The Moonweaver Chronicles 2-5
We approached the base of the mountain that lead up to the cave that Raptyr claimed had lead to a place called the Atheneum. I suspected that Selena was the kind of person who would appreciate a library full of books that could help her understand this place.
“You expect me to climb that?” Selena grumbled.. I shrugged and decided to go onward, Angus followed and beckoned her onward. She glared at both of us before touching the mountain curiously. A few stairs quickly formed and I stared in shock as, before I knew it, the side of the mountain was reforming into some kind of staircase.
I was about to follow her, as was Angus, but she just looked at us and said, “What's the matter? It's just a mountain, don't tell me you need help….” I grumbled and stared sullenly at her, not realizing as Angus passed me. He was actually quite agile I noted, not having much difficulty scaling the mountain, even being so bold as to jump up at certain points. As I began to fall further and further behind I eventually decided to just sprout my wings from my back and fly up the mountain to catch up, deciding to swallow my pride instead of wasting time.
We reached a cave on the side, around where Raptyr said it would be. It seemed like there were at least two people living here, but they weren't around. I re-concealed my wings and walked into the cave, leading the others until we eventually hit the end of the cave. I pressed a hand to the wall, casting a revealing spell to see if there was something I was missing. Several magical circles with arrays drawn in them appeared before me, spinning slowly, as words appeared in the language that Rin had taught me was used by the Wardens when speaking in code.
I spent a few minutes trying to decipher it before I understood that it was a question. Loosely translated, I believe it read ‘What will happen when books are lost to the world?’. I vaguely recalled the answer to this and said “The written word endures.” The circles vanished and, in a flash of light, we were all inside a magnificent library. It was my first time visiting this place. There were bookshelves suspended in air that rotated slowly all around and more books than I had yet to see in a single place.
“Welcome to the Atheneum.” I declared, guessing that had to be where we were.
As if responding to my statement, a creature with brown fur, dressed in a robe with images of several people on it, approached us. “I am sorry, but our policy is that anybody who has displayed violent tendencies must wear a special collar that restricts the use of abilities while in this place.” He spoke softly but firmly.
Angus growled at the notion while Selena chuckled at the request. The man must have been Aidan, the librarian. He stretched his hand out and offered a black and blue striped collar to Angus. “Please put this on.” Aidan intoned firmly, a few books floating around him, almost as if they were reacting to the tension that seemed to fill him.
“Oh comeon sweetie, you’ll look adorable…” Selena pleaded, her voice filled with amusement at the thought of it. Angus grumbled and accepted the collar, it was the kind that snapped open and then bonded back together when you shut it. Aidan seemed satisfied when it was secured around his neck.
“You can visit me before leaving to have that removed.” Aidan said, a slight note of gratitude for Angus complying with the demand. He didn't look like he was afraid, he just seemed grateful that force wasn't necessary. “Is there anything in particular you might be looking for?”
“Well... “ Angus said thoughtfully, “I was wondering if you had anything that an engineer might enjoy reading. Selena is also into magic.” he added, seeming to hope that was helpful.
“Shelf 97” Aidan said loudly. One of the rotating bookcases seemed to rise and start glowing, he pointed to it. “Middle row, there is a book containing schematics and instructions for building a golem that is powered by both solar and lunar energy. If you are looking for something you can work on together, I would recommend that.”
I watched as they went over to get the book and went to one of the desks against the walls. The place was so huge that it was difficult to see from one end to the other, it was a bit overwhelming as I went to follow them after nodding a thanks to Aidan. We spent the next few hours trying to decipher the notes. Angus would explain the dynamics of the golem and even corrected a few errors that he noticed. I left at one point when we determined that we should write some of the stuff down, not sure if wed be able to check the book out. Aidan told me where to find some and we began writing notes down.
The first part of the notes we wrote ended up being about how to build the thing, Angus had the most to say of any of us on this part. It was Selena who then chimed in when it came to the dynamics of how it worked. Angus understood the concept of ‘solar power’ (I assumed that it was some way of harnessing the magic energy of the sun, but what he said didn't match the diagrams, as if he was attempting to harness some other sort of energy from the sun.) Selena is the one that had to explain to him that magical arrays were needed.
She went into a sort of long lecture about how magic circles work. The jist of it was that there were two circles with runes or glyphs between them, she described these as sort of a lid, they ordered the magical energy to stay within the circle. Then there was the array, the design drawn in the middle of the inner circle. It had to connect to the inner circle so that the glyphs commands would be conveyed to the energy traveling in the array. Depending on the shape of the array, different things would be accomplished. More complex magic required more complex arrays, but that had to be balanced with the casters ability to control and contain the force of the magical energy. The array must also be compatible with the source of the energy, otherwise the energy wouldn't be attracted to the array and captured in the circle.
The most complex magic of all required further directions inside the array, often some sort of deities or elementals or star constellations would be used. It all depended on the goal and the casters unique style. She got lost when it came to how to absorb lunar energy though, claiming it was a lost art.
I was able to explain that the main problem would be the fact that the creature would have to absorb opposite energies to function. Though it isn’t the most advanced technique to learn to cast spells without circles, it won't work on higher level spells and it certainly won't work for something as complex as this. I suggested that we’d need a way to convert solar energy to lunar or the other way around, there was no way the thing could run on opposing types of energy. Angus, surprisingly enough, suggested that it’d probably be wiser to convert both types of energy to a third type that it’d run on, in case something was lost in conversion so that it would run more consistently.
We had a great time and even managed to convince Aidan to show us a place where we could get some parts to make the golem with. I don't really presume to know why anybody would store such things in a library. I can only imagine that there must have been some kind of inventor that frequented this place and wanted to keep some stuff nearby, in case they got hit by sudden inspiration. Between the knowledge we all possessed on the subject and our teamwork, we finished the golem rather quickly. We even managed to find a stash of cookies and other good snacks that we enjoyed. I have to admit, it seems kind of silly but it was some of the most fun that I had in a long time. I found myself sort of melancholy that it had to end so soon.
“You know… we are going to need to check up on this regularly and observe it.” Angus said, I think he was making an excuse for us all to spend time together again soon.
“Yeah, you know… some of these arrays look like they might be slightly off. We will definitely need to check this regularly to avoid it just breaking down randomly.” I said, agreeing that it would indeed be fun to spend more time on this.
“I don't understand, I thought we did a pretty amazing job, the arrays look…” Angus nudged Selena, “I mean yeah, sloppy work and whatnot, I blame you” She looked at me, “There’s no way Angus would have made a mistake.” she said nuzzling him affectionately. I was more touched by the moment than bothered by the insult.
We all took some time to admire our ‘shoddy’ work. We had designed the golem to look like a red wolf, it was quite convincing, very difficult to tell the difference between ours and the real things. I don't know if we made it this way consciously or not, but I certainly didn't find myself minding the way it came out. It felt appropriate, like we couldn't have chosen a better design.
Angus Selena and Alkain go to visit the Atheneum and work on engineering a golem together. Selena explains the nature of magical circles and arrays.