The Tome Edit
They were those most hit hard by the tactics used by the enemies of the Cartel during the Era of Fools, now they adapted to the new Era. Once known as the Lore, the Tome is the Cartel's arcane and magi-technological arm. Focused on innovation and expansion of their ability to analyze threats to the Cartel, drawing on a wide variety of esoteric sources of intelligence.
The Science of Exploration The Tome is, at its heart a collection of the bright, the inquisitive and the fearless. It's academics fathom the greatest heights of invention and it's explorers delve the darkest of the worlds many forgotten places in the name of knowledge. In the field of techno-arcana and 'spelunking' the Tome is unparalleled in it's ability to deploy; swiftly and cohesively, experts as well as expert assistance to potential sites all over Tyria. Weather Tome scholars and adventurers are required smuggle themselves across contested borders, brave exotic and deadly fauna or 'liberate' artifacts from the wrong hands their agents train relentlessly for the task.
The Art of Discovery The Tome is also however a collection of bright, inquisitive and fearless individuals and in the past 'debates' regarding the relative values of discoveries, methodologies or project goals have prevented prompt action being taken with disastrous results. There is at it's heart a fundamental cognitive dissonance, posses the agile mind of the questioner and never cease inquiring into the unknown, and be cautious about going too far too fast without proper preparation and due research. Striking the balance has vexed some of the finest minds in Tyria, but the Tome is no stranger to experimenting, and with each new Legate the Tome adapts, its minds forever standing on the edge of the abyss staring brazenly into the depths.
The following contains an in-depth description of those places where members of the Tome may work, study, gather, and dwell, as well as a brief history of each.
A foyer is the outermost reach of the Tome’s domain. Prior to the rise of the Elder Dragons, there were three foyers scattered across the globe. One was in Lion’s Arch, the capital of Kryta at the time. A second was located in Kaineng City, in Cantha. The last was in Vabbi, one of the three Provinces of Elona. Since the Elder Dragon’s rise, the foyers of Vabbi and Kaineng City have been cut off, assumed destroyed, while Lion’s Arch’s was heavily devastated with the rest of the city.
As of 1325 AE, two could have been found on continental Tyria, located in places of high interest. Both were hidden by methods only members of the Tome understand, and therefore could only be found by them. Every foyer came with a teleportation pad installed, marked by a golden disc on the ground one yard in diameter. One of those Foyers was destroyed in the Night of the Falling Axe.
Beneath the azure waves of the arch can be found various rubble and remains of the once grand capital of Kryta. Among these are a set of ruins identified by markings not known to any who view them. Members of the Tome will know what symbol to trace over the facade of stone, causing it shift in property. They can then slide through the stone like water, and emerge on the other side into fresh air and the Lion's Arch foyer.
Constructed of polished marble, the chamber is circular and about 30 feet in diameter. Columns hold up a ceiling, at the center of which appears to be a crystalline window, which allows naturally occurring sunlight to sift down upon a statue of a lion. Between the columns, one can see an unfettered view of the seascape around them, as though the rubble covering this foyer wasn't actually there. A number of plants grow in small, hovering pots of lavish style, providing fresh air.
Since the Night of the Falling Axe, this once grand Foyer was lost in a terrible explosion.
Within the bustling metropolis of humanity’s last great kingdom on continental Tyria, resides yet another foyer of the Tome. It can be found within the Durmand Hall, along the Kormir low road. In the library, along the back most-shelves, can be found a depiction of the goddess, Kormir, though it seems incomplete. Placing one’s hand upon Kormir’s outstretched fingers will allow one entrance to the Foyer beyond.
Constructed of polished marble, the chamber is tiny, barely nine feet in diameter. Shaped as a Hexagon, each wall bears the image of one of the six gods. Once inside, the room seals itself, the entrance way showing the sixth god, Kormir, whose picture is incomplete, for it seems as though her outstretched hand still seeks another to grasp; the way to leave the Foyer. Soft light seems to flow from each depiction of the six.
Although there have been several plans for a additional foyers since the rise of the Elder Dragons, a location for one has yet to be decided. Some believe Rata Sum may be a viable location, though others are concerned with the technology-driven asura. Others have suggested near the Durmand Priory’s monastery, yet a precise location to hide it hasn’t been discovered yet either. For the time being, other0 foyers do not exist.
