Ancestral Voices - PCs - Mark - Diaries - Study in the Library

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Study in the Library

Date: Started 23/09/2007, Ended 25/10/2007
Synopsis: Mark heads off to the Library with a number of the other gathered folk. He attempts to coordinate their efforts though how successfully, is unclear!


[Sarzilua will go to the library] [As will ZERO] [And I know Gwyn said she was going to... so, this lot, and maybe a few more.]


The library is big, rising high, with most of the books in glass-fronted cases, and plenty of places to sit. A couple of cases display interesting objects from around shadow, and one case, empty now, is marked 'Trump decks. Do not remove by order of the Regent. (That's the decks, not this case. Don't remove this case either!)', which seems to cover the most probable eventualities.


There are librarians, but not in the same way a lending library might have them. There are also a few people in high standing in the castle, using the room.


Before we arrive, Mark will ask everyone to stop in what is hopefully a 'quiet' spot. "Before we go blundering into the Library - we need an excuse to be there and considering how many of us are about to troop into the Library, I suggest we come up with a good excuse before doing so!" He pauses to let that sink in, "I suggest something simple. A trade agreement with a new Shadow which could provide us with some interesting and useful... medicines? That would give us a good excuse to research just about anything. It will probably also be a good idea to coordinate our efforts. As Lorenzo isn't here, we need a coordinator and while I'm sure I'm painting myself a target, I don't mind taking on the post." And then adds, just in case anyone wants to argue, "Unless anyone has a better idea?"


Gwyn smiles at Mark. "I am a physician and have spent some time here in my quest to find sources of alternative energies to make more advanced medical equipment usable here. We may as well let them think I've dragged all of you into my obsession. I'm also willing to follow your lead, Mark. Do you want us to split up, or research specific areas or what? I am not a magic user, hence my fascination with it as an alternate energy source, so I probably won't be of much use in that area, but I'm willing to do whatever you need."


Vincent adds, "I am a visiting Royal, so I can ask for books on local flora and fauna as well as unique or even magical creatures. A point of local interest if you will."


"Might I re-suggest the 'concerted effort'. We will be seen together, of that there is no doubt, and servants are not stupid. Quietly mention that Prince Gerard has tasked us, given our own fields of expertise, to investigating this Shadow alliance. Not only will it direct their attention elsewhere and give us a good reason to be together, but it will add weight to any request we make. As to splitting up - that is probably best. Gwyn, as a physician, maybe the the powerful magic this creature 'appears' to have takes on curative forms similar to our 'Shadow' may provide...? Vincent, you'd be perfect to see if there any any previous alliances with similar creatures - if they are so powerful - under the guise of seeking guidance from the past as to how to plan for the alliances of the future? You may also consider tracking down old family histories as I understand that Karm has in the past had differences of opinions with the King." All suggestions, but trying to bind the group together. He hopefully appears open to additional comments and suggestion and if Vincent and Gwyn agree with Mark, he'll look to the others - do they agree and what would they consider researching?


Vincent nods, "Sounds fine to me I can go along with that."


Gwyn nods agreeably and starts to wander off mumbling to herself, "Eye of bat, tongue of newt, why not dragon parts?"


“Nice cover story, Mark,” answers Zero, “It also ties nicely to the trade task Gerard gave Vincent and I before this whole thing blew up, so the bureaucracy won’t assume it’s anything much different.”


“I’ll research Shadow Paths by land, sea and air to our New and neighbouring Shadows; that’ll help create the framework of our illusion. However, just one thing before we proceed: our Shadow needs a name; and nothing too suggestive of the task at hand. How about, ‘Dumnonia’, to pull a name off the top of my head?”


Well, since Zero appears to be suggesting the name without any insinuation, Mark smiles - hiding any humour behind praise, "Excellent. A name will most certainly make things a little easier when we're discussing our task. That said, let's try not to put names to anyone or anything else or we'll all need to use them and we could be caught out."


“Eminently sensible,” agrees Zero, “though I foresee a potential objection to my name that the name ‘Kelliwic’ would avert. Shall we settle on ‘Kelliwic’, then?”


