Mar 24, 2022
6 mins read
The story so far: Eldaline and her dreadful troupe of Thalmor and miscellaneous elven librarians are in Hammerfell. Who let them in, and why?
Cyrus the Librarian was tired of being accidentally punched in the face by Agent Aralina while she explained things excitedly to her commander.
He didn't want any trouble. But he also hadn't wanted about eight Thalmor living in his house for the winter, and here they were anyway.
"I told you." said the soldier called Aranwen. "He's come into ruin the Second Archivist's dessert and call her a liar. What can you expect from a Redguard who shares his name with a pirate?"
"There is no need for such hostility, Aranwen." said Second Archivist Eldaline, rising from the remains of the aforementioned dessert. "We have not given Cyrus the chance to defend himself."
"Do not forget, we are guests in his house, and his occasional appearance is to be expected. Besides, I am sure he is merely feeling a little restless."
"Restless!" said Skavild, the library assistant. "Because Cyrus the Pirate was in the Restless League!"
Despite the presence of his armed guards, all of them specialist combat-librarians, Cyrus was uneasy, and would never have agreed to the arrangement except in great need. "Eldaline." he said. "We must speak more privately."
Eldaline said, "Skavild. You can finish that cheese board. That was too much."
"You're joking, aren't you? What makes you think I can manage it if you can't?"
"Now. What can I do for you, Cyrus, the Librarian, Not the Pirate?"
"I mean more privately than in the doorway." said Cyrus. "Follow me."
"I hope there hasn't been an Incident." Skavild said, once they'd gone. "Two armed guards went with them."
Very Junior Archivist Linvel was upset because she had forgotten to laugh at the joke about the Restless League and now her prospects were in tatters.
"There has been no incident." said Ondolemar. "We have seen to everything."
"As I understand it, Cyrus, one of my soldiers has upset you." said Eldaline, upstairs. "Rest assured that this person will face harsh discipline at my earliest convenience."
"I cannot say it is only one of your soldiers." Cyrus explained. "In the space of one single day, despite our agreement that you would remain under guard at all times, members of your entourage made no fewer than fifty-seven unauthorised trips into the courtyard on spurious grounds, and if I were a suspicious librarian, Second Archivist Eldaline, I might think that you were sending your staff outside to observe guard patterns and identify possible escape routes."
"I am sure they only wanted some fresh air, Cyrus. My staff and I are all too aware of the possible consequences of straying from your supervision. And I am very grateful for the opportunity to place the Tome of Tava's Blessing into the great library of Lainlyn."
"Now," Cyrus drew a deep breath, as quietly as possible, so as not to alarm Eldaline. "Onto the matter of the great library of Lainlyn."
Eldaline said, "I see. My request to take part in the ceremony has been denied. Well, it is only to be expected. I suppose I should be grateful I still have my head after a month in Hammerfell."
"Not denied." said Cyrus. "Not yet, but I have still yet to convince the Baron to allow you to leave the estate and enter the city."
"I realise that twenty years might seem a long time to humans, but we had to make absolutely sure that the book belonged to Hammerfell before we could offer it in exchange."
"It is called 'The Tome of Tava's Blessing' and the frontispiece says 'This Book is the Property of Lainlyn Library.'" said Cyrus.
"We were obliged to study it in minute detail." said Eldaline.
"Even if I am not allowed to see the library I have longed to visit since I was an elflet, I would ask you to speak to Archivist Halthir about his research. He will be very excited to tell you all he has learned from the Tome."
"Eldaline, I am very sorry."
"I know you are." she said. "You have been very kind. Please, leave me to my childish disappointment. I would not have an esteemed fellow historian and archivist think any less of me than he must at present."
Two days later, in Lainlyn
"Commander Aralina, aren't you hot in that big hood and scarf?" asked Aranwen.
"I promised my mother I would wrap up when travelling in winter."
"With all possible respect, everybody is staring at us, and I think it's because you're dressed too warmly." said Aranwen.
"As you were, Aranwen!" said Aralina. "My scarf is none of your concern, and you would do well to remember your place. My mother says I will catch a chill and the Second Archivist has not yet said she is mistaken."
Second Archivist Eldaline said, "Why are you wearing that ridiculous woollen scarf, Flopsy? You are making a spectacle of us."
"Sorry, Second Archivist. I shall remove it at the earliest opportunity but my mother has expressly forbidden me from adjusting my attire in the street as she says I shall be mistaken for a hussy and end my days a toothless unmarried naked crone."
Archivist Halthir did not immediately say so, and nor did the armed combat-librarian escorting him, but he was unconvinced that Agent Aralina's scarf was the cause of the interest surrounding their party.
"You were right about the locals and their close friendships with rats and mice, Second Archivist. There is a water vole over there wearing a lavish wedding gown."
Eldaline said, "Take your damn scarf off and stop hallucinating immediately. That is an order and not a matter for debate."
"I believe it was a wise decision to attend the ceremony in full uniform, Second Archivist." said Ondolemar.
"Of course. The unfortunate folly of Hammerfell's nobles would see their peasantry denied even a glimpse of the divine race."
"But, Second Archivist Eldaline, shouldn't we be careful not to dazzle them? Their minds might fall out in confusion."
"It is kind of you to think of them, but you should know that humans are far more competent than you assume. To achieve humanity, we would have to cut off our ears, permanently silence our magic, drop dead in the innocent vigour of youth, and as visual evidence might suggest, eat a lot of cake first."
"And, of course, we would spend each day standing around gormlessly and staring at people with our mouths open. Dagon's Dromedary, Cyrus. Can't you stop these people being strange?"