The library was an awkward fixture in a land that was really nothing morethan grass and buffalo and people in (awkward) cohesion. The library stood on aledge, uselessly sheltered by cliff overhang²it was more a bother, when strayclumps of dirt and rock fell from the cliff onto the library¶s roof. It was out of place on the ledge, for it was a semi-modern building with its glass windows andwooden door, where all the other buildings were made of red mud brick and adobe.
architects were long dead, bones since turned to powder, but the library¶sdesigners lay in new-built mausoleums. And grand mausoleums they were, too, for the library¶s designers were royal people.Why royal people²royal people with education, and knowledge, andhopefully, since they were running the country, some smarts²decided to put alibrary on a lonely cliff ledge, in a region of illiterate, nomadic peoples was beyondBildr. He was the librarian, not that anyone had known him by that title since he¶darrived. No one had even walked in the door. He¶d seen the prairie people chasing buffalo on their lithe horses on the grasses below, he¶d seen them look up at thelibrary with some odd mixture of curiosity and trepidation, but no one had knockedon the library door. Sometimes, Bildr felt that he was more an archivist than alibrarian²for after all, books were meant to be read, vellums meant to be held,letters meant to be traced with young fingers²but with the documents that hekept? None of that was happening.He sighed as he polished the window-glass, starting from the pointed archdown to the narrow sill, and thought about the library, and his own (shaky) statusas librarian. It was, he thought, a better job than his previous²helping the King¶s booksmaster restore old, damaged documents²that constant crouching over brittle, cracked books, the squinting at faded, torn illuminations²but at least then,he felt as though he was actually doing something. Here, though his title² librarian²was prestigious, and his pay generous, it meant very little. He shelvedthe books that he received from the main library in Archetta, boxed the ones thatwere requested elsewhere, ate his three meals a day, and sent off the books, at thelocal trading post, then returned to the library to sleep in his room off the library. If reading was a religion of sorts, it was his vicarage; but unfortunately for Bildr, hissermons went unheard.That was, until Imin came along.