Tubular Arcane Messaging System Item in Shireon | World Anvil

Tubular Arcane Messaging System

The Tubular Arcane Messaging System, or TAMS for short, is an intricate series of tubes running through the whole interior of the Tower of Lenthos and the accompanying containers that travel through them.

Why it Exists

Although not visible from the outside, the Tower of Lenthos has a highly chaotic and confusing interior, and traveling between two points can take half an hour in some cases. Sending couriers from one end to another would take a long time as the couriers would often need to wait for a reply before returning, quickly spending more than an hour on one message delivery. Since messages are sent frequently between different parts of the faculty, hiring enough couriers to make an effective system would be unnecessarily expensive. Thus, the Tubular Arcane Messaging System (or TAMS for short) was created.

How it Works

The TAMS tubes are snaking their way through all parts of the Tower of Lenthos, with delivery points in all offices of higher ranking faculty and close to every other faculty or staff area. Both the tubes and pods are enchanted, and the user only needs to fill the pod with whatever they need to send, put the pod into the closest delivery point, and will it to go wherever its destination is. The pod will then race through the tubes to its destination at a considerable speed, reaching its destination in less than a minute.

When it Doesn't Work

Sometimes the pods don't go where they're supposed to. Sometimes the pod will arrive in a different delivery point than intended. Other times the system won't know where to send it at all. If the system can't find a destination for the pod, the pod is sent to the clerks in the Entrance Hall of the Tower. They will open the pod and see if they can figure out where it's supposed to go, or where it's from, and send it either to the correct delivery point or back to the sender. If both sender and recipient are unknown the message is kept at the Administratum Desk in the Entrance Hall for a year in case someone come to get it. After that it's destroyed.

There are several reasons why a pod might either end up somewhere it's not supposed to. The sender might accidentally think of the wrong place when sending the pod through the pipes, or not really think of a place at all. If there's a lot of traffic through a part of the tube system at the same time the pods might be mixed up or miss a turn, ending up where a different pod is supposed to be delivered - or a completely unrelated part of the system.

Although pods reaching wrong destinations is a rare occurrence and only happen once every thousandth delivery on average, it's generally advised against sending sensitive information through the TAMS if not strictly necessary. Not that most users heed this advice. What's the chance of it getting lost this time, anyways?

Arcane Librarian:
"Can't you, you know, just Swoosh him and ask?"

"...yes, I could send him a message through TAMS."

Arcane Librarian:
"Just as I said - Swoosh him."

"The correct term is sending a message through TAMS."

Arcane Librarian:
"Why say all that when you can just say Swooshing?"

"...Go away. I'm trying to work."

Other names
The Swoosh

Item type
Current Location
Unique - only one TAMS exists in the world

Students are not allowed to use the TAMS to send messages, and any student that is found using the system will be punished according to Academy regulations.

The Pods

by Milladamen

A TAMS pod.

Messages sent through the TAMS are stored inside pods, egg-shaped containers that fit perfectly inside the tubes. These pods aren't very large - they generally have room for a rolled up piece of paper and not much more - yet small items are regularly sent through the system.

Why the Swoosh?

Although the teachers, the administratum, and the Arch Mage prefer to call the TAMS by its official name, most other staff and practically all students call it the Swoosh. The name probably originated from the sound the pods make as they race through the tubes. This has resulted in new terms for using the system, and especially among the Arcane librarians it's not unusual to "Swoosh someone" or tell someone "There's a Swoosh for you".

Cover image: by Hans


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