Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Chapter Ninety Seven

When they returned to university for their second term, Elenie and Ieaun immediately began to search for the hidden library.  
Initially it occurred to them that if the library had been hidden from ordinary sims, then the magic which had been used might be detectable to those sims of a magical persuasion and they used their respective magical powers to search for concentrations of magic.  Alas, they were not able to find any trace of the powerful spells which would need to be used to hide such a place, however, their efforts did alert others to what they were doing.

Elenie was out in the garden of their halls one day when her attention was caught by a butterfly fluttering determinedly in front of her face.  When she stopped and held out her hand the butterfly came to rest there and whispered "Tell your husband that his sight can be used for the present and the past, not just the future.  The magic hiding the library is masked so just looking for strong magic won't get you anywhere, but beware - the library is guarded by the spirits..."
Elenie listened to this announcement and, when the butterfly had flown off, went indoors to find Ieaun and explained what the butterfly had told her.  

Ieaun agreed to try using his sight to look into the past and the present in an effort to find the hidden library.  Thinking about what the butterfly had said, he decided that the best place to start would be by looking for the point in time when the decision had been made to hide the library and following events from there.  He had set up a vision crystal in a spare room in their halls, together with a set of alchemy apparatus for Elenie so he went there to start looking.

His sight wasn't very well focussed and, in the process of searching through the past in search of the library, he kept getting flashes of images which he could tell were part of the future, or at least, a possible future...  The images shifted and changed but were all overlaid with an intense feeling of sorrow and, as Ieaun tried to look past them to what he was searching for, he began to recognise certain recurring images - an old ruined castle and a grave.  Breaking off from trying to see for a while he brooded over those images, trying to either find some hint as to what they meant or to banish them enough for him to get back to his search.
While Ieaun worked on using his sight to look for the library, Elenie had come to the realisation that she couldn't really help him with this task and it was clear from the butterfly's words that it was Ieaun's sight which would find the library.  While she waited for him to find the information she decided to work on her degree and joined a group of other science students on a large project. 

Eventually, Ieaun was successful in identifying the location of the library.  It appeared that a secret cellar had been added to an old crumbling ruin in the hills around the university and the library had been transferred there.

He headed over to the science project to tell Elenie and they decided to head out to the ruin immediately - notwithstanding the fact that it was getting dark and the moon was full...

When they arrived there, the moon was fully up and they could see various ghosts floating around the ruined house.  Cautiously approaching the house, they entered and began looking around for any clues as to how to get to the secret cellar containing the library.

It was in the study that Elenie noticed something odd.  She couldn't have said what it was, but something about the bookcase called to her...

Examining the bookcase, they were both startled when it slid back to reveal another, hidden room, containing what they both recognised as a magical transportation device.

Entering the device in turn, they emerged into a lushly appointed library, the walls were lined with bookcases and there were various items of magical paraphenalia scattered around, but the first thing that both Elenie and Ieaun focussed on was the ghost floating towards them.  He was dressed in ancient robes and looked like an ascetic monk or scholar of some kind.

He approached Elenie first with a scowl on his face; "So, what have we here visiting my library?  A pretty little faerie with her head in the clouds like the rest of your kin?  What are you after?"

While Elenie stared at him in shock, unused to such a reaction, Ieaun stepped in; "Excuse me sir, my name is Ieaun Glyndwr and this is my wife, Elenie.  We are in dire need of the learning held within your archives.  My lady's mother, who is a normal sim, was kidnapped by one of the unseelie fae and we are searching for any indication as to where he may have taken her in order that we might mount a rescue attempt."

The ghost turned to him "Humph, well, I suppose I can help you with that, I take it you want to look up the records of sims taken by the fae?  I'll look them out and you can spend some time studying them."

"Thank you sir, I realise it is a bit of a presumption, but might I enquire as to why the library was moved here and how you came to guard it?"

"It is a long story, perhaps I should start with my connection to the library.  My name is Matthieu Saxe and many centuries ago, I was an archivist mage in charge of what would eventually become this library.  It was my job to keep the books and scrolls in order, to catalogue them and repair them and I was devoted to my books, ignoring all social occasions to tend to them and to study them.  One day disaster struck; some fool brought in a candle to study by and left it burning, by the time I found it some books had already been destroyed and the fire was well entrenched."

"I knew there was no way I would be able to save the library, it would need many mages casting ice and water spells to quench the fire and there was only myself around.  In my desperation I cast an impossible spell, trying to bind the knowledge within the library to myself so that it could be preserved; I failed and yet, at the same time I succeeded...  Time stopped for a moment and I saw a spiritual version of my library around me; I was given a choice in that moment between times, I could save my library by binding the fire into myself.  I would die from the flames but my spirit would be bound to the library and so long as I guarded it then it would be preserved.  Alternatively, I could save myself and my library would burn.  I chose the former and my afterlife now consists of this library, should I ever wish to move on then I must find someone else to take my place or the whole library will perish as I move on."

"A while ago, the Council of Magi received reports from a number of seers; they were receiving visions of a great catastrophe for magical sims.  At some point in the future the normal sims who are currently happy to see all types of magical sims amongst them and cheerfully use our powers will turn against us.  The seers have been unable to identify the cause of this, but it seems almost certain that it will happen."

