It was called a Museum, and it served as such to the public in the Imperial Capital.
That is, people could visit and, for a nominal fee, they could peruse the items stored within. They could awe at the sculptures, puzzle at the paintings, meander around the mosaics.
They could read portions of ancient texts, both in the original and in several translations. They could learn from a trained and patient docent why a particular civilization had, for instance, created garments which were beaded over the entire (relatively skimpy) piece with shells and bits of shiny stones, or from another guide why the famed painter Kelizanie Patrischezch had chosen to use only five shades in her The Dawn Comes (Ukethetchesziezie) series.
And, because it was available, because their were discounts for students, and because it insisted on a certain level of quiet but used firm barriers to keep small children from, say, climbing on the statue of The First Empress, it was well-attended, if perhaps not as well attented as it should have been. It was, in terms of museums, quite a success.
All of which did a wonderful job of concealing the original mandate of the building and the organization which ran it.
Mayie Retoziven, lead curator for the Northeast Territories Section of the Imperial Museum of Arts and Culture, was up to her elbows in a box of trinkets and gizmos, objets d’art and fine embroidery when her alarm went off.
As she had both been trained in and then trained countless others in her decade as a lead curator, Mayie froze. “Castellan!” she called to her assistant. “There’s an issue.” Continue reading