Thesis statement of Corbie Garnett, as submitted to the Convocation as proof of understanding in basic concepts at the end of her first year of study
On perceptions of energy and magic and the dangers of metaphor
By choosing metaphors based in physical concepts -vi, manar, ether- we are better able to grasp the physical (in every sense), but we may neglect what can be called eerie or emotional energy. Many other magical traditions focus on this approach, for example, noirance and clairance. If we don't absorb these metaphors, we can't see the magic made using them, even if we do see its effects.
Notes: Promising, Corbie (I can see your old teacher in this!), but somewhat vague in your conclusions, and you'll have to work hard to convince V.L. that you know what you're talking about. Remember, this theoria isn't meant to check specific knowledge but general understanding of thought. Also, watch your language! Your Is and contractions will see you marked down. Have you chosen your practicum yet? V.H.
—don't know anything about things actually work. Not the magic, they get that, but the money. If I try to say anything, though, they don't know anything about how things actually...
I looked at the letter and it took me a few seconds to realise why that last bit sounded so familiar. Corbie wrote clearer than most, no pointless extra curls or letters that almost disappeared into each other. Normally I liked it when we got a letter from her because it I could practically hear her talking when I read, but I'd been trying to read this one and not got beyond the first half-page.
I could feel the fever coming on and whenever I tried to read it, the words shifted like they did when I was first trying to read and I lost the start of a sentence before I got to the end. I wanted to read it, though, before the winterfever came on properly. It wasn't here yet, but I could feel it waiting like a rough in an alley, ready to knock me out for the next decad or worse. I wasn't looking forward to it. It has been as bad in Bernatha as I could remember it being anywhere, and maybe it was stupid, but I didn't want to think what Felix might do, if I got like that again.
Except that was stupid, because Felix now wasn't anywhere near as fucked up as he was then, and I knew that, but I kept losing that I knew it. And I needed to finish Corbie's letter, because if I knew what she'd been doing, I'd be able to remember better that we weren't there and I didn't need to worry about Felix going out and getting himself hurt.
—I can't say I'm glad they know, but I guess it's not the worst thing for them to hear and—
I was looking at the last page and I didn't know how I'd got there and I wondered where Felix was. Half of me wanted to get up and go find find him, before he got himself lost again, but it was foggy as the front of a bakery in midwinter and cold as the Sim and I had no idea where he was, or where he was meant to be. Grimglass Without wasn't much of a town, but it was big enough for Felix to get lost in and... no, he'd gone up to the Lighthouse to speak to Kay about... something. I should've gone with him. No telling what he could get himself into if I wasn't there to keep an eye on him.
I was holding something and when I looked down, I remembered it was Corbie's letter, sent to us from Lily-Of-Mar, pretty half-stamps on the top and folded over so the address—For Attention of Magician Felix Harrowgate, Resident of Homing Seasight, Grimglass Without, Ward of Grimglass—was clear on the top for the postal to bring it to us. I started again,
—Dear Felix (and Mildmay, if you read this too), Hutchencer has got me an apprenticeship, so I'm—
—there's a new scandal about some new Marathatine novel, which is claims to be written from someone in Mélusine, but as far as I can tell is mostly an excuse for some publishing house to try and get around paying House Chasity proper tithes on the pages by claiming to be educational. I'm trying to get a copy before it gets banned or House Chasity slaps a tithe on it, but claims to be an excuse for old scholars to...
I realised I'd slipped off the page and back to the start. I shivered and started coughing something nasty and oh right, I thought. Winterfever.
I wondered wher Felix had got to.
Mildmay coughed, a horrible, barking thing and looked at me again, eyes bright with fever. His skin was flushed and broken with occasional purple-red spots and he leant forwards. The physician-practitioner frowned at me as if I was responsible, and moved his stethoscope to another place on Mildmay's back. "Breathe in," he said.
