D.P.F. 4: The Return of the Book

D.P.F. 4: The Return of the Book

Mar 24, 2022

The ceremony commences...

"Hello, Second Archivist Eldaline and Ondolemar." said Archivist Halthir. "I was just telling Cyrus about my interesting discoveries in the Tome of Tava's Blessing."

"It is fascinating, and moreso for all the experts in otherworldly linguistics commissioned to decipher the engravings on our early tombs!" said Cyrus the Librarian. "No doubt, you have come to hear the story of Noctyr-a and the Crows Who Punish?"

The swimming pool looks so cool and inviting. Thought Aralina, who had promised her mother she would wear her woolly scarf when travelling so as not to catch a chill.

"We are here to ensure that Archivist Halthir is not bullied into divulging unnecessary details of his research that does not concern Hammerfell." said Eldaline. "Or, rather, Ondolemar is staying here to ensure it. I have important preparations to make before the ceremony."

"Please, continue, Archivist Halthir."
"Thank you, Second Archivist." said Halthir.

Halthir poured himself a glass of orange juice. "You'll have to forgive my sluggishness, Cyrus. It is quite warm and a book fell on my head the other day."
"Really?" said Cyrus. "I'm sorry to hear that."
"Yes, but I only have my shelf to blame."

"Ha ha ha ha! Very good. Oh, I have one." said Cyrus. "A man goes into the library and asks: Do you have any books about mudcrabs?  The librarian says: Hardback?  The man says: Yes, and little beady eyes."

Halthir was quite overcome by amusement. "I like that. A lot."
 "Are you all right, Ondolemar?" said Aranwen, patrolling.
"Cyrus, do you know where we keep our books about paranoia?" said Halthir.

"I don't know, where? No, wait." said Cyrus. "I know..."

" 'Behind you!' "

"Oh, you win." said Halthir. "I was worried you might have heard that one."

"How dare you go swimming while on duty, Flopsy?" demanded Eldaline.
"I think it would be such fun to be a mermaid, don't you think, Second Archivist? I mean, if there weren't any sharks and sea monsters."

"Get out of there before I boil you like a lobster."
"Of course, Second Archivist, at once."

That evening, at nine o'clock, Eldaline placed the coveted Tome of Tava's Blessing in the middle of the ritual stone.

"Are these snakes real?" she said, suddenly.
"They're either ornamental or very well-behaved, Eldaline." said Skavild, who had been asked to stand behind her. He was pleased about this. Being a Library Assistant carried many perks, including a magnificent view of interesting ceremonies, apparently.

Ondolemar and Aranwen were enjoying the proceedings from a respectful distance. Actually, it wasn't very respectful as they were bored.

Thus uttered Cyrus:
"Upon this eve, three hours before the ringing of the midnight bell to awaken the Day of Lights, when farmers and fishermen offer glad prayers for plenty, we, both the initiated and uninitiated (for reasons of war, politics, illness, and other inconveniences) of the nonpartisan cooperative of librarians, archivists, collectors of important lists, keepers of tomes, organisers of files by size, weight, alphabetical order of any graphical representation, or other accepted system, give our own entreaties for adequate knowledge, and join together to acknowledge the Return of This Book 'The Tome of Tava's Blessing' to its rightful and proper place, where it shall be placed with reverent adherence to proper ceremony, as it was commanded in olden times and upon sadly undocumented calendar dates by the first spirit librarian."
It was a speech he had prepared weeks ago and he was very proud of it.

"Second Archivist Eldaline of the Aldmeri Dominion, was there no Record of Borrowing in the front of 'The Tome of Tava's Blessing' when first you borrowed it?"

"No." said Eldaline. "There was no Record of Borrowing in the Tome when first I borrowed it, for the Tome was found under a pile of sand in a collapsing ancient structure filled with traps, so I am given to believe that the previous borrower had removed it, possibly to conceal its origin and that it was a mislaid library book."

"Tierva, Honoured and Faithful Library Assistant of Lainlyn, as there is no Record of Borrowing, you will recount the eighteenth verse of the Long Bookshelf Mantra. Thank you."

Talos, help. Thought Skavild. I was supposed to learn something, wasn't I?

And Cyrus' library assistant intoned:

"Twice the Spirit asked 'What is the edition?'
And the Penitent answered both times the same: 'I do not know'.
And the Spirit was thus roused to anger, but quietly,
for to raise his voice in fury was to disturb the Holy Dust.
The Spirit then said: Then hear me    But the Penitent said: Can you speak up, please?
The Spirit then said again: Then hear me. The title alone is no use
The edition number can be found on the second page.   And the Penitent said: I can't find it.
The Spirit breathed the heavy winds of wisdom, yet the Holy Dust fluttered not.
Give it here, said The Spirit. There you are, Fourth Edition.
Three centuries have passed since this Book was lost to us.
And since there is no Record of Borrowing you must pay the ultimate penalty.
On this day it was decreed in all cases, the ultimate penalty would be three gold pieces.
Unless it is an academic journal. Because nobody knows what to do with them."

"Skavild, Faithful and Honoured Library Assistant to the outpost of the Archives of Alinor in Solitude, as there is no Record of Borrowing, but a library-issued frontispiece, you will recount the twenty-ninth and thirty-second verses of the Long Bookshelf Mantra. Thank you."

"Or not. Skavild, you haven't read those verses, have you?"

"Well, look." said Skavild. "I sort of skimmed 'em, I admit, but you didn't tell me I was going to have to memorise the whole thing."

"Well, what do you remember?" said Eldaline.
"... banner."

Cyrus concluded:
"The Great Library at Lainlyn acknowledges the Return of the Book. As the Thalmor have borrowed it for over thirty years, the maximum penalty charge is three septims."

"Does anybody have any small change?"

Aralina had some coins. She considered it an honour to participate in the ceremony as she had become quite emotional.

Following the Ceremony of the Return of the Book, Eldaline was the first to exit the chamber and breathe the sweet air of the late evening.

Skavild had presumed that the event was making her anxious, but she appeared as much on edge afterwards, and if not, then more so.
"Well, that was fun, wasn't it?" he called.

"Sorry about not knowing the verses, Eldaline. I promise, I'll learn them for next time, if you ever give anything back to anybody again."

"Don't worry, Skavild. It will probably be some time, if ever. Now, I would like a drink and a bath. Will my earlier request be accommodated, Cyrus?"

"Yes, Eldaline. The bathing house is yours until sunrise. Nobody will disturb you."
"That is excellent." said Eldaline. "Skavild, can you amuse yourself with Halthir and Linvel for a few hours?"
"Well, I can talk to 'em." said Skavild.

As Skavild, Archivists Halthir and Linvel, and all the Redguard combat-librarians, made their way back to the library gardens, leaving the Thalmor to their private gathering, some noticed that Aranwen was smiling excitedly. If you did not know Aranwen, you might have presumed she had enjoyed the ceremony.

Eldaline was smiling too, 

but nobody saw.

more soon

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