Library of Jalaad (Chapter 6)

The journey from Omen to the library took a little over five hours. We could see the ancient city of Jalaad as we approached. The view from the air was breath-taking. The ancient city must have cover twenty to twenty-five square miles back in its hey day. In present day you could see all of the old foundations and outlines of areas that where once teaming with buildings and life. Now only about ten percent of the original buildings still had parts of their walls standing.  And they where all located within two miles of the huge unnatural building known as the Library of Jalaad.

ryhjrsthsrfthfLibrary of Jalaad (Main Building)

The Library is almost three thousand yards across the width of its front. Standing six floors tall. The size of it is unbelievable to conceive unless you see it with your own eyes. In all my travels across the continent of Talislanta, I have never seen a building as large and grand as the Library of Jalaad.

We circled the city twice, taking in the awe of the library and the surrounding area. Before we landed at the windship docks several hundred feet outside the main gate to the library. There was enough room for two windships at the docks. The western berth was already occupied by a Cymrillian merchant vessel. We were greeted at the docks by several Cymrillian ship handlers and a small attachment of Thrall guards. They escorted us down to the Cymrillian ran hostelry and explained most of the rules that visitors of the library must follow. As we where setting in the main taproom, we heard several bells begin to chime, coming from the direction of the Library. “”The library is closing for the day.” Explained the barkeeper. Many of the taprooms patron consisting of mainly Thrall guards and other mercenary guards began exiting the taproom thru the front door.  After a brief discussion we decided to exit the hostelry and see where everyone was going.

The group that left the taproom moments before us were gathered outside the hostelry. Across the courtyard we could see a large force of Aamanian Soldiers, numbering around forty with several Warrior-Priest leading them. They marched up to the main gates of the library and paused as if waiting for someone to exit the library.

Three Aamanian Priest where the first to exit the library gates. The moved northeast towards their company of guards and headed off into the ruins in the same direction. The next group to exit the library was a small group of Cymrillian mages and a Sindarian scholar talking with what appeared to be a Kasmirian Trap Mage. This group of researches made their way past us and headed towards the hostelry and entered the taproom. The crowd outside the hostelry remained as if awaiting another group to exit the library. Their patience  was rewarded with a tall gaunt figure dress in black and silver robes. Carrying a dark black staff in one hand and a leash made of two silver chains attached to a pair Night Demons that where trailing ten feet behind the Black Savant. He moved thru the courtyard with a smooth gate that made him appear to float mere inches off the ground. Heading towards the southeastern part of the ruins of Jalaad. The Black savant was the reason the group of guards gathered outside the hostelry. It is not everyday that one gets the chance to see a Black Savant. Most believe that they are just things of nightmares and child’s tales.

We returned to the warmth of the taproom and listened to those inside talking about the Black Savant and trying to guess why he was at the library. But our immediate concern was with the large group of Aamanians. After our encounter with the witch hunter and the Aamanian soldiers in the Yitek tombs, we needed to know if they where a related group and if they were also hunting for the Sepharan keys. Jh’tiel left the taproom a few hours after dark to go scout out the Aamanian camp. Barack and Bladez wandered off into the ruins of Jalaad to see if they could find anything of interest. The three returned just before midnight. Barack was in a bad mood because all the ruins within a mile or so of the library where already picked clean. Jh’tiel’s quest brought us back better information. The Aamanian’s camp was about a mile into the ruined city to the northeast. There where, three High Priests, seven or so Warrior-Priests. Along with about fifty well-disciplined guards. He overheard the High Priest Aaike talking with the other two priests about the missing party that Witch Hunter Aatorres, left with a few weeks ago. They felt he should be back by now from his mission to the north. And were concerned with the fact he hadn’t checked in with them in over a week. And maybe they should send out another party to locate the missing soldiers.

We stayed up late discussion our options. And decided that we should for now just keep our distance from the Aamanians and keep an eye out for what they are doing here, while we gather the information about the keys and hopefully learn away to decipher the text in the Sepharan tome.

The next morning we were awoken by one of the hostelries porters about an hour before the library was due to open. Kintarea and Jor-el decided that they would enter the library and began researching for answers to some of our more important unanswered questions. The rest of us would spend the day hanging around the hostelry trying to learn what ever we could about the surrounding area and abroad. It has been several weeks since we left Cymril and news about the outside world was in high demand.

