The social grotto?
Describing the place I am in could be a good idea. Apparently, it's called the Social Grotto. It is a sort of troglodytic village, except it's inside a gigantic library and not a cave. According to the others, there are a lot of similar villages dispersed inside the library! Some interact often with the outside world, while others are more secluded, and focus on business inside the library.
I'm not going to lie, that seems... weird. I mean, I feel like the academic world is not really supposed to consist of isolated tribes spelunking inside a gigantic library structure, to find some books and experiment. I guess that's just another false assumption! I mean, I can't think of any other way it should work. How can I feel that something goes against my intuition, without even knowing what my intuition is?
Anyway. The grotto is centered around a relatively large room with a vaguely oval shape. Most walls are made of wood, or even just massive shelves filled with various books, parchment, and other stuff. Some of the shelves are so large, and old, that I am fairly certain the books they contain are indecipherable. Even if they aren't, the dust that settled on the old bookshelves seems to have cemented, and one would need a sort of mining tool to get these books out!
Near the center of that meeting room, a large fireplace is installed. It is very well enclosed in a large chimney that seems to lead to some place outside. I wonder how that works, to be frank. Do series of conduits evacuate smoke all the way out of the Library? Or does the smoke accumulate in some dark, unexplored corridors?
Around the fireplace seems to be the actual meeting place. Two large tables, as well as a number of chairs and comfy pillows are disposed so that a group of a few dozen people can eat together. A pit of light illuminates the room from above and, again, I'm not entirely sure where that light comes from. Is it somehow coming from the outside? Is there simply a very strong source of light just above us, that we can see from cracks in the ceiling? I am not certain. The result does seem comfy, though.
The rest of the grotto consists of several smaller rooms that are disposed around that meeting point. An entrance room, behind the meeting place, connects the grotto to three major corridors. A fourth one, the one I came from, is directly connected to the meeting room In addition to that, a ladder in the meeting room leads to a wooden terrace, which itself is connected to several other rooms. Most of these are individual bedrooms, where the members of the tribe write and sleep. A few others are experimentation laboratories.
A pleasant smell coming from the fireplace tells me that we are approaching dinner time in the tribe. A small cart came in earlier, and was greeted by Olev. It was carrying various goods, that I recognized as edibles: sacks of flour, vegetables, dried grains... Even a barrel of ale. Olev told me that although some villages are able to use their pits of lights to grow some plants, and gather mushrooms and small cave fish from the numerous small canals that irrigate the library, the majority of the library is still dependent on the outside world for its food supply. Regarding water, however, most tribes are self-sufficient. As mentioned, the library is traversed by small artificial canals, that are sufficient for water consumption. Apparently, there was one near the corridor from whence I came, and I didn't even see it!
I'm leaving you for now, journal: dinner time has come!
What I do know:
- Academia works very differently than how I'd think it works.
- The Great Library is such a vast structure that it is actually partially unexplored.
- It seems I can draw, too.
What I don't know:
- What is outside of the Great Library
- Everything about the Cylinder World
- Where I come from
- Why I keep making false assumptions about the world instead of just no memories.