The library is sealed.
For fifty years it has been this way. The shelves stand untouched, resplendent in gilt and mahogany. The leather-bound books sit silent, row upon row reaching up to the ceiling. The painted gods watch over all, mute and patient in the golden light. The dust lies thick on the stone floor, undisturbed by footprints.
There is a click; the first sound that has disturbed the library for half a century. The door, ancient wood polished smooth by countless years, swings slowly inwards. The dust stirs, a million flecks catching the light and reflecting it back.
In the doorway stand two figures. The elder, withered by age, stoops over a gnarled cane, his white beard dragging upon the floor; the younger is barely more than a boy, his hands clasped in front of him tight enough to turn his knuckles white.
"This-" The elder breaks off, coughing as the dust rises. His voice sounds as dry as the library itself - as if it, too, has been sealed for decades.
"This is your charge," he continues. "The library. In all the living world, only we two have set eyes on it." He holds out a wrinkled hand, a brass key gleaming in it. "There you are; it's yours now."
The boy takes the key in trembling fingers. He holds it up to the golden light, watching the dust dance behind it. Then he fits it into the lock, grasps the handles, and seals the library once more.