Quiet in the Library
Chapter 3: Mypos or Bust
Location: Royal Myposian Library
Timeline: Day 3, morning
The Royal Library had had a good reputation in the past. The building still looked impressive from the outside. Three people walked up the stairs, passing the columns holding up the roof, stepping through the double doors into a massive room, filled with desks, tables, books... The captain stepped up to the front desk and had a hushed conversation with the clerk. He looked at her confused for a moment, until Daenelia handed him a piece of paper, signed by the King's secretary, granting Daenelia and her party access to the library, provided they complied with the rules and not remove a single sheet of paper.
There were perhaps 2 visitors, elderly men, with beards and a scholarly look to them. There were also at least 6 librarians moving about, straightening books, moving books, and reorganizing shelves full of books. There was on central table, and Daenelia motioned for Grey, Erm and Theory to follow her through the room. Grey was looking at every shelf as if it contained piles of gold. Or maybe engine parts - expensive, awesome, and something she didn't understand one bit. Erm was looking a bit pale. Theory did not notice, as he was staring at the books. And the books. And... books! Theory goggled helplessly in view of the richness around him. In the voyage thus far, he'd been confined to only the volumes he had brought with him. For someone of his temperament, it was like being taken out of the swimming pool and tossed into the sea. His hands itched to take one down, but he restrained himself.
"Isn't this amazing?" he hissed at Erm, unaware of the boy's paleness.
"Yes" Erm replied, feeling a little faint. He squinted at the spine of one of the books, "What does this say?"
Theory looked where Erm was looking before asking "You do have your letters, don't you?" Erm turned his head and looked at Theory. "Of course I do, I had basic lessons a while back."
"A guide to agriculture in the Lower Green fields of the Upper Plates'" Theory read without even seeming to hear Erm.
"We want maps, don't we captain?" Erm asked, as he cradled his injured arm a little closer to his chest.
Daenelia nodded as she pulled out the map and put it on the table to point out where the troubled spot was. "See, this is definitely in Elladia, and probably even close to Mypos. But the spot that seems to be marked is not on land. I think. But I also know that some smaller islands were never properly mapped, and other islands have sunk beneath the sea. I think... I hope... it is a clue to the Lost Treasure of Quazlatah."
Daenelia looked at the kitling who was looking at a librarian balancing on a not too sturdy stool. Grey, however, had stopped paying attention to the maps. Maps weren't how kitlings operated - at least, they weren't how Grey operated. She considered, for one brief moment, what might happen if that stool tipped just a little further.. but she knew that if she ruined what the Captain was working on, she'd be stuck here forever. So far she hadn't gotten in trouble for the sticky mishap on the deck of the ship, and she'd do well to keep her nose out of trouble.. at least while they were docked.
"So... that might mean we have to go under water?!" Erm asked in quite a high pitched voice. "M..maybe.. the land we want is just hidden somehow."
Theory perked up. "Aah, there are devices for diving under water and taking a supply of air with you! It would be a most interesting challenge to devise one for our specific situation." Oblivious to Erm's distress, he peered at the map, adjusting his glasses. "Do we have any idea where we should begin looking for clues?"
Grey shook herself as though she were covered in water. Water was probably the most frightening thing ever. Really ever. Even the captain was not as scary as going under water. And putting more heavy things on to go under water longer? Not something she was going to volunteer for. Ships were for flying! Maybe floating on the water. But on top of the water, not under it. "It better just be a tiny island. Else I might watch for sharks from the shore." She eyed Theory and the captain. "Wet fur is no good."
Daenelia considered Theory's question, while smiling at Grey's and Erm's concerns about having to go underwater. "Not much to go on, just these coordinates. The Lost Treasure of Quazlath is a of course a legendary treasure of the pirate king Blue Barry, who has been dead for 150 years now. It is said he looted a palace in the Drowned Lands below the Old West. So anything we can find on where Blue Barry might have hidden his loot... "
The group stood around the table, more or less focused on the maps and books that were brought and sought. "I bet every pirate alive has been after Blue Barry's treasure at some point in their career..." Daenelia mused. Erm brightened up a little, this was something he had heard about.
"I heard, that Blue Barry had a brother, who wanted the treasure to himself. They had a big battle in the sky, and Blue Barry shot down this brother's ship." He grinned, glad to be able to contribute something.
Theory frowned, and put on his lecture face. "That's absurd. Blue Barry lived 150 years ago. They did not have cannons then. Or steampowered skyships. They're a recent innovation, you know. In fact, the mechanism that allows -"
Daenelia looked up from a map she had been studying. "Actually, there were two Blue Barrys. And the last one died 30 years ago, when the great Pirate Warswere fought. He was the original Blue Barry's grandson, and took his grandfather's name to scare his enemies. And yes, Erm, he did have a brother, this younger Barry. Pete, I think. He was a miserable pirate captain, always second to his brother. And Barry did kill his brother. I never heard the tale of them fighting over the treasure.. but it makes sense. What if we're not looking for Blue Barry's ship, but his brother's?"
Daenelia pulled out the original map she had. "Look, here, off the coast of this island to the north of Mypos. The mark is purple. And wasn't Pete's nickname... Purple Pete?" Daenelia felt a moment of epiphany. Then she felt silly for suggesting it. "Nah, that would be too obvious."
Theory, having had his lecture cut off, found some books about Myposian and Elladian history, as well as some maps of the islands above Mypos. "Well," he said, scanning the text quickly. "This says that 36 years ago two ships went north, commanded by two brothers. They don't say whether or not they were pirates, but only one returned, apparently."
"Barry and Pete!" Grey shouted. "Shhhh!" a librarian hissed behind her. Grey pulled her ears back, and hissed back at the librarian.
Theory put one book down, and opened another, his finger following the lines of handwritten text. "There is something odd up north," he said, looking troubled. "This book reports some variety of mysterious fog, between Mypos and the island right above it. Ships that go in either disappear or get turned around, leaving the fog from the exact coordinates they entered it." He read a bit more. Then he looked up. "This must be alchemical in nature. No normal fog can do that to a ship. It says it confuses helmsmen, and navigators, as if their minds were fogged." He slammed the book down. "Captain, I need to see this fog! It sounds most intriguing!"
Daenelia looked at Erm, who seemed excited too. Grey was bouncing up and down, and Theory just stared at her with an intensity she did not know he had in him. The light on his glasses made him look oddly creepy.
"Alright, Mister Hill," Daenelia smiled slyly. "We will go and see the fog in the North. It is the best lead we have."