National Library of Doma
The National Library of Doma, established 1024 to help promote the education of the populace of Doma, is a civilian branch of the Doman government. Led by the Librarian of Doma, a special position appointed by the monarchy directly, the National Library acts as a repository for books, tomes, and scrolls of all types. Though the removal of material is not allowed, and violation of this rule carries with it strict fines, any citizen of Doma is allowed free access to nearly any of those items possessed by the National Library. (There are certain exceptions: those few enchanted works held by the National Library require signed permission from a high-level government functionary before access is to be granted, and this access is under close supervision.) In the event that one requires a copy of material held by the National Library, recopying is available for a fee, both traditional or magical, though the latter is quite expensive.
Vandalism or theft from the National Library is strictly punished, with fines and/or prison time given depending on the severity of the infraction. A number of measures are included to attempt to avoid such, including a constant presence of Doman guards, and permanent anti-fire enchantments extending across the Library's grounds, both magical and natural.
Though the National Library does draw on funds from the Doman government for most its expenses, it is at least in small part able to fund itself. This is partially due to the decision made in 1119, during an especially prosperous time in Doma's history, to allow the Library to retain 90% of collected fines. Given that collection of said fines were a very minor part of Doma's budget, this ruling has persisted since, and the collection of these fines continue to make up almost a fifth of the Library's budget.
The majority of the National Library's staff consists of "caretakers", employees charged with keeping the books in good condition, restoring them when necessary, keeping the books organized, maintaining the catalogues of material, and aiding those requiring specific items in finding what they seek. The remainder of the library's staff consists of scribes, translators, and intermediaries with the Doman government, though a good deal of overlap is found among all positions within the library tends to rotate amongst the employees as part of the general attitude of increasing ones knowledge. In addition, a small platoon of guards are assigned to the National Library, partially to defend it from attempted vandalism, but mainly to protect the aforementioned small cache of magical materials held within its archives. As this is not exactly the most prefered assignment for Doman guards, however (and in fact learning one has "pulled Library duty" often leads to quite a bit of grumbling by the unlucky fellow), this may soon change, as successes of the recently established Retrieval Unit in the field have led some to consider reassigning such defensive duties to this department. This is still in debate, however, as this department is still considered under probational evaluation pending a final decision of its status.
Following the Malachian War, a large number of volumes held by the National Library were damaged beyond repair, if not completely destroyed. This fact, coupled with the fact that donations were always much less common to this organization than other branches of Doman cultural importance, led to the formation of a specialized department within the National Library. Based on the similar department within the Museum of National History, and drawn from caretakers with experience in a number of applicable fields, the Retrieval Unit was charged with optaining volumes, both to replace damaged copies and to generally expand the collection. Originally, this department consisted of a mere two caretakers, appointed on a trial basis: J.G. McCormack and Elisia Stone. However, a number of early successes led to the rapid expansion, with the department currently possessing 15 envoys. Though these envoys are members of a special department, when not actively on a mission members of the Retrieval Unit are still required to perform all the duties of any other caretaker at the National Library.
This department takes a two-pronged approach to their duty. The first is discussion and bargaining with owners of personal collections for original copies of various works, attempting to either convince them to donate when possible, or purchasing said copies when not. This is the approach tended to by the more diplomatic or academic caretakers, using their connections to cajole their colleagues into aiding the Library's noble pursuit of expanding general knowledge. The second is a more active approach, sending members out on mercenary missions to obtain volumes from the various ruins scattered about Doma. This is the approach that those with some level of combat experience or, more rarely, those with actual former mercenary experience tend to focus on. In both cases, however, all envoys are expected to be familiar with both approaches, and to make themselves ready to take either style of mission.
In carrying out their duty, envoys are granted a limited number of powers by the Doman government, as follows:
- They may legally detain those violating the laws of Doma by sufficient means to ensure personal and public safety while within the nation of Doma until such time as the offender can be brought before a guard for an official arrest
- They may use a limited number of funds at Doma's expense, though only on expenses incurred in the pursuit of their goals, and with strict auditing performed on every expense so charged with unapproved charges deducted from the envoy's salary
- They may, upon approval from a supervisor, be granted usage of the castle chocobo stables for the necessary performance of their duty
- For purposes of records access, they are considered to have low-level classified clearance, with limited supervised access to mid-level classified records should they present sufficient proof of need
All of these powers but the first extend only to a currently-active envoy, with the first being the only special power granted to an envoy of the Retrieval Unit when not on an active mission. The first comes from a similar status amongst the Retrieval Unit of the Doman Museum; not long after its own original formation, certain members of the government realized that the requirements of the department led to its members rapidly gaining experience in combat skills, though not at the level of the Doman military. Further, the original formation of the department, predating the reforms among the Doman guards, was at a time when many of the military's own members were woefully underskilled and in general their organization was quite-often harried. Thus, though both are sections of civilian branches, this power was granted as a slight aid to members of the Doman guards (though it is considered a bit of a joke amongst their number). Further, all envoys of the Retrieval Unit are considered to be automatically deputized by the Doman military in the event of a threat to the nation as determined by the government, for purposes of defending Doma.
Although "ruin-diving" missions are extraordinarily common in Doma, it is rare that those mercenaries involved would think to bring back nonmagical tomes found within these ruins, instead tending towards the more obvious historical relics when they retrieve anything for donation at all. This disparity has led to a sort of rivalry between the Retrieval Units of the Doman Museum and National Library, with the former considering the latter a group of upstarts that don't know what they're doing, while the latter considering the former a bunch of lackadaisical layabouts waiting around for the next group of adventurers to wander in with the "important" relics.