12. in which danny visits the Library

Danny strode several yards, then knelt on the sparse grass. She brushed away dirt and dry grass, uncovering a wooden trap door that seemed to be built into the ground itself. No matter how often Danny accessed the door, the earth and dried vegetation always quickly reclaimed it. With a tug and a ripping of roots, she pulled it open, revealing a narrow stairwell. Cool air breathed up from below. She stepped down and eased the trap door shut above her, shutting herself in complete darkness. Sometimes, the stairwell was lit by luminescent moss or with an ethereal glow that seemed to come from the air itself, but today she had to guide herself by touch only. She checked each step with her foot before putting weight on it, and her hands trailed the packed, earthen walls.

At last, she came to a landing, and walked forward with her hands extended until they came in contact with a door. This she pushed open.

Danny stepped into a well-lit chamber that could have been a small palace, with reflective tile flooring and a vaulted ceiling that soared high above. There was a few hundred square feet of sitting area that was littered with armchairs, plush rugs, and polished wooden tables. Then, there were the bookshelves. They were shelves that only a dragon could access with ease — each 50 feet tall and as wide as the side of a house. They stood like sentries in rows that extended back farther than the eye could see. Tall ladders scaled the shelves. Although she didn’t like to, Danny had climbed one on more than a dozen occasions.

The Library on Liara spread below most of the island, Danny reckoned. Its front end opened onto the cliff face, giving her the feeling that it was a humongous cave whose mouth looked out over the sea. When she stood at the edge looking down, she saw the salt waves breaking violently against the toothy rocks below. Cool sea spray blew upwards, acting as natural air conditioning, while daylight streamed in, lighting the sitting area. Danny could sit for hours here, reading.

The Library was the heart of Liara. It housed every book ever written, every story that had ever been told, every dream that had ever been dreamt. It was the repository for all of the knowledge and creativity in the universe.

And none of it was organized. There was no method to how books were shelved. In fact, the titles on a shelf could change from moment to moment, and certainly they were different from visit to visit. Danny had glanced away from books for a minute only to turn back and find them gone. Like dreams or thoughts, books came, stayed, moved, and disappeared.

Danny walked down an aisle, glancing at the rows of bookshelves. Since the books were not organized in any understandable way, she had learned to find them by instinct. She browsed until her gut told her to turn or to stop; often, she found that — even if she did not come across the title she wanted — she would discover the title that she needed, like that old Rolling Stones song.

For instance…here. Danny felt a tug, and walked down one of the rows, scanning the spines.

There. An entire case of books that bore the title Book of Names. Danny looked it up and down, and she sighed heavily. This could take a while.

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Christie “Iamba” Bailey

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~ by iamba on October 3, 2008.

One Response to “12. in which danny visits the Library”

  1. […] Behind her, Matt croaked reproachingly. She glanced back at him. “Thanks,” she added. next page Christie “Iamba” Bailey Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)DRINKING […]

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