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A few in game questions


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"That's basically true, though it should be said that there are pilgrimages one can take that can result healing at least some of the time, and temples along these routes often make provisions to help the infirm travel.  It's a terribly imperfect system in a lot of ways, but it does offer some hope.  (Minetans would be most likely to take the Road of the Lambs to the far south of the island, along the Stations of St. Satyrian, and then finally to the Sleeping Lady's Spring.  Mind you, it takes weeks even if you're fit.)"

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The reply!

"Absolutely - that's almost the norm.  Astrological and alchemical libraries are generally accessible by invitation only if you're not an alumnus or an active student, and the easiest way to get invited is to make a token donation and written or personal appeal to College Avila or College Godina (for example).  Collections associated with the Menagerie are free to the Minetan public, but you still have to schedule an appointment.  Vernin and Durand both have generalist collections that are open to the general public without condition, though Oct help you if you try to take anything out.

The Venalicium is a special case, of course.  The rule there is that admission is limited to the people the library itself allows to enter; the main doors (or what we think of as the main doors) recognize Academy students, so almost everyone in the school gets a pass.  (Though Philippe's brother Dexter was barred for the second half of his second year for reasons that only astrologers can guess.)  In other cases, though, people have to find doors that will admit them - or, as in the case of a certain scholar from Wetgen who thought he'd found a side entrance to his favorite alehouse only to step through and find himself in an antechamber thousands of miles to the south - sometimes doors find them."

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"Not quite- if you present yourself at the Grand Gate and declare your intent to visit the Venalicium, you'll be allowed onto the Academy grounds if it can be proven that you've made a pact with the Venalicium itself. This is generally as simple as stating that you've been invited to enter to the guards. To lie can have dire consequences. If your intentions are not malicious, it'll turn you away (in which case it's likely you'll stagger through a haze of glamours and find yourself back outside the Gate wondering what's happened.) Sometimes you can be given access, but you've essentially placed yourself under its protection while you're on Academy grounds.  If you do so under false pretenses, it's understood that bad things can happen - they say the thief Giancarlo Moro found himself trapped in the pages of a tragedy, reliving the story over and over again, for more than three hundred years.

So, people from outside do visit the Library.  Most don't abuse the privilege.  ;) 

(And, yes, if a lot of this sounds like Gates, you're not alone in thinking so.  But the Library's origins probably rest with the Gods themselves - though some whisper Dragons were involved too - and nobody wants to cross it.)"

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"As a rule, yes - Academy graduates remain entitled to enter the Venalicium through the main doors unless their status is changed by the librarians or by the library itself.  (Some have visitation rights revoked, while others are permitted to enter through the Silver Door, or Scholars' Door, which leads directly to a series of private study areas collectively known as the Chancery and the Illuminarium.  The librarians themselves enter either through the main doors or the Oak Door.)

As for the Contu School: yes, there's a library in the Caldera - the fortified, enchanted sinkhole where most of the "Irregular Study" goes on."

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The reply. :)

"Okay, known to the wider public and fairly easily available to the public by donation, appointment, or institutional whim:

The Venalicium (with previously discussed limitations)
The Academy Infirmary Library
The Calomantia Gymnasium Library (such as it is)
The Menagerie Library Collection (aka Professor Pachait's Reading Room)
The Dimmae Theatre Collection
The Spavia Theatre Collection
The Library of Illusions (if you can find your way)
The Library of Matilda (Morvidus's botanical and alchemical library)
The Library of Orthographical Curiosity & Insight (technically an Aranaz library, though von Rupprecht scorns it)
The Library of the Mantle of Stars (the most famous Avila collection)
Known to the wider public but harder to access:
The Fairwell Collection (Hedi's private archive, including the donated papers of a great many famous alumni)
The Grand Alchemical Library (Godina's old crown jewel, sealed off to the student body when finances wouldn't permit round-the-clock staffing; with donations, visitors can come and be served by upperclassmen)
The Sestani Archive (Aranaz's historical collection)
The Silent Library (Durand's collection, secured against pirate attack)
The Vernin College Library New Collection (scheduled to open in the near future, when its tower is complete)
Forgotten by the wider public, but available by donation or appointment:
The Library of Longshade
The Library of Mantele
Known to the wider public and totally inaccessible:
The Legate's Library
This list isn't definitive. There are things that are both forgotten and forbidden.  But it's a fairly good start.  ;)
As for senior librarians of magical libraries: there isn't a fixed rule.  Some institutions prefer to hire trained librarians who don't have the skills to make use of the collections for their own purposes; others see magical training as a necessity.  Regardless, the standard practice is almost invariably to hire someone personally recommended by library trustees, library patrons, or - in the case of the Venalicium - by the library itself.  Given the nature of the job, character is almost seen as the most important quality in a major appointment."
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  • 2 weeks later...

And the response:

"1.  Older views are that both Oursouki and the Elumian characters are thought to be derived from a common pre-Draconic ancestor, now lost.  Modern scholarship suggests that the alphabet was adopted from an earlier native population by proto-Oursouki nomads as they began to settle in the south, but - and we say this affectionately - Renaglian scholars aren't always the best sources for this kind of thing.

2.  Oh, yeah.  Oursouki dialects are not at all uncommon in rural communities in western Saisyne and the Haida."

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