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Book of Time

"The Book of Time."

It lay on a lectern in front of her. At least it was a good deal more impressive than the other books; the cover bore no text, but had lines of gold trim along each edge, culminating in a twist of more gold at each corner. She opened the heavy cover with a great deal of effort, the pages falling open as she did so.

"It's, um... What's it doing?"

Strange black letters of some foreign alphabet flowed across the page, clearly forming words and sentences before flowing and reforming into new words, and new sentences. Occasionally the black ink would flow into the shape of a diagram, complex formations of lines and circles, with small text labels in the same alien text. She barely had time to register the picture had formed before it vanished in a rush of moving blackness to construct a new line of text.

She looked up at him and stepped back from the book. "It's, ah... well, it's rewriting itself."

With that, a sudden plume of flame rose from the page, causing her to jump backwards. As quickly as it had started, the flame vanished, leaving a thin layer of black ash where the page had been. Between the flakes of ash, she could just make out the flowing text on the pages beneath.

Stepping over to the book, he looked across the lectern at her. He placed his hands softly on the pages, being careful not to disturb the delicate black ashes. "The Book of Time tells two things - what has been, and what will be. The pages at the front of the book are the past; it is memories of what events have been seen, and will be remembered. The pages towards the back of the book are the future; the unseen story, tales of what might be, could be, and will be. When a moment has passed, the page burns in the Fires of Time, the moment then being lost forever. As the ash settles, new pages form in the front of the book, memories of what little has been witnessed."

Another plume of fire leapt into the air and faded as quickly as it had arrived. She looked nervously across the vanishing flames at him. "Is it not a touch dangerous having these fires in a library?"

He chuckled lightly, closing the book slowly to avoid spilling the ash. "Not so dangerous as risking dousing the flames, and ending the passage of time."

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