He then adds, "As for your topic of research - I'm no expert when it comes to shadow paths, but I know that roads and the like often have weight and height restrictions. Do shadow paths have similar parameters? If this creature was so powerful, it is conceivable that it may have left stress sighs of its passing on the surroundings?"


“A valid point; though I’d need to be there to observe the discrepancy.” Zero observes. “Alas, libraries tend to be rather historical and, since the Great Storm, few reports of such disturbances in Shadow are likely to have percolated as far, just yet.”


“Besides, asking for such directly would only panic the bureaucracy. Perhaps if I were to acquaint myself with the library’s classification system I might be able to locate said reports, should they exist, discreetly.”


“Thank you, Mark. Your contribution to my endeavours proves most fruitful, though, of course, only time will prove the success of our voyage.”


[Just to clarify: before heading off to the Library, Mark would have said he'd also focus his research on past alliances with the aim of unearthing any information about Dworkin. He'll then let you take the lead as he focuses on Gerard's trump intending telling him of their scheme so that there are no cross purposes.]


The library, then; a big room, by castle standards. It's hard to build much bigger without beams in the way, or at least good scaffolding technology. As there are rooms above, no dome was used, and so it remains big without creeping up to huge. There are three or four people in there already, reading or just relaxing. One is definitely asleep, in a darkened corner.


Vincent turns to Zero, "Have you ever been here before?" Looking around the room and taking note of the other people in it.


“Never!” she replies, “As I said before, this is my first time in Amber. But grand, don’t you think?” She looks about the room, “Largest library I’ve ever seen.”


"I do admit it is a lot larger then I thought it would be, well I suppose discovering the system of how the books are catalogued and getting a Librarians help are in order." Vincent replies.


Gwyn has already disappeared into the stacks. There is a librarian there, but he seems to be the man who's asleep.


Zero approaches the sleeping man, crouching next to him to lessen his surprise when she reaches out to wake him. “Good Sir! We,” she sweeps her paw in a circle above her head to indicate the influx of new readers, “have been tasked by the Prince Regent to investigate potential new alliances with new and neighbouring Shadows.”


“To that end I, personally, would like to start by having you instruct me in the system by which you catalogue the books in your truly magnificent library. Trust me; I have never seen anything like it.”


"Ghunguh?" he asks, and then his brain catches up with his mouth. "Good morning, madam. Mesdames. Sirs. Your Grace." He only works out who is there by talking through his confusion. "I hope you have a latter ... I mean, a letter from the Prince? It's possible to stay here without one, of course, but not to view anything confidential."


“Prince Lorenzo will have the letter.” Zero stands and looks about for Lorenzo. “Lorenzo!” she calls, “You have to show Gerard’s letter of authorisation to the Librarian, here. At least, if we’re to get at the sections we need.”


Mark, who entered last having lagged while he spoke with Gerard, pipes up, "Prince Gerard will gladly approve this research though he is currently pressed for time although he said he'd have a letter drafted at some point." The trump still held in his hand is blatantly obvious and the picture on the card is clearly Gerard, "If this requirement is urgent, I am sure we could contact him directly and you could ask him yourself?"


Zero returns to the librarian, crouching. “Well, there you have it. If you’ll just see – quickly – to the needs of the rest of our party, I’ll wait here till you’re ready to teach me about your library.” She picks a book at random from the nearest shelf and sits down to wait – and read.


"Of course - the library itself is open to all who wish to see it. The system is divided into types of books - written to be performed, written to be read, written to be spoken, and so forth. After that, by subject." He is happier to talk to Zero's friends than to the cat-woman herself.


Vincent nods and follows along as the Librarian leads them around. "I could check on things to be spoken, I am fairly sure there are some speeches and documents covering the more public aspects of alliances."


"Oh, indeed!" He starts waxing on about shorthand for a while, until he finds he's lost his audience.


[Are you going to split up? Who'd like to work where?]


Gwynehar is there already, apparently poring over books someone else has left behind - Vincent, who's in the quietest part, up on a little ledge, will be able to see everyone, if he chooses. The others of you would have to stay out in the open to be easily in view.


[I figure the library isn't *that* big that we'd loose touch.... That said, I'll be focusing on past alliances from ages past. Looking into anything that might have mentioned Dworkin... or Wixer for that matter.]


