The Golden Rule

16th of Ashan 721

The shallow bay Egilrun is situated upon is used, these trials, for crafts and crafting. From boatmakers to weaponsmiths, glassblowers to metalworkers, the sound of hammers and saws can be heard almost every break of the trial, with crews working in shifts to produce the beautiful craftsmanship which they might, one trial, become famous for.

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The Golden Rule


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16th of Ashan 721

Woe had done some preparations in anticipation for preliminary finds from his 'agents' such as they were. They were both promising in their way, but green, perhaps without any idea what they were getting themselves into. He had spent much of the last break, establishing a abrogative field around his immediate area, namely the dining room where they were to gather. There was a long table, too long for the number of people who actually resided with Woe. It occurred to the Mortalborn once or twice, his penchant for buying houses that were too large for his needs. It was perhaps a call back to his comfortability with the Oubliette of Andaris' jail, a place where he'd felt comfortable for the first time in his life. Having a large gallery, with so many alcoves that resembled cells, spacious and empty. Something about dead space always spoke to him.

Yet he reflected more than once that it'd set his guests ill at ease. Hart had a slight panic attack in the sitting room adjoining his bedroom. Perdita had nearly lost her nerve in the foyer. Perhaps the dining room would provide a happy medium. If not, perhaps he'd look into humbler accommodations for his family.

Gloom was busily 'slaving' away in the kitchen. He really did need to find a different hobby, one that provided him as much fulfillment as cooking. Woe was at a loss, explaining the everpresence of his friend in the kitchen. The few who visited him sometimes mistook him for a servant. Yet he was anything but. He only enjoyed whipping up lunch, dinner, and breakfast for the guests.

Iago was in his room, studying what he could of the common letters, while Soraia joined him in their lessons. Woe had written up a short cheat sheet for them, so they'd learn a few key phrases that were common to use.

Meanwhile, Woe waited in this space, widening the radius of his preemptive field, abrogating and securing the immediate area against intrusion from various methods of scrying. Particularly through Attunement. Unfortunately, he was still under the effects of the paradigm ring, and thus could not quite use the magic properly. The field collapsed as soon as it was erected. He sighed.

He supposed they'd be there any moment.
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erdita had been here twice before, now. Both of those times had been when she was here for art and, in that conversation, she and Woe had agreed that she would try to find out some information about Slags Deep. She was going to do that by virtue of the Watchers Union, among other places, and she had ~ just yestertrial ~ started out on that. The young woman was intense and serious, as always, and she had her satchel over her shoulder.

Woe's house was there and Perdita ran through again in her mind what she had found out. It was tricky, that was for sure, but she was pleased to be coming back here before heading to Scalvoris Town. She had gone through the information she'd gained at the Watchers' Union yestertrial, and she had a list (of course) of topics to go through and research. There were names and dates and places, too. Some of these things might be more easily researched here, she supposed, but that was something which they could discuss.

Perdita was ready, or as ready as she would ever be. She also had brought with her the frames for the pictures she'd drawn that he'd got her to order - and so she would be able to mount them properly for him. That was a good thing, too, and it would keep her busy. Possibly even make her blushes abate, although frankly, she doubted it. Also, if anyone asked why she was there, it made sense and it was a good reason. In her mind she was rather proud of that and considered that she was something of a super-sleuth, but she kept that particular nugget to herself.

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A final check, going down the mental check-list in her mind and then, Perdita opened the gate ~ warily this time because of the dogs and careful to close it immediately ~ and then she walked up the path to the doorway. The way that she knocked the door was probably not a surprise. Two short knocks, not too loud. Then, she stood back and waited. As she did, she saw a blossom in a nearby tree, and below it a small blue flower nestled in the grass. So, with the very best will in the world and the intention of being professional and quiet and simply waiting - when the door opened it did so to a young woman who had a pencil stuck behind her ear, and was using a sharpened wax pencil to bring about colour. She was focused entirely on doing that and so - when she realised that the door had been answered?

She blushed.


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Re: The Golden Rule

16th Ashan, 721

There was a person standing on the doorstep to Woe Morandi's house when Hart and Wren arrived. Hart, opening the gate along the property line so that Wren could walk through, looked over. The person was a young woman with long, dark hair, and Hart believed he knew who she was.

Then he didn't believe he knew who she was; he knew. She had been standing on the doorstep, drawing in a notebook, a pencil tucked behind her ear. The door opened, and she was surprised from her drawing; she blushed.

