Part of the renowned Universitas Magicka, the Archivarium is the Empire’s foremost library and center of study for the magickal arts. Located in the old town district of the new Empire’s capitol city, Forge, the Archivarium is an architectural marvel of graceful archways, beautiful stained glass windows, vaulted ceilings and a platinum-plated dome that towers over much of the city. The building, maintained by the steep enrolment fees would-be magick-users must needs pay the university for such a privilege, is divided into four distinct areas, access to which becomes progressively more restricted as one approaches the innermost chambers of the Archivarium.
Entering from Fountains’ Square, one must first pass through one of two sets of heavy, dark oaken doors, magnificently decorated with the carved figures of prominent scholars and magick-users from the Empire’s past, as well as a slew of bizarre mythological creatures. Continuing through a series of small antechambers, one emerges into a very large, open room, spanning the width of the building, called the Vestibulum. On the tiled steps here the intellectuals of the city meet daily to ostentatiously discuss politics, the arts and philosophy, as well as more understatedly display their education and wealth. Though officially open to all citizens, beggars and those not belonging to at least the middle class (the two usually considered one and the same by the more affluent), are pressed a copper in their hand and gently but firmly escorted back out.
Directly giving out on the Vestibulum is the Librarium, where the world’s largest collection of scrolls and tomes await the curious and oft times not-so-curious students. The collection deals solely with mundane topics and once again is officially open to all, the requisite ability to read already an insurmountable hurdle for most.
Through a set of small, green bronze double doors at the end of the Librarium one enters into a mirror copy of the previous rooms, called the Praxicum. Here the shelves and book cases are stocked with treatises on magick, scrolls scribbled with arcane runes and spell tomes dealing with the applied manipulation of the Aether. Access to this part of the library is allowed only to apprentices at the university. On arrival, a scribe seated at the entrance of the Praxicum will peruse a large ledger, the Matriculate Magickalis, to determine whether the supplicant has indeed enrolled at the university at some point in the past.
From the center of the Praxicum an ornamental, stone spiral staircase descends to the lower level of the Archivarium, the Ulteria. Entrance to this part of the complex is admitted only to members of the Roughspun Order and, by rare exception, their petitioners. Apart from the accommodations of the Order, the Ulteria more importantly houses several rooms filled with arcane tomes which have been deemed too dangerous to be consulted by mortal practitioners of the magickal arts; and scrolls of extradimensional origin which, if read, would simply render the reader insane with their eldritch knowledge. To safeguard these volumes, the Universitas Magicka instituted the Roughspun Order, so called for their humble dress, a group of blind monks of extreme mental discipline, always numbering six. Indeed, the members of the Order are regarded so highly in scholarly circles, that when word of the death of one of them surfaces, overzealous applicants have been known to purposely blind themselves to be considered for the honor.
While the secrets of the Ulteria are not meant for mortal eyes, in certain rare conditions - more often than not coinciding with unusually generous donations to the university - a petitioner is allowed inside, to consult a tome of his or her choosing. Blindfolded this person is led to a small study, furnished only with a simple chair and table. The desired book is pthen laced in front of him or her by one of the monks, the risks of opening the book once more stated, and finally the blindfold is removed. Oft-requested is a volume called the Tome of Ephemeral Sagaciousness, which is rumoured to have been at the source of the large fortunes of several merchant families of Forge, and the steady influx of patients at the Asylum, as only seldom people prove prepared for omniscience, no matter how brief.