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White Swallow

The White Swallow of Narra
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Common copies of books and scrolls lined the library open to the public, but the true gems of literature were stored deep within the antiquitarium.
For many, that place was forbidden, not from any sense of entitlement or neglect of education for the common folk, but because the general public mustn't be trusted to not bring harm to delicate knowledge passed down from the age of enlightenment, whether deliberately or fully intentionally (and such political harm is commonplace and well known. Not even art was sacred, or it was too sacred to be depicted). But most dared not to come unless they had good intention since it was located in the westernmost reaches of the military complex, next to the barracks.

Maps, charts, religious texts, only for mystics to be seen and studied and passed down in the towers of the one palace now turned library and school.
But could not the Jaleyaanan scribe-magicians produce more copies of them at ease? At a price of degrading the text on the original, most dared not the risk of endlessly reproducing prized antiquities in any other method but plain transcription, which took time and effort to reproduce.
armapstars2.png

Once a manor-castle, it's been a long time since the building has been retrofitted into a library and a beautiful one at that. The entryway was a spacious room whose flooring held a mosaic depicting various constellations, which were also mirrored at the deep blue dome above it in gold. Certain stars, such as the Hamtares, Balasan, Imtuar and Šaltanus were especially brightly marked, for these were among the brightest on the sky. The southern wing of the library was where the newly made school for medical practitioners lay, and it was staffed and visited by many people of various races and creeds, most extraordinary of which were the occasional anaphite curators.
The north wing, however, was where the library was most grand. Assistants were around to help retrieve books and scrolls of higher levels, and there were many pillows, carpets and low seatings to comfortably read, and if one could not, Sahiyi mystics, easily identified by their white robes and black drapes around their shoulders, offered to teach the skill or hold classes on given topics like mathematics and writing.

But, the towers and the western hallways, they were forbidden.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Liberty had traveled far and long under the scorching sun. So when she had entered the library the difference in temperature felt so cooling.
She had asked a walking assistant about the organization of the literature. She learned of the south and north wing. Of the forbidden section. Oh? The books are sorted by their thematics? How lovelly. Libby immediately headed to the section with love poetry. Looked at their titles and themes.
Poems full of nostalgia about a ruined love.
Poems dedicated to a loved ones grace.
Poems that celebrate love itself.
All full of eloquence and carefully choosen words.
Secret love poems, ones compiled by various poets? Oh my. Now that's something that caught Libby's interest. She took a book from that shelf and sat comfortably down on the siting area. All ready to enjoy works full of emotional outpur.
 
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White Swallow

The White Swallow of Narra
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The first filled page in the book read.
»Not the spring in Ur Sanpur
Not the voice of rushing water
Nor the song of courting birds
None of those is love. «
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Usually Liberty was a fast reader. But not with poems. Reading them slowly with their metric tone intact was most optimal. And then to think of their meaning.
Oh what is love then dear anonymous writer?
She had then turned to the next page, the next poem.
»Stay under the night stars,
Stay lying at the river bank
Keep me company in a frozen night.«
This one had come with it's reply.
» Tahir, your yellow acacia i am not,
Red in colour I am,
And prefer the heat of the rising sun,
Over you.«
Liberty had chuckled. It seems that for this lady the poem had not won her heart.
 
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White Swallow

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And the next page.
»Red your heart bleeds
Red like pomegranate beads
Thus I thrust my knife again

Love is more eternal than flesh. «
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Yikes yikes yikes.
Liberty checked the cover of the book again. It's not like her sereti is that bad that she accidentally picked up a book of subtle and not so subtle threats, right?
Nope definetlly secret love poems. Oh Gods she hoped this one was written just in metaphor she didn't get because of the cultural barrier.
She slowly turned the page to the next poem.

»Crying heart of crimson shade,
Let not the crys of great eagles fade,
Come home to the lonliest arms,
Before they're bewitched by others charms.«

That's mor- Yeah no it still has threat vibes. But still. Despite being written by different authors. Thematically they felt like a flowing river going from one angle to the next.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Now now. That seems so sweet and gentle. More inline with what Liberty had expected. Such care for a lived one and need.
She turned the page ever so expectant.

»Arid weather rites,
Among endless fights.
I think of you at night
As you are my light«

A soldiers love song? Kept by it's recipent. Oh, Libby did hope that the writer did come home to his love.
 
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White Swallow

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»I've fallen out of love with you,
I've fallen in love with the living
my god forgive me
for I've fallen in love with the reflection of you «
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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How devoted. Liberty took a moment to appriciate this poem. There was something about it that stuck to her. She took a stop from reading the poems to glance around the library. People were browsing books and scrolls. The whole library seemed so peaceful. With a smile Liberty repositioned herself on the low chair and went back to reading the book of poems.

