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fic: Forty Books

Title: Forty Books
Fandom: Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (TV)
Length: 200
Content notes: mention of canonical character death
Author note: written for the Paper challenge at [community profile] fan_flashworks, this one is for [personal profile] sevenswells, with thanks for the rewatch of episode 3 that inspired it.
Summary: Forty books in a leather portmanteau, carried into a forest in Spain.

Forty books in a leather portmanteau, carried into a forest in Spain. Forty books brought from Yorkshire to London to the Peninsula. Forty books, collected over as many years by a man who thought he was the only magician in England. Forty books, carried by the servant of the second magician, prised from their owner's reluctant grasp and sacrificed to the national interest. Forty books, relinquished for a time in pursuit of other books more desirable because unpossessed. It is as well that the first magician cannot see what becomes of them: scraps of paper fluttering from the sky, falling on the dead and on a man who might as well be.

Later, the second magician will attempt to piece together the blackened fragments of a single page from all that has been lost. His hands shake, as they always will; he does not know this yet. The Duke of Wellington, barking orders at him, makes an impatient gesture that sends the fragments flying into the air again. He has no books now but his wife's parting gift, A Child's History of the Raven King, the last evidence of her love and a signpost to a future he cannot imagine.

Also posted at http://fengirl88.dreamwidth.org/222746.html with comment count unavailable comments.


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