Rumetzen

As groups went, there were few that seemed more worthy of the the title “motley”.

There were eight of them in the room, including Maen, and even in the Library it would be difficult to find a group that looked less like they belonged together. They stood or sat separately, not talking, some reading, others staring at the wall or floors. Maen recognized only two of them, and they didn't give him confidence that this would be a positive gathering. Still, when the Low Archivist calls, you answer.

Standing in the in the corner, taking stock of the other seven, was a tall Asian man, dressed in black slacks, black tie, and a white dress shirt. Seeing him made Maen's beak throb and his talons clench.

In one of the chairs sat an elderly woman in a plain gray dress and glasses. She was flipping through a small red book, and had been since Maen arrived.

A girl who couldn't have been more than sixteen sat on the floor, back against the wall, eyes darting between the doors. A sword that must have been almost as tall as her leaned against the wall beside her.

A man with dark skin and a mask covering his face paced from wall to wall, hands behind his back. As Maen watched, the masked shifted, changing from a skull to a tiger to a demon to a dozen other forms.

An Asian woman of indeterminable age lounged in one of the chairs. She had four books beside her, and had gone through three of them in the time they'd been here. When she'd arrived, she'd been a man, but Maen had looked away and when he saw her again, she had changed.

Sitting in the middle of the floor was a young woman with long curly hair, light brown skin, and glasses. Spread out in front of her was a collection of books, parchments, and bottles of colored liquids. She ruffled through the papers, muttering to herself, indifferent to the rest of the room.

Finally, sitting in the chair furthest from the rest of the group, was a woman who looked to be made of stone. She sat perfectly still, and if it weren't for the occasional breath and inhalation, you could be forgiven for thinking she was a statue. Maen avoided looking in her direction. He'd always had trouble, dealing with ex-lovers.

They'd been waiting for almost two hours and no one had said a word. Silence was something you got used to in the Library. It was one of many things Maen preferred about it. But he hated waiting. He strode to the end of the room and banged on the wooden door. Then he stepped back, arms folded.

After a minute, it creaked open. A small, gnome-like man peaked out.

“Whattaya want?” he said.

“You know why we're here, Eli,” said Maen. “The Low Archivist has summoned us.”

Eli stared at him with blank eyes before recognition dawned on his face. “Oh yes, of course, Mr. Maen and the others! Yes, yes, he's been expecting you! Why didn't you say something sooner?”

Suppressing the urge to tear the gnome's head from his body, Maen pushed open the door, entering a long, well-lit hallway. The others had stood and grouped up behind them. They followed as the gnome turned and walked down the hall, turning at various crossroads, traveling so far in so many directions that none had any idea where they were by the time they reached a black door.Eli pulled a key from his pocket, inserted it into the doorknob, and pushed it open.

Maen shivered as he stepped into the room. Every instinct in his body told him he shouldn't be in this place. The Low Archivist was a hidden figure, supposed to remain unseen, unheard. And to be summoned here, to his office? To speak to him in person? It was almost profane.

The office itself was disturbingly plain, though large. Even with ten people inside, it was more than spacious On one wall, a fireplace was lit, paintings of various styles hanging above it. The wall across from it was an enormous bookshelf, at least 15 meters high, probably containing thousands of volumes. At the end of the room was a desk, and sitting (or, as Maen knew, melded with his chair) was a bald, eyeless man. The Low Archivist. He smiled as the group entered, not looking up from his desk. “Welcome, friends. It's a pleasure to see you.”

Maen shifted his weight on his feet, flexing his wings slightly. “As to you, sir. I can't say this is a meeting I ever expected to have.”

The Archvist nodded, transcribing something on the paper in front of him. “I'm sure you're all confused. Understandable. This sort of meeting is… not traditional, among those of us who protect the Library. But the situation we've encountered is far from traditional either.” He leaned back in his chair, eyes moving across each member of the group. “You have all been personally selected by the members of the Archival teams, both for your contributions to the Library and unrelated achievements. The task I'm about to present to you holds many risks, and is of incredible importance.”

He sighed and closed his eyes. “Last week, a section of the Library collapsed. Underneath, we found a small room. Uncommon, but not remarkable. Many people have built secret homes within these walls. What we found within was, however, unprecedented. A Way.” He paused. Maen felt like something was crawling inside his beak. It was something he only felt before great danger. “The first man we sent through did not return. The second did, bearing his corpse, and a report: The Way lead to a second Library.”

He stopped talking, letting silence hang in the room. Even the sound of breathing was gone.


Staring into the shimmering Way, Maen felt compelled to speak. “'And so, two a time, we descended into the pit, knowing not where we were going, knowing not why we must go, only that it was necessary, and that we would not return.'”

Daniel raised an eyebrow. “Is that Haliax?”

“Astopophorenesa,” said Maen.

Daniel grunted. “Never figured you for a romantic.”

“I'm not,” said Maen, and stepped through the Way.


Licensing is a complicated issue. It determines how work can be spread, used, changed, and ultimately consumed. When creating and distributing works on the internet, many people are unaware of how copyright laws will affect their work. On a community writing site, this can be especially difficult, as we are often building on and remixing each others' work. To that purpose, the work on Wanderer's Library is licensed under the Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike 3.0 License (CC BY SA 3.0). Under this license you are allowed to A) Share the work or portions of it in any medium or format, and B) Adapt, remix, transform, and build upon the material. You can do either of these things for any purpose, even commercial ones.

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Now, the tricky bit is “for any purpose, even commercial ones”. What does this mean? Let's say you wanted to make T-Shirts based on content from the Wanderer's Library. Anyone would be able to copy those shirts and sell them independently for their own gain. If you had the money and inclination to make an AAA video game based on a Library work, anyone would be able to pirate it, give it to their friends, copy it, adapt it, write books about it, etc. with no legal repercussions. In practical terms, this means if you post something here under the CC BY SA 3.0 license, no part of it will see the light of day as a commercial work. Characters, worlds, events, names, all out.

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