Library Aies

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The Library Aies was the state institution that served as the principal repository of House Illistim knowledge. It was founded by Linsandrych Illistim who was said to have laid the cornerstone herself, which together with the Keep became Ta'Illistim after the Chroniclers moved there in -49,107 Modern Era. Thus, Library Aies has essentially the same backstory as Nantu with the Order of Lorekeepers, though her granddaughter Adonethwen was a Lorekeeper after her abdication. Nantu does not exist on any known map of Elanthia. Many of the most widely read texts in recent years were drawn from the Library Aies, and can be temporarily checked out as books by visitors.

Though there was a Board of Trustees, the library was under the authority of the Loremasters, who were charged with maintaining it. The Artificers had special authority in the realm of artifacts, however, responsible for the compulsory registration of magical devices. Only Loremasters of the "Master of Lore" rank had unfettered access to every part of the building. There was extremely limited access to the public, with increasingly privileged rights, based on rank within the branches of state in House Illistim. The Artificers presumably keep their own secrets in the lower chambers of the Artificer Tower. Museum Alerreth was formerly a secondary storage site that was split off from the Library.

The Library

Library Aies is located on Erissian Var in Ta'Illistim, adjacent to the newly formed Ta'Illistim Green. There is a courtyard with an octagonal fountain that is surrounded by colonnade of silvery blue stone columns, depicting Elven scholars, which is an open space leading up to a main building which is flanked by two extended wings. The entrance to the building is a set of mithril doors with three crests: the emblem of Ta'Illistim, the device of the Loremasters, and the arms of Library Aies itself. There was a special residence on the premises of the Library, which could be rented by visiting scholars. It was a tradition of Linsandrych that was revived in more recent years.

The Library houses the "exclusive schools of magic" which the Loremasters instruct, as well as the laboratories and special facilities of the Masters of Lore. The most restricted wings hold ancient artifacts and forbidden knowledge, state secrets which only the highest ranking Loremasters are allowed to know. However, none of these things can be accessed by the main entrance, which is only the public venue.

The Hall of Knowledge

The Hall of Knowledge is inside the entrance of the main building. It is the reception desk for the librarian who allows books to be checked out by the public. It is not possible to access the restricted wings of the building this way, and so the public offerings are quite limited, housing exclusively texts that are widely known throughout the continent. Remarkably, Library Aies has a public copy of the Enchiridion Valentia, in spite of public opinion on the subject.

The Octagonal Hall

This octagon shaped room is an antechamber between the receptionist and the public access part of Library Aies.

The Hall of Being

The Hall of Being is the common hallway for subject oriented rooms containing similar works.

  • Hall of Kings: Books on Elven Heraldry and Illistim culture.
  • Hall of Queens: Portraits of former Argent Mirrors. (Nothing examinable.)
  • Hall of Flora: Books on Elanthian flowers and plant life.
  • Hall of Fauna: Books on Elanthian Divination.
  • Hall of Glory:
  • Hall of Lore: Miscellaneous
  • Hall of Time: History and Culture texts.
  • Hall of Magic: Books on magical materials and entities.
  • Hall of Ancients: Books on pre-historical legends. (Arkati)

History

The library has not been consistently preserved over the millennia, having especially fallen into bad shape with lost knowledge during the Age of Chaos. Part of the problem was that the Argent Mirror Lanenreat, who was condemned for not taking Despana seriously, failed to protect the city during the Undead War. Library Aies was deeply within the walls of the city, but still suffered as a consequence of siege. The diaries of Valastiel, for example, were lost in the war. Following the destruction of Maelshyve, resources were directed elsewhere, especially reconstruction and military expenditures. The Kiramon War began only a few thousand years later, deepening the decay for several more millennia.

The absence of resources for library maintenance caused many works to be lost to the ravages of time. It was especially true of ancient texts, or restricted knowledge, which were not ideally positioned for being copied. There was even a half-elven daughter of an Illistim archivist and human mage, named Tirnelle Maefyrne, who was so dismayed by the loss of ancient lore that she dedicated herself to studying transcription and preservation methods. After more than a century of research and experimentation, she finally found a new ink, which combined with a special page coating extended the shelf life of books several times over. Her technique is still used to this day.

It was not until the reign of the Argent Mirror Nuraet that the institutions of learning were shifted back into central focus. Compulsory education was introduced at this time, which is the province of the Loremasters, with a corresponding emphasis on improving the schools and associated facilities. Some scholars regard this as roughly the end of the Age of Chaos, for the Elves, which was only several thousand years before the "Modern Era." It was the turn-around for House Illistim in its traditional interests. Library Aies had expanded by more than three fold during the reign of Lilorandrych, and it would take a great deal of effort and resources to restore that high point.