Mildmay did, shallowly to avoid another cough. The practitioner took the stethoscope out of his ears and shook his head. "Nasty thing. You said he had redspot last week? Clearly, it's weakened his system enough to bring on what looks like a nasty case of plueriny as well. He probably needs to watch out for foglung as well. Curse of the area, I'm afraid. All usually treatable on their own, of course, but..." He shrugged again. "I would say you're in for a rough ride, Mr Harrowgate. If too much vi is spent fighting one thing, there's little enough left for another, or even for keeping the body's own cogs turning."
I wasn't sure if he was directing his speech at me because, as a wizard, he assumed I was more able to grasp what he was saying or because Mildmay was halfway to delirious, blinking slowly. He was shivered, hands curling into the shirt on his lap.
"I'm assuming you have no training in medical matters, or your wouldn't have called me?" The physician said, turning back to his band. "In which case, I can offer only conventional, non-magical treatments. Has Mr Foxe suffered from this before?"
Mildmay laughed which set him to coughing again. I went over and, somewhat hesitantly, rubbed at his back the way Gideon used to. "Every winter since I've known him," I said. Mildmay stopped coughing and I grabbed his shirt and helped him into it.
"Then you'll be familiar with most of the treatment. These should be dissolved in water and left as a steam-infusion, by the bed, and I'll send a boy tomorrow with enough for the week. I can leave you with something to help him sleep, too, but the chief remedy is time and sensible treatment. Sleep, nourishing broth, cold cloths if his fever raises too high. If it does get worse, we can perhaps send for a magician-practitioner to encourage the vi, but the body knows what it has to do for now."
He smiled at me, brusquely polite, and I was simultaneously grateful for his impersonal professional arrogance and wanted quite desperately to throw something at him. "Thank you for your assistance," I said, keeping my voice court-arrogant. Mildmay shivered next to me.
"I'll send a bill along with the medicine," he said. "Due the end of the month, unless you open an account with us." He nodded again, pulled himself into his thick wool coat and left. His footsteps echoed down the steps from our home to the street that led to the rest of the town.
"Think he's like that from being a medico or a Glassman?" Mildmay said, shivering again. I moved away to grab the blanket from where it was warming in front of the cast-iron stove.
"Hard to say," I said. "They do make a virtue of it, don't they?" I dropped the blanket on his shoulders and he wriggled into it, appreciative of the warmth.
He grinned at me, fever stripping him of usual self-consciousness about how his scar twisted it. "All that fuss for him to say I gotta wait it out."
"I suppose we could commend him for at least being honest about his usefulness," I said, resisting the urge to smooth the blanket down. I was not a natural nursemaid and I felt clumsy at pretending the role.
"I scared you something rotten in Bernatha, didn't I?" Mildmay said, twisting slightly in his seat to look up at me. "Didn't have to get him in."
"Perhaps it's just the novelty of it," I said. "It's much rarer for me to take care of you, especially when—" I am not responsible, I almost said, biting back on the words at the last minute.
To distract us both, I picked up the book Mildmay had been working his way through. Reading aloud gave me an unpleasant combination of emotions. I was both proud and reluctant to read out loud. Proud of the clarity of my voice, of the way, unlike many of my colleagues, I never stuttered or lost my place when I read for audience, and unpleasantly reminded of Malkar's training methods and the steps he took to remove any trace of the Lower City from my voice. I held up the book to Mildmay and he blinked at me, poison-green eyes more vivid in his flushed face.
"Do you want me to read to you?" I said, fighting back the urge to wince at how awkward I sounded, out of proportion with the request.
"Don't have to," Mildmay said. "I'll probably fall asleep before you got to turn the page."
"No, I want to," I said, awkward and hating how small kindnesses seemed so much harder than grand gestures. "And you can return the favour, when you're well enough."
He looked at me and I made myself busy, finding my own chair, adjusting the oil lamp and opening the book.
I cleared my throat and found my place on the page.
