It was late. A lone monk, clad in a brown habit from head to toe, was making his way down the stairs, cautiously clinging to the railing.
Having reached the end of the stairway, he opened the heavy library door, entered and flipped a switch, flooding the spacious hall with light.
The library walls were densely covered with book laden shelves. A rectangular timber table stood at its center, surrounded by wooden benches.
The man pulled back his cowl and unveiled a wrinkled face with a high forehead that sent deep inlets into an otherwise full shock of white hair. He blinked to adjust his vision to the light. He then advanced toward the end of the hall, and stopped by one of the bookshelves. He pulled out a few massive volumes and placed them upon the table, exposing a metal safe behind them. Putting on a pair of glasses, he started turning the small dial mounted on the safe door. After a while, the dial clicked, and the door opened.
Very carefully, he removed from the safe a thick notebook and a dozen or so rectangular objects, and laid them gently upon the table. He then returned the volumes to their original position on the shelf, concealing the safe behind them once more. He lit a small reading lamp, went back to the entrance, and switched the main lights off.
The hall was almost dark now, illuminated solely by the reading lamp on the table. With heavy steps, he moved back on the thick carpet, stopped by a wooden bench beside the table and closed his eyes.
This was his favorite place, and this was his preferred hour. He was now finally free from his daily chores to investigate, meditate and absorb himself in the profound. His lips moved silently in prayer, thanking the Lord for bringing him here, to this place, so close to the fountainhead.
Outside, thunder rolled. The monk shuddered, crossed himself, and then sat with some difficulty on the hard bench. He pulled out a fountain pen and laid it on the table, leaned forward and opened his notebook. He proceeded to arrange the rectangular objects upon the table in two separate groups. These turned out to be hand-written parchment pages sandwiched inside thin glass casings.
The old man gazed at the pages arrayed on the table for a long time, still finding it hard to believe the miracle that was lying there on the table before him. Once again, he realized in wonder that he was one of the few people in the world, if not the only one, to have access to it and to understand its significance.
He took a deep breath and progressed to study the pages, going from one group to the other, patiently comparing the texts, and occasionally scribbling notes. Despite his excitement, he felt a bit frustrated. Although he had long ago accepted the fact that he would never be able to share this knowledge with anyone, it was still a dispiriting thought for a scholar.
A full hour went by. The man was still immersed in his work. So absorbed was he, that he did not notice the stranger who walked across the room, with the dense carpet swallowing the sound of his steps. When he finally perceived movement and turned his head, the stranger was already standing right behind him. Adrenaline rushed into his bloodstream, causing his heart to palpitate wildly. He tried to stand up and turn around, but did not quite make it.
The last thing he saw was a masked face, and then something heavy came crashing down against his skull. His field of vision blurred and started to shrink until it was reduced to a bright and shining dot of light.
Then, the light went out, and everything was blank.