Eternal of Day
Phaleron is a location, and perhaps also an eternal. It is usually called The Great Library.
Occasionally it is called the Vault of Phaleron, The Archives of Silence or The Coral Library. Parts of the Library are built on the great floating islands that hang in the sky of the Realm of Day, and the entire structure is said to be lit with a sourceless effulgence, both of which have earned it the epithet The Celestial Library.
The eternals and heralds that serve there are universally called the Attendants; they are quick to correct someone who refers to them as Librarians; they attend Phaleron, so they are attendants.
The library is said to be an immense structure built across hundreds of islands of coral and white marble. Stairs and bridges connect the lower levels to the higher levels, and some of the levels are underwater. Parts of the library are isolated entirely from others, reached through shimmering white-coral archways filled with coiling silver mist that transport an attendant across vast distances in the blink of an eye. Some scholars theorize that parts of the Great Library may be in the material Realm itself, and some enchanters who have visited the regio of Day say they have found chambers that appeared to be of white coral, full of scribes or row upon row of scrolls and books.
The attendants refer to the library as if it is alive, and most scholars agree that Phaleron appears to be an eternal although how it can be both an eternal and a building is not clear. Sometimes the context is different; some attendants seem to have implied that Phaleron is the name for the knowledge stored in the library, rather than the building itself, although this is even harder to understand. When asked directly, the attendants tend to shrug, and say that Phaleron is what it is and that its nature is impossible to encompass in language (which seems to be an evasion, rather than an answer, and leaves some magicians very suspicious indeed).
Those attendants who deal directly with mortals tend to appear as merrow in robes, usually with a book chained to their wrist or a series of scrolls sealed and locked to the waist. These books and scrolls apparently record the books and other works and the parts of the library that the attendant is permitted to access. Chains and locks are a common element of the costume or regalia of the attendants and the heralds that the library sends out into the mortal world.
The goal of the Great Library of Phaleron is simple; it seeks to record and contain all knowledge in Creation. At the point where everything is known, everything will be understood. When this happens, the Library will open its doors and all creatures will be free to partake of the perfect knowledge it contains. Unfortunately, this goal does not seem to be any closer than it was when mortals first encountered the attendants. Some of them appear to recognise this, others appear to live in complete denial, confident that soon their work will be done.
The Library is not especially interested in sharing this knowledge, at least not until it is complete. A partial archive would be misleading, some attendants claim. Others mutter darkly about the dangers of letting incomplete knowledge fall into the wrong hands, or the danger posed by thieves or those who wish to exploit knowledge for their own ends. Consequently, the library is first and foremost a place where knowledge is stored, not where it is used or shared.
The library places greater value on works of fact than works of fiction, but is known to collect both. The ritual The Celestial Library was a common method for magicians to give a tome or scroll to the Library, but heralds and Attendants alike are always still on the look-out for new works that will expand the sum-total of knowledge held in the archive.
On occasion, items have been stolen from the Great Library. The Attendants wish to see thieves hunted down and annihilated, and will offer favours for the return of any work stolen from them, no matter how trivial. They are said to be entirely implacable in their pursuit; once something is part of the Library, it is part of the Library forever.
Occasionally, the Attendants will allow a mortal access to information held in the library. If it has been written down in a book, scroll or pamphlet there is a good chance the attendants will either have that information or know where it may be found. In addition to scrolls and books they have great stores of historical records, letters, journals and the like. Gaining access to that information can prove tricky, however. The attendants can be persuaded to copy information from the library, but once a tome has been submitted it is never available to outsiders to read at their leisure; there will be plenty of time for that when the collection is complete.
The price to gain information from the library varies, and is very hard to predict. An attendant once required a small fortune in ambergelt to allow a Troubadour access to a copy of a love-poem written by Cien, while another traded an annotated copy of the Revelatory Light of the Empyrean Spheres ritual variant devised to Emperor Nicovar in return for a mathematical treatise by an obscure League philosopher. Once the price is set it is non-negotiable.
Rarely an Attendant offers a favour; these favours are usually written on a thin sheet of ivory, and entitle the bearer to request a single piece of written information from any work to which the Attendant has access. Any attendant will honour one of these favours, and no additional price can be charged.
As well as written works, the attendants at the library seem to desire weltsilver and ambergelt for some reason. In addition to information, they can also provide tokens or incantations that support rituals of Day, especially those that deal with divination, protection or immobility.
The Chief Attendants
There are five Attendants who have especial interest in the Empire and its works. They have been encountered on numerous occasions, and are regarded as representatives of the Library. Each has a different area of specific concern. Briefly, they are:
- Elioe (interested in poetry, stories and legends; a special interest in Dawn and the Winterfolk)
- Lioc (interested in historical records of the Empire and its nations; a special interest in the Navarr)
- Pollaman (interested in religion; has a special interest in the Highborn and the Imperial Orcs)
- Arannia (interested in astronomy, mathematics and philosophy; has a special interest in The League)
- Melchiore (interested in magic; has a special interest in the Freeborn and people of Varushka)
As with the other attendants, they tend to appear as high-lineage merrow, and when meeting with magicians are known to adopt the dress of scholars from the nations that interest them.