Monday, July 23, 2012


The ancient art of Shelf-Binding is still practiced in Everway's Library of All Worlds. It is believed that this ancient art was first developed in The Library Realm, and brought to Everway by the priests of Hermanubis.
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The practice of Shelf-Binding gives the Librarian a choice. At death, their body may be returned to their family, for transport to the Houses of Dust for funerary rites. As is well-known, the most common funerary custom in Everway is raft-burial.

Shelf-Binding is an alternative custom. If a Librarian dies within the precincts of the Library, their soul can be bound to a Library shelf or scroll rack containing texts that were particularly meaningful to that Librarian. Shelf-Binding is a Level 4 magical ritual. The ritual is carried out by a Librarian-Priest initiated in the rites of Hermanubis. The ritual requires the practitioner to bind the deceased Librarian's spirit within their personal sigil medallion. 

Upon being appointed a Librarian, one wears this medallion all times: it is a Librarian's special library pass, granting access to many restricted areas of the Library. There are many grades and types of medallion each of which confers different levels of access, and connoting different levels of privilege and authority.

Once the Librarian's soul has been bound to his or her medallion, the medallion itself is mounted or attached to a shelf or scroll rack. Medallions can be nailed onto a wooden shelf, or placed within a carved recess on a stone shelf. The Librarian then communes for eternity with his or her beloved texts, standing watch over them to prevent theft or damage, as well as guiding the hands of those seeking knowledge. This is often what is behind a scholar's serendipitous discoveries while wandering the stacks.
Since some texts and subject matter are more popular with Librarians than others, certain areas of the Library are well protected by Shelf-Bound Spirits, while others are not.

A Shelf-Bound Spirit
  • Fire: 1
  • Earth: 0
  • Air: 4-6
  • Water: 5
  • Powers:
    • Guide the Scholar's Hand: Shelf-Bound Spirit can assist a nearby scholar in making a serendipitous discovery of a text they need, but of which they are unaware
    • Sound the Alarm: A Shelf-Bound Spirit will raise the alarm if a nearby text is about to be stolen or damaged. This silent scream is conveyed to any Librarian within 100' who is wearing their medallion. Their medallion begins to vibrate.


  1. Excellent post. The Library of All Worlds series is quite inspired. Have you read Garth Nix' Lirael? It is part of the Abhorsen Trilogy and really quite good. There's an absolutely wonderful library in that book. I Highly Recommend it. And yes, it is on the 'bibliopendix' list of cool books for Wermspittle...

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. I have the books because I like the covers - but I confess it has been sitting on the shelf unread. I should give it a try.

  3. I really enjoyed Sabriel, but it took a little bit to get going. Lirael was by far the more engaging book in the series for me, though it was nice to see thing tied-up nicely plot-wise in the finale. Moggit is a great NPC. The necromantic bells and so forth that Nix used in his magic system were actually quite well thought out and worked very nicely. The series is somewhat in-between the Steampunk and WWI pseudo-vintage fantasies.


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