The library-- or this small portion of it, anyway-- is remarkably dim, the tall wooden bookshelves casting down a path of darkness between them no matter which you choose to walk amongst. What little ambient lighting exists there seems to originate in the book-sized, impeccably cut crystals that line the carved panels of the walls at regular intervals, swathing the immediate area in a low, soft blue light. One would think a library of all places would have enough light to read the books it contains, but perhaps it was simply not built with the convenience of the general audience in mind.
The entire room is a testament to order and organization, the spines of every book beautifully aligned, the labels on the shelves neatly applied-- it’s nearly frightening, as though one misstep might send the whole tidy masterpiece tumbling apart. In fact, as you approach the back of the room, a sudden anomaly emerges in the lighting, and as you draw closer it appears that precisely such a misstep has occurred.
A section of the wall has been breached, the stone bricks crumbled and strewn all about as bits and chunks and thin gray dust on the floor. Two or three of the large glowing gems lay shattered amongst the stone pieces, their inner light no longer focused into orderly rays, but dancing off their chaotic environment with flickers and flashes as you move amongst the carnage. The hole in the wall has been patched with layers of burlap that block out any light, but the soft rippling of its surface betrays the breeze outside. A pair of the imposing bookshelves lay battered, felled like trees, with their contents spilled out into piles of bent covers and torn pages.
Atop one of these piles is one of the most forlorn rock candies you've ever seen.
Her pouch is stuffed full of wrinkled pages, and a damaged book is held loosely in her limp paws. It takes a moment for her to notice you; when she does, it is with a startled squeak, and she hastily snaps her book shut as if it will do anything to hide its current state. Her intricate, iridescent tail of nested bismuth crystal shimmers in the light as she stands to greet you with bristled fur.
“Hey-- hey! I told them I had this under control-- I told them this section was closed! I don’t need any help, I told them! This is… this situation is completely... under… control…” Even as she speaks, her whole posture droops again; it takes less than a moment’s glance to see that things are very much not under control. She looks up again mournfully.
“It’s… it’s awful, isn’t it? One of the largest collections of natural history documents on the continent, and all it takes to destroy it are a few idiots trying to cut down a tree that had no business being cut down at all-- especially not with whatever asinine magic they must have used to launch it so thoroughly through our stone walls. I’m all for developing the residential blocks, you know, don’t get me wrong, but these foreigners they’ve hired… they just don’t understand how things work here yet. Look at this! If I wasn’t here to stop it, they would have taken out every shelf in here. I had everything so… neat, and orderly, and now…”
Her paws grip the battered book tightly as her cross-shaped pupils dart anxiously over the mess. Considering the situation, the disaster seems fairly well-consolidated, but such thoughts seem to be of little consolation for the tiny librarian.
“They could have ruined any wall, and they ruin mine. Why not the cookbook section, huh? Or the erotic literature? At least people are willing to write more of those. Enthusiastically, even! You ask people to neatly and thoroughly catalogue species information, and suddenly there’s all this bureaucracy-- all this paperwork, and peer review, blah blah blah. No wonder some of this is so outdated, no one’s…”
She trails off, as does her agitated expression, softening into one of contemplation. It seems she may again be lost to whatever inner thoughts held her when you first met, but just as suddenly as she fades, she shakes herself back to the moment, fixing you with an intent look.
“Would you like to neatly and thoroughly catalogue species information?”
She doesn’t wait for answer before hopping down from the pile of ruined books, shuffling hastily through the pages crammed into her pouch.
“The best way to build is from the ground up, isn’t it? I can-- we can make this collection even better. New illustrations. New writing. New organization. All I need is help-- help sorting through these bits and pieces, help going out and gathering new information… don’t worry yourself with all that mess of paperwork, I’ll take care of that once I’ve compiled this all to my liking.”
She finally assembles a messy pile of torn and wrinkled pages and presents you with them. A new fire has been set alight in her eyes-- she’s on a mission now.
“These two bookshelves were almost exclusively about the insectoid species of the world. They are many and diverse, and it would be a terrible loss to not rebuild the collection. Here are some pages-- just some scraps I’ve gathered so far. See what else you can find; go out and search beyond these walls, if you’d like! Ah, this has needed updating for so long, to tell the truth. I will be doing to final compilations, of course, but your contributions will not go uncredited! You’re helping the whole academic community, you are!”
---Contest: Design an Insectoid Species for Flora!
The Mew York City library is re-compiling their literature on insects and insectoid species in the world, and they are looking for outside help! Whether your talent lies more in diligent writing or detailed illustrations-- or anything in between-- your contributions to the body of Owel scientific and cultural knowledge are welcomed! The species can be either fully insect in nature, or heavily inspired by insects; either way, they must be distinctly bug-like in inspiration.
Some things to keep in mind are thoughtfulness, thoroughness, and creativity. Be thoughtful about how your species will fit into the world, be thorough in describing what you feel is most important, and be creative in what you come up with! Have fun with your ideas and designs; feel free to look at the existing species sheets for an idea of how to organize information, but don’t feel restricted in its format. A well-written encyclopedia entry or journal from an exciting expedition can be just as valid as a collection of illustrations in presenting information about a species!
Prompt above written by Reimenta
Entries to be submitted by April 30th!
There will be between one to three winners, to be picked within a month after submissions are closed. Every entry will be considered, and the cream of the crop will make their way into canonized species. Do your best! Oh, and probably a subscription to dA will be gifted to any winners. Maybe some other perks if I can think of some. Whatever!
Have fun!Entries to be submitted in this folder!!!