The Dravanian Hinterlands
The Collectors' Quarter
'Twas some fifty years ago, shortly after Garlemald had brought all of Ilsabard under its rule. Faced with the threat of invasion, the people of Sharlayan scrambled about for a means to resist the Empire. For my part, I was tasked with developing an aetheric converger.
Ah, yes, a device which draws in aether and concentrates it to produce a destructive force.
But as my research neared its end, it was denounced by the Forum, who claimed that my device was more likely to destroy us than our enemies. After that, they and I had a little falling-out, and I decided to seal away all the fruits of my research, lest the dunderheaded ingrates reap any benefit. Petty, I know, but gods, it was satisfying!
Do mine ears deceive? 'Twas you, was it not, who was so fond of saying that all knowledge exists to advance mankind? That how it is used depends on us?
I don't remember. Perhaps. All right, yes, that was a pet phrase of mine. And that should give you a notion of how sick and tired I was of those spineless wretches of the Forum. All talk and no trousers, that lot. That's why I decided to remain behind rather than join the exodus.
You may have had your disagreements with my grandfather, but upon that point, your minds were as one.
With respect, Master─the fruits of your research should not be left to spoil. Will you share with us the secrets of the aetheric converger?
Aye, I will. All the information you need is contained in a tome I wrote on the subject. But you'll have to fetch it from the forbidden section of the Great Library.
You were not exaggerating when you said that you had sealed it away. Though the city is abandoned, the library's guardians are all but certain to remain. We must needs cut a path through them. Come─let us away.
Not so fast, you lot! Shtola and the boy are staying with me. I need help to make new sentinels to replace the old ones you walloped. There'll be board and lodging, don't you worry, but know that you'll have to work for them. Hard. I'll have no sluggards in my house!
Being here calls to mind my days studying under Matoya. Though she was the strictest─and most irascible─of mentors, she led by example and inspired one to greater heights. Were it not for her sage guidance, I should not be the woman I am.
Do you see the tomes lying about like so many cheap romances? They are priceless. My professors at the Studium would have fits if they saw them in this state.
Oh, the Great Library's guardians shouldn't pose any difficulty for a hero like you. You'll hardly notice Shtola's absence. And the girl...boy─whatever─would only get in your way. But if it turns out you aren't up to the task... Well, then I'll know you can't be trusted with something as dangerous as an aetheric ram. Now, the library's entrance is locked tight. I'll loan you one of my servants to open it─the broom yonder. ...Well? What are you waiting for? Introduce yourself, boy!
Are you going to introduce yourself to that broom or not? No skin off my nose if you don't.
The Great Library was more than just a repository for tomes; it also served as a center of research for countless fields of study. Fields such as the development of arcane entities, the fruits of which were employed as the library's sentinels. Be ever on your guard, Forename.
Would that I could accompany you to the Great Library, but I sense it would be unwise to go against my lady's wishes. Rest assured, I mean to use my time here productively, gleaning all that I can from our learned host. (Even if the old crone can't tell boy from girl...)
Greetings, good sir. I am Broomsy, my lady's servant of some fifty years. May I say what an honor it is to serve you! I am given to understand you wish to enter the Great Gubal Library. To find it, pray head east upon leaving this cave. The building will come into view shortly after you reach the collapsed bridge. I shall go on ahead and await you at the entrance. When your preparations are in order, pray come and meet me there. It will be my pleasure to unlock the door for you.
What are you loitering around here for? Hurry up and fetch that book!
The Ruling Quarter
You stand before the Great Gubal Library, one of Hydaelyn's foremost repositories of knowledge. Alas, it has fallen into disuse since the exodus some summers since. In all those years, its halls have welcomed not the coming of a single soul─its floors felt not the loving brush of a broom... M-Mine apologies, sir! Pray pay no mind to the dreams of a humble broom. You are doubtless eager to venture within and retrieve my lady's tome. I shall unlock the door at once. When you have what you seek, pray return to the cave and report to my lady. I wish you good fortune in your search. When you have what you seek, pray return to the cave and report to my lady.
The Collectors' Quarter
You have the tome, yes? Then hurry and show it to Matoya that I might be free of her stifling attention.
At the Studium, I had the good fortune to be tutored by some of the finest scholars in Sharlayan. I can safely say, however, that Master Matoya exceeds them all. How I should have liked to listen to her arguing with my grandfather...
I take it you found the tome. Well, let's see it, then. Aye, this is it all right…
Shtola! Boy! Put down whatever you're doing and come here! Forename has returned with the tome!
Thank the gods. But another minute under Master Matoya's exacting supervision, and I would certainly have lost my mind─or mayhap merely my temper. Some things never change indeed...
Well, I for one appreciate the exacting supervision. In the short while we have been here, I feel I have gained a far better understanding of arcane entities than I did during my entire time at the Studium. Should the opportunity present itself, I should very much like to employ this knowledge for the betterment of mankind─create a new variety of Carbuncle, perhaps...
Don't get ahead of yourself, boy. Louisoix's grandson or no, it'll take another decade under me before you can call yourself a scholar, and a deal more than that to make you a scholar worth a damn.
As you may have gathered, Master Matoya is not easily impressed.
...Indeed. Ahem. So, uh...Forename has returned with the tome, has he not? Shall we examine it?