Dear Mr Foxe,
I hope this letter does not seem impolite, but I have been reliably informed that you have an extensive knowledge of the folktales and oral tradition of the lands outside of Corambis and Caloxa. I am an academic who wishes to speak with you further on this, particularly with regards to any knowledge you may have of the folktales of Marathat, Cymellune and of the Merrow (also know as the Marri). If it is convenient, I would be happy to interview you at your residence.
Please find attached examples of my previous works, Folktales of the Usara and Folktales of Southern Ygresse. Your assistance would contribute greatly to our knowledge of foreign culture and aid our understanding of...
Liliane Darry was tall, striking and with a greedy intellect that would have made her at home amongst my wizard-brethren. She leaped on my brother with a determination that was almost unnerving. I had known many people like her before -Diokletian, for one- people whose work was so important to them that the people they dealt with fell into the categories of assistant, audience or obstacle. It was only her obvious appreciation for Mildmay's storytelling that made me think better of her. She copied everything he said as fast as he could say it and I, for one, was glad that he had something to do to occupy his time during his recovery. By this point, he was chiefly over the worst of it, but was still weak as a kitten and bored with it.
I still felt somewhat guilty about leaving him alone during the day to work on my studies in the peace of my own room, but less so since, terrifying as Miss Darry was, she did give Mildmay the chance to indulge in one of his favourite pastimes and I was inclined to think favourably of anyone who was so obviously appreciative of him. I spent the day answering letters to my colleagues in Lily-Of-Mar and contemplating whether, as Virtuer Ashmead suggested, I should work on a monograph outlining the basic tools for understanding noirance and clairance. There was a growing interest in the topic in the wake of the machine at Summerdown and the continued effect of the Clock of Eclipses on the people of Bernatha.
When I emerged from the study, I found them in much the same position as I left. At some point, one of them had set one of the steam-bowls on the stove and the air smelt sharply herbal, though the bowl itself was now bone-dry. Mildmay looked surprised when he saw me, then looked at the window. The setting sun had tinted the sky with shades of pink and orange that clashed remarkably.
"You hungry?" Mildmay said, his words less clear than usual. I wondered if she'd kept my normally taciturn brother talking all afternoon.
I shook my head and wandered over to where they sat. Miss Darry gave me an irritated look as I leaned over her to look at her notes.
"I'm unfamiliar with the language you're writing in," I said, looking at the page.
"It's a phonetic alphabet," Liliane Darry said. "You wouldn't have come across it if you weren't a specialist." She tapped at the page. "I'm documenting Mr Foxe's speech exactly as he says it, though I will provide a more accessible version when I publish. I'm not a linguist, but I do think it's important, when you're documenting oral traditions, to copy them exactly as they're spoken. This technique is both faster than formal writing and allows me to capture the exact voice of the subject."
"But I don't speak right," Mildmay said, interrupting. "You don't wanna—"
"I do want to," Miss Darry said, frowning at him. "It's important not to let linguistic snobbery erase the significant effect of local idiom on traditional stories." She seemed aware that something had made Mildmay unhappy and I could almost see her trying to think what it could be. "It's very important for the book," she said again, slightly helplessly. "I do it for all my collections."
Mildmay frowned, the expression exaggerated by his scar. "It ain't like I'm telling all the stories exactly the same as I was told," he said. "Especially the ones the Merrow told me. And I don't—I can't speak clear," he corrected himself. "Especially when I'm tired.".
Miss Darry leaned in. "This is tremendously helpful, Mr Foxe. It's virtually impossible to get anything like this out of conventional sources. All there is are historical treatise that completely neglect the importance of folk-traditions in favour of, oh, court politics and the like," she waved a hand dismissively, still holding the pencil, "completely ignoring the roots of a culture, or those awful faux-Marathatine novels which I hardly need to tell you aren't worth the paper they're printed on."
