The Justice Of Usa – Part 5
The library of Tamdenworth is a two-story brick house of knowledge, noisy floorboards, and the musty smell of books. It is one of the newer buildings in Tamdenworth, and it stands tall as if daring the occupants of the town to enter. Usa takes that dare, holding her lantern high; the steps up to the front door creak and sway, and Usa clutches the light with a tight grip, aware of what would happen if she dropped it. Looking around and pulling her cloak closer to her body. In the sky, the stars shine against the dark night. Usa opens the front door and slips into the library, closing it as quietly as possible. Once inside, she puts out her lantern and sets it by the door, hoping to come back for it later.
She takes a deep breath, filling her lungs with the smells of the library. A brief memory comes to her, but Usa ignores it. The front door opens to an entranceway, separated from the rest of the place by a wall. Cautiously, she looks around it- all is still in the empty building. There’s nothing but the tall, unyielding bookcases illuminated by what little light comes in from the large windows on either side of the room. Usa moves quickly, dodging in between two of the shelves. Darkness falls on her, but she came prepared for it. From under her cloak, she brings out a matchbox, takes out a match, and lights it. Now, she moves along, looking at the rows upon rows of books. Her hands sweat, her heart pounds, her breathing increases. As the search continues, as her eyes do not find the knowledge she seeks, her chest aches.
It’s not just desperation that brought her to this library- it’s the ideas, the questions, the thoughts swirling in her mind. Her entire life gone in an instant- her town cast her out, and for what? For objecting to serve a king who does nothing for them. Tamdenworth is a poor town of about two thousand that struggle daily to afford the taxes imposed on it. Its citizens are poor, tired, and worked to the bone. Very few people in Tamdenworth live to old age. Clean water is hard to come by, and citizens boil every single cup to eliminate sickness. Sicknesses are also very common, though Usa has been lucky to only catch food poisoning once when her father brought home a new fish her mother was unsure of how to cook. Why would the citizens continue to suffer like this? If only they see that those gifted with Anima could help the town. Food stores could be bettered. Water could be refreshed before they deliver it to the community. And wildlife could be tamed and used for several purposes.
Usa moves upstairs, holding her breath as she moves up the stairs. Here, the floor is quieter. Here, the light from the stars is a little bright. There’s an alcove on the window as well, and it allows Usa to take a respite from searching. She closes her eyes and leans her head against the glass, feeling its cool surface come in contact with her skin. Her rest only lasts a minute, but it is enough to steady her anxious heartbeat. On continuing her search, she goes to the bookshelf to her left and strikes another match.
It doesn’t take long, but she finds two things: one is a book of myth, and the other is a book of nonfiction. The table of contents in the book of myth proclaims “stone touchers” can be found within. The book of nonfiction is a collection of essays on Anima and its various uses. In the index, Usa finds the word stone and a corresponding page number. As she puts these books in the bag at her side, the stairs creak, and a deep voice booms through the room.
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