"Perdita," Hart said by way of greeting, and would smile if she looked over.

The young woman had been very kind to Hart at the Scholar's Nook in Scalvtown, when he had needed a book to be looked at. He would have been surprised to meet her again, here in Egilrun, but he believed he'd noticed her out and about.

What was more surprising was that she was here on Woe Morandi's doorstep.

Wren had been quiet on the walk over to the house. The young boy was worried, Hart guessed, about meeting Iago, Woe's son. But though Wren had been worried about Iago, he was just a kid. The surprise meeting with Perdita seemed to have dispelled his worries, for the moment.

"Did you make any more books?" Wren said very seriously. Wren believed that Perdita was the source of all books in the world. Hart had said that the young bookbinder was not the source of all books, and that bookbinding was a profession, but Wren was stubborn in his belief.

"Hello, by the way," Hart smiled. He shut the gate and walked in long strides up to the step. The door had been answered by Woe, he noticed, and Hart smiled brightly at the man. "Hello, as well."

He didn't want to linger on the doorstep, but... "Do you two have a meeting, then?" Hart inquired. Perdita had what looked like frames with her, and she had been drawing, before; maybe she and Woe were consulting on a matter of art?

"Maybe we've been double-booked?" Hart smiled at the book reference. "If you two have some business, Wren and I could drop by another time."
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Woe heard the knock at the door from where he stood in the dining room. Everyone had been told to leave the answering of the entrance to him, for the day, and so it was he left the dining room, down the hall to the entrance to the foyer. He made it halfway across the foyer, when he called out, "Go ahead and let yourselves in." Woe for his part had no wish for anyone outside to see his current condition. Marred by numerable mutations at the moment, he was quite the sight. Pale of skin, with dark circles under his eyes. He bore a limp in his left leg, where it dragged behind him a bit as he moved. His short hair was turned stark white, while dark shadows played on his skin in strange patterns. His clothing more than made up for the darkness of those shadowy runes, being a finely woven tunic of black wool. He wore some black trousers, tucked into dark leather boots. On his hands, a pair of dark leather gloves to conceal the bone spurs. The collar of his tunic rose high on his neck, concealing more of the shadows that would appear. Yet some of them still snaked their way across the bottom of his chin, as the lantern lights played on his features.

If they'd let themselves in, Woe would wait for them, halfway across the foyer. "Please close the door behind yourselves?" He asked, and then bid them to follow him through the hallway, to the dining room.

There were a large table and a hearth at the head of it. Woe took up a place at that head seat, while he let Wren and Hart take whatever seat they were comfortable with. He granted Perdita, knowing her anxious temperament, to take a seat at the right of him. It also happened to be the seat closest to the entrance, so as to alleviate any sense of claustrophobia or being unable to easily excuse herself. He didn't want the poor girl losing her nerve over which seat to take when they were already early into the meeting.

"How are you all?" He asked, trying to seem pleasant, although there were certain things troubling him. However, they were nothing that wouldn't get solved once his magic returned in two days or so. "I apologize for my appearance, by the way. I know you're not used to seeing me like this, but I must confess to being a mage. What you're seeing on me are mutations. They're not harmful, but they can be alarming to see for some."

So saying, he finally took a seat at the head of the table, as Gloom came in, humming to himself as he looked at the large soup bowl he carried. Gloom came up to Wren, and sheepishly asked, "Can you help me get this bowl on the table? You're much taller than me." He made the last remark in a sullen tone.

The stew he'd made was of fish and lemon, with many vegetables besides. A sort of creamy chowder. Gloom hopped to the table and began passing out bowls to each of the guests. To Perdita, he said, "I don't think we've met. I like your drawings. I wish I could draw." He said, with a sigh.

Then Gloom excused himself once more to his own space. Having his own room, with access to the kitchen they'd decided would be best. And so he retreated to his room, to read more recipe books, as it was one of the few things he enjoyed.

Woe turned to the rest of the assembled people and wondered why Hart had brought Wren. Perhaps he couldn't find someone to look after him? "Wren, perhaps you'd like to keep Gloom company for a time? I'm sure he'd like to talk about... er.. apples?" Woe nodded to the boy, "What we're to talk about would likely bore you."

Woe considered removing the boy's memory of himself, but there would be time for that after. He couldn't risk him running his mouth about Woe being a mage in Egilrun. But then, Woe wasn't sure if he was to stay long before the war started. There were other places he needed to go, people to warn and things to figure out. He couldn't sit on his hands in Egilrun the entire time. It was a difficult position for him, and he hated leaving his 'post' as it were. But the war seemed to be expanding before it even broke out properly. He needed to expand his reach to match.

