An Abridged History of Chief Archivists
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All Wanderers are familiar with the Librarians - mysterious, alien entities that upkeep and maintain the Library and assist its patrons. The three major delineations of Librarians are Pages, Docents and Archivists, though many minor variations exist upon these archetypes. Pages are insectoid creatures one can find swinging from the tops of shelves carrying bags of books to stack and arrange. Docents are much more common to the casual Wanderer, the cloaked, mouthless humanoids carrying swinging lanterns from chains. They enforce the peace, punish rulebreakers, and serve as guides for lost Wanderers. The final type are Archivists - while all Librarians differ enough to be told apart, whether through color, size, or other distinguishing features, Archivists can take almost any appearance. Most can be found at the Librarian's Desk, sitting in their chairs and approving checkouts, returns, or answering questions. The distinguishing feature of most Archivists lies in their eyelessness and attachment to their chairs.

However, Archivist is not only a species of Librarians, but also a rank within the Library. These esteemed individuals, granted the highest position available for their servitude to the Library, are more often called the Chief Archivists or Grand Archivists to distinguish them from their blind namesakes. There is always a Chief Archivist - upon death, the Library itself selects a successor through its Librarians. As of writing, there have been Eight Grand Archivists of the Library.


The First

The First Archivist of the Library is the namesake; they were also an actual Archivist. A toadstool-like eyeless creature, attached to the seat of their chair, the common image of an Archivist stems from them. They were generally regarded by Wanderers familiar with them as a very authoritative type; a natural-leader. They had a penchant for directing Wanderers to their books without terrifying them in the way that Archivists tend to do. While, like all Archivists, they were a laconic and eldritch type at the best of times, they were also regarded as a leader of their fellow Librarians. They worked in the background to serve the Library, ordering the building and repairing of sections for Wanderers, and were generally little more than a head Librarian — the role of Chief Archivist at this time was not much more than that. Their greatest achievement remains the Main Hall, the titanic common room at the center of the Library. Its adaptive size allows it to host any amount of patrons on its wooden tables and study desks inside muffled magic bubbles. Orientations for new Wanderers are also held there; if the Librarian's desk is the brain of the Library, the Main Hall is the heart, and its construction displays the First's dedication to their wards. May their soul live on forevermore.


The Second

Little is known for certain regarding the Second Archivist's identity. Their species, gender, age, appearance, and activity before assuming the role are all unknown. Their personality was, by all accounts, bombastic — a charming, affable, and charismatic individual always willing to help lost Wanderers. Their effects on the position of Archivist cannot be overstated. The First Archivist fulfilled the role exceptionally, but the Second expanded the position's scope and power dramatically. The Grand Archivist went from simply a leader and director of Librarians to something else entirely. The Second set the precedent of constructing new facilities for Wanderers, of acquiring media beyond literature for the Shelves, and of instituting magical defenses against invaders and burners. The Archivist became the closest thing that existed to a head Librarian, with the associated respect coming from all Wanderers. They were regularly sought out for advice, inquiries, and arbitration by patrons. Perhaps most importantly, the Second constructed and maintained the Five Archives - gigantic vaults beneath the Library, housing things from magical artifacts and dangerous secrets to mundane necessities for the Library's function, like boilers and storerooms. While some Wanderers took a vicious stance against this perceived suppression of knowledge, the Second's celebrity more than convinced most people of the importance of it. It is believed the lack of identity behind the Second is intentional; when they were elevated to their position, they shed all trappings of their previous existence. They abandoned any identity they had built to truly devote themself to the service of the Library; the True Archivist. May their soul live on forevermore.


The Thirds

The Thirds were a unique case among Librarians. Ferra and Feros Xorvar, fraternal twins, gifted scholars and beautiful nobles of high birth, they were both selected to be the Chief Archivists. It is unclear whether the Library mistook them for the same person, or whether this was an intentional decision. Regardless, it panned out particularly well - Feros provided a gentle touch and friendly public face to cater to the Wanderers with matters in need of arbitration or concerns, and Ferra provided a shrewd and learned approach to the upkeep and maintenance of the Library. Together, they led the construction of the Sticks - a housing project around the titular Stick, a gargantuan tree sprouting from the floor of the Library. Through magic and Librarian labor, a sort of tree-skyscraper was constructed around it, providing free and available housing for Wanderers who wished to make the Library home. Infinitely bigger on the interior, the Sticks ushered in a new era of Library history, giving it permanent residents and places for them to live. The Thirds led this era; may their souls live on forevermore.


The Fourth

We do not discuss the Fourth Archivist. May his soul burn in Hell.


The Fifth

The Fifth was the Gryphon, a titanic creature resembling a cross between a sphinx and a thunderbird. While all other Archivists took the defense of the Library seriously, the Fifth took it to a new degree; she is often called the Archivist-General for this reason. Instead of the historically defensive posture of Librarians, the Gryphon took the naturally honor-driven warrior culture of her people and applied it to the defense of the Library. Instead of waiting for Bookburners to assault the Library or hunt Wanderers through Ways, she actively lured Bookburners into traitorous Ways where they would be torn apart by cosmic forces. She would feign retreat, they would charge into the Library before being set upon by furious Docents and Pages (and the occasional Wanderer). Her motherly protection of the Library has earned her historically high esteem among Wanderers; her tenure was during the Great Searing and the associated assaults from the Caesar's Eagles — her vigilant defense of the Library may have saved it from decades of destruction. May her soul live on forevermore.


The Sixth

Sixth Archivist Caduale Mezerizo was the shortest serving among the Eighth; not much remains to be said about him that has not already been said. In his few short cycles, he accomplished little beyond the obligations of advisorship and stewardship the role demands. He died in his sleep the first time he allowed himself to rest. May his soul live on forevermore.


The Seventh

The Seventh Archivist was a legend in life, and doubly so in his absence. His name was Jericho Benalsh, and in his (relatively) short 80 years of tending the Library, he cemented his status as a patron saint of the Library. He vastly expanded the Library's knowledge base on other organizations of the world, instituted the Stacks system of organization, and reconstructed the collapsed areas of the Inner Library, among other achievements. He was also the first Human Archivist, and faced down considerable resistance for it — while many a Wanderer claim to be egalitarian in the pursuit of knowledge, inborn biases are difficult to overcome. But Benalsh's deeds in the name of the Library silenced his opposition while simultaneously creating raucous support from Human Wanderers. Unfortunately, one of the reasons Humans are derided by certain Wanderers is due to their comparatively short lifespans — Grand Archivist Jericho Benalsh passed peacefully in his sleep, at the age of 102 cycles. May he live on forevermore.


The Eighth

Little can be recorded about the Eighth Archivist at this moment, purely due to his freshness. Indeed, he was inaugurated on the eve of the Cycle, only four days before this treatises publication — consider this an addendum to be expanded on. At the moment, what is known of the new Archivist is his form - a massive, twisting and writhing insectoid of indeterminate length. Despite his frankly terrifying appearance, he has developed a reputation among Wanderers as an esteemed scholar and organizer. Unlike most Wanderers, who make their homes in the Sticks, he is said to have a "nest", as it were, in the deeper, lower reaches of the Library. His inauguration speech remains to be made, but this writer has high hopes for the thing people are calling "the Rounderpede."

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