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Old July 13th, 2012 (08:59 PM).
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Kikpanther
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Colin Arcamenel- Ekilore

To Colin's great pleasure, his greeting has earned him a nod from his knightly beauty. The other who stood with him, on the other hand, did not respond. He could only guess this one--relative, companion, or stranger to the Reigncliff knight he admired--was deaf to sound or common greeting or didn't have the sense to respond or... Well. From behind him he heard the pounding of hooves. Looking back, Colin was greeted by the sight of a boy on its back. This person seemed more like a stable lad than someone who would be asked to participate in this... Task that the monks had asked of them. To his--and many other's--luck, someone else came from behind the horse. She wasn't necessarily more impressive than boy, but seemed like a more likely choice. She was a dwarf by height and by image. She had a stocky body and rounded face, some of the features of her head were undefined, save for her nose which was pointed. She had small, disproportionate eyes that were a muddy brown, much like her hair which she wore in a ponytail. Her face bore no makeup, but to compensate for the difference, it seemed, she had a womanly figure (for the standard of a dwarf) and a large bosom.

She strode over to them with confident steps. When she reached them she greeted them with a joke rather than the proper term, but despite that, it managed to make Colin smile minutely. Before he could, the other member of this party answered her; he'd not seen them. It was a comment from the Reigncliff knight that made the small smile leave him. It was then that the doors were open, and from their mouth, an eunuch appeared, greeting them all and then allowing them inside. Once entering, a rush of cool air, from an area unknown--and it did make Colin curious as to where this air was coming from--the top of the tower, perhaps--hit the body with a force that would send shudders into all not ready or properly clothed. The entrance to the tower was also the entrance to what was known as the Grand Library, a place rumored to hold every book ever written. The name seemed to be a bit shy of the reality however. The library was indeed grand. What wall that wasn't covered by a bookcase was instead hidden by a picture or tapestry, and these bookcases, which were in no sense of the word rare, stretched themselves high into the top of the tower, so high in fact, that one could not see where it ended. For something like this, grand could not possibly be the only word. Strange could come up after much thought. If one did not think about the practicality of this arrangement, one could wonder how it were organized. By author's name, or by year of creation? By region? By language or message? Or maybe by it's focus for age. A book for a child on the bottom and for the oldest of men at the top. Perhaps, even just as likely, it were arranged by a set that only the monks and their servants could truly understand. He was curious to see exactly what was here and learn how things were arranged as time passed. Though, of course, that would be after he asked an eunuch how the books above were meant to be acquired. He saw no lift or a frighteningly tall, rickety latter. It was possible that these books were never touched because of their absolute inaccessibility. Or maybe they were chosen to be up there because of, possibly, a way to preserve them in the less visited air of the higher towers? The Grand Library was almost as old as the Tower itself, no doubt that there were books that had been alive for a time unimaginable. And who could say, that a book so old had not become so delicate that a single touch could make it crumble?

Colin let his eyes go away from the walls of knowledge and to the more visual pieces that hung with them. The scenes depicted on the wall were... Interesting, if he could find a word. Some were clear, telling stories of a battle or oppression, some were cynical, mocking old kings and once worshiped figureheads, and others were impossibly vague, forcing the viewer to inquire on its message or secret. Of course, the grand majority, maybe none of them, were signed or dated. Whoever had created them was lost to the unknown and, dead or alive, their masterpieces, worthy of the greatest of all libraries, would be a secret they kept to themselves. That is, if the artist were aware of their accomplishment at all. There was one picture, in particular, that had caught his eye almost as quickly as the Tower's books had. It was strange to him and the meaning was something that he could not entirely place. It was not the largest picture, but a modest sized one, large enough to observe from afar, but not so big as to force itself to be known.

It rested to the left of them and, like the others, was not signed nor dated. It showed a scene of a village or town. Quaint homes went down towards the horizon in two bordering rows until stopped by the image of a background forest. Though somewhat dark, the trees were calm and from behind them in the horizon an intense light from a sun, hidden behind the trees, created a spectacle that was pretty, in little words, and calming. In the square of this place was an empty scaffold and before it was a boy. To Colin's eyes he could guess he were poor for his clothes were dirtied and soiled, ripped and torn. The barefoot peasant had both hands covering his eyes and face as if in shame. To one side of him was an an angel, wings spread open, showing perfect and heavenly white plumage and clothed in equally holy robes. To the other side was the clear visage of a devil. Unlike the angel it was not clothed or represented as devils normally were. It was shown as a dark-skinned fellow dressed similarly to the poor man in the center. Its clothes were torn and raggedy, but instead of the thing layer the poor man wore, its clothing was thick as if it had prepared itself for a cold day, though by the picture, it was clearly a warm and sunny one. The devil stood with a hunch, back curled like the top of cane. His right hand did the same thing, fingers mimicking claws, while his left had a crooked finger in a beckoning gesture. The devil's face was predictably malevolent. A cold scowl on his face and evil eyes beamed at the peasant boy. In contrast the angel's face was of a calmer, more welcoming demeanor. Like the devil the angel beckoned, though with an outstretched hand instead of a finger. The two of them, by the looks of it, were calling to the boy to come to them. The theory was backed by a short sentence written in yellow underneath the peasant. "Come closer..." it said. With the devil demanding and the angel cooing the boy seemed unable to choose where to go, thus, putting his hands over his face.

