The Great Library Building / Landmark in Heydenhearth | World Anvil
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The Great Library

the home of Enlightenment

"You know they found a dead fellow in the third plaza? Apparently he'd nodded off over his books and died in his sleep. How distasteful! Could you imagine trying to enjoy yourself but there's a dead man right at your elbow? The Library is just too expansive! That's the second cadaver this year...people are dying in our Library, and someone needs to do something about it!"   "You don't think he was researching Thanatology, do you?"                                     - a humorous exchange, circa 6000 AC
  Architecture   The Great Library is built of limestone and marble. Due to rare impurities found in certain quarries, there are columns of marble that are white, but with blue and silver veins. There is a marble porch on the west side that has a rare reddish marble with grey veins. It is called the Flaming Veranda, and is a favorite place to take reflection when the sun is setting.   Built by several generations, one can see the change in architecture. From the solid, simply style of the Veraness to the high arches and vaulted ceilings of the Motleyier style. It has been expanded many times, and the fore chamber of the Library, while massive, is only a portion of the entire building. The fore chamber plaza is where the majority of public-easy books are, held by veritable miles of straight and curved bookshelves. Carpenter guilds have donated shelves to the Library for generations. While some are quite plain, many more are carved with fantastic creatures, plants, and figures of the past.   There are indoor balconies that hug the walls, which one can reach by stone stairways. These often stand right below massive windows that are designed to let in the sunlight. Some are clear and some painted with wonderful frescoes of the saintly heroes, epic myths, and historical commemorations. Massive curtains are pinned to either side...these are so dusty they are rarely pulled shut, and require a team of four strong men to do so.   The deeper into the library one delves, the closer the shelves become to each other. There are less windows, but many thousands of twinkling candles kept in stone lanterns to prevent fire. The higher intellectuals and the priests spend much of their time here, researching, reading, and cataloguing.   It is only the fourth section, the sanctum of the heretical and dangerous books, that is closed off to the general public. Only those with a key and the blessing of the King and the High Father were allowed to enter through the fourth gate, which is covered with cunning scenes in gold leaf. In the time of the Archivists, many mysterious figures can be seen travelling in and out of that forbidden sector, but what they do with the dark knowledge gleaned there is unknown.   Overview and History   When the old capital city of Arlessia was destroyed by a sinkhole in 3276 AC, the city of Kirin-Fell was designated as the new seat of the High King. On a fair and broad meadow that stood adjacent to the city, construction of the Great Library began more than a thousand years later in the year 4429 AC. Although the initial construction was finished by 4732 AC, the complete structure as we know it was only finalized some time before 4900 AC. In all, it took four-hundred and seventy-one years to produce the wonder that stands today.   At first the Library was staffed by intellectuals from the Court, and only fellow nobles were allowed inside. However the Priests became more and more involved in the care and handling of the books, until it was decreed in 4882 AC that the Great Library was to be considered an arm of the Church. It was at this time that the Library was divided into four sections, three of which were open to the general public at no cost. The Church's aim in this was to lift up the poor, encourage learning, and improve their civilization and sense of community.   When the Aeternum became emperor of the Seven Kingdoms in 6038 AC, however, the Priests were swiftly exterminated. Some managed to hide for days among the massive shelves, having lived there all their lives. It was several weeks before the last Priest was hunted down and killed, his body dumped into the moat just outside. The massive gates were pulled shut and locked until further notice.   The Great Library was not long to remain empty, however.   The next staff was made up of scientific researchers, a part of the Aeternum's new government who called themselves the Archivists. They were as careful and considerate with the books as the Priests had been, keeping the sprawling maze of the library both clean and organized. They differed in only two respects...their hunger for knowledge had a sharp, greedy edge to it, and they did not share their library with the common folk. Only the rich and famous could purchase passage into the Great Library, and it has remained that way ever since.


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