The Vestibule is a large chamber made of alabaster and marble, in the shape of an octagon; it resembles the same design as the Lion’s Arch foyer. At its center is a statue in the form of a Canthan Mage, made of jade, which supposedly is a relic from the Zhang family (he was a prominent member of the bloodline, whom lived during the time of the Jade Wind, and fell to it while attempting to protect his numerous scrolls and tomes).
The gaps between the columns which hold up the ceiling reveal a sight many mortals would never see. In most directions one views naught but endless darkness, punctuated by sparks of light; the heavens and the stars. However, one place offers a view of what could only be the planet of Tyria itself, as though this place didn't even exist on the world, while others show the sun and the moon.
Historical documents clearly state what one see's beyond the Vestibule is nothing but mesmeric magic, eternally powered by the Jade Statue, meant to hide this place's location, and impress members of the Tome with the idea that, they and their arts are above the sordid affairs of the world.
In the center of the room, surrounding the jade statue, are three teleporter pads, connecting to two of the foyers in Tyria. Two remains inactive. Around each are vague markings, which used to allude to a different allegiance within the Tome.
Small pathways run from this central part of the chamber to each corner. Before each, one can see a marble statue of various members of the Tome from the past. Each of these people in turn holds a large, crystalline, scarlet sphere; a switch. Unlike those from the foyers, these work only with the proper command. The right phrase or word will cause the statues to shift, revealing hidden passageways, and any of the eight will function to bring one to any location further within the Tome’s domain.
The Grand LibraryEdit
The Grand Library of the Tome is the one chamber accessible to all members of the sect, and is the largest of its archives to date. Aside from a wealth of knowledge, it also acts as a common room for members of the sect to congregate within and mingle, able to safely discuss any number of topics among their own. It is two floors in height, though its sheer size is said to have grown over the ages.
Both levels of the grand library share similar furnishings. Both boast wall-to-wall red carpeting, the color of the Sect. The walls of both levels are entirely hidden by bookshelves and scroll racks, each of which is filled to capacity. Armchairs, couches, tables, and desks can be found on both floors, particularly in the corners, each comfortably padded with cushions. Crystals hover in select locations, spreading a constant light over all. A variety of plants flourish in hovering, lavish pots.
The second level of the library is largely a balcony, open to looking upon the first level beneath it. Sturdy oak railings act as a safeguard to prevent the absent-minded or those absorbed in their work from falling. The eastern and western sections have spiral staircases, allowing access from the first floor.
The first level of the library contains numerous shelves of books and scrolls, lined in rows and columns, and carefully organized. The southern wall has a door leading to a chamber with a statue of the sect’s founder bearing a teleportation crystal. The northern wall features a large area with chairs, couches, and coffee tables before a massive fireplace containing a magical, ever-burning fire; a place for members to relax and socialize (Liquor Cabinets and other refreshments are accessible here). The center of the first floor contains a depression in the floor, containing many desks and tables with which members may work at, the sides of which hold cabinets containing parchment, ink, quill, and other supplies.
Private Libraries, Studies, and OfficesEdit
Officials and above ranked members of the Tome are privileged with their own studies, offices, or libraries, at the Master’s whim. Each may furnish or use them to their own whim, and may invite others within the Sect to these locations at their leisure. Only Legates and the Master are able to enter such places uninvited. Only the Master may enter a Legate’s private chambers uninvited. None enter the Master’s chambers without invitation.
As of the reformation of the Tome, these offices can be accessed from corridors connected to the Grand Library. The Eastern Wall of the Grand Library has two halls which connect and house the offices of those of the Ivory Circle. The Western Wall of the Grand Library has two halls which connect and house the offices of those in the Obsidian Circle.
The Halls of the Three CirclesEdit
The Northern Wall of the Grand Library houses two halls which do not connect. The eastern hall leads to a large chamber carved in pure white Marble and Alabaster. Eight pillars holds up a high ceiling, from the top of which sunlight pours down. At the center of this circle of pillars, is a vast circle on the floor, the edges gilded in gold, the circle itself comprised of purest ivory. Around the circle are chairs padded with cushions and pillows of a matching white color, and a single throne of matching cushioning. This is the Hall of Ivory, the place where those of the Ivory Circle congregate for meetings with their Legate and Officials. There is a double door along the Northwestern wall of this chamber.
