(122-01-09) A Conspiracy of Books
A Conspiracy of Books
Summary: Lord Carolis researches in the Old Scroll Room
Date: Date of play (09/01/122)
Related: http://gobmush.wikidot.com/log:121-04-28-the-riders

Tension has been high in the library the last few days, with elderly Maesters actually coming to blows over research materials. Today the contingent of Scribes is helping the librarians keep order. Elderly Maesters with visible bruises and healing cuts glower at each other over research materials. Librarians are keeping an extra close watch on Geography and the high Valaryan language sections.

Carolis has remained above it all. In no small part because he's actually not affiliated with these people outside of being a polite guest. He's observed, though, in his quiet way. Since the Geography and Valaryan language sections are points of interests, Carolis gravitates toward them. Purely out of curiosity, of course.

It is the travel logs for southern essos that seem to be under dispute, with grumpy librarians limiting the volumes and scrolls they have one to a customer. The high Valarian section is getting interest across the board though the really rare and old volumes are stored in a smaller collection where they can be kept cool and dry with less people breathing on them. Popular topics are history, Pharmacology, Architecture, and poetry, as well as anything having to with Dragons.

The rare book room contains the oldest texts, mostly high Valyrian, with some Ghiscari, Roynish, and a even what few things they have in the Old Tongue of the North. This collection is things more often referenced and copied.

Carolis decides upon Valerian today. Poetry and history hold greater appeal. When he comes upon copies of the old texts, he curls up somewhere he can settle in and read them. The runes of the Old Tongue hold his interest the most. So few people speak it anymore, and almost no Southrons. He jots the runes down in his own journal with the intention of offering a translation in exchange for unspoken goodwill.

It is much quieter in the rare book room. Someone has a study table where they routinely make translations of high Valerian and Rhoynish poetry in a lovely but very legible hand, though he, himself is absent. (The poetry project's been going on at least half a year.) Several other scholars, all under forty and unbruised are working seperate projects. The Librarians are keeping out potentially contentious older Maesters for fear of damage to the books. Lord Carolis being quiet, polite, and not involved in any fisticuffs this week is allowed past, but a harried younger scribe. Two of the twentysomethings can be heard whispering, "That scandalous Dorishman had a novice and a woman of ill repute in here yesterday." The second man's tone suggests he is expecting serious perversion. "What were they doing?" The first man says, "Discussing old Valerian and Essoi nursery rhymes and rare plants from slavers's bay." "He is a peculiar one, and not a proper Maester at all….."

Carolis continues making his notes, his ears pricked as he listens in. The Old Tongue wasn't spoken much for poetry or high ideals when it was a living language, but it told histories in a charmingly simplistic manner that could give rise to a poet's sense of epic. He hums quietly, a nursery rhyme from the North, not really aware he's doing it.

"What is _wrong_ with the Old Ravens anyway? I heard there was a full on brawl over the Conquest yesterday?"

"I'm not sure, honestly. Half of them are packed in at the Starry Sept, the other half are making trouble in the Library, and have you seen the Dornishman and his little blond shadow running around staring at Lintels and carvings? I've seen several old codgers at it too. It's like they are all on some mad academic scavenger hunt for a pot of gold dragons or something."

Sigh. "My Maester has be searching old scrolls for accounts of the war between the Ghiscari Empire and the Valyrian freehold as if anybody _cares_ anymore."

"Don't let them here you say that. After all, we are under…. Anyway, you find anything juicy?"

"It's all dry as dust. What's your Codger got you doing?"

Snort. "I'm supposed to be doing a study of grammar in old Valyrian poems. Only there isn't any. It's mostly weird strings of alliterated images and funny effects with inflection and rhythm." Grumbling more complaints about the stupidity of the old, they get back to work.

The Ghiscari Empire was a major power in Essos thousands of years ago, when the Valyrians were a bunch of barbarians. The Valerians discovered and trained dragons and started invading Ghiscari lands. An epic war resulted that destroyed the Empire, left cities in ruins, and rendered a large part of Southern Essos desert. It ultimately lead to the Doom of Valyria.

The Old tongue history is really old and speaks of strange men coming out of the sea to raise up the Hightower. It seems to think Bran the Builder was a real person and also some sort of God.

That does tend to follow the mythology, to some extent. Of course Bran the Builder was also he progenitor of House Stark. His blood flows in Carolis' veins. Of course he was a real person. He squints into the middle distance. Did these events occur concurrently? He jots down more of the history he's reading. He glimpses at some of the Valyrian as well, though he has studied very, very little.

The Old Tongue history goes on to talk about an earlier Valyrian invasion, presumably not long after the Ghiscari War, during which the Sea People retreated into a labyrinth below the high tower, where dragon fire couldn't reach, where they fought long and hard against the pale haired invaders. Bran the Builder designed the defenses and his many sons were amoung the fighters.

