New York, NY
An Ivy league school with an academic reputation to match, Ebonhurst rests in a wooded green space amidst the concrete jungle of New York City. The prestige of the school made it accessible for only the brightest and most well connected of students. It made it much smaller than other nearby schools, but it’s resources were second to none. Stanford, Harvard and Yale were more well-known, but academics from around the world understood that Ebonhurst was every bit their equal.
The university had a more sinister reputation in one respect. Archaeology, and some say the occult, was a beacon at the school. Many of the world’s most renowned archaeologist learned their craft there, including Dr. Anthony DeWain. Those affiliated with Ebonhurst simply pointed to the Museum of Antiquities that was attached to the school, and the wealth of knowledge and culture found within its walls. Those outside the university wondered if the quest for knowledge perhaps dug too deep, or chased wild tales and legend instead of research.
Troy Chadwick had spent much of his time here. It was an ideal location. In the center of the financial world also rested the academic center of archaeology- and as Troy knew particularly well- the lost art of magic. When he found time away from work or his frequent investment trips, he studied amidst the tomes found in the Ebonhurst library’s basement collection.
A small lamp was illuminated, and on the desk was a collection of books. Today, Troy found himself once more revisiting the two volumes known together as The Books of Night. They were translated into English in the 1600’s from a far more ancient source. Before that, the only copies were a set of scrolls and clay tablets written in a dead language. The original clay tablets had been stored at Ebonhurst for decades, and remained safely secure. These tablets were priceless, and not available to the general public. A transcribed version of that ancient scroll was also believed to exist, but it had been stolen from Dr. Bernard Watson of Oxford some twenty years past. No one had seen it since. The only means of access now was through the translated versions, and out of the 200 some copies masterfully penned by a European Monk, only a handful survived. One of these lay on the desk before Troy Chadwick. He knew the staff at Ebonhurst well, and they trusted him. Even so, the librarians watched his every move.
Troy carefully opened the fragile pages of the four hundred year old book with his white gloves. He leaned close to study the faded words, and breathe in the smell of the aged pages. He loved that smell. His immersion was interrupted by a man sitting across from him and clearing his throat politely.
“Good day, Mr. Chadwick. I was hoping we might be able to talk. Are you hungry? It would be a privilege to discuss your studies over dinner.” The man whispered, and his eyes conveyed a sense of warmth. There was nothing outwardly suspicious about the man. Troy had learned long ago to look past outward appearances though.