"Well, off with us, then." Abode said, turning so that his heels clicked together. He strode up the stairs and stopped. I suddenly noticed a large, heavy door which seemed to have lurked out of the shadows, which the professor now stood in front of. Abode beckoned. "C'mon, boy. I picked you for your alacrity and curiosity, not your cautiousness!"
I followed him up to the foot of the door as he opened it, disappearing into the recesses of what lay beyond. There was something about the door itself which was utterly unnerving. I took one look at the pale faces which were, at this point, almost seeping upwards along the staircase and decided I was better unnerved than beheaded.
I retreated, following behind the cane-thumping professor at a brisk pace. The heavy door closed behind me with a great clamor, cutting off the terrible, silent shuffling of the masses below the staircase.
“This will not do, no!” Abode said, sifting around in front of me. I turned my attention from the closed door to his utterance and was at once stricken with surprise. We had emerged into an immense library filled with towering bookcases. The shelves were arranged before a central dais like knights kneeling to a king. Upon the dais was Professor Abode, sorting through a pile of decrepit tomes, more of which littered the floor around us.
“What may have happened? Who did this? Did one of my enemies find disfavor with my castle?” Abode continued to mutter as he busied himself with frantically searching from place to place as if driven by the Devil himself.
“Um, sir?” I said, a tentative waver distinct in my voice.
“Eh? Wot? Yes, Mr. Tham?” Abode said, perking up from his reverie to regard me.
“Perhaps you should take a look at this.” I offered the small coin from my pocket to him. The professor darted forward and snatched it from my hand like a sparrow catching a bread crumb in midair, or perhaps more like a snake striking.
“Ah! Aha! Yes!” Abode said upon inspecting the coin’s surface. “You can clearly see the markings even now, yes, yes…” The old man began to rummage through his lore again before coming back up with tome in hand. “Here! See!” He held up the tome open to a page bearing the exact same depiction that was on the face of the coin. “This is so much simpler, just a banishing! And here, look, we even have the name!” The professor pushed the tome further into my view and clearly emblazoned above the image of the horned man were ancient looking words which put me in mind of primitive Gaelic.
“So this is what is causing all of this? A demon?” I asked.
“No, no, no! Demon, no! One of the Good People! You’ll find no distaste for the cross or holy water here, but keep your mouth shut with the demon talk.” Abode brought the tome to his eyes and read slowly. “‘This is Sidhe Bragg, governor of wealth and commerce, who curses the niggardly and restores the free.’ You must have crossed one of the poor Good Folk and ignored their plea for alms. Simple!” The small man laughed gladly. “Oh, for a moment there I was truly worried! I thought perhaps ol’ Conj had caught up with me, or perhaps some other acquaintance.
“Now, let us go prepare for the banishing…”