"The Encyclopedia? The "Container of alllll Knowledge"? Meh. It isn't much to look at - just a small book bound in a maroon-dyed linen with a golden rune embossed on it. That's it. Really! Ok, sure, the linen is of the finest quality, and the rune is made of pure gold. But I'm not even sure why they call it a book. It only has one page in it, and it's blank!"
The OriginBereo Ikorsoll, the creator of the book, had a never-ending thirst for knowledge. He had no ambitions to use this knowledge for anything like the pursuit of power, or wealth, or even philanthropy. Indeed, the only goal Bereo had was to simply know the fact of the thing, the fact of every thing. Bereo's only problem was, though he knew a tremendous amount, he would sometimes forget a thing...or two. Now, to Bereo, not knowing was simply a task for the next day. However, forgetting was an ultimate, cataclysmic failure. Because, the act of having to refresh his memory about a thing interrupted his learning of everything else still to know. So, Bereo decided to create a book that could hold every single bit of information obtained over the years. Though remembering would always be paramount, forgetting would, at least, no longer disrupt his quest for knowledge. Luckily, he already had all of the information necessary to construct such a book in his head.
Knowledge is not wisdom.The physical book was easy enough. Borea simply had it made at a local book binder in a style he liked. The ink took slightly more effort as it included a miniscule amount of shigyl powder. The rune, however, took decades. At first glance it may appear that the rune was drawn by a child. However, anyone familiar with the ancient runes understand that precision is critical, especially for the more powerful inscriptions. Therefore, every nudge, every change in thickness or length, every imprecise line was precisely as it needed to be.
Precision is the finest expression of knowing.Bereo worked tirelessly until he finished the rune. Those that knew him and what he was doing joked that he had taken a job as a Waking Night Attendant due to the wide-eyed stare he got from concentrating on his work night after day after night. Finally finished, he placed his hand on his work, and he felt it. He felt every bit of his knowledge being transferred into the book and knew he had created something extraordinary. His elation turned to horror, however, when he realized that he had not known that this would come at a cost. It came at the cost of him forgetting everything, including himself, as all of his knowledge was transferred to the book. Desperate to end the transfer, he tried to remove his hand from the rune, but could not. The last thing he knew was also the last thing that would be taken from him, the knowledge that he would never know anything ever again.
"Bereo! Bereo! Wake up! Mnorishell, come quick!""What's wrong?""It's Bereo! I found him with his hand on his book. He's just staring at nothing.""Damned fool! Damned fool!. You did it, and now look at what you've done.""What should we do?""I don't know. Retrieve a Reverend Mother and a Truthsayer. Maybe they will know."
The LegendAs time passed, the book became legend and was given the name, "The Encyclopedia of Bereo" or, simply, "The Encyclopedia". Sapiens learned that if they had a question, they could find the answer by putting their hand on the book and simply asking. If the book, or Bereo - if you prefer, knew the answer, it would be written in Bereo's hand on the blank page in the book. Extra pages would be magically created if necessary, only to disappear when the book was closed again.
There were costs, however, as Bereo's thirst for knowledge persisted in the book. So only the desperate, daring, or damned ever sought answers from it. The first price was incurred if the book knew the answer. Every bit of knowledge gained incurred some degree of knowledge lost. It could be as simple as the name of a street, as poignant as your grandmother's apple pie recipe, or as dramatic as your entire identity. Either way, that which was lost could never be relearned, no matter how many times or ways you tried. The second price was incurred if the book did not know the answer. The inquirer would then find themselves singularly compelled to do whatever it took to discover the answer - no matter what. When the task was complete, they would then return, with equal compulsion, to the book and place their hand upon its cover. The book would take the answer from them, perversely never allowing them to know it from that moment on.
"I need to know!""It's not worth the risk!""But I need to know if he is having an affair!""But you know he isn't! He loves you!""But how do I know that for sure! If the book knows, then I would know and be ok. Encyclopedia, is my husband having an affair?"NO"See, I told you your husband wasn't having an affair.""Huh? What? Husband? I don't remember having a husband."
Book / Document
4 inches by 6 inches