Thomas Althorp, the owner of Horsehead's only antique shop and one of Billobi's friends, was equally known for selling strange, magical items as dealing with strange, peculiar people that visited him from time to time. One of these was lady Lamport.
Billobi only met lady Lamport once, but he remembered it for the rest of his life. He was passing through Horsehead and decided to pay his friend Mr Althorp a visit, and came into the shop just when she was about to leave.
"Hang on a second, Billobi", Thomas said and went into another room behind the counter.
"Why, hello there", said lady Lamport and waved at Billobi. She wore a pale, oversized gown, that made her look thrice as big as she probably were. Her hair was tied in a firm knot in the back of her head, that seemed to pull her face backwards. She wore a pair of glasses, ornamented with colourful pearls, that lacked actual glass. She held out her bare hand to Billobi.
Billobi, who were no stranger to etiquettes, walked up to her, gently took her hand and touched it with his lips. "Good day, madame", he said and smiled.
Right about then, Thomas came back with a worn book that he handed over to lady Lamport. He wore white gloves, which he immediately pulled off and disposed in the stove next to him.
"There you are, m'lady. I'll see you next week then?"
Lady Lamport nodded, first at Thomas and then at Billobi. She then left without a word.
"Who was that?" asked Billobi.
"That, my friend, was lady Lamport. One of my most valued customers. She helps me cross-pollinate my 'special' spellbooks. There are quite a lot of 'special' wizards out there..."
"She grow parasites at home. I borrow them sometimes for cross-pollination."
Billobi felt a cold chill running through his spine. "She grows...parasites?"
"...fetch me a glass of water, please. A clean glass!"
Spellbook parasites are tiny, tiny creatures that lives on the alteration of magic, most often found in spellbooks. They do not consume the magic of the spells in the books, since that would make it harder for them to survive. Instead, when a wizard reads from his book in order to memorize a spell, the parasites nourish on the magical link between the reader and the spell on the page. When fed, the parasites produce a by-product of that original magic that the wizard will memorize along with some of the original spell.
The by-product is an small alteration of the original spell, so the reader will not notice any difference; they will memorize a spell by that same name - only slightly modified.
The by-product or modification differs greatly, and seems to depend on the age and origin of the parasites:
- Very old spellbooks, infected by the parasites a long time ago, tend to have spells go much, much slower through the air, as if the ageing of the parasites directly affects the speed
- If infected near a swamp or any other damp and wet environment, the spells will almost certain create water splashes on impact - or even cause a extremely local rain
- Wizards have been known to shoot flowers when their spellbooks have been infected by meadow parasites
The parasites are harmless to humans and animals.