As Kintarea and Jor-el were standing with the group of scholars from the hostelry just outside the gate waiting for the bell to signal the libraries door opening. Jor-el noticed that the Aamanian High Priest that Jh’tiel identified as Aaike, had a weary look to him. Much like the look that he and several of his companions have had since they started carrying the pieces of the keys. As the bell tolled, the High Priest locked eyes with Jor-el for a few seconds, not very long, but long enough for his danger sense to give him a warning. The Aamanian recognized the same weary look on Jor-el’s face, that Jor-el had recognized on his. They followed the group of scholars into the library and were directed to a section in the library that contained information on the Sepharan language and the keys. Kintarea asked to be shown any material that was about twenty-five hundred years old. But the scribe stated that, that section was currently being used by another library quest and they would have to wait until it was empty. She then had the scribe take them to books about the earliest known use of the Sepharan language and keys. He took us to a small alcove located in one of the top floors of the library and said he would be back just before lunch to show us out.  “I’ll bet you a thousand gold that the Aamanian’s are the ones occupying the Sepharan section we requested first. And he had the same weary look that myself, Barack, and Jh’tiel have had since we started carrying these keys. He has to have at least one of them in his possession.” Stated Jor-el as he was looking thru several different tomes. “No doubt that he does, the important thing is to insure that he doesn’t think we have several of them in our custody.” Replied Kintarea. They soon found several books about the language the Sepharan book was written in. The one with the most promise was written by an unknown author about an island off the eastern coast of the Kang Empire. It was about an island called Rune Island that was reportedly covered with many glyphs and runes, with the majority being of Sepharan origin.

ImageInside the Library of Jalaad

Before lunch the scribe returned and told them that their exit for lunch would be delayed and he would return when they may leave.

About an hour after the library opened for the day. we were asked to relocate our windship. They needed to double dock the two windship here so that a third windship due in could also dock. Right before lunch time one of the Thrall guards entered the hostelry and claimed that a Cymrillian Windship of War was just spotted on the horizon and making sail for the library. The hostelry staff began running around and straightening up around the place. We decided to get aboard our windship since it would provide the best vantage point to view the incoming vessel and also cut down on the time it would take us to leave the library if a hasty escape was warranted.

Windship of WarCymrillian Windship of War

The Cymrillian Windship of War was a very impressive vessel. It was a little over four hundred and fifty feet in length, a hundred feet a beam and  over one hundred and sixty feet tall, not including the masts. The vessel was called the “New Hope”. And only been flying the Talislanta sky’s for a few months. Barack learned later from one of the Danuvian Virago’s, that New Hope left Cymril about three months ago and traveled all around Talislanta gathering up small groups from several major lands and transported them here to the library.  What their main mission was, was unknown to the Virago but the people they picked up where people of power in their homelands. The New Hope’s maiden mission was one of extreme secretes and very important to the lands of Talislanta.

The guards for the hostelry formed an honor guard for the arriving vessel.  As it began to come in for its landing, fifty or so Blue Aeriad Rangers glided off the sides of the New Hope, and formed a defensive perimeter atop the nearby buildings and library walls. Once the vessel docked a huge landing ramp was lowered and a company of fifty Thrall guards debarked ahead of a group of scholars from several Talislanta countries.  The group of scholars consisted of ten Cymrillian Magician’s, five Sindarian Effectuator’s , three Dhuna Witches, three Mirin Alchemist, with one being the High Priestess of Borean. Also with the group where three Dracartan Thaumaturge’s, and two Hadjin Aristocrat’s. The group exited the windship dock and headed directly to the library.  Only briefly stopping to greet the owner of the hostelry.

Over the next few hours several hundred Thrall and Danuvian guards moved from the windship to an area just south of the docks and began setting up a huge camp that would be the base of operations for this large force while they where at the library. Another Cymrillian windship approached a few hours later and began unloading supplies. For the amount of supplies and soldiers involved it looked like the group was going to be at the library for several months.