"Interesting..." He muttered as he looked. Colin did not quite know what this picture meant, but it had drawn his interest and he attempted a search to find it, though he could hardly draw up a reason. Taking his eyes away from the portrait, the words on the painting seemed to echo in his mind. With another glance at the picture and then away again, the words did not seem as clear as they had been before. Almost as if they were addressing the boy, but in fact, Colin himself or, more intended, the viewer. Forcing his mind on something less intriguing he became aware of the activities before him. While others stood by the Reigncliff knight and the eunuch that had let them in discussed the possible meaning of a picture before them. It was a large piece, much larger than the one that he'd been viewing. It showed simply a man on a hill, arms outstretched to people below him. The way it was painted, the image came out as if it were being seen through an opaque glass or in a vision rather than face to face. It didn't seem particularly outstanding to Colin but it had piqued the interest of some of the others here and had even arose a what-would-be-short discussion. For the moment he listened, he admired the apparent intellect or, in the least, the ability of deeper comprehension that the Reigncliff knight had seemed to possess. He looked away, preferring to listen than to watch, and turned his attention to the other members of this group they seemed to be conjuring. His eyes went to the dwarf in particular who had introduced herself so cheerfully and had not gotten the response she desired (or so he assumed). He found a little charm in her and was similarly drawn. Being the only one who seemed to speak since the start of this second journey, she was the least awkward to be near.

"Hello," he greeted when beside her, "I hadn't the time to introduce myself while we were still behind the doors. Colin Arcamenel, my lady. And you would be?" After a few moments he heard the eunuch call for them. He gathered with the rest towards the center of the tower onto a railed platform. He urged a warning to hold onto the railings if needed. Colin didn't quite understand why it would be necessary until the floor itself began to move, and not only move, but upwards towards the Tower's sky! The sudden movement made him stumble, but he was quick to catch the railing and stop himself. It was strange how this happened and Colin could think of no explanation, but he settled with that mystery to be something he'd learn later. He looked over the railing, watching the ground leave them for a moment, before turning his attention to something else. The walls moved downward while they went up, the books hidden from their sight by height now coming to them and the other portraits revealing themselves once again. His eyes went into the direction of the village portrait that had caught his eyes not long before. He could not see it like he had then, but seeing its outline, the worlds echoed in his mind. Come closer... He could not explain why he was compelled to do so, but obviously he could not now. He decided with himself that, when they came down and if he had the time, he would give this picture a closer inspection.

The eye of the monk's imposing symbol followed them to their stop: a room with an iron door. Colin was somewhat disappointed. The ride made him expect their destination to be one more grand. As the eunuch approached the door he warned of peril in their continuing steps and Colin could only wonder what peril a monk could bring him and in a tower no less! When the door was opened the ideas that came to his mind were not so ridiculous. A gust of wind burst from the door as well as the light from outside. When he reached his turn onto the steps, Colin gasped at the path he'd now be taking. An outdoor staircase. The stone steps wound around the tower, ascending to the top in a serpent motion to the top. As he stepped out he looked upwards, only to see more steps above him and more of the tower's height, which still would not reveal the top even from this level. Looking again, he could only thank each of the Nine for the blessing of the steps being block instead of old and unstable wood warped from years. Colin took notice to keep close to the wall and not look around too much as to stop himself from wandering, but the idea was almost impossible. Around him the sight was marvelous! Hyrus, stretching across a vast distance and out of sight, concealing homes and mysteries within it that were even more the thought provoking when seeing it this way. From this view Hyrus seemed not only a masterpiece of nature, but a being of secret. It was almost as if he were not born in this place. Of all the portraits that lined the wall on the interior, the Tower's external display was of the best by far. He could see the mountains, the dark trees, and even the sands of places he'd never been. The water had never looked so pretty and so calm.

He could hardly take his eyes away, but he had to remember to look ahead. Not only to keep his feet on the Tower, but to reach whatever he had come here for.
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