"Now, what have you all brought for me?" He turned to Perdita first, nodding that she was safe to share her research.
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s she caught sight of Wren and Hart, Perdita both blushed and smiled. She looked down as the young child asked her a question and she dropped down on to her heels so that she was eye level with him. "I have," she said, her cheeks blushing but her brown eyes looking at him seriously. Rummaging in her satchel, she pulled out one of the two spare notebooks she always had with her and she solemnly handed it to him. "I made this for you," she said, putting it into his hand. "So, you can have a story of your own. One you tell." She looked up at Hart and smiled slightly, then she stood and shook her head. "I'm delivering frames," she said. "It won't be long."

Of course, it was possible that Hart was here for some other reason, but Perdita didn't want to assume anything. Then, there was the call to let themselves in and Perdita smiled at them both and went in. Once they had, they caught sight of Woe and Perdita's eyes widened. She didn't hide her surprise when she saw him - she couldn't have if she tried, and she was too surprised to try. But, as Hart closed the door, she tried to get herself under control. But he seemed to be himself and so she followed him in to the dining room and sat down, where bidden. Her hands clutched the bag she carried and her eyes were wide and watching him carefully - but he might notice that she watched him as much with concern as anything else. She didn't know enough to know what had happened to him - he was limping, his hair had turned white - for all she knew he'd been attacked.

So, she sat, and she listened carefully. He was a mage and these were mutations? Perdita took that information in and her concern started to shift towards being intrigued. Was this was magic did to you? If so, why did anyone do it? Was he an extreme example, or was this mild? But, she pulled her own natural curiosity and she focused on him and what he was saying. The small tunawa spoke to her and she smiled. "Hello," she said, "thank you for the food." She blushed when he said he liked her drawings, and would probably have continued on in a stumbling-over-her-words, blushing kind of way, but Woe took charge and got things sorted.

Then, he asked her to start and nodded. "Here are your frames," she said, retrieving them for him. She glanced at Hart then, and smiled slightly. Apologetically. "I went to the Watcher's Union," she said quietly. "The receptionist there, Fronner," she looked down at her notes as she said that, checking that it was what she remembered. It was. "Was helpful. He gave me these loose leaves from a brochure on the history of the Union," she patted some loose pieces of parchment as she said that. "Told me that Mr Lamkey used to be willing to see people, but now is too busy. Since last season. He gave me a name of a man whose brother did a study on the Union, and the name of a woman - Deytha - who used to work there." She lifted up a brochure from her satchel. "I helped him in the printing room, and so he let me have this," she said.

Then, she fell silent while Woe and Hart to read and ask any questions.

Off Topic
8 WP deducted for 4 x bespoke frames.
Also - the thread where she finds this information out isn't finished. By the time I post again, she'll know more.



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Gloom hummed his acknowledgment of Perdita's thanks and then sulked off the table and out of the room. Back to the kitchen to cheer himself up. He was working on learning baking, and it was challenging, having to follow recipes instead of going by ear as it was with cooking. But he enjoyed it on a different level.

Once they were alone among themselves, Woe gestured for them all to take seats, and they began, with Perdita first.

Woe looked over the frames with some interest, noting that they were well selected and designed to compliment the portraits she'd drawn. "Thank you." Woe said to her, nodding. Then she brought out the brochures which detailed some of the Watcher's Union history. It was good information that he hadn't gotten himself. It was interesting that whille he'd invited Tobias Lamkey for Dinner in mid-Cylus, to ask about the Crystal Blade, he wasn't accepting appointments anymore. "I think Tobias might be taking appointments, he just needs a little encouragement. Or perhaps he is indisposed. I met him earlier in Cylus, but it was on another subject, not related to all of this."

Woe continued to read the brochures, and was troubled by the fact that the Watchers handled most all of the mail going in and out of Egilrun, including parcels for delivery. That was very troubling. Woe was glad, then, that he'd only sent a spare few letters himself. To the Rangers, and to select Council Members. Those letters had borne some fruit, as a Ranger HQ was being built in Eglirun even as they speak. But then he hadn't heard back from the Albarecht. But he still held out hope that troops would arrive to guard the village and the paths leading into it.

"Good work," Woe said to Perdita. "You seem to have a knack for this kind of sleuthing. Is there anything else?"

