I was wondering around the Archives this morning, looking at… things… most of them very dusty and out of order. That would have to be the first thing I would fix. After all, no matter how messy things get subsequently, I at least like to start with a clean slate, so to speak. Scribbling notes on scrap paper notwithstanding.
It had been my first full day out of bed after trying to recover from the tessering mishap that had gotten me into the lands of the Selay’uu in the first place, and I was determined to enjoy it. There was an incredible number of books on the various shelves, and not all of them were sorted. The ones that were, though, were mostly reference books and copies of the Annals of the Kings, from the Gondorian scribes. I privately vowed to read all of them, when I had time. I didn’t care if they were dry and boring. It couldn’t be much thicker and more boring than some history books I’d seen in my own world.
Lying on a side table were a number of various other books, all of them legendary–at least in my world, they were. There were the original manuscripts which discussed the theory of magic in the world of Ertraia, a book of records penned by Eilyssa and Galahad, the personal journals of Katharynna Maelur Palathion, even a few treatises I had only begun to envision. At the corner of the table rested a round shape, covered with a tattered velvet cloth. Slowly, I drew it aside, and lying there on the table was a Palantir, its remote fiery depths winking at me out of darkness, shapes moving in it like a living thing. It was a disconcerting sight–a dark iris with a pupil that opened on fire. I didn’t dare to look directly into its depths, but re-covered it at once.
At the very end of the table rested a number of artifacts that were priceless to me. I didn’t dare touch the scroll from Qumran that rested there, sealed away in a glass jar with silica beads at the bottom keeping moisture from making it disintegrate. My fingers brushed over a heavy book that lay open there; the Geminya Tome from High Rhulain. Another weighty book, wrapped in a red cloth, heavy brass clasps holding it closed, rested on the end table. Slowly, I drew the cloth away, and hissed out an exclamation of delighted shock through my teeth. It was here!
It was the sort of book that every young fantasy author and authoress dreams about–beautifully bound in russet leather, its pages made of thick, heavy parchment or paper, the knowledge contained therein written in a beautiful script by hand, illuminated pages. I saw the page detailing the use of the Mortaeus flower, the infamous page of the Afanc, numerous other mythical–at least, in my world–beasts, millions of plants and their uses in magic, and spells, some of which seemed to be in Latin, but mostly in Old English. It was a book of reference as well as a book of spells; there was an incredible, indeed, an impressive amount of knowledge crammed into those few pages. It was like looking at the innards of a Jedi holocron, albeit not packed into such a tiny space. Glowing faintly blue in a nearby (locked) case were a few said holocrons, and a palm-sized, pyramidal Sith holocron that gave me the shivers. On a reading desk next to the display case stood the famous book of spells on the Wizard’s isle in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Remembering Lucy’s experience with the book, I did not open it–yet.
I was lost in reading through a beautiful original copy of The Silmarillion when someone discreetly coughed, behind me. I spun instinctively around and found myself face to face with Obi-Wan Kenobi.
I could not help staring. For those who have not met him in person, I will say that he’s a little more intimidating in person, as opposed to how he seems in the movies. His expressions are somewhat more mobile and mercuric than they seem to be in the movies; his eyes are very bright and intelligent, denoting an active mind, a person who could not stand laziness, apathy, or inactivity. This may not help those who have not met me in person, but I just barely edged over him in height. Needless to say, this didn’t seem to trouble him. The way he looked at me made me feel transparent, as if I were a portrait dressed in an old Victorian style, complete with perfect pinned curls and high-button boots with heels–which, I might add, I have made a resolution against wearing.
As any fan of the Star Wars prequels will attest, at any given time his age, though generally noted in the unspoken script, is still hard to pin down by his appearance. For those who wish to know, I am a proponent of the view that the dramatic change in apparent age between Revenge of the Sith and A New Hope is entirely due to the actions of his apprentice, and not really the effect of normal, natural aging. I swear, he must be at least part Elf, somewhere in the family tree. His age is in his eyes, not his face. Right now, he seemed to be somewhere between sixteen and twenty, though it was clear he was more adult than I am. But for someone with such bright, active eyes, he can stand perfectly still and just regard one, frighteningly. If it had not been for the uncanny feeling of being watched, he could be nearby, standing practically in the open, and I would never know it. He’s the sort of person you can never feel quite sure of; though he may be good, he isn’t safe at all.
Oh, and his tunic smelled like it had been laundered with lilac-scented soap, which was a tad odd, but I’d blame the senior housekeeper, Mrs. Whatsit, who has an odd sense of humor anyway, for that.
Anyway, there Obi-Wan was, in all his slightly-frightening-yet-strangely-reassuring glory. (You may fangirl at Obi-Wan on the Internet, but in person you’ll probably be struck dumb.) And I was staring. He wasn’t though. “Miss Erin? Mistress El’ye informed me that I’m to show you around the Mansion.” I had no idea what to say.
“All right?” I squeaked. Master Kenobi had the good grace to ignore it. He turned–with perfect grace.
“This way.” he said.
The moment was so surreal that I almost didn’t have the energy to note with excitement when we passed Frodo and Sam in the hallway–but only almost. Obi-Wan led me on a tour of the house, not going through all the residential levels, but only to the important rooms where the people who I would be most likely to need to contact in the upcoming days; the armory, where a couple of Younglings shot me in the back with a rubber arrow and earned themselves a scolding from Obi-Wan; the laboratory, which blew up, thanks to Sherlock, a moment before we could actually enter; and a brief foray into the kitchens, made still more brief by the fact that Friar Hugo chased us right out again a moment after he caught Percival, Gwaine and Lancelot sneaking some turnovers.
A moment before ceremoniously returning me to the library, Obi-Wan turned and said, “Feel free to explore on your own, and if you get lost, take my advice and ask someone for questions. Better to endure the teasing than be lost for hours. Besides, most people are friendly here, and you might as well start making friends now.” The door creaked open.
“I hope you’ll enjoy it here,” Obi-Wan said sincerely, and suddenly I knew that I would.