Philliden’s Walking Knowledge
This is a heavy book of uncountable vellum pages in a sturdy leather cover. Each page contains a wall of text and illustrations that crowd into the margins, detailing accumulated knowledge in a given field. The Walking Knowledge is also capable of sprouting a swarm of thin, metallic tendrils that it uses to walk, climb, and even protect itself.
The book seems to have a personality much like a friendly dog: it will approach people, even strangers, and respond to their treatment of it. People who give it treats are especially welcome to browse through its pages, where chances are very good indeed that they will find some relevant information no matter what topic they are searching for. There are only two drawbacks to the friendship of the Walking Knowledge.
First, the “treats” it enjoys comprise other written information, especially books. Pamphlets, leaflets, scrolls, tomes; fiction, essays, poetry, tax records, even sheet music – all attract the Walking Knowledge. It bounds up to them and touches them with a feeler or two, gently at first, and then the treat is drawn into the book’s grinding, many-toothed mouth and what follows is generally neither describable nor pretty.
And second, the information that appears in the Walking Knowledge’s pages after such an event is in digest form (appropriately enough). Thorough treatments are reduced to highlights; exceptions and special cases become footnotes or asides, or are left out altogether. Each work consumed by the Walking Knowledge, no matter how extensive, is condensed down to a capsule summary that can fit on a single page, albeit a large page with small lettering. And while this never seemed to bother Philliden much – his memory was so well-trained that mere hints from the Walking Knowledge supposedly helped him to recall the whole – his greatest creation has been banned from every major library in the land… on pain of death.
(The name for this week’s magic item comes from The Forge.)