begs Claire for help but a ghostly, ageless, ancient woman appears from the dark behind Andras and he disappears. Claire then faces the judgment of the Library. She wants to serve the Library to make amends.


Rami surveys the Library which looks more like a graveyard now. Hero is barely conscious, Arlid burns the eldritch horrors, and Brevity frantically tries to find Claire. With a pop, Uriel appears at the Library doors and grabs Leto around the neck. The fact that Leto is a pure human soul means nothing to Uriel, so Rami draws his blade against her, and demands she release Leto. As Uriel transforms into her seraphim appearance and Rami tells human Leto to look away from the angel's true form, from behind him, Rami hears a weary voice say, “rule number 23, no fighting in the Library.”


Claire looks at Uriel directly and orders the seraphim out of the Library because the Library is closed, but Uriel refuses to leave and refuses to listen so Claire speaks words that unmake the seraphim. She was warned the Library was closed. Rami is shocked that Claire just unmade Uriel, even if it’s only for a decade or two, and that she is able to look directly at the seraphim and remain unharmed. Claire asks Rami if he needs to file a report and says he could help start a war or he could say Uriel is delayed. 


Claire turns to survey the chaos. She thanks Arlid who she now owes a favor to. Turning to Rami, Claire asks if he will be taking Leto though she already knows the answer. Surprising her, Rami asks if he can return once he’s dropped Leto off because he wants to discuss things and she agrees. They say their goodbyes to Leto, promising he always has a place at the Library. 


Sitting down, Claire sets to repair Hero’s book. There are so many books to be repaired, so many have been destroyed and turned to graves. Claire asks Brevity to repair her books. Rami returns, confirms Leto has passed through the pearly gates with flying colors. He notices Andras’s gemmed dagger and asks if she caught all of him in it and how she did it. Claire tells him Andras made a fatal error, he angered the Library. A demon at the door interrupts them, Malphas, Lucifer's second in command, who has come to see the pages from the Devil’s Bible. 


Claire neither confirms nor denies the pages still exist, just tells Malphas the Library is secure and Lucifer’s secrets are safe. Malphas picks up the gemmed dagger and calls it a useless weapon but a trophy, however Claire points out it’s an artifact of the Arcane Wing, regardless of it now housing a demon, and until a new Arcanist is appointed, Claire will keep the artifacts safe. Malphas looks at Claire then and accuses her of stealing from her army, Andras was hers, as were the fallen horrors and worms, so it falls to her to name his successor. Claire won’t have another demon but suggests Rami, which is interesting, but Malphas has another person in mind: Claire. Malphas has heard the grievances of the books that Claire failed to protect, and says that the Library chooses its Librarian, Brevity, who Claire knows will make an admirable Librarian. 


It takes a few days to finish fixing Hero’s book and set the Library mostly right and Claire feels comfortable enough to leave for the Arcane Wing. Hero goes with her, it’s nice and gloomy there for him too. The Arcane Wing changes to match its Arcanist, but Claire still thinks of it as Andras’s space until Hero encourages her to Claire-ify it. Claire remembers the golden glow of the Library and hot tea and decides she won’t recreate it in the Arcane Wing, but will make it something adjacent, something warm and inviting. The Arcane Wing transforms, it’s accepted its new Arcanist. 


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