"I don't see what difference it makes to the stories if you make it sound like I'm Lower City or the Lord Protector's own speach-mistress," Mildmay said.
Miss Darry looked like she was bout to argue, but I interrupted her before she could speak. "Miss Darry, perhaps you should continue this tomorrow? I understand you're here for the week, and as you know, my brother is still recovering from his illness." Mildmay shot me a baleful look at that, which I cheerfully ignored.
"Yes, of course. I'll be back tomorrow," she said, sounding more like a bailiff than a scholar, in tone if not voice.
"She is keen," I said when she'd left.
Mildmay rolled his eyes. "No kidding," he said. He was slurring noticeably, the way he did when he was tired.
"Do you want to talk to her tomorrow," I said. "I do have some experience with scaring off overly zealous academics, if you'd rather not."
Mildmay smiled back, the way he did sometimes without changing his expression. "You sure? I think she'd go through both of us and half the Bastion if she thought her book needed it."
"Trust me, that hardly makes her unique amongst scholars," I said, going over to the steam-bowl on the stove and adding some more water to it.
"It's okay," he said. "I don't mind talking to her." He hesitated, then said, "It's sort of nice, getting to tell my old tales. I didn't think I still remembered some of them and no-one here knows any of them. though she said some of them were sort of the same as some of the ones she'd heard in Ygresse."
I nodded and crumbled some of the herbal mix the physician had left into the steam-bowl. The heavy green scent was instantly there and I thought that by the time Mildmay was well, it would probably have embedded itself into the walls.
"Did you tell her the one about the silver daughter?" I said. "I—Joline and I used to tell each other that one." It hurt still to remember her, but I was becoming aware that in some ways, it hurt less than not thinking of her at all.
"Not yet," Mildmay said, his voice painfully gentle. "Didn't even get around to the Doom of Marchant, and even kids too young to be kept know that one."
"Well, I suppose you have time," I said, making myself busy over the stove. "If she's coming back tomorrow."
For the attention of Mr Weighton, editor of this publication.
Look, I know we said we'd never publish another of those godawful Marathatine novels, but I think we may need to look at this one. It has the distinction, as far as I can tell, of actually being written by someone in Mélusine, safely out of Corambis's borders which means no legal protection from the author, no copyright issues and best of all, no dealing with some precious little creative. Book itself is a fairly tawdry romance adventure, escape from peril, various romantic affairs leading to eventual triumph on stage etc. etc. etc. No pretensions for a great work of art, but a nice turn of phrase and the author (An Actress) doesn't let plot get in the way of a nice bit of flesh! I'm attaching the copy I got my hands on. We'll need to strip and copy the book, remove anything too incomprehensible and see what we can get past the censors without having to tithe Chasity half the profits!
ìBeing The Encounters of a Daughter of Travellers, Who Braved The Bastion to Find Romance, Danger and Eventual Safety Within The Walls of Mélusine and in the Arms of the Mirador. By An Actress, Who Shall Remain Unnamed for Respect of Her Nobel Protector.ì
NB We'll have to do something about that title as well! A Thousand Days of Adventure, maybe?
"Corbie sent us something," Felix said, holding up a book. "The new novel that's been stirring up interest in Marathat again." He made a face and I knew it was because he'd been getting a bunch of letters lately, some of them from broadsheets, that were half questions and then half filling in the answers themselves. They were all but killing themselves over wanting him to write back because so far all they knew was that Felix was maybe a hero and maybe a monster and maybe a mark and they couldn't figure which one they wanted him to be more. They'd built up this image of what he was already from what they knew he'd done in Nauleverer and Summerdown and what people said about him in Lily-Of-Mar, but either people weren't talking much or they figured they could get a better story from Felix directly.
"Maybe she thought you'd like reading it," I said just to see Felix make a face at me.
"The two of you have vile senses of humour," he said, and then, because Felix couldn't resist having something to know about, he started flicking through the pages, stopping every now and then when something caught his eye. He stopped at something on the page and blushed. "Good grief," he said, and it was so unlike him that I said, "What?"
