Doc stopped in front of the shop, stepping up onto the wooden walkway and off of the dry and dusty dirt street. The large, colorfully painted sign that hung over the doorway solemnly informed those who could read that this was the notable Antiquarium, "the" source for all things historical and curious.
As he opened the door, the bell tinkled spiritedly to announce his presence to the shopkeeper who was undoubtedly puttering about somewhere among the vast and many cases and cabinets in which new items were always being added but seldom seemed to leave.
Doc looked toward the front counter and observed a young man standing up to look at him, he walked to the counter. "How may I help you today Sir", the young man said very loudly. Doc chuckled inwardly at this. He knew the volume was meant to let the actual shopkeep know a customer had arrived.
A rustling sound could be heard immediately at that and somewhere from the left side of the counter, amid a number of boxes a deep voice could be heard loudly profaning any number of things sacred and common as a stack of heavy looking books fell off of a shelf suddenly into an open crate. The voice seemed to come out of the crate.
A large hairy head erupted from beneath the pile of books in the crate still muttering imprecations having to do with the young man at the counter's parentage. The dwarf was still sputtering when his eyes at last fell upon Doc standing at the counter.
Having a reddish gold lion's mane complimented by an extremely long and braided beard of the same color, the stocky dwarf hauled himself out of the crate and began stomping toward Doc as he tried very hard not to laugh.
With a sidelong glance at the youth, the dwarf stood in front of the grey-brown curly, short haired Doc. Who even at his humanly average height and build seemed to tower over the dwarf. "Welcome good sirrah, and what manner of knowledge would he be seekin today from the oldest inhabitant and business in all of New Edinburgh?"
He wasn't lying either. At two hundred and sixty years old, no one had been in town longer than Magnus the Elder. Truth be told, supposedly his family had been part of New Edinburgh since before the turning time. If that were true though, and there were many skeptics, that would mean there was human in the bloodline of Magnus though he would never admit to it.
Doc himself only occasionally was able to come visit his old friend on rare occasions due his job requiring that he travel so extensively. It was always a rare pleasure to stand in this place which exuded a sense of being out of place and time. A very peaceful place which Magnus worked very hard to maintain.
"I come seeking the wisdom of our forefathers." Doc began the coded message. "Such wisdom lies within your own constitution and determination to seek the truth", Magnus continued. The contact established, Doc began the next part of the interaction. "If only I could speak with those forefathers once again and have their counsel, what great things I might achieve."
Magnus nodded knowingly at Doc, then finished with, "The words they leave us with in books can be much the same as talking with them in person if one is patient." At that, Magnus slightly nodded in the direction of the young man.
'So the youth is not an Initiate', Doc realized. He understood he would have to wait a moment until Magnus could send the young man away before he could send the message to the guild President. Magnus could be heard giving the young man instructions to go out of the shop for awhile to perform a particular task that suddenly needed to be done immediately.
Magnus then pretended to busy himself looking for a book while the assistant hurriedly prepared to leave. After a few moments, the lad was out the door like a whirlwind. "At the rate thet boyo moves, we'll have plenty a time to handle her business." Doc smiled and stepped forward to grasp his diminutive friend's hand in a firm shake.
The two walked to the rear of the shop, weaving through various bookshelves until they came to a stop in front of an ornate cabinet filled with a number of small sculptures. Reaching seemingly to caress a small statue of a dog, the dwarf triggered the mechanism and the large cabinet swung inward to the wall revealing a hallway that led to a room at the end of it.
Stopping to admire a painting halfway down, Doc waited, distracting himself as Magnus stopped just before the doorway to the room . Standing so that he blocked the view of anyone behind him, Magnus fiddled with something for a moment, then grunted to indicate that it was safe to enter the room. Such precautions must be taken in every Society safe house.
At an enormous mahogany desk that occupied the entirety of the center of the room, the top was clear of anything. The polish and shine of the glassy top was indicative of the great care and pride the middle aged dwarf took in his care of the timeless and priceless historical items in his care.
Once again distracting himself by looking at some brick-a-brac, Doc deliberately was not watching as the dwarf approached a spot in the room behind Doc's back and diligently worked some mechanism. In just a few, short moments, Doc heard the sound of a book behind laid on the desktop and turned around.
As Magnus seated himself at the desk, he looked up at Doc and asked him for a password that Doc gave to him. The dwarf wrote the password at the top of the page in the open journal and slowly, the letters disappeared from the page.
After a couple of minutes, new words began to form on the page. He was now in contact with command. Hopefully the person he needed to come to this riverside town would be available and the guild command would approve the assignment.