»I behold the towering walls of our homes,
I search the nooks and cranies to find a path.
So if you wish me there,
Light the window of your room,
And guide me to your adobe.«
 
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White Swallow

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The next page was scratched and the text was written in a different handwriting.
»O great hunter,
my love
find me there,
there where the stars glisten
above and beneath us
there where we reflect upon them.
I will find your slain prey.«
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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SOMEONE WROTE IN THE LIBRARY BOOK. Liberty looked over the scratched out text. Oh who would do such a horrendous thing?!
Wait. The text scribbled in...
A secret message in a book full of secret messages? Stars both above and bellow. Like the entry room with its mosaic and dome full of stars?
Well. If this book desecrator might still be there. Liberty wants to set them straight about respecting public property like this.
So she headed out, book in her embrace, to the entry room. One of the constellations is known as the hunter, she hadn't paid attention to them when she entered, but is he perhaps depicted in there?
 
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White Swallow

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The constellation of the hunter, as mighty as described in the poem.

View attachment 268


While he was pointing his arrow at other constellations it was unlikely that the writer of the message meant any of those other star signs.
He was, however, oriented towards one of the bookshelves.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Liberty stood around the constalation for a bit. First checking the next page in the book of poems.
Normal and untarnished. Good.
She then looked at the direction of the pointed arrow. Fixing up the position of her glasses and heading to the pointed bookshelf.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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An outstanding book indeed. She slipped out the book with one hand and opened it up.
A book on military tactics?
Well. She could open it up and read it as research if she ever wanted to write a more tactical story. And check for any crude scribblings in the book while potentially awaiting the hunter's admirer.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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The pages of the book were fine to hold.
»Issam the Wolf's thoughts on Military Tactics«
Holding a book open with just one hand was quite easy for Liberty. Flipping the page with her thumb was a skill she had practiced many times and perfected.
»Chapter One: Musing about the war on the Temple's floor«
 
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White Swallow

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The chapter had nothing of note, however, it laid out the basic principles of defence in confined spaces, it seems to be mainly an introduction to the subject. The analysis is based off one of his battles in a temple, which is the namesake of this chapter.
The next chapter title read: Using the environment to your benefit.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Liberty was quite engrossed in the subject. This man of war had a surprisingly delicate way of writting. The first chapter had given her much insight on things she hadn't considered. And such enlightenment to Liberty continued well into the next chapter. It had comparisons between the previous battles environment and new ones for comparison and how to take advantage from them.
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Quite an interesting chapter. It had detailed the imprtance of some lesser thought of functions in war and military organization.
The fourth chapter, detailed how to pay attention to your own armies weak points and how to use them to your own advantage. Issam had detailed an exploit of his where it was difficult to defend a tactical position in a steep valley and had instead planned an ambush with many hiden archers. With great success.
The fifth chapter, went to great lenght about learning your opponents disposition and leanings. Where you find weakness. You strike.
The sixth, detailed the need for understanding the morale of your soilders. How long marches affect them and how deadly exhausting conditions could be. And how you could exhaust an oposing army before the battle even starts while keeping your own well mantained.
Liberty had felt a pinch in her stomach. Ah she had been engrosed reading for quite a while now.she squated down. Putting the book of love poems on her lap she quickly flipped through tactics book. How many chapters wer ethere in total?
13.
Ah wait. A small tinted paper fell out of the book. Liberty instinctively reached out to pick it up.
 
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White Swallow

The White Swallow of Narra
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The chapters titles read as follows:
Taking heed
Assessing the enemy
For the morale
Askin the important questions
You and advanced tactics
Overanalysing tactics as a failure to adaptation
Using the advantage
Overlooking the rhinoceros in the grass
Aligning strategy
For the finale
 
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Liberty TS Hope

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Liberty picked up the paper, a bookmark actually. It had something written on it, »I did enjoy these titles, good eye habibi«
The titles? Liberty looked over the chapter names again.
M
U
S
T
A
F
A
Y
O
U
O
A
F
Ah, a classic, Liberty thought, insulting people in hidden ways in your literature. She returned the bookmark from where it fell. And looked over to the constalation of the hunter.
"What were your intentions you lout."
She put the book on her lap and bonked her forehead ontop of them. She only now thought of the fact that the book defiling note didnt even have a time written on it or implied. It can't have been a timed meeting.
She grimly looked at both books. Maybe she should have just reported this book defiling to an assistant and not have played as a little messenger of book justice.
 
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White Swallow

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Must've been quite a low chance to find a book that has been, defiled or marred in one way or another.
Let alone a second one. What would be the chance of that?
Just how many books have secret notes or messages within them, this has to be a coincidence. Right?

Between the bookshelves walked one assistant, holding a rather elaborate book. Its cover was ornate and painted in intricate gold blossoms.
 
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