The abandoned poetry station has things like mnemonic poems to remember plants and some very strange verse fragments that are much as the young scholar described: not properly grammatical, using inflection, rhythm, and alliteration instead of rhyme. The one on top It references the Season of Whispers, Season of Scampering, Season of Wandering, Season of Flames, and Season of Ashes. The Season of Whispers is the first verse about Dreams and whispered Councils, the soft sound of an egg cracking, lovers kisses. It goes on much like that, a verse for each season.

The weird seasons are unique. The poetry style is common with very old Valyrian poetry. Surviving Valyrian freehold era poetry tends towards mnemonics for various things: medicines, lineages, histories, cities, etc.. When it isn't an obvious mnemonic, is tends towards the use of rhythm, inflection, and alliteration and imagery over the much more straight forward style common in Old Tongue Poetry. The Old Tongue Epic about the battle of the high Tower is typical in style for really old Old Tongue Poems. This one Synchritizes pre-conquest Reach kingdom Religion, Northern Beliefs, and Iron Islander Elements. It is unclear if the sea People are meant to be Iron Islanders or some sort of mythical creatures, or even First Men.

The old tongue text Carolis is looking at is clearly written by someone familiar with or following the Southern version of the old religion, who is likely also aware of Northern and Iron Islander beliefs and polite about them.

Carolis quickly jots down a translation of the Old Tongue runes, and his humming turns toward the mnemonic. Gods, this is right up his alley. Where mythology meets history and literature. "It's all one story, you know," he mentions as he continues to jot the translation down. Here, boys, he's doing you a favor. "The fall of Ghis, the devastation of Valyria." He glances up. "The rise of Bran and the First Men." He glances back down to jot an annotation in his translation correcting the assumptions of the biased narrator. Southrons. So sure of themselves.

The Acolytes are staring at Carolis is startlement. They hadn't really been thinking about him at all except to note the humming. They nod slowly, unsure if they are looking at madness or brilliance.

Carolis rises smoothly to his feet and steps up to the Acolytes. However disheveled he may look at home in the midst of his black moods, when he is out, he is dressed impeccably, pristine and cool as the North itself. He offers over his notes, the ink still drying on the most recent page. He's even drawn a little diagram, explaining in Common at which points the tales segue into one another. From a Northron perspective, it makes much more sense, of course.

They look at the dignified northerner, then at his (to them) mad scriblings. They nod wisely and copy pertinent bits of notes. After all, if the staid Maesters of the Citadel are lately prone to violence, how much more half barbaric northern Lords armed with who knows what. The give Lord Carolis their most respectful thanks.

There is one Maester Carolis has worked with in particular, and he's pretty sure he's with whatever clandestine organization is sowing unrest in the North. Of course, the acolytes aren't entirely wrong: he is quite mad, and in his avid mind, he is already searching for connections between this old, esoteric and unimportant historical footnote and violence within the Citadel over it and the unrest in his House. Maybe it's time to poke the viper, if there is one hiding here. "If you could convey its contents to Maester Kubos for me, when you're done. I would like to know his thoughts." He smiles faintly.

The men nod hurriedly. "I'll take it to him right now, My Lord." They both scurry off, the better to have an excuse to flee close quarters with the crazed Stark.

Tch. And here Lord Carolis has been nothing but polite and calm. Southrons. Just because he happens to have ice blue eyes and isn't afraid of eye contact… In any case, he settles in to do a little more research, his interests turning to events that took place a very, very long time ago.

A bell rings somewhere and the last few researchers in the rare scrolls room scurry away. The books, scrolls, and notes are entirely at Lord Carolis' disposal. That 5000 or so year ago mark seems to be when everything happens historically and mythologically. It's like the whole world was in military and magical upheaval. Various wars and people fleeing wars, the settling of large parts of Westeros, Gods and monsters walking the Land, Merrows from the sea, children of the Forest, languages and people shifting, the Building of the hightower and the Wall, Monsters from the North, Giants, direwolves, Wargs, and others, the coming of Dragons, the Driftwood Crown becoming Iron Crown in the Iron Islands and the Islanders invading everywhere.

Carolis takes a good part of the rest of the day doing what he loves the most: reading, taking notes, filling pages and going through one inkpot and part of another. What he can't draw a parallel to in the moment he notes down as much as he can figure. He copies down phrases in other languages he's not familiar with so he can parse them later when he has access to translation texts. He's there, basically, until he runs out of material or he's called away, or someone from the manse comes to collect him when it has gotten late. Otherwise, as he's proven before, he will just keep working for days until he falls over.

Here and there the notes of other researchers can be found. Someone is looking into Architectural references in the hightower, Citadel, and starry Sept to try to tie them to older civilizations. Someone else is obsessed with mnemonic poems, convinced they have hidden meanings. Someone has been doodling obscene pictures in old history texts.

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