1st of Ymiden, 718th arc
Kalortah wasn't happy about the arrangement he was about to embark on. As an aspiring poet, singer, and song writer, he did not relish the idea of work. The whole point of singing songs and looking glorious was to evade the iron vice of soul-crushing labor. Yet here he was, in a bookbinding shop, surrounded by enslaved human scribes, and a few avriel who oversaw their activities.
His purpose was simple, he had need of a rhyme and song book. A blank one. But proper books ran in the hundreds of golden nels, far beyond his current capacity to pay. So, he acquired an arrangement with the local scribe. He would allow him to take home one small journal, if he assisted in the making of these blank pamphlets.
A quick educational primer ensured that he knew more or less what he was doing. Careful and tight needlework to bind the sheets of paper, glue to reinforce the binding. Then another coat of apoxy to ensure that the hardened leather exterior adhered to the paper as a shell of protection to the knowledge inside. Kalortah thought the bookbinder might be a poet himself, for the flowery way he put his craft.
His slaves mulled about the place, their posture slumped. They spoke in their tongue, Dehasin. Kalortah didn't know if one of them understood Lorien. He doubted it, anyway. But somehow, through a confluence of meaning they were able to communicate with Kalortah. They pointed out the materials that he asked for. Glue, needle, thread and parchment. And finally a leather binding.
They must have known some words. Else they intuited the meaning by their master's rendition of Lorien when referring to certain materials. Either way, Kalortah couldn't help but marvel at their intuitive understanding of a language they were ignorant to. It almost offended him, that the highest, noblest tongue uttered in Idalos hit the ears of so many undeserving wretches.
Kalortah set all the materials in front of himself. The blank pages of parchment, pressed sheets of lambskin, called to him. Yet he still had to put the damned thing together. The pen and brush would wait.
He began by threading the needle, and weaving it in through what would be the spine of the booklet. Bit by bit, the stitching tightened, creating a small binding for the little tome. Once his fingers began tiring from the stitching, he shifted his attention to the leather binding, and that awl that lay next to it. The awl he took in hand, and began making more perforations in the parchment. Through these he wound more threads of twine, until it's binding was complete.
A slave came in to help him, his shoulders shaking but his hands steady. The slave corrected his form in binding the parchment together. He pushed the glue toward him, uttering a single word in Dehasin. This, Kalortah took to mean 'glue'. He committed the word to memory. More words cropped up as other Kalortah received other materials and tools. The slave showed him around the shop, pointing out the heavier equipment, and defining it with his gutteral tongue.
Kalortah said nothing, but tilted his head upward at every utterance of Dehasin to acknowledge the word's meaning. At last, the slave murmured something that sounded like a question. Kalortah's expression darkened at that. His hand rose across his chest, as if to signal that he would slap the slave for even speaking to him. The slave ducked and quivered, crawling away in backward motion, out of respect to Kal.
Kalortah rested his hand back at his side after asserting his superiority. He didn't hint that he didn't understand Dehasin, and turned back to his work. He checked and rechecked the thread running through the folded sheets of parchment. The binding seemed secure. At least it wouldn't fall apart from the light use that the Avriel had in mind for it.
The binding secured, he took a brush and began gluing the crease in its singular fold, where the thread wound its way through parchment. He added another layer of adhesive to the leather binding itself, being sure to do so with a light hand, as his fellow Avriel had instructed him.
Without waiting too long, he blew on the surface of the glue. Then he took hold of the leather wrapping, and placed it onto the parchment. This done, he shut the booklet to be, leaving it on the workbench.
One of the avriel masters approached him, and waved his hand haughtily at his work. "This is your first piece, cousin?"
Kalortah nodded the affirmative. He surveyed his own work for a moment, before gathering it up and handing it to the master. The avriel bookbinder took a moment to inspect it. He opened it to the first page, and flipped through. There were about eighty pages, more than enough for Kalortah's purposes for the time being. His efforts had consumed twenty sheets of parchment in all, which had been folded in the middle. Each side was a page upon which he could scribe his songs, thoughts, and sketches.
Eventually, when he became reknown for his voice and performance acumen, it would certainly become a museum piece.
The master bookbinder pressed it against Kalortah's scrawny chest, and nodded. "Few are successful the first time around. This notebook isn't the finest work to come out of this shop. But it certainly sets a standard for my lowly apprentices. Well done, cousin."
Kalortah nodded his acknowledgement to his fellow avriel, and turned to walk out of the shop. He didn't get within three paces of the door, before a voice called him back. "Where do you think you're going? Those materials weren't free. You'll need to bind the rest of the day if you want to come away with your work"
Kalortah let out a drawn sigh, and turned around on his heel, his wings twitching outward within the confines of the cramped shop. "Very well," He said, "As per our arrangement."
So saying, Kalortah spent much of the rest of the day, perfecting his fledgling skill in binding.