That evening we discussed what had transpired during the day and felt very optimistic about the information that Kintarea had obtained from the library. The Calidian scribe had told Kintarea that he would make her a copy of the book she was researching and it would be completed tomorrow by closing. Shortly after we had finished our evening meal one of the Thrall guards entered covered in gray ash claiming that it was starting to snow outside. Jh’tiel shocked to hear that there was snow this far south went outside to investigate the claim. It was not snow but in fact ash. The Sindarian scholar who had dined with us the day before surmised that a volcano had erupted somewhere along the coast to southeast of here in the Kang Empire several days ago and the wave of ash was just now reaching our location being brought in by the wind currents. We settled down for the night hoping to get some well needed rest. If the research in the library continues to go well like today. we should be on our way towards the next pieces we need to decipher the keys in two to three days.

We awoke to a dark gray sky, ash was covering everything with two or three inches of gray soot that was blocking out eighty percent of the two suns light. Jor-el used the library to do research about the ancient windship captain he shared his mind with. Captain Tartomiras was a Phantasian windship captain of great renown. He had fought several deciding battles against the Air Pirates of Baratus.  He also noticed that the Aamanian’s were keeping an ever watchful eye on us. As we entered and exited the library several of the warrior-priest found us to be worthy of their visual inspection.

That night as with drank a few before dinner drinks in the taproom, several Aamanian soldiers and a warrior-priest entered and began talking to the bar keep. They were asking about supplies for their camp. Bladez told Jor-el that he was tired of this boring library and he was about to start a little fun. Before he could leave the table Jh’tiel grabbed his arm. “Hold on a few minutes, my friend.” He told the Arimite. “Let me get this crowd going a bit before you have your fun.” Jh’tiel stood up and bought the entire bar a round. “Drink on me my friends, for today was a good day!” He shouted above the crowds screams of thanks for the drinks. After the drinks were served he again bought another round. Seeing that the Aamanian’s were feeling uncomfortable around such a large crowd of rowdy unbelievers, Jor-el motioned Bladez to go ahead and start a scene. Hoping that it would erupt into a good barroom brawl.  Bladez’s got up from his seat and stumbled towards the Aamanians. Jor-el and Jh’tiel had a quick whispered discussion between them as Bladez bumped into one of the soldiers. The soldier reacted by pushing Bladez away from him. “Watch where your going you drunken lout!” He screamed as he fell back against the bar. “Do not interfere with the servants of Aa as they do his bidding.”  Before the warrior-priest could turn from the bar keep and get control of the situation. Barack stood up, toppling his table and shouting at the soldier. “Do not touch my friend, you religious zealot, no telling what filth your unholy hands might spread to him.” He started to close the ten feet between him and the soldier. The soldiers all drew their maces and told Barack and Bladez to step back. Barack already in a rage from thinking about how the Aamanian’s had murdered the Yitek’s in the wastes was dying for blood and only Aamanian blood would do. He raised his new blue diamond shield and jumped at the three soldiers. There was a loud cracking sound as the first soldiers body bent over backwards on the bar. Bladez followed Barack’s attack with several punches to the face of the soldier that pushed him away. The third soldier swung at Barack with his mace but missed.  Jor-el and Jh’tiel used these few moments of confusion to grab the warrior-priest and started dragging him out the thru the backdoor in the hostelries kitchen. Barack and Bladez’s made quick work of the two remaining soldiers as the bar erupted into a huge fight. Thralls where attacking other Thralls and Danuvian’s. Several Jhangara Mercenaries started screaming and punching anyone close to them. We all used the confusion caused by the bar fight to make our way out of the taproom and quickly boarded our windship. Within a few minutes we were heading southeast towards the Kang Empire and to our destination of Rune Island.

We instructed the captain to take the ship up to around nine thousand feet and get us out of here as fast as he could. Jor-el tied and gagged the warrior-priest in the hold of the Shriek. We headed south for a few hours then circled back around to the north. Before we start heading towards Rune Island we needed to pick up Veris from Omen. Jh’tiel and Jor-el spent the next few days interrogating the Aamanian warrior-priest. We learned that the Aamanian High Priest was named Aaike, and he did in fact have six pieces of a Sepharan key in his possession. They where at the library researching other possible locations for the keys. We had gained all the information from the Aamanian that we felt he had to offer. So somewhere over the Kang Empire, Barack drug the warrior-priest up on deck and dropped him over the side of the Shriek. we could hear him praying to Aa and begging his god to spare his life as he plummeted down into the night sky. With that we turned more to the east and made a direct line for Rune Island.

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