Unfortunately, there is a negative aspect to a state controlled repository of knowledge, which is that Library Aies has suffered from censorship. While many relics that might have been preserved were lost over time, it was still quite clear when malicious destruction of records had taken place, as there would be conspicuous absences in the middle of otherwise preserved materials. Most famously, "The Child Argent" Lahrair was essentially on the throne in name only, the precursor of the Council of Thrones ruling in regency. Her family had met untimely deaths, forcing her to assume the throne as a young child, for no clearly identifiable reason. The records from this time period have been almost completely purged. Other conflicts of interest are possible, in principle, such as perverse incentives for stealing ideas or falsely claiming credit. Loremasters and Artificers have privileged access to "re-write history," so to speak, in their own favor.

Behind the Scenes

Library Aies Courtyard

[Library Aies, Courtyard]
The courtyard is large and formal. At its center is an octagonal fountain, from which paved paths and walkways radiate out in a symmetrical, florally inspired pattern. The library overlooks the open space, cradling it between its main building and two extended wings. Shuttered lanterns posted at the points of the octagon illuminate the garden, bathing flowers and stone alike in a bluish glow. A marble colonnade separates the courtyard from the var beyond.
Obvious paths: out

>look library
A pair of mithril doors, framed by intricate carvings, stand sentinel in the massive stone facade of the library.

>look door
The silvery doors are set with three crests, one atop another. The topmost emblem is that of Ta'Illistim, while further down is the device of the Loremasters and finally, placed lowest among the three sets of symbols, the arms of the Libary Aies itself.

>look fountain
The octagonal fountain is cut from silvery blue stone, its sides smooth save for several carved crests. The same motif is echoed in the interior basin, which is tiled in a background of sapphire blue glaes mosaic. A single columnar feature rises from the fountain's center, its filigreed silver tube pierced to cascade water in a multitude of tiny streams.

Library Aies - Outside Courtyard

[Ta'Illistim, Erissian Var]
A colonnade of silvery blue stone columns forms the front of the enclosure surrounding the courtyard of the Library Aies, which is set back from the var. Heavy bas-relief murals are carved into the frieze within the colonnade's entablature, their combined scenes depicting a long progression of elven scholars in study and discussion. Prominently placed between the street and the columns is a huge cast bronze book.
Obvious paths: east, west

>look book
Cast in dark bronze, the massive book lies open, its pages spread upon a slightly tilted podium and clearly visible. The text of the metal book is illegible, though a picture upon the left page shows the facade of the Library Aies. The right page of the tome is blank and a bronze quill is left to rest upon the open book, as if an unseen hand paused while in the act of writing. Inscriptions encircle the base of the podium.

>read book
In the Elven language, it reads:
To Linsandrych Illistim
May Our Work Never Be Finished

>look courtyard
The open-air courtyard is framed on three sides by the Library itself -- the main building and its two extended wings form a cradle around the green space, as well as its fountain and walkways.

Octagonal Hall - Heraldic Statement of House Illistim

[Library Aies, Octagonal Hall]
Directly opposite the archway, a large coraesine door punctuates the otherwise unrelieved monir panelling. Blue-grey marble covers the floor, emblazoned in the center with a detailed mosaic depicting the House Illistim coat of arms. A sapphire and silver banner hangs from the ceiling.
Obvious exits: none

>look banner
Fashioned of deep sapphire blue silk and embroidered with shimmering silver thread and mithril beadwork, the banner stirs ever so gently in the coolness of the room.

   ________________________________
  / \                              \
  |@/______________________________/
  |                               |
  |  *                        *   |
  |  @        "Knowledge      @   |
  |  *                        *   |
  |  @       is the Key to    @   |
  |  *                        *   |
  |  @         Eternity."     @   |
  |  *                        *   |
  |  @            )           @   |
  |  *           (            *   |
  |  @        <@> )           @   |
  |  *           ( <->        *   |
  |  @            )           @   |
  |  *           (            *   |
  |                               |
 \_/_______________________________/

Alcove - Visiting Scholar Residence

>look mosaic
A fan of peacock feathers surrounds the door, crafted from an untold number of pieces of cut multicolored glaes.  The jewel tone plumes form an almost complete half-circle, reaching from the ground upwards in a dense pattern of fingernail-sized squares.

>read plaque
In the Elven language, it reads:

By her royal decree, Linsandrych Illistim founded this shelter for three poor scholars, who not being in possession of residence, might receive shelter and succor while engaged in research.  In testimony of her munificence, in honor of her memory and as an inducement to her example, the charitable trustees of the Aies Library of Ta'Illistim have caused this stone to be inscribed and this tradition to be renewed.

Jastatos, 5109

Founder's Trowel - Museum Alerreth

>look trowel
The trowel has a thin leaf-shaped blade and a tapered handle, which is banded alternately in silver and nacreous mother-of-pearl.  Beneath the tool is a small plaque.

>read trowel
In the Common language, it reads:
This ceremonial trowel was one of the first objects to pass into the protection of the Library Aies.  Used to lay the first stone of the Aies, it was a personal possession of Linsandrych Illistim, who received it from her father, Palioandrych.  Records indicate that the trowel had a twin in gold and coral, which was used to lay the basal course of the first iteration of Ta'Illistim Keep, but that tool is lost.