"Vanquished, you say?"
He murmured it, holding up the worn little book in the dusty light, crooning to it. He held it gently, but peculiarly—*that* wasn't the way her mother had told her how to hold old books. He held it like a creature, like it was a little, wounded thing in a forest.
She darted back behind the end of the shelf as the strange man stiffened, and held her breath as he slowly turned his head to look down the aisle. His eyes were wrong. His clothing was wrong, too, she knew it was older than it should be, but it was his eyes that bothered her. She counted to herself as she waited for him to come after her.
But instead, he turned back to the book and to the archive's shelves. "No, not vanquished. You cannot vanquish an idea; you can only put it to sleep." He reshelved the little brown and gilt volume.
She heard his boots thumping down the aisle as he left the archive. "Isn't that right, little Laura?"