We know there are six upper floors to the archives, but they are actually very boring. Books! Books! Books! Nothing but books. But when Kvothe first takes his candle int othe stacks he discovers that the staircases lead down as well as up, and downstairs are where the real secrets lie.
This is going to tie quite a few pieces together as we begin to map everything underthing, a daunting project which needs to be approached carefully. As far as the underarchive goes I have found three useful pieces of information to work a new triangle with, how traditional.
Firstly, Puppet’s lair is found on Sub-Three.
Secondly, The 4-plate door is located on the floor above Puppet, making it Sub-Two. Furthermore we are told ‘We have 1000 years of court documents from a hundred different cities squirrelled away down in Sub-two, whole rooms full…’ giving us some chronology to go by too.
Thirdly, there is a passing mention of something called the 4th basement scroll storage, which really ought to be called sub-four and might well be the level the scriv’s call the Dead Ledgers. This is also where to find the Yllish Knot room, a further indicator of age, which is on the level described thus.
‘So I scoured the Dead Ledgers and discovered a single shelf of disused books concerning Yll in one of the unpleasant, Low-ceilinged sections of the lower basements.’
This most ancient of layers should mark the bottom of the stacks if they were, as we can assume, filled chronologically from the bottom upwards as before this point in time, there was no need for any libraries as writing hadn’t been invented. But we have yet to find the level of the secret doorway which Kvothe finds to connect the archives to the underthing, and this will be found on the deepest archive level of them all, aka Sub-Five.
‘Hidden away in the maze of tunnels was a door that led directly into the lowest level of the stacks. It was there so scrivs would have easy access to the ventilation system’
This door connects the bottom of the Archives to Auri’s Underthing on the same subterranean level. In Auri’s world it’s name is Belows, a maze of windy tunnels which Kvothe says is at least 100ft below ground which will nicely place windy Belows on a level par with these wind creating ventilation systems making them all on the selfsame underground level of Sub-five. I’m going to run with the constant of 100ft/20= 5 here like we used in our upper level maths, not because I believe in the universality of high ceilings underground but because that is all we are given to work with. Comparing all of our various story numbers so far though should mean that this 100 ft drop will tally up with our previously noted water table from the description of the Omethi River as being 100ft below Stonebridge, but that thinking would suggest that it will be a damp place and prone to flooding and so not a good environment for preserving ancient scrolls in at all. Yet the air here is always described as being dry and dusty and smelling of leather. One of these thoughts is clearly going to be wrong or it means that my maths is out somewhere. The answer to this conundrum is close now, but since the water-table cannot lie we should run with that as true for a while, and to look out for any more watery clues as we go scouring the depths of the underthing if we are to find the final point of this subterranean triangle.
Wind on Water
So… if we ignore the Omethi river numbers as being suspect then we are now assuming that our dry level Sub-five will tick all of the following list. 100Ft below ground will be the lowest level of the archives where there is a locked wooden door for the university maintnance men to access an area with a low collapsed crawlspace (prolly because it has the entire weight of an archive above it pressing down) This will also be the same level as the entire maze of intersecting tunnels Auri calls Billows, or Belows depending on your book which Kvothe guessed to be at least 100ft below ground. Belows, and Downings are related in that both are the only places that didn’t still stink of cat’s piss after the fishery fire. This is because they are both always filled with the ever present wind which ought to indicate some access to the outside world which ought to mean that the university town is actually built on a hill. If it is then that means this opening on the outside world is most likely found in an inaccessible site nearby such as in the walls of the Omethi rivers gorge.
But although we are ignoring the river stats as suspect, one thing is certain and that is that the windy Billows level cannot be present below the running water level that we find at Clinks. Moving froma dry wind to an underwater cavern should indicate a whole level between to act as a bufferzone in case of any seasonal flooding. Scaperling is a notoriously damp network of unpleasant tunnels which is described thus..,
‘The damp was all around. The smell of rot. The grit under her feet.’
It is also described as being dank and so is therefore going to be found close to the water table and so is the perfect place to constitute the level of Sub-Six which can be taken as a clear sign that it will be found midway between the two extremes of wind and water and really ought to tally up as Auri’s name for the next level down from Belows. We are hoping to find a way down to the water and Scaperling should also tally across to access the spiralling staircases of Darkhouse which will in turn take us down to the lowest and wettest place yet and so marking the bottom level of our explorations at Clinks. Auri tells us is ‘private’ and also ‘across the threshold’ but this is where we find our deep-running water to link it to that of the Omethi river and it is the bottom-most limit and of a depth level that is going to tally across as a rather lucky sounding Sub-Seven.
The remainder of the Underthings rooms will require much clever working out, and not today, but in brief, these 7- Sub-Levels begin with Sub-One, the level of iron gratings where primary drainage occurs, ancient barrels exist here, driftwood is collected, and this is the level of all the town’s cellars. Auri calls it Umbrel as it diverts all the rainwater away like an umbrella. Sub-Two she calls Rubric which is a name similar to its description as it is a maze of RoUnd BRICk tunnels that carry all of the necessary pipeworks around for many miles beneath the entire university complex and it travels all over the under, but only at this one certain depth. Below this we reach the bottom of The Twelve at Sub-Three from where we can access the level that I believe is called Pickering, which is different to Rubric in that this is a level of stone tunnels for moving heat about, famously so in the tunnel area Auri calls Bakers as it is a Hot place, but not a windy one, no is there any damp here. Deeper still and we start to encounter some long forgotten chambers such as Throughbottom, a cathedral like cavern reaching high enough to house the large rusting and rotting machinery and noticeably has a dry canal running right across it’s floor where once stood a working water wheel that is described as ‘three stories high’, or 60ft in Kvothe’s minds-eye, giving us guess at a minimum ceiling height. the floor here is at Sub-Four. The next level down is where Auri eventually takes Kvothe in his search for books and so we reach Billows which is also a maze of stone tunnels which are similar to those of Pickerings, and trusty Kvothe puts these as at least 100ft underground, or Sub-Five in Archive speak. The tunnels here are always very dry because on this level the wind is a constant thing with its dust and leather clue, so still no hint of any water-table.
Scaperling. However, is unpleasantly dank, which indicates the water is close now and this place is likely going to be Sub-Six, It is worth noting that if you follow Scaperling far enough across it’s vastness, you could find yourself facing the terrifying mystery of Black Door. The very bottom of the pile is where Auri comes to bathe in the waters which come to the surface at the bottom of a huge spiral staircase with bricked up windows suggesting it was once actually above ground. The stone steps circle ever downwards until they dissapear beneath the roiling water-level of Clinks on Sub-Seven.
Because this is tricky to imagine to the layman I have collated all of this information together into a rough, sadly sideways, yet definitive cross-sectional map for all of the feckless tits in the world to argue over.