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Re: The Golden Rule

16th Ashan, 721

Wren was excited when Perdita said she had made more books. He smiled when she said it; but his expression became serious when she said she'd made a book for him. His eyes, though, lit up. Perdita handed him the notebook and Wren handled it very seriously. "It's for me?"

"Thank you, Perdita," Hart said, "The notebook is lovely."

"Thank you," Wren said, and Hart smiled at both him and the young bookbinder.

Wren was a quiet boy, and he'd been through a lot in the two years that he'd known Hart. Though he did smile, he didn't smile a lot, and he was worried and serious. He'd dimmed in Egilrun, because of the difficulties he'd had with school and meeting new people. It was getting better, and Wren smiled more now, but he still didn't have a lot of friends.

Hart was very grateful, then, that people like Perdita were kind to Wren.

"Truly, thank you," Hart said to her. "You're doing more good than you know."

The two of them and Perdita walked in the house, and Hart shut the door behind them.

"Woe," Hart said, smiling; but then he noticed the differences in Woe, and he said, "Are you well?" Woe looked very different; he said he was a mage, and Hart glanced at Perdita. The young artist and bookbinder was quite surprised; Hart was quite surprised as well, though he was more surprised that Woe had said he was a mage. Hart glanced to Wren, because the boy, like Perdita, hadn't known Woe was a mage. But, Wren didn't look surprised at all. He just looked at Woe, seriously.

Then he nodded and said, "Hello, Mr. Morandi." Wren nodded again. "I like your shadows. Miss Perdita made a book for me." Wren would let Woe look at the notebook, though he was obviously cautious about letting someone else handle something so important. He would let Gloom look at the notebook, too.

They set out the bowls and soup, and Hart had Wren sit at the table, though the boy said, "But I'd like to go with Mr. Gloom." The soup was quite good, though, fish and lemon, and Wren ate his bowl of soup.

"Be mindful of Mr. Gloom," Hart said, and Wren nodded before he left the dining room.

Perdita seemed to have settled into the knowledge that Woe was a mage, and Hart was glad. It seemed Perdita and Woe, like Hart and Woe, had been doing some investigating. Perdita spoke of the Watcher's Union, and Hart set down his soup spoon politely while she spoke, so it wouldn't clink.

"You mind if I...?" he inquired when Perdita stopped speaking. He sat quietly when Woe read the papers Perdita had given them, Hart getting out his notebook and sharpened charcoal, about to copy the information.

But halfway through copying the information, Hart stopped writing. The charcoal poised in his hand, Hart turned his face away from the papers, gazing away from the table and Woe and Perdita. He was quiet, his expression distant, like he'd sensed something.

Hart remained like that, quiet and distant, when Woe spoke to Perdita. Then abruptly Hart said, "I'm sorry, but I just..." He was quiet again. He set down the charcoal. "I'm going to need to leave."

The distance left his expression, and he looked apologetically at them both.

"I'm very sorry, but I just... I just remembered something. I'll leave my notes, Woe, if you'd like?" Hart would leave the notes about his and Woe's investigation as well as the charcoal he'd been writing with, like he'd forgotten he'd been in the middle of writing.

"Wren?" Hart said, standing from the table. Though he was moving quickly, he pushed in his seat. "Something's... wrong," he mumbled to himself, and his expression was, momentarily, distant.

"I'll contact you both when I'm able," Hart said, and smiled. The smile was gone quickly.

Hart would find Wren, wherever he was in the Morandi house, and quickly the two of them would leave.
Notes: Due to thread requirements and things being very busy IC, I'm going to need to drop this thread. Sorry; I hope Hart's departure isn't too distracting!

The notes Hart's leaving are the ones written in this thread. The thread is not completed right now, so there might be more notes than the ones written as of the date I'm posting this, 4/8/21.
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eing shy meant that she understood, at least a little, the kind of difficulties a child like Wren could get into. After all, adults had been her friends, growing up, and she understood something of what difference a small gesture could make.

Once they were inside, though, she gave the beginning of her report, and then Hart suddenly stood and left. Perdita watched, not quite sure what to do and she felt her sense of unease continuing to grow. There was no doubt that she liked Woe, he had been kind to her and had kept her on even when she had been far from useful as an artist, but he seemed genuinely pleased with the work she'd done and she was very well aware that he had been both generous and kind to here. He was a mage and it made him look very strange - something which unnerved Perdita greatly. But it wasn't so much his physical change, but the fact that he had chosen to hide that magic and, now, chose to show it.

