Introduction to the Cylinder World - an inside view
Oh, hi there! By the spirits, I didn't even expect someone to come! Please, come by! Take a seat, or sit on the ground, whichever suits you best. You carefully approach the office full of old books, parchment rolls and strange curiosities. Allow me to explain. I suppose you have no idea where you are, nor how you arrived here? You must be fairly confused, aren't you? I feel you, friend. I truly do. My name is Wakey. Or, well, that's the name I was given when I arrived here. See, I arrived here the same as you! A few years back, I appeared in this dark corridor. There was no one around to greet me, and I had no memory whatsoever from before about where I came from, or anything really. As such, I panicked a bit. I moved around, until I found my way to someone. It still took me some time to get used to, well, living here. Which is why I'm here! With a few other librarians, we do surveillance shifts there, in case someone like you or me shows up, to try and explain things. Anyway, here we are: welcome to the Cylinder! I'll try my best to give you some answers, and guide you for a little bit.
A Cylinder world?
Yes! Quite the impressive thing, in fact. We are inside a gigantic cylinder, rotating on itself. On one side of that world, is the Circle : a great source of light, that feeds the plants, marks the days and the seasons. On the other side, is the Space: it is a dark circle you can always see in the horizon. Who knows what lays after it? This here is a map of the Cylinder world. To give you a better understanding of how gigantic it is: if you started walking toward the east, it would take you more than sixty two days to walk around the Cylinder back home! And that's if you never stopped to sleep or eat. if you walked a more reasonable distance every day, it'd be even worse: you'd take more than two hundred days! Pretty vast, isn't it?
Where are we right now?
We currently are in a city called Merinos . With a bit less than three million it's almost certainly the largest in the whole Cylinder! Here is a map of the city, if that interests you. As you can see, it is divided in districts of varying wealth, and cultural influences. Merinos is a great city-state, at the center of a gigantic trading empire! As such, many people emigrate to try their luck in the city. To be even more precise however, we are not anywhere in Merinos. We are inside the Great Library , one of the many mysterious structures of the world. The Library is a huge contraption, that is largely underground. Some say it is as old as the Cylinder itself! As a result, it remains largely unexplored. Even the uppermost alleys, that are controlled by tribes of scholars and communicate with the outside world, are full of surprise. I don't think we can really imagine what dangers, what mysteries lay in the deeper galleries.
Where do I come from?
Heh, that is a good question. We don't really know. Among library scholars, we call that hallway you came from the Bookbirth. Pretty bad name, I know. I think it comes from an urban legend that used to run in the library. They say that the people like us, who come from the hallway, are not actual humans: we are books, and spirits, taking a human form... Of course, that's probably bollocks. It's just that people like to give a religious dimension to things they don't understand. Truth is, no one that tried to explore down the hallway ever came back. We don't even know if it connects elsewhere or is a dead end! You see how the hallway is really dark, in the end? That darkness isn't natural. Some people try to go in with a candle. I even saw someone tried to light up a torch there: nothing does it. As soon as they are in the dark, we don't see them anymore. Once, I saw an expedition of two try to go down the Bookbirth. They were well-equipped: they had torches, and they had attached ropes to the entrance of the hallway, and asked us to pull them out after a half-day at maximum. As they disappeared into the darkness, they told us that their torches weren't really working: they'd try to go further in, see if that darkness would get clearer after a while. That's the last time we ever heard them. When we pulled the rope back, it was empty: it was still well-knotted, they just weren't there anymore. I know what you're thinking: "gee, what stupid adventurers! Seeing something as unnatural as that, I would immediately try to go back!" And, I guess that's true. But you have to keep in mind that the Library, and most of the Cylinders underground, is really weird. It is often that the darkness are thicker than it should be, and in some places that's harmless: just a tad spooky.