Challenge #02223-F033: Treasure (n)steemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  2 months ago


The Archivaas learning about the libraries at Alexandria and Timbuktu -- Anon Guest

They say that if you want to annoy a Human Librarian, you should get them started on the Library of Alexandria. It's one of the more famous instances of knowledge destruction in Human history. It's famous as one of the most devastating hits to human progress in all of their devastating histories of Humankind, right next to the Shattering.

Less well-known is the fact that the Library of Alexandria was burned down four times during Earth's pre-Shattering period. Even less well-known are the book smugglers of Timbuktu. There have always been wars and other catastrophes that threaten stores of knowledge. Just as there have always been those determined to preserve whatever they could.

Should you be silly enough to bring up Alexandria to an Archivaas, they will glare at you and say, "We know, that's why we exist," and start telling you the exact histories of all four times Alexandria was burned and how much knowledge was lost. Then, if you are lucky, you are directed to the Timbuktu Memorial Mural. It depicts the fight, and flight, to keep thousands of books safe from the outrageous fortunes delivered by ignorant zealots who wanted nothing more than a world filled with ignorant zealotry.

It's in the public reading areas, and can be read even by someone who doesn't know how to read. All the important figures face to the right, and are highlighted by golden halos[1]. It is therefore easy to read the entire mural from left to right.

At the start, a figure at a window spots some invaders approaching an important building. Following that is a complicated mission involving multiple people approaching the library with empty containers and creeping away with them full. The villains sleep in the foreground, unaware.

From the array of houses, the heroes of the piece load up all-terrain vehicles, boats, and themselves to take the book on a long journey. Away from the strife. Overland, hiding between outbreaks of violence. Always guarding the books from those who would destroy them. Over rivers in crescent-shaped boats. Overland in jeeps.

Finally, the precious books are scanned, copied, and otherwise digitised. Released into the cloud where, theoretically, they should never die. These people made sure that the books would never perish, even if the ignorant insisted on burning them.

"This is where the Archivaas were born," they tell you. "With those who rescue the past, rather than attempt to destroy it. The Shattering enforced that philosophy, when Humanity realised that we had broken up the sum of our knowledge into parts that may never come back to us. We are the guardians of that which could have been lost. We are the saviours of that which would have otherwise become nothing. We are the preservers of every voice that speaks. We say the names that are not always spoken. We spread the word that is not always heard. We keep. We share. We protect. This is our faith. This is our mission."

[1] Faiths may change in Human history, but some iconography is almost universal. For example, association of goodness being indicated by a disk or ring of gold, thereby indicating light.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Pervach]

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