While I clean up after the previous Guardian, she spends much of her time hiding out in this bibliotheca of Domus Exsilium. I am rather envious of her, especially since she has left this rather tedious task of looking after the isle to me. Look after it! I think it looks after itself well enough but her ego will not allow her to accept this one, fundamental fact!
I owe a lot to Aila da Silva. She nurtured me every step of my journey into this life I live on Yrejveree. Me, Kieran Lee, man on the run. Me, given a second chance, a third chance of life here on Yrejveree. But I’ll have to confess, she’s a difficult person to live with!
The bibliotheca is a large, but cosy room packed with books from wall to wall, from ancient hardcovers with ornate spines to dog-eared and faded, much-loved paperbacks.
There is a plate of cookies for hungry visitors around somewhere, with a large jug of iced apple tea. Some of the people who visit this bibliotheca are more regular than others, and some seem to have always been here. We pay them no mind, all buildings have their specters, even if the haunters are the living.
There are many large couches, divans and lazy chairs for the lost visitor to snuggle up in, with rugs, patchwork quilts and fluffy cushions. The carpet is rather faded and worn, but is quite clean; the troupe of blue Mountain Imps who are the domus’s cleaning service are really quite efficient when they’re not distracted.
A porthole-shaped window with a wide, stained glass rim with an intricate, mosaic-like pattern and a clear-glass circle in the middle overlooks the tumultous Maris Exsilii, the Sea of Exiles . This window provides an excellent view of the Reefs of Gloaming.
Often, in the moonlight, one will be able to spot the forms of mermaids, glistening as they fill the night-sky with inhuman music. Often, the library looks like a peculiar menagerie since there are pookas of various forms, goblins, cats and other furred and feathered visitors.
A lion cub lazes in front of the Guardian’s massive mahogany study table and Dylluan, her favourite owl keeps her company as she writes. 🦉🦁
No one really knows much about the Guardian.
She is an ungraceful, relatively unremarkable creature who seems to be held in awe by any number of the inhabitants of Yrejveree. It is well known that she has a temper, keeps mostly to herself, a select number of friends (mostly non-human) and her books. She is known to possess an irritating amount of self-possession and often annoys her visitors with this rather unbecoming trait. She enjoys feeding cats and dragons- being famed amongst the latter for her dragon-sized fish biscuits ( visit Carmina Draconis to find out more), and can often be found wading out to Maris Exsilii at dawn.
Aila declares she feels more at home there than anywhere else in the world.
Amongst the magical dramatis personae of this faerie isle, she is very startlingly ordinary, because she is uncompromisingly and defiantly human. She has certain gifts, which she does not often broadcast, but she definitely cannot fly without aid of a friendly dragon or two, and she is no flighty sprite. The only time she shapechanges is in the water, which is probably why she loves it so much.
If you stumble upon the Bibliotheca at midnight, do not be surprised if you find Aila communing with the discorporeal presences within the Domus Exsilium, even as music emanates from either the old Gramophone tucked in a cosy nook within the library or a grand piano with keys lovingly handled by ghostly fingers whom she will swear belongs to Franz Liszt.
She’s a little batty, that Guardian, but relatively harmless. Go ahead, grab a book and make yourself at home. Chances are, she won’t even know you’re there, since she’s always engrossed in one thing or another.
(c) Anita Harris Satkunananthan. All Rights Reserved.
This feature picture of old book bindings at the Merton College Library is by Tom Murphy VII and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Found on Wikimedia Commons.