The Library

Mystery and banality go hand in hand in the tales of men and elves when they talk about the Library of the dwarfs. Since the time the Little Folk of the mountains invented the first script (a point in time unknown to all but the dwarfs themselves), which was called the Eastern Script and on which the present-day official Algaman Script is based, they had stored all their writings in one place, which was a great cavern in the underground city of Lexairanda and which was simply called The Library because it was the only one they had. Being a compact people the dwarfs always despised dispersion, which is also the reason for the crowded and nested structures of their cities and the smallness of their kingdom, and so it was only in their nature to gather their wisdom in one place instead of splitting it into many.

This had the result that with the centuries passing by and the studies of the dwarfs unceasing the Library grew into an ever expanding complex of enourmous size, with gigantic caves containing shelves that reached hundreds of feet high, intermingled with platforms and ladders and mechanic elevators that transported the dwarfs through the endless labyrinths of the shelves. Tunnels, driven ever deeper and further into the earth under the Hills led from cave to cave and from the countless writing rooms to the combined dwellings of the librarians, who soon started to live where they worked, until the Library was bigger than the City itself to which it belonged and the Stewards had to consider a plan to keep their biggest treasure not only organized, but also protected.

The city of Lexairanda being a stronghold itself, sheltered by deep, ever watched tunnels and strong fortifications guarding their entrances, seemed enough to keep the Library safe from outside intrusions, for the tunnels that led to the caves of the Library faced north of the city which could only be entered through the south. But that wasn’t the safety the stewards were concerned about. For the studies of the librarians, who for generation after generation had increased and deepened their knowledge about the world and the earth, had given the dwarfs insights into the nature of the world itself and had wielded lore of power and change which they deemed too valuable and too dangerous to be spread into the world.

And so the Stewards founded the Order of the Library, and the librarians were put under oath to keep the secrets of their people shut away in their heads and their tunnels, and the profession of a librarian became a title. The Library was split in two parts, and the Librarians took all the books containing the fateful knowledge or those leading to it away and put them in hidden caverns in the deepest offshoots of the caves and sealed them with doors to which only they had the keys. The greater part of the Library stayed public and was managed by the so-called book-keepers or simpy Keepers, who despite their names were in fact librarians just like before but got a new name so to avoid confusion. The public part of the Library was even opened to the other races, who until then were not allowed to set foot into Lexairanda, let alone the Library.

When men and elves discovered the wisdom of the Great Library, the wealth of Lexairanda became great and it’s fame widely known. However the Librarians never grew tired in keeping the outside world as uniformed as possible regarding their doings and even their existence, and the only ones who were allowed to enter the hidden caves were the Stewards, and the Order of the Librarians stayed responsible to them and under their jurisdiction. So while the Library grew ever more famous and became a symbol of wisdom and knowledge in all Algaman, the Librarians got ever more shrouded in legends and myths, and though the men at the tables and the elves in the trees told each others stories of how the members of the Order could turn mountains into rabbits and even change the fate of men, there was no one who was able to confirm or refute those tales, even though they were not as far from the truth as one would imagine.

The Library

Narod Rada Kasperov