He looked up at me, eyes wider and face red and said, "I think it's Mehitabel. Or meant to be, maybe. It doesn't seem remotely in character and it would be an excellent piece of character assassination, if written by someone else. It's—here," he said, all but pushing it at me, then pulling it back. "Unless you don't want to," he said, like he hadn't realised that maybe it would be weird for me, reading a book about her.
I grabbed it off him before I could change my mind, because the truth was, I missed Tabby sometimes, same way I missed the Lower City. Something I knew, something that had given me a place to be and some good friendships and some hard griefs, and something I could never see again.
The book was—well, you could see why House Chastity had put its stamp on it. It was the sort of thing that they sell in the back of bourgie bookshops to people who were too scared to buy a whore. I hadn't been able to read them, but Ginevra had had a couple and she'd read to me from them when she was in a mood to play wild. I could read them by myself now, but it hadn't occurred to me, not really, that they sold them here. I guess if you'd asked me, I'd have said of course they do, but it wasn't something I'd ever thought about before.
It didn't sound like something Tabby would have written, except for the bits that did. Nothing big, just odd little words and phrases that I could picture her coming out with. Like watching a puppet-show of her, one of the ones that went round every year, same puppets and different names depending on who was out of favour and what the Professor behind the curtain figured he could get away with.
And if I thought about it like that, it did feel like something she might do. Nothing in that book was about her, not really—even the things that I knew happened, they weren't written like it was her they happened to. Someone else, someone that wasn't as sharp as her. Tabby would look at someone to see what made them work and she could put on a new mask as easy as a coat, and she knew when she was doing it. The girl in this book—well, she seemed younger, and maybe more brave and maybe more foolish and everything was all emotion. And it wasn't like Mehitabel Parr didn't have emotions, but she mostly made sure they didn't get her in trouble and if someone did catch a glimpse of them it was because she let you.
The chapter on the Bastion—she'd been proper gutted by it, but in the book there wasn't any of that. It was all poetry and lots of fucking that I can tell you went a lot better than it should have, when they were both meant to be virgin-pure before they met. None of it sounded like Mehitabel, but it sounded like someone she might pretend to be, if she thought it might come in useful. The stage-paint version of herself, making sure that's all they saw.
I had to go past the stuff that was meant to have happened when we were travelling through the Kekropian Empire, because there was someone in there that was like a stage version of me, only not crippled the way I was and he talked better, like he was actually on stage. Mavortian was in there, but only for long enough for us to rescue him, and in the book, stage-me and stage-Mehitabel fucked the first time because of that.
I stopped reading and skipped to the end, because I didn't want to know how she'd got us through everything that happened after we got back. The last chapter had her living in Mélusine, shining on stage and with a nice association with court, and a lot of guff about how happy she was to be there, how the bright lights of Mélusine had killed the darkness of before, how overjoyed she was about the Lord Protector's new daughter and new wife, and how she was humbly grateful to be part of Mélusine society, offering up her skill on stage for them all.
It made me laugh, because it wasn't like anyone who read it back home who knew her would really think she was like that, but maybe it'd work for the people that hadn't. It wasn't a story that made sense, but it was a good one, and there was enough flash and shine in it to make people ignore the rest.
And if she was still Stephen Teverius's public mistress, it was a pretty good statement that she had no interest being his wife, and even if she had, the stuff she claimed to have done in the books -who she claimed to have done it with, me included- meant she'd never be allowed closer to the throne than his bedroom.
It hurt some to read it, but even if it was more than half lies and the other half a puppet-show, I didn't hate that she seemed okay and that she didn't seem to bear me no grudge, or Felix one either.