[You'll be in different parts of the library, but you won't lose touch.]


There's a lot on Dworkin, and a few books /by/ him, mostly monographs on coleoptera or interesting seahorses. An advisor to Oberon, it seems the King of Amber saved him from some strange shadow and brought him to the Golden City.


How long are you intending to stay there?


How long... That depends. I'm supposed to be researching. I will break for meals if necessary and I'll read as much as I can about this man Dworkin.


In that case, there's quite a lot to learn, most of which is apocryphal. He wasn't always as ancient as he appears now, according to a book written at least five hundred years ago. He's always acted as advisor to the King, but seldom in an official capacity, and he is credited with the invention of what are called Trumps, cards used for communication and travel. Each of those points is its own topic, of course. Last known whereabouts? How to tell - libraries don't keep that information.


Well... there are a number of leads and I'll have to pick one to follow. With a pad of paper and a pencil - I'll track where he's been known to have participated or been an advisor too - texts are generally dated. I'm looking for any references to Karm or a Dragon at the same time. If I run into a dead end, the next topic of interest are the trumps. If that bears not fruit, I intend making friends with an impressionable maid... no... no... no... not for that. I need to find out if anyone prepares food to be taken to Dworkin - and where in the castle (if in the castle) his rooms can be found. I'll also ask her for a platter of soft eats and delicacies. I'm then going to go down to the 'retirement homes' for the servants where the old and long serving are housed, and take them the platter and generally chat to them, remembering the old times etc, to see if they know of Dworkin and where he used to stay or might still be staying.


As Mark writes, he notices Vincent trying to attract people's attention up in the gallery.


Well, he'd better go and see what he's found then.


It's not Zero who notices Vincent waving, but Mark, who comes up the stairs. There's a lady up there, trying to ignore Vincent, and watching the room below.


Vincent says to Mark, "I wonder if you could verify something for me, by the alcove do you smell an odd chemical smell ?"


He hmms, wood polish, maybe a slightly Vincenty smell, and the briefest waft of young lady from over at the balcony. He returns, "Sorry bud, all I can smell is the polish. What are you detecting?"


Vincent sighs "That is what I thought, my visions often start with an odd chemical smell. I was hoping someone else could detect it." His face turns angry. "I would almost prefer it being a chemical spill to a vision."


"I smell some kind of strong cleansing agent or something similar. Last time it lead to the discovery of a mural hidden within an alcove elsewhere, yet it took time to reveal behind the normal wall. This though is here in the castle."


(Pattern raised, Mark examines the alcove.) Mark walks over to the Alcove seeing if the smell is coming from any book or perhaps from some place in particular. He let's his hands drift over the surface of the alcove.


Bringing the Pattern to dance before his eyes, Mark can see nothing but dull banality in the alcove. In the edge of his vision, however, Vincent /burns/.


(for Vincent) Mark turns around to look to Vincent, eyes blank and puzzled.


Mark will try and look closely at Vincent assuming it isn't like looking at the sun.


As he looks that way, the image vanishes. A sight unlike he's seen before, possibly Pattern energies but brighter and less tame.


"Would you please keep the noise down?" asks the lady near to them, in tones of a martyr.


Vincent shakes his head briefly then hands Mark the play he had been reading. In a hushed tone, "I may be more liability then good with all of this stupid vision stuff."


He then moved past leaving the harpy to her perch as he climbed down the stairs into the main library.


Mark accepts the book, eyes the title, "You never know, it could come in handy." Whether he is referring to the book or the visions is unclear. He then offers the woman what is hopefully a winning smile and turns for the stairs, following Vincent.


Vincent sits down in a comfortable chair and simply seems to relax sinking into the chair and looking contemplative.


Mark is caught between talking to Vincent and continuing the search for information. So... he tries to do both and fetches his pad and the book he was reading, and takes a seat opposite. He relaxes back into a the chair and his voice is soft when he speaks, "So how often do you get these... visions?"


"Not often, not often enough to know how they work." "It always starts with a chemical smell yet no one else can perceive it. It's frustrating."


Mark gathers himself and then nods, "Well, I may not have smelt anything strange, but...." He hmms, "I noticed that you were... bright." He smiles, "It is hard to explain, but you were filled with energy. If it happens again, call me quickly and I'll try and study it?"


