The Archives is a vast repository of books used as the primary reference point for students who are enrolled at The University. It is housed in a great stone building larger than four graneries stacked together. It has no windows and only a single set of large doors, also made of stone. The words "Vorfelan Rhinata Morie" are etched above these.
The below is a compilation of areas within the Archives:
- The Tomes: the main reading area of the archives. It offers all the necessary reading for basic classes and is open to all students to come and read the books there or submit requests to the scrivs who would find the book or a closely related book in the Stacks for them.
- The Stacks: a less regulated reading area only open to students of The Arcanum. It comprises the vast majority of the Archives. Some sections were properly organized and catalogued, while other sections were forgotten or neglected. The four-plate door resides in the Stacks.
- The Scriptorium: an area filled with rows of desks where scrivs toil over translations or copy faded texts into new books with fresh ink.
- The Sorting Hall: a hall where scrivs sift and reshelve books.
- The Buggery: a place where new books were decontaminated before being added to the collection.
- The acquisitions office: a tiny and perpetually dark office that is largely unoccupied. One entire wall was a huge map of cities and roads in detail, with notes detailing rumors of desirable books and the last known positions of the acquisition teams.
- Cataloger's Mew
- The Bindery
In The Chronicle
One of Kvothe's primary interests in attending the University is gaining access to its archives. He visits them immediately upon his arrival at the University, where he first meets Wilem, whom he eventually befriends. Before his admission into the Arcanum he frequents the Tomes section of the archives, requesting books that might shed light on the Amyr and The Chandrian. Due to the record keeping in tomes, this is discovered by Master Lorren, who privately meets with Kvothe and personally discourages any future inquisitions on such subjects. The reasoning behind this isn't entirely clear. After Kvothe's admission into stacks he is finally free to continue his quest for knowledge on the folkloric figures who murdered his parents, however, he is tricked by Ambrose Jakis, who convinces him to take a candle into the archives. When he is discovered with the open flame he is taken to Master Lorren who bans him from entering the library. This ban lasts into The Wise Man's Fear and is only lifted at the behest of Master Elodin.
Despite being exiled from the archives, Kvothe discovers a secret entrance thanks to his friendship with Auri. She shows him a way to gain access by traversing a small tunnel within The Underthing, a passageway which he secretly uses until he is allowed entry again. It is during these nighttime escapades that Kvothe finds a use for his "thieves lamp" which helps him to stay concealed from patrolling scrivs. It is also during this time period that Kvothe finds what is known within the narrative as four-plate door.
Historically the archives have been reorganized many times using different systems generated by past Masters. Each reorganization has been only partially completed due to the volume of the task, leading to a condition moderate chaos throughout. This makes it impossible to know all of the books the building contains. Despite this, Fela explains that it generally takes a scriv less than an hour to fill a request from tomes.
Kvothe describes the archives as looking like a giant barrow. Even many students nickname tomes, "tombs." Fela then has a dream of an old king behind the four plate door. Many people have speculated Iax to a draugr (who historically guard barrows)being locked behind the four plate door. The four plate door is described as a solid piece of grey stone the same color as the surrounding walls. Its frame was eight inches wide, also grey, and also one single seamless piece of stone. It's clearly a door of stone.