The Great Library at the College of Alnae is everything I have dreamed and more. From a distance, the library is a magnificent building opulently decorated with all that is the world, and perhaps not of the world. Upon first sight, I shrank away from the grotesque carvings which beheld the visages of those that haunt the dreams of small children. Great winged creatures ascend the outer walls as though they have found their way out of the Land of Eternal Flames and seek to devour all that lies in their path. Crouched in an eternal vigil on the stone ledges are seated small creatures that seem to elude to a warning that forewarns of danger. My heart nearly leapt from chest to throat at the thought the one who rules over all the Land of Eternal Flames should dwell in this place of beauty and fright. Yet atop the dome of the building at the four directions stand enormous men in long robes of alabaster. They reach to the sky as though they have descended there from and alighted upon this glorious structure. Great trumpets extend in each direction at the lips of these winged men as though the clarion call shall sound at a moment’s notice. It is the most wonderful and frightening place I have ever laid eyes upon.
It has been weeks since my arrival in Alnae and I have yet to see the inside of the library. As I compose my message to Annalicia, my heart can barely be contained within the walls of my flesh as I shall have my first encounter at the library this very day. Oh what a glorious day it is! To my surprise and dismay, Richard has insisted upon accompanying me to the library. How dare he interlope upon one of the most treasured moments of my entire life? However, he is a Lord and I a commoner. I cannot refuse. At the doors of the library I must pause to catch my breath. The doors stand between great marble columns. My fingers taste the coolness of the column as I ascend the stairs to my greatest dream. Brilliant prisms cascade into the main room of the library under the dome of thick quartz crystal. I turn about in the midst of the rainbow speckles as though they were the butterflies in the meadow of The Butterfly Fields. In each of the corners of the room are grand staircases carved of dark wood with such intricate detail it could only be the work of a master woodcrafter. Where? Where do these grand staircases lead, and what wonders do they hide in the rooms above?
Great tapestries hang upon the walls intermingled with the portraits of Kings and Queens of old, accented by the armor of their men at arms who seem to stand sentry at the ready to defend still. Unlike the library of Johnsport, which is naught more than a single room of the Library of Alnae, the tables are constructed of polished stone, some inlaid with precious jewels. Whether it is I stand in a library or museum, I cannot decide. Despite my initial fear of the exterior, I know well many a precious hour shall be spent within these walls. There is naught in all the world that could possibly hold the source of all things as the Great Library. I shall begin my quest with the book of which Richard has chosen for me, it is the book from the people of the Great Pyramids. I cannot say the title of the book entices me so, but Richard insists it holds all the secrets of the world and so I shall begin with The Book of the Dead.
I hope you have enjoyed another sneak peak into The Butterfly Fields. The Great Library of the College of Alnae is based on a conglomeration of interesting buidlings throughout the world. Pictured above is 1.) Town Hall in Munich Germany, and 2.) a staircase in Pele Castle in Romania. Click here for more pictures of interesting buildings in the world.