Maisero and Sartore are brought to the library again.
|For a brief moment after waking up, Maisero had peace and quiet. He was holed up in his own cabin, small, cramped, splintering, but in that morning haze, it was nice; his head was pressed close to a pillow, and the sunlight falling onto his face made his cheeks feel like the warm crust of a biscuit. Outside, the trees seemed to shine with a yellow aura, and somewhere in their branches, birds were chirping.
The birds fluttered away soon after. There was a collection of footsteps approaching him. He wondered, on mornings like these, why his body always woke him just when he needed to be up; he wouldn’t need waking up, and he wouldn’t be too early to the party either. His body knew something he didn’t. He could hear Anastasia’s voice as those steps rounded the corner of the cabin. If they hadn’t been approaching, Maisero could keep up his little dream, but now his heart was pumping, waiting for the door—
—to swing open, and for Anastasia to barge in. There were a few other men, faintly recognized from the gathering the night before.
“I hope I didn’t wake you?” she said (or really, commanded) to him.
“No, I was already up.”
“You’re coming with us to the library. Get dressed, we’ll be waiting outside.” She shut the door behind her. Maisero slammed his fist into the wall, then got out of bed, threw on whatever he had lying in a bundle in the corner, and left his little cabin.
Sartore was already waiting outside. He was a few cabins down, and was dressed up and waiting for Anastasia to come by, it seemed. Anastasia patted him softly on the head, and the boy tucked himself neatly in the front of the pack, with a barrier of those other folks in-between them. And like that, their little brigade made its way to the library.
Around the front door were some finely-dressed figures chatting over some food in the sunlight. They were stretched out just out of reach of the library’s shadow, relaxing, smiling, laughing. It made Maisero sick. Anastasia recognized some of the people there and nodded in their direction, then stepped up to the door, swung it open, and allowed everyone to enter.
The people who decided to stick it out in the library, Maisero thought, were of a different caliber. The type of person who wore the library on his sleeve as he frolicked around its perimeter were different than those who spent the same time deep in the library’s corridors. Which one was superior was unclear, Maisero thought as he passed a man wearing an extra layer of dust over his clothes to keep warm. Anastasia led the crew up a flight of stairs, the stone floor now covered with a red felt material that was peeling at the edges. It didn’t take long for them to crawl up to the new floor, which was lined with more bookshelves, and more of the outsider types crawling around, examining the spines.
They ended up in front of another small wooden door that led into a study of sorts. It had a wide, square desk with Anastasia’s name carved into the front, and many seats around it. Anastasia waved at them, and everybody took their seats, with Sartore and Maisero on opposite corners of the room.
“We’re here to discuss more significant and serious matters,” Anastasia said after she took her own. She waited to take a breath before continuing. “The Sacredate is moving, and he’s coming for the city.”