The western hall of the Grand Library’s northern wall leads to a large chamber carved of black Marble and Alabaster. Eight pillars hold up a high ceiling, from the top of which moonlight pours down. At the center of this circle of pillars, is a cast circle on the floor, the edges gilded in gold, the circle itself comprised of purest obsidian. Around the circle are chairs padded with cushions and pillows of a matching black color, and a single throne of matching cushioning. This is the Hall of Obsidian, the place where those of the Obsidian Circle congregate for meetings with their Legate and Officials. There is a double door along the Northeastern wall of this chamber.
The Doors of the Obsidian and Ivory Halls reveal stairwells that rise up to a third chamber. It appears much like an auditorium for lectures, which many seats at various heights in a circle around the chamber. The Chamber itself is comprised of Red Marble, though is absent columns. At the center of the hall is a circle, gilded in gold, surrounding a circle made entirely of Ruby. The seats around the chamber are comfortably cushioned in both black and white cushions. In the center of the circle, facing the other seats, are three throne-like chairs; One with black cushions, one with white, and the last with red. The Master’s and Legates’ chairs.
A new addition when the Lore evolved into the Tome, the Laboratory can be accessed from two halls along the south wall, which connect to a vast laboratory built entirely of Asuran technology. Although the space is so vast is almost emulates the size of the Grand Library itself, much of it is empty, waiting for new innovations and inventions by the Tome’s numerous magitech engineers. The space was created by the Lore’s Elementalists, who moved the earth and shaped the stone to Asuran architecture.
The Vaults offer a vastly different view than the library, offices, hall of circles, and laboratory. While libraries are warm, welcoming, comfortable, and pleasant, the vaults are more akin to a dungeon. They exist within a maze-like system of corridors, with seldom few souls aware of which stretches of blank wall contain vaults and which are just blank wall, or even trapped. Torches line the walls, their flickering light confusing and disorienting, further giving off an air of a dungeon.
The Tome's Vaults contain truly forbidden and valuable tomes and scrolls, but more commonly, artifacts of power. Several vaults deep in the maze contain all documentation of the Cartel's activities over the ages; all of the legal, and especially the illegal and illicit, activities. In some rare occasions, the Vaults are used as prison cells for the Lore. Only the Inquisitors and Master can properly navigate this place safely, for numerous traps litter the halls. Even then, to open the vaults requires the proper knowledge and tools, as many have been sealed and locked by magic.
Despite this, it is not uncommon for new members of the Tome to stand guard outside certain vaults, simple drudge work. They are given the knowledge of how to open their vault and what lies within, often as a test of one’s loyalty or ambition.
A small party of Shadow once entered the Vaults with the intent to remove documents that might harm the Cartel if they ever became public. After their mutilated remains were discovered, no other attempt was made, as the Master Shadow was merely testing the security of the Vaults, and was satisfied with the results. The Jade statue in the Vestibule is actually of the Master of the Lore assassinated by the Shadow at the end of the Era of Bosses. Rather than die to the Shadow, he transformed himself into Jade, having discovered how to duplicate the Jade Wind on a minor scale. The Vestibule and all inner domains of the Tome do not exist in Tyria, or on the world, but within The Mists. There are numerous secret passages to be found behind various bookshelves in the Grand Library, but they require such specific information to open that few have ever been stumbled upon. The Master of the Tome up to 1324 AE was kept a prisoner in his own study by his brother, whom was the true Master.
The Vestibule has historically been guarded by Kurzrick Wards. A cunning, if somewhat genocidal method for protecting the vital inner areas of the structure from intrustion. Each statue-entrace has a small secondary switch that must be enabled after the first at the other end of the tunnel. The entire system is carefuly timed so that a reasonably swift entrance must be made along the tunnel to prevent the defence activating. When it does, by dint of time or triggering from further within the structure, sluices open in the roof of the tunnel allowing sand and seawater to flood the space and trap or asphyixiate any intruder.