The lesson concluded, and all of the children felt renewed with happiness at the end of the day. Will and Andrel left the lecture theatre and headed eagerly to the library in the Tower of Mercury, located in the Main Building and the tallest of all the towers. Tayna did not wish to be left alone, so she followed - moaning the whole way about befriending miscreants. They became so annoyed that they told her to shut up, and she glared at them sourly for the remainder of the journey.
Will was beginning to realise how physically demanding life at the Sanctuary was. The amount of hallways and stairs traversed to eventually reach the long corridor to the Tower of Mercury exhausted him. However, when he reached the library, it was like entering a different world.
Unlike the cold and bare interior of most of the castle, the library was warm, bright and comfortable. Once into the room, the dark wooden bookcases were visibly arranged like wheel spokes, in the middle of the room was a librarian's desk encircled by tables fitted with red-glass paraffin lamps. Opposite the double white doors was a marble fireplace surrounded by leather bean bags and armchairs. There was a second floor to the library, a gallery railed in brass, reachable only by long, matching brass ladders which slid all the way around on wheeled mechanisms. There were four bay windows around the room, adorned with red drapery and cushions along the ledge to read and relax on. The walls of the ground floor were plum purple, receding to the castle's natural, pale stone on the second floor.
'Wow,' Will mouthed, gazing around.
'That is the common reaction,' smiled Andrel. As they headed further in, Will saw even more startling features of the library. At the librarian's desk were designated areas for incoming and outgoing books, and these were piled up so high that they almost reached the apex of the roof, where a glowing, brass chandelier hung down. However, magick seemed to play a part, and though the stacks swayed dangerously, they were steady like held by invisible strings. He also noticed that above the fireplace, which spat embers and crackled with red fire, an oil portrait was hung of a man who closely resembled Principal Paradam. He stood in profile, with his aquiline nose, pointed chin and white hair styled in a long side plait, he looked grand and deserving of the golden plaque below which read:
WHITEAS ALGAEUS LAMORAK PARADAM - SANCTUARY PRINCIPAL 8266 - 8303.
"Protect the dreamer, become the dream."
As Will looked at the portrait, he remembered what Tayna had said, "this Sanctuary was opened just four years ago...there was one Sanctuary before this, somewhere in the North..." The former principal died just when the Southern Sanctuary was created? It led Will to the question he had been pondering for a while -what happened in the North?
'Will!' Tayna called, standing at the end of an aisle, beckoning him. Each row was identified by metal signs swinging above, titles ranging from 'FICTION' to 'ZOOLOGY'. As they walked down, Will saw that the books ranged from brand new, with gilded leather covers, to old tomes with unravelling spines that released the library's unique aroma.
'So,' Will said, 'where's the Elemental section?'
Tayna sighed defeatedly, 'it's over here,' she said, leading them.
Andrel smirked. 'What happened to committing treason?'
She turned and glared at him, 'don't think I'm on board with this. But I'm just as curious about the Twins as you are. If there was a legal way to do this, I'd do it.' Her expression softened and she turned away from them as they circled the outside of the aisles. 'Evidently, there isn't, so I'll have to deal with the consequences. Besides, Paradam did instruct me to take Will to the 'Elemental' section. He never specified what we weren't allowed to do during that visit....' she stopped suddenly. 'We're here.'
Will looked and saw with surprise that they stood in front of the curving wall, where a door was situated, dark wood and inlaid with gold in swirling patterns, encircling an elaborate 'E'. His brow furrowed, they were seven floors up, and the door would lead to open air. But when Tayna pressed down the handle, Will gazed into a darkened but visibly large study room. She saw his marvelling expression and smiled, 'surely you didn't think that the library would be normal of all places?'
'I was hoping,' Will murmured, following Tayna in. They heard a strange banging noise from behind, and when they turned, Andrel was sitting on the floor rubbing his forehead.
'I don't think I'm allowed in,' he concluded, reaching out his hand and seeing it press up against the space in the doorway like it was glass.
'Ohh,' said Tayna ponderingly, 'of course, I'm so stupid.' She looked down at Andrel, trying to suppress a smile. 'Looks like you were right. They don't count it as treason if an Elemental looks at another's book, but you're locked out. I bet any non-Elementals would be.'
'This is so not fair,' Andrel grumbled, 'this was my idea.' He grunted with frustration, 'fine, dig up what you can and I'll meet you out here.' He left before Will or Tayna could protest, and though he tried to act confident, but it was not difficult to sense his dejection.