Friday, July 27, 2012

Strangerside Scholar: The Underground Library

The Strangerside Scholar has been quiet for a while, but all this hype about the Library of All Worlds has gotten him all stirred up.

The Library of All Worlds is not the only library in Everway! There are dozens of specialized private libraries and collections in Everway. Just check out the Scratch family estate some time and it will get you thinking: where, or where did all these books come from? The same is true of the Crookstaff family. And there are many more private and often quite specialized libraries, some of which will open their doors to interested scholars.  

And now there is even something even better: Everway's first genuinely community-owned and operated library, located right here in Strangerside of all places! The Strangerside Scholar knows all about it, since he helped start it. We call it the Undergound Library!

Recently, a few dozen friends and fellow travelers moved into the General's Estate in Strangerside. In the aftermath of the General's recent and untimely demise, followed by the concomitant desertion of his small armed multitude, we moved in and began an occupation here. Artists, writers, and diverse ideologues and Strangerside organizers moved in to take up residence and make something new here. People living on the streets moved in too.
The General's stone walls and iron gates protect us. The General's gardens and kitchens feed us, and we have taken up preparing collective meals for ourselves and our guests. We figured out that we can pay for the other food we need by holding poetry contests in the General's courtyard gardens; hundreds of people pay a modest sum to attend. And we have organized committees to keep the Estate clean and orderly, and in good repair. 

The General's Underground Library itself is the most amazing part of his Estate. His neighbors never even suspected he had an immense library. They thought that all the boxes his followers ahd brought in to the Estate were weapons and war equipment, as well as treasure boxes. Instead, the General's underground storerooms housed his vast collection of books and scrolls from the many realms he passed through and conquered in his adventures. From the Entirety to the Swallowtail Marches to the Emerald Palisades, his library grew and grew from battle to battle. 

The General's collection was so big that he even extended is underground book vaults well beyond the walls of his Estate. The Underground Library extends into hollowed-out chambers directly under adjoining streets and neighboring dwellings. We all wonder where all that dirt and stone went, and how no one noticed its being moved out of the Estate!
As I mentioned above, we discovered the Underground Library when the General's troops deserted his estate. Looters descended, expecting to find numerous weapons and treasures. What they found instead were books. From everywhere. Thousands of books and thousands more scrolls. No wonder his followers called him a warrior-scholar.This one time, that title was actually deserved.

I wonder if the General saw the Library of All Worlds as his ultimate prize. Maybe the Uprising he was planning was just a pretense to cover his true objectives? But I digress... 

We are currently using the Underground Library for a number of different research projects. Among the most important is an investigation into the phenomenon of debt pawns among the thousand spheres. In recent years, the Diggers and other Everwayan lenders have forced many new arrivals into debt pawnage. Strangerside debt pawns are even being traded or exchanged for goods, money, and services between different Everywan families. 

After a few months it isn't always clear who owes (or owns) whom any more. It has become a form of labor speculation. The practice must be stopped and the debts must be forgiven. That is one of the major goals of this occupation: to demand that King Horizon Emerald declare a jubilee.

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