The book was waiting on the table where Mildmay had left it the night before.
the first page was taken up with a notice that any previous versions of the book had been published outside of the bounds of Corambis and as such, were not protected by law and that this book was now under the publication of House of Longwood & Parley, first publishers within the bounds of Corambis, and was thus protected by law against unauthorised copying. The second page was a rather more ornate stamp indicating that this book had been examined by House Chastity and that all due tithes had been paid regarding its publication and any earlier versions without this stamp should be burned as illegal.
After that, there was a brief note from someone claiming to be an authority on the history and culture of Marathat and that this book was a modern historical account suitable for discerning readers, with an added note that scenes within the book were an indication of the high passions of the people of Marathat represented vital cultural information for any interested scholar and should not be taken as unseemly, lurid or gratuitous.
Publishing in Corambis, or at Bernatha at least, seemed to involve several more layers of approval than in Mélusine, where the chief criteria was to be able to pay the press.
"I finished it last night," Mildmay said behind me. I didn't jump, but it was a near thing.
"And? Is it as lurid as Corbie claimed?" I said trying to adopt a casual air that I knew wouldn't fool him one jot.
He made an odd face. "It ain't anything like real," he said. "Half like something you'd tell a kid, half like something you'd hear listening to two madams gossiping."
I shrugged. "From what I understand, that's part of the appeal. The one offsets the other." And then, because I wasn't fooling either of us, I put the book down on the table and said, "So is it her?"
He nodded. "I think so. I think she wrote it, anyway."
That surprised me and it must have shown because Mildmay frowned slightly, trying to find the right words. "I think she wrote it because it means no-one's ever going to be looking at her to mother the next Lord Protector," he said. "Or be looking at her for politics. And maybe it'll make them come to her theatre more. It's all shine and flash and—"
"Sex?" I said. "That's how these books usually are, sex and romance and tragedy in manageable amounts." I tried not to think about what Mehitabel could have included in there.
"Yeah," he said, blushing. "All of that. It's a story, but it's the sort people like to tell, so they won't be looking for any other."
"She's always been able to disguise herself," I said. "To show the version that makes her safest." I looked at Mildmay for long enough to make him self-conscious, then said, "Are you all right, after reading it?"
He nodded. "I didn't read it all the way through, but... it's good, you know? To know that she's doing okay and she's still her."
We didn't know that, not for sure. She wouldn't have written a book that showed even this shadow version of herself, if something hadn't forced her to. Some bit of political jockeying, perhaps, or someone attempting to push her connection with Stephen. If this books was a tactical move by Mehitabel, we didn't even that this ploy had worked. We didn't know that she hadn't died of some accident or illness since writing it, or if she was happy with her connection to Stephen, or bound by mutual convenience, or if her theatre was doing well, or if...
Mildmay was looking at me, waiting for me to argue or agree. "You probably know her as well as anyone," I said.
"She was your friend too," he said.
"When she could stand me," I said, finding the memory strangely warming. Mehitabel saw me too clearly, knew how badly I had treated Mildmay, to like me constantly. I felt lighter, I realised. I doubted it would last, but I was willing to enjoy it for the moment. This book was probably the only bit of evidence we would have for how she, or Mélusine in general, were doing, and I wasn't going to argue if Mildmay interpreted it optimistically.
The Unbeaten Path: A Journey Across Corambis With Advice for Fellow Travellers, by A. L. P. Darveston.
The main feature of Grimglass is, of course, the lighthouse, known locally as The Lighthouse and formally as the Tower-Keep. Although somewhat simplistic in design, and lacking the grace of Bernatha's own, familiar lighthouses, it is noteworthy simply for its height. From a distance, it is not noticeably grand (a factor caused both by the lack of anything nearby with which to compare for scale and the local weather, which tends to fragmented, clinging clouds.
The locals are viciously proud of the design and the less-educated among them are also subject to a distinct superstitious attitude towards it. Fisherman touch the sides of it for luck before going out and it is also custom for people leaving Grimglass on long journeys to take a small chip or a pressed clipping of one of the plants that grows on the walls around it.