"So, is that why the library has been hidden?  So that when this happens it can be preserved?"

"Exactly, at the present because they do not know what will bring this uprising about, the Council are unable to take steps to try and prevent it from happening.  Therefore they have chosen to take steps to ameliorate the damage when it does.  The first thing was to hide this library and others like it; whilst they do not believe that the war with normal sims will happen for a couple of generations, they wished to ensure that by the time it did happen, important resources such as this library and others would be forgotten about by the normal sims.  So the library was moved to this ruin and spirits who have given a portion of their afterlives to the service of the Council were appointed to guard it.  Various mages have also planted stories about the history of this place, suggesting that it was the subject of a battle between a sorceress and a group of warriors and that the ghosts who guard this place are the remnants of that battle."

For the remainder of that year, Elenie and Ieaun spent almost every spare moment they could find in the hidden library studying the records which Matthieu searched out for them.  

They did however find some time to spend together alone, taking the occasional trip away to one of the secluded parks on the outskirts of the university where they built a bonfire and spent some time enjoying one another's company.
Elenie did spent a little while talking to the will o the wisps which lived there, but when she had persuaded them to leave her and Ieaun in peace they had a nice quiet date together.  

Elenie had brought a small fairy house with her to the park and, when things got to a certain stage she managed to made Ieaun small enough to fit in there with her... 

Afterwards, they stretched out together on the grass and gazed up at the stars.

All too soon the academic year was over, but they had found a great deal more information than they had been able to find the previous year and when they returned home they were hopeful that they had found enough that they would be able to make a start on finding out where Elenie's mother was.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Chapter Ninety Six

The day of the school dance happened to fall on Coryn's birthday, but instead of any special celebrations, he insisted on spending the day painting Elenie before dashing off to meet Nicola for the dance.
After he had left, Elenie received a call from Evie and arranged to meet her at one of the local pubs.
Once they had ordered drinks at the bar, they wandered over to the currently unused band area to discuss matters. 
"I understand from Talfryn that you were unable to find the books you needed on the history and lore of the Fae.  It has been some time since I was out in the mortal realms for long and so I contacted some Fae living there who put me in contact with the witches who look after that library." 
"So, were you able to find out where the books are?  What sort of witches are looking after the collection and did they tell you why it had been moved?" 
"They wouldn't tell me much, they have a rather jaundiced view of our people and said that it wasn't my business why they had moved the library since I lived in the Fae realms and not the mortal realms like them.  All they would say was that they did so in response to visions some of the members had.  

The library is still in the same town apparently, but it's protected by magical wards which keep "normal" sims away.  They wouldn't tell me exactly where it is, but they said that any magical creature should be able to find it if they were worthy of doing so.  I wish I could be of more help, but I believe between you and Ieaun you should be able to find it - they may even be more forthcoming with Ieaun since he's 'one of them'..." 
Later that night Coryn returned having had his birthday at the dance.  He was bubbling over with excitement from the dance and with plans for his future.
"Wow, 'Leni, the dance was the most amazing thing ever!  The teachers had constructed a pocket world with an entry point in the school grounds and it was just incredible!  It wasn't very large, just a clearing in a forest, but it was a perfect spring evening with an incredible display of stars overhead and all the trees were lit up with fairy dust so we could see everything. 

"The clearing was carpeted in an amazing display of flowers and instead of seats or tables there were tree stumps and moss-covered boulders which were surprisingly comfortable.  There was a huge variety of food there as well - absolutely anything you could think of or want was there!
When Coryn had finished describing the dance, Ieaun asked what his plans were now that he was a young adult and finished with school. 
"Well, I talked it over with Nicola, I want to be an artist, I can't imagine doing anything else with my life other than painting.  Nicola said that she and her sister Natalia are living alone in a big house so she asked if I'd move in with them after graduation and I agreed." 
Graduation was the very next day and after the ceremony Coryn moved out of the family house and in with Nicola and her sister.   
Now that Elenie and Ieaun were freed of their responsibilities for Coryn, they knew the time had come for them to go back to university.  Evie and Talfryn had offered to look after Jewel and Taliesen (as the university regulations forbade taking pets with you) and the young couple decided to leave a a little before term started and have their honeymoon en route.
They checked into a mid range hotel on Isla Paradiso and proceeded to spend a few days relaxing and enjoying themselves. 
The hotel had a wide range of facilities, including an interestingly shaped pool which looked out over a stunning view. 
After a refreshing swim, Elenie and Ieaun tried some of the local speciality drinks at the bar. 
Before heading down to a nearby beach to explore, before going for a swim in the ocean.

In the evening, they made full use of the hotel facilities, enjoying the wide spread of food laid on (and eating rather too much at each meal!) 

The hotel sauna was very well set up, with a lovely waterfall and steam and even a bath which would have hot water or mud, depending on your preference. 

Elenie and Ieaun made plenty of use of this facility, and when there was no-one else around made the sauna even hotter than it had been before... 
They also spent some time just lying out in the sun and Elenie was able to pick up a nice tan, although Ieaun stayed as pale as he'd always been! 
Whilst there, the two of them also learned to snorkel and scuba dive and were amazed at what they found at the bottom of the ocean! 

While Elenie explored a sea cave, Ieaun discovered that magical creatures lived in the ocean as well as on land and their powers were very different from both his and Elenie's.