Black Hall

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When the construction of the Odlucian Library was finished, it became clear that a wing dedicated to the most dangerous and controversial books would be needed - a wing for those books that didn’t fit in the other wings. Twelve shelves were designated for this purpose. This small section was dubbed the Black Wing. After many books were added, a very small, but very important, incident happened around -70 EC: the first ever booknapping. And it was of one which had been contained in the Black Wing.

The book itself was of little importance (a treaty of some unknown professor on an unimportant subject), but it confirmed one of the most feared suspicions the librarians had: the books were not safe enough in those twelves shelves. Theodore Aspic, the Master Librarian of the time, pondered the matter for several nights and days. After three days of deliberation with himself, he arrived at a controversial solution: he would hire the Deathood to protect the books. Many librarians were furious at him: how could he let such a secretive and despicable group handle such important matters? But Theodore's resolve could not be broken; he had taken a decision and would stick by it.

The Construction of Black Hall

The Deathood worked in absolute secret in this new section of the library. The only persons with access during its construction were the best occultologists of the time and the Master Librarian. After one year of secretive and hard labour, the new wing was opened in a fairly secret ceremony with only the Deathood leader and the Master Librarian present. It was renamed the Black Hall because it was situated in a single, long passage, filled to the top with unused shelves (for future books).

Very little is known about the secret library security system, or what secret mechanisms or spells guard it. However, the Deathood still keeps it safe. The Deathood guards are said to have terrible and unspeakable powers, but it is not known whether these rumours are derived from actual experiences or if they are propaganda spread by the Library itself.

Access to Black Hall

Access is restricted to one scholar per month, for a period of one day a week, strictly supervised by two Deathood members. This is to ensure the safekeeping of the books, as well as the safety of the public itself, as many books can cause harm directly to the viewers if not properly trained. Also, there are many harmful inventions that can be built with the instructions found in such books, and the library is not very keen to let loose these crazy inventions.

Submitting and Releasing

Any book that is considered too dangerous, or too controversial, can be sent to the Black Hall committee (formed by the most wise and intelligent occultologists of the year), which evaluates each individual book and decrees whether it is Black Hall material or not. Though thousands of individual claims are sent each year, only 10% of them are considered reasonable. When a book has becomed Black Hall material, millions of posters are sent to announce and request all copies of said book. Using very complicated theomancy, all received copies are counted to see if they match the number of known copies available. If they do not match (which is rare, as the public always tries to avoid too much danger or controversy when it comes to books), special librarians are sent to fetch the remaining copies to ensure the safety of the public. So far, no Black Hall book has ever had a remaining copy on circulation.

Note: This is not the only way a book can become selected, merely the official medium in which a book gets selected. Special Deathood agents are always on the search for other possibilities not formally brought to their attention. There are exceptions to the rule, including several rumoured private collections that contain Black Hall material. The condition for the existence of such collections is that there must always be a copy of each private book available at Black Hall. One such rumoured collection is held by the Technomancer Crafts Guild.

A yearly committee, formed by the current Master Librarian and two Deathood scribes, analyse all of the books contained within the walls of Black Hall and decide whether the controversy or danger is no longer a threat. They usually give back about 20 books each year, which may seem like a lot, but not after considering the estimated number of over 10,000 titles accumulated in all the years Black Hall has existed.

Citations: Deathood, Odlucian Library, Technomancer Crafts Guild.

--Mr. Stokes 20:33, 27 May 2005 (EDT)

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