Opportunities to Fail

This was going to be an exercise in self-restraint. The book waited, black leather bindings stark against the parchment strewn over his study’s desk. He took a step closer to it, right hand resting on its surface, fingers barely curved about the edge.

Truly he wouldn’t know where to start. It was one of the few things keeping him from the potentially terrifying, if satisfying, step. The knowledge contained within the pages had been handled by few, read by fewer and utilized by even less. He understood why, the arcane practices within were unpleasant and dizzying but the rarity was intoxicating, the things no one else knew….and he’d tasted it, albeit briefly and painfully.

He drew his fingers back from the leather surface. Addiction was no stranger; his most recent had nearly killed him. Despite the fatal nature of the parting, the loss was nigh unbearable as he fell into bed alone. Relapse waited in the possibility that he might be able to find him. It was really the option, the availability that made the withdrawal so thrice damned difficult. He glared back down at the book. Perhaps he should let his brother make good on his threat to burn the thing.

Coupled with the physical sobriety he currently forced upon himself, the past weeks had been a living nightmare. Having something interesting and dangerous to contend with would be a welcome respite. And the book was, in spades. Each page detailed the blackness of The Under and the methods, if properly applied, to contact and call forth the dark sliding things that existed there. A month ago such possibilities had been the stuff of legend, now it sat in his hands, ripe.

All he had to do was break the promise he’d made.

He groaned and took hold of the tome, wrapping it in its leather casing and disguising its presence. A click of a lock later and it was safely away in his cabinet.

He wouldn’t get rid of it; such action was beyond his will. Besides, he thought, a weak promise would hold if never tried. A test then, whether he was worthy of the mental strength attested to him. His own musings brought a smile, he was rationalizing already.

He left his rooms before the cabinet key could weigh any heavier in his pocket. Intent on getting some air or at least distance he turned towards the stable, walking as quickly as he could away from the opportunity to fail. This was going to be hell.


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