A sword needs a whetstones to keep itself sharp. A scholar needs books. An Academy filled with countless scholars needs a library. And the Atheneum is the biggest and most comprehensive one in the whole world. A proud jewel of the Osmeri Academy, word has it that, if there is any book that has not gone lost to the withering effects of time, a copy can be found here. Somewhere, in the infinite succession of shelves, racks, ledges, and cupboards. But its collection is not exclusive to works from outside Osmeri walls, not even close. The many works and discoveries performed by the guilds are all kept here, as it is mandatory that at least a copy survives to ensure knowledge is always bolstered and never held back. Finally, there are sections of the Atheneum dedicated to the repository of non scientific or literary works that are considered relevant for the Academy’s normal operation. One could find the names of families and villages Envoys had harvested children from, reports from spies and their network, supply orders, detailed maps of places visited by the Clergy and Justiciars, and so, so much more.
The Atheneum’s Curators ensure all knowledge is documented and cataloged efficiently. A mammoth task, to say the very least, given the yearly output of scientific and literary work produced at the Academy, and the added tomes and volumes that are procured by those operating in the wilderness. Now, consider the constant requisition by impatient sages, savants, and artificers… Even the most minuscule gap in their processes could spell doom and chaos within a fortnight. Conjointly, preserving and restoring them is a big part of the Curators’ workload. If knowledge is to survive for the enlightenment of future generations of thaumaturges, their vessels must remain legible and usable to them. The guild devotes many Curators to the art of not just copying, but of creating astounding works of art with its vibrant iconography. Illuminated manuscripts were bound by those very same hands in heavy leather, later to be encased in glass and wooden boxes with chiseled spines. The brilliance of a Curator’s work could be seen at many different levels, and methodical perfection was the absolute minimum standard any of them worth their salt would abide to.
the library by DawnElaineDarkwood
The Atheneum is a marvel of architecture, a maze of more books anyone could read in a lifetime. If you could find one with a sense of humor, a Curator would tell you there are enough books to last an immortal’s death, and then still enough to keep their offspring entertained for another millennia or two. Despite many having been lost or tumbling off from the higher levels to their death, the Atheneum is one of the preferred places of the students of the Faculty who find wonder and excitement when they flip pages, in their quest to unravel the mysteries of the world. However, it is the Doyens’ belief that the current iteration of the library is not sustainable in the mid or long run (opinions differ). There have been pilots to use artificial constructs provided by the Artificers to see if they could store the information in a less space-heavy format. So far, without success, but the brilliant yet explosive minds of the Applied Sciences University have not conceded defeat. The overwhelming majority of curators chastise these deviations from the status quo defined by Lisei so many eons ago, but are not overly concerned. Even if these new technologies would work, they are the only ones who can read the intricate inventory maps. And, per that last bursting automaton, their role is not at all in jeopardy.
Cover picture: Art by Jeff Brown
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