A rare and unusual creature, the book worm is only found in large, old libraries or book depositories; they crave knowledge more than anything else.
Book worms are often noted in legends as great keepers of knowledge, and many a hero has sought one out for their wisdom. Most stories that they appear in, however, usually give their role to others, human scholars or occasionally dragons instead, as the book worm isn’t an especially grand figure in legend. Because of these changes, they are not accurately depicted in media or myths.
Traits and Behavior
Book worms are a small species, rarely being more than 6 inches in length and not especially wide. They can come in a wide range of colors, and usually have the appearance and texture of an aged leather strap or book mark. They can lay almost flat, and can be pressed between the pages of a book without permanent harm.
As their name suggests, book worms live in libraries, private collections and even dragon hoards, so long as they contain a large number and variety of books. They spend their time reading and reviewing any book in the collection they like, both fiction and non-fiction, and will be able to recall everything they read no matter how long ago they had read it. Their interests can vary from the broad to intensely narrow, and tend to become more specific as they age. Once they have read every book in the collection, they crave new knowledge and will do their best to gather more books. If they are unable to do so, they may attempt to reach another library instead.
Book worms prefer not to be bothered, so they tend to sleep during the day and move at night when there are fewer people around. They have excellent night vision and can read in almost pitch blackness. If they have settled into a purely human library they may intentionally avoid detection, but in supernatural libraries or dragon hoards they do not attempt to hide their presence, and can be approached for calm conversation about what they have read. Most book worms are happy to discuss the books they have read, or to offer guidance and expertise on topics they have researched.
Angering a book worm will do little except make them unlikely to help you, but be warned that their grudges can go for generations; they can be forgiving, but they do not forget a slight.
Book worms can live for centuries, and there are some reports that a book worm can live as long as they are provided more books and more knowledge, and they do not truly die until they can no longer learn. Whether depriving a book worm of new reading material will actually cause their death is unknown, but they do often disappear if their chosen library is destroyed, so there is some possibility that they are tied to it (or are at least vulnerable to fire).
Book worms are not born from other worms; they appear in a growing book collection as a small egg, nearly invisible; if the collection continues to grow, the egg will grow and eventually hatch. This can occur even if other book worms live in the same library, as they do not seem to be territorial. Book worms are known to either form close relationships with others that share their interests, or intense rivalries within that same group. These rivals will engage in debate, rather than any physical violence, and these debates are known in the supernatural community to be a fantastic competition of wits and knowledge. Book worms may also engage in debate with other species, should that other individual prove to be knowledgeable enough in the topic.
Despite some rumors, book worms value their spare time and will refuse to engage in debate anyone that does not have the necessary grasp on the topic, no matter how irritating or incorrect the person is, and how easily they might defeat them in debate. Book worms do value different ideas, and will happily discuss any different values or interpretations so long as they are well thought out. If they are approached in good faith by someone with a lack of knowledge, and that person is polite enough about their inquiries, they may decide to provide a teaching moment, but they are notoriously impatient with students and more often choose to direct the person to the correct books instead.
Book worms claim they do not need to eat, but have been known to consume warm drinks and occasional cookies, so long as they are away from any books that could be harmed. They do not appear to need these things for nutrition, merely for the joy of eating, and can be tempted by unusual recipes or historic recreations, especially if those foods are an interest of theirs.
To gain the favor of a book worm, either to gain specific information or because you have insulted them, providing new knowledge is the best way to go. This does not need to be a book (though they are welcome), and can be anything from a recreated historic item, artwork, or even anecdotal stories. The key is for the gift to either be something the library can keep for further research, or something that can teach the book worm something new (a new kind of knot, for example, or origami).
Book worms can learn to speak any language, no matter the vocal range, and may learn dozens throughout their lifetime.
A book worms true weakness is being proven wrong about something. While they are happy to learn something new, they are intensely bothered when wrong about anything, no matter how minor or how they came to the wrong conclusion. Proving a book worm wrong about something will usually cause the worm to retreat until they are able to correct their mistake and become more knowledgeable on the topic than the person that corrected them.
However, if you are able to actually teach a book worm something new, especially on a topic they already have an interest in, they will be your ally for the rest of your life, and possibly into your descendants.