Ulfsild’s Log: The Netch

Author: Ulfsild
Released In:

My little library feels like it’s taken on a life of its own. Some days it feels like I find new books around every corner, new secrets waiting to be uncovered, in tomes I’m sure I didn’t bring down here.

The other day as I stood among the shelves, head down in some fascinating tome or other, I felt a sharp tug on the back of my shirt. I turned around, expecting the Fox (of course), but no one was there. In any other circumstance, it would have been eerie. But for some reason, I felt lighter. As if whatever strange force had pulled me from my book simply wanted me to look up in wonder for a moment.

I paced the shelves for a few minutes, peering around corners and tiptoeing past the stacks of books I had set aside. Perhaps it was a bit silly, but I saw no sign of the ghostly force.

I returned to my reading, only to have the same thing happen twice more. It began to feel like a game, as if the moment I fully lost myself within my book, the invisible force would do anything it could to get my attention. I’ve decided the next time it happens, I’m going to act as if I don’t notice it at all. I wonder what it will do if it feels it’s being ignored?

* * *
Today I returned to that particular corner of the Scholarium. I found my books had been rearranged into the shape of a massive squirrel. After sorting out my reading materials and doing a cursory check of the nearby shelves, I settled in and waited to see if my invisible playmate would return.

After a few minutes, it did—even more eagerly than yesterday. As much as I wanted to turn around at the insistent tugging on my clothes, I held firm to my plan and ignored it. I think this may have thrown off the creature, as it was quiet for a few minutes after that.

Just when I started to think I had perhaps offended the being, my book leapt out of my hands, seemingly by its own volition, and hovered in the air in front of me. The sudden surprise of this childish retort brought a smile to my face—how could it not? I laughed as a game of keep-away ensued, with my invisible playmate pulling the book just out of my reach every time.

I found myself being led down hallway after hallway, my hovering book eagerly marking the way down the passages. I came at last to one of the distant studies, a room which we’d had built but I hadn’t yet stocked. An air of power emanated from all around me. Less somber than the Indrik, less serious than the Gryphon. It almost reminded me of entering a child’s room or even an artist’s studio, a place of creativity and joy.

I passed through the doorway and found myself … somewhere else! A seaside domain bathed in sunlight. Though I waded through shallow water, my feet stayed perfectly dry, a considerate touch of the magic.

Basking in the warm sunshine was a large, glowing Netch. It bobbed happily in the sea breeze, and as I approached it reached out its tentacles as if to embrace me. Somehow, I knew the Netch meant me no harm—quite the opposite.

The many tendrils began to delicately wrap themselves around my body, embracing me, taking the measure of me. “Hello, there,” I said at last.

As I spoke, the Netch loosened its tentacles, until there was only one left draped over my shoulder. “You are quite buoyant, aren’t you?” the Netch said.

“Thank you?” I replied.

“How is your spirit so bright? Your vessel is so un-netch-like?”

“It’s this place. It’s full of magic and wonder. How could I not be happy here?” I said.

At this, the Netch seemed to float a little higher. “Oh, I like you! We shall play such fun games, not-Netch!”

I smiled. “My name is Ulfsild.”

“Ulf-sillld,” the Netch contemplated my name. “I rather think we shall have fun together, Ulfsild. What do you say?”

I paused, but only for a moment. “I say, what do you want to play?”

Scroll to Top