She was, quite obviously, out of her depth. But, she was also who she was and so she sat and her eyes widened as Hart left, but she didn't say anything.

When Woe and she were in the room, after Hart had gone, Perdita answered Woe's question. "Yes," she said. "There is more." Breathing in slightly, she looked down at her notebook. "Fronner said he's only seeing people from a list of ten. He would not show me the list." She said. "The brochure doesn't mention Slags Deep, at all." And that was important, she thought. Anyhow. "Then, I went to the Lemon Messy," she said. "The brother owns it." Opening her notebook, she turned it around to show him. "Loomis Klepe. He studies history," she said softly. "At the university." Just in case it needed explaining, she added. "So do I."

Looking up at Woe, she explained. "I'll ask my professor, when I get back." With the slightest shrug, she couldn't give him more information than that. "The print-girl may have gone to Viden," she said, repeating what the man in the Lemon Messy had told her.

"Once I've spoken to Loomis," she said. "Shall I write to you?" She sighed slightly. "It doesn't seem safe." It truly didn't, but equally, she couldn't keep making the journey. Maybe he'd be in Scalvoris Town sometime, though, or they could agree a code or .... something.

"Oh," she said, softly. Remembering, she frowned. "I think Fronner was nervous," she said. "He was busy," there was no doubting that. "But he seemed nervous, too." On that, she might be wrong, but she thought it best to tell him everything.

Then, she lapsed into silence and awaited his instructions.


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It didn't occur to Woe that his hiding being a mage might be seen as a faux pas. So when Perdita reacted to his mutations, he presumed it was because of the different look. He didn't have Empathy to help him understand at the moment that his hiding what he was might be a breach of trust. So he was careful not to spook the girl.

Woe was surprised and a little unnerved by the sudden departure of Hart. Yet he couldn't justly hold him if he wanted to leave. At least the man had presence enough of mind to leave his notes. Those might be useful. Woe would look at them later. After Hart left, Woe nodded to the notes, "Would you copy those notes for yourself? They may complete your understanding, and lead you down avenues of study that you wouldn't have considered, but may be useful to me and you."

Woe listened as she explained what was going on. The Print woman went to Viden. That was interesting, Woe almost considered that he should check with his contacts there, few enough as they were. But then, Viden was remote. It was likely the Print woman if she had some clandestine operation out of Viden, would be unknown to the quality of his contacts there. In truth, his network was small, and he only knew to contact Magpie, but he hadn't spoken to or seen Magpie in seasons. Besides, Magpie never let information go without dragging it out as painfully as possible for Woe. Woe wouldn't be able to bear it.

Finally, Perdita concluded that she would meet with this Loomis, and send him information. Woe then pulled out an echo scroll from his satchel and set it toward Perdita. "This is an echo scroll. I have one myself that will receive any information you send to it. I need that information before the twenty-sixth of Ashan."

He let go of the echo scroll, allowing her to take it if she wished. "Is that acceptable to you?"

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aybe, Perdita thought, Hart had felt that there was an issue with Woe being a mage. She found it unnerving, but she was also very clear what wasn't her business. She nodded her head, "Of course," when Woe suggested she copy the notes for herself. She was very happy to do that and began to do so, concentrating on his words.

She was copying them, when she looked up. "There are suggested actions here," she said. Things like asking Isonomia about slave shackles and so on. "In Scalvoris Town." Glancing up at him, she wished she would just stop blushing. "Will you do them?" If it had been Hart's plan to go and do this, then Woe might not have the time or availability to do it. "I can help, if you wish."

As she wrote, she was careful to include all the words - anything might be important after all. Then, Woe offered her a scroll and Perdita looked at it in surprise. He explained what it was and her eyes widened. It was a magic scroll? Perdita whispered. "I've never seen anything like this," she said. Listening carefully to him, she nodded her understanding of what she should do. Write on it, and he would receive the information. That was fine. "Can I write more than once?" She asked, her hand moving over the scroll like it was an amazement to her - which it was. "How long between writings should there be?" Could she write again in an hour, or would it need to be the next day, she wondered. Then, of course, "What happens if I reach the end of the scroll?" So many questions, each one of them important.

She had known that Woe was rich - that was obvious after he'd paid her so well. But so very rich that he could afford magic? It was beyond anything she had ever seen. She waited for his answers, solemnly and carefully noting them as he gave them. When that was done, she would take her leave and, with a scroll carefully tucked into a case in her bag, make her way back to where they were staying.

She had a lot to think about.
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