In conclusion, Grimglass (and the associated town of Grimglass Without) may be worth a visit, but only a brief one. The chief concern of the locals is the weather and the price of fish, not necessarily in that order.
We'd been here close to a year and I still wasn't really used to how different it was and not because it was a country I'd never even heard of before we left home. It was weird because me and Felix had a house in town and I'd never lived anywhere where I wasn't sharing roof, floor and walls with someone else. Apartments, hotel rooms, even the thick stone around our rooms in the Mirador didn't stop you hearing that other people were living around you. I half-wished that we were up in the Lighthouse, or that we had rooms in the Warden's Palace where Kay and his people were.
Before coming, we'd heard that the lighthouse was big at Grimglass, because that was the only thing people knew about the place. That, and it was good for shellfish. "Ticket for Grimglass? Oh, I hear the lighthouse is amazing." "Grimglass? Where the lighthouse is?"
And since we got here, we'd been told by a septad's worth of people that the Lighthouse was special, starting with the man that had driven us to the house set up for us by Vanessa Brightmore as a wrong-way wedding gift. And then we'd heard the same story from everyone from the butcher to the kid that Felix paid to clear the rats out from the cellar.
"We have to keep the light lit permanently," he said. "By law. Close to a hundred years ago, the navy lost three ships in a sudden fog and it was put into the statutes. Every day since then, we've had her lit to call us home. Biggest lighthouse in the known world, you know."
And you know, it wasn't big like the Mirador was big, or even the cathedral of Phi-Kethion back home, but it was tall enough that it made me go grey at thought of many stairs there'd be to go to the top. It looked like it had been started ten different times by people with different ideas about what they were doing, like that big hotel in Britomart that took three generations to finish. The Warden's Palace was wrapped around the bottom, curled around the tower like it was sleeping rough. Out of the middle of that, you got the tower, square as a bookseller's bed, then it changed to a round tower made from some kind of red stone, then to something halfway between the two with windows like a cathedral. The light came out from the little round bit at the top looking like it was something solid pushing through the clouds and I couldn't decide if I liked it or if it gave me the creeps. The whole thing was set back from the town of Grimglass Without, up on a raised bit of ground that jutted out like a cliff that had fallen over. It was a good half-hour walk from the last house of Grimglass Without the the gates of the Lighthouse, but as far as I could tell, that didn't stop everyone in town from feeling like it was theirs as much as the stone and slate houses of Without. The locals called it the Lighthouse, like it was the only one that could possibly matter.
Our house was in the middle of Grimglass Without, which still had every house on its own with a bit of garden going round it like a moat. It felt strange, living here in a place which was only ours, mine and Felix's. We didn't have no landlord knocking on doors, threatening to kick you out if you didn't have rent by the end of the week and it wasn't like a hotel room that never really belonged to anyone. And it definitely wasn't the Mirador, which had never been home to me, not in any way except for having Felix there. I would have felt settled, maybe, but I hadn't really figured out how we were going to do this. I didn't know what I was going to do here and I really didn't know what Felix was going to do, when the only people had to talk to were me and Kay and neither of us knew anything about magic. Felix, he lived off of talking about that stuff with someone that got it.
But we'd figure out that stuff when we had to. For maybe the first time I could remember, and definitely not since I'd met Felix, I didn't feel like I needed to run and build me a wall before the Ketch could lift its hood.
Dear Virtuer Harrowgate,
I represent a delegation from the city of Bernatha, regarding your possible assistance in the matter of the Clock of the Eclipses. With the support of the Convocation, we are willing to provide such funding as seems reasonable in the pursuit of a method to turn it off.
It is our understanding that you may have knowledge of this matter, as its sister-clock in Mélusine was apparently destroyed. The Convocation has stated its willingness to pursue this inquiry, and that you may be able to shed light on what steps may be taken to switch it off safely, and without...