"Mark I think someone is trying to contact me, but it is different not like those magical cards. I thought it might have been such a thing but I can't really explain it." "One thing though it tends to happen around alcoves although the first was well hidden."


Mark has to chuckle, "Around well hidden alcoves and young ladies...." He is teasing and hopefully Vincent takes it that way. "That aside, did you find anything interesting?"


"The play your holding seemed pertinent to our research so yes." Vincent motioned to the play Mark held.

The book is called 'Lord Karm and the Dragon'.


Mark lets out a short laugh, that is probably a little too loud, as he reads the title, "Let me guess, a farce?" He shakes his head, still smiling, "Want to give me the abbreviated version?"


Vincent will point out the pertinent things he found while reading the play.


The story is of Lord Karm, given as a tragic sort, who goes out into shadow. There's no mention of his lineage, but a couple of lines that could be about Oberon as a father, or could be another powerful sort. He meets many things, but in the middle of the third act, he bargains with a dragon, his life for a maiden who is there. It's all a ploy - he just wanted to get into the dragon's cave to learn its secrets, and each time it prepares to eat him, he talks it into telling him something instead. By act V, he knows how to kill the dragon, and he does, and marries the woman he rescued, and goes back to his adventures, leaving her to wait.


"Possibly a grain of truth in it? Any idea who the maiden might be?"

[There's no hint in the book.]


"No but the playwright might know. Or possibly his family."


Vincent smiled, "Kind of a smart guy, some dragons really do like to talk. Though the one I faced had more immediate killing on his mind."


"Good Point." Mark looks at the book binding and then at the front few pages to see the playwright's name. "If he is still alive, maybe you could take a trip out to his place and see what he knows? He may be sworn to silence though, so listen carefully to what his says."

The playwright is a man called 'Tuor Alion', apparently. No residence or publisher given, however.


"Hmmm I wonder if Amber gives a census, or this guy will be hard to find. Still playwrights of repute might be well known by the local artist community.


"Yet again, good points. If you get no joy out of that search, you may also consider simply ask House Karm directly as they may know of the long-forgotten playwright as it is probably a badge of status to have a play written about important members of your house."


"You think I should set out now to speak with them. Or perhaps wait till we are all done her to see what the others have discovered ?"


Mark considers this, "The story is interesting and could possibly shed light on other information found, but alone, it is not very useful. You've shared it with me and I'll still be here to share the information with the others. So for now, looking into the census - probably still here in the library, and speaking to the keeper of records at House Karm, is going to get us a little further." He smiles, "You don't happen to have a trump of yourself as I'd like to keep in touch with you?"


Vincent smiled wistfully, "Sorry, I am incapable of any of the great magics of the family royal, I do know about the cards but I cannot draw so beautifully. There may be an artist among our number though. Though I am not sure if such would work on myself as the subject."


"A more mundane solution then - but probably no less workable...." He considers a moment. "I don't have anyone I can trust to leave messages with. The alcove above however should prove suitable. The bookshelf to the left of it, second shelf from the bottom, third book in. If you need to leave a message for me that can't be couriered, or if I need to do the same. I'll check it daily."


"Sounds good, let us hope it is not a popular volume." Vincent smiled.


He chuckles, "I'll ride my luck on that one - especially considering how dusty this volume is?"


"Allright take care Mark and if you ever want to work on an extracuricullar type project let me know. I am going to go speak with an actors guild or if that doesnt work hopefully House Karm will be of aid."

Vincent penned the author and other information down.


Mark offers Vincent a manly handshake - elbow to elbow Roman style - "You too Vincent. I hardly know you but I feel I can already trust you." He smiles, "And you can, of course, call on me any time. Good Hunting. Let's get to the bottom of this dragon story soon!"


Vincent returns his handshake. "You got it I will let you know what I discover or get it to that volume." He then heads out to search for the local artist guild in the city.


Vincent left, Mark will walk around the library and see if any of the others have found anything of interest. As he does this, he'll keep the play with him as he intends taking it out of the library to examine in more detail. Secret codes, messages hidden on the pages or in the binding.... but it will be something he'll have to do when the librarians are not watching!



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