Before he knew it, time works that way sometimes, he was there. Standing before the Exchangery. It was a huge, building, squarish in the front, but it warped and bent and formed a confusing mess of a shape behind it. The whole thing was confusing. Unless you knew it well, then it all made sense. None of it made sense to Branch, which was a strong reason why he stood there wondering at the sense that someone had seen in it.
Morning-light surrounded him, it was that bright, and quick and weightless light. It fell on him, around him, and through the doorway as he opened it. Spilling into the dark that was the Exhangery. It wasn’t that dark, but torchlight, when sharing the space of sunlight, ran off quick and fearfully. He stepped into the front room, and shut the door, leaving the light of day behind.
The soft crackling of lit torches filled the entrance. It was quiet, and still, only the flickering shadows danced about. Each shuffle of his footstep sounded like a storm-wind, felt like a crashing symbol. That was the way of sound in dark-lit and quiet places. That was where sound thrived. Forget the light in the dark, it’s the sound that lives. So Branch listened.
“Hello?” He said, firmly, letting his voice carry.
Which wasn’t hard in the dark and quietness of the building. Too early for curious folk to wander in, and too far-off to be a destination for any but the enthusiast of knowledge. Or someone like Branch, who needed direction, or information.
No one answered right away. In fact, no one did, besides the echoes that found their way back to him. Returning his greeting.
Pick up the book from the Beginning :
The First Page