Birds and bats
"I'm ... I'm alright, I'm alright!" he said between coughs. One of the eerie heralds who ran the place pulled one of the heavy veils aside to check everything was in order. Richard nodded. She let the silken veil fall back into place.
"Are you taking the herbs I got you?" The scaled countenance of his companion creased with something approximating concern.
Richard nodded impatiently. His companion took an impossibly deep lungful of scented steam from his own pipe, and amused himself by blowing out two long bursts through his nostrils.
"It just went down the wrong hole is all."
His companion sniggered, smirking, and slapped his belly with one hand. Richard rolled his eyes.
"So you were saying the Freeborn offered you a deal and it's all their fault?"
The other fellow nodded quickly.
"Mostly their fault. It seemed harmless enough and I've always wanted some. In some ways I'm the victim here." He looked pathetic, but Richard had no sympathy.
"A man died!"
"Yes, I said that. But he wasn't a magician so ... I don't see what the fuss is about."
Richard blinked a few times. His companion seemed oblivious, and helped himself to one of the little twitching larvae on the table, sucking it out of its shell with gusto.
"I ... wait, did you tell them that?" Richard already knew the answer to the question, of course, but a triumph of optimism over experience urged him to ask it anyway.
His companion blinked, apparently surprised by the question.
"Of course! I keep pointing it out to them but they're just ... they're just not listening!"Richard of Holberg sighed a weary sigh, and set about trying to explain why the Conclave almost certainly were listening, and were entirely right to be less than happy with what they were hearing.
Over the last few months, there have been communications from the eternals of the Night realm to the magicians of the Empire. In both cases the messages have been delivered through more formal channels to the civil servants who support the Imperial Conclave. Lashonar the chatterer has sent a sonnet to the civil service, apparently announcing a competition involving writing love letters. At the same time the Brother of Wizards has dispatched one of his heralds to politely petition the Empire to grant him a formal parley in the Hall of Worlds.
Accuse me this: That I have left too long
since last I made this call. A plea for soft
sweet words of love to echo more than song
and lift loquacious hearts to quicken every beat.
Once more for thee, Imperials, a contest
will I run, to find lines that I approve.
Be it requited, spurned, embittered, blessed
all forms are welcome that do true love prove
whate’r the style with which they’re writ. Yet hold!
One word more. This written love must be real
whoso’er is its muse. I, once so bold,
writ words that a Terunael queen did feel.
In your hall of worlds a bowl I’ll place
each name you leave, I’ll seek you face to face
- Lashonar proposes a contest of words.
A chattering bird, one of the heralds of the eternal Lashonar, delivered a sonnet to the civil servants associated with the Imperial Conclave. In poetic languages, it proposes a contest run by Rossignol the Herald, with the enthusiastic support of the Conscience-of-Kings. The contest, it appears, concerns the creation of love letters - a form of expression known to be of particular interest to the eternal.
Anyone who wishes may place their name and location in a "vessel of interest", which will be located in the Hall of Worlds. Rossignol intends to come to Anvil and visit any who leave their names, and discuss the rules and timescales of this competition in person with them. The herald is not expecting to receive - and will ignore - messages that contain anything other than a name and a location at Anvil where that person can be found.
The civil servants expect that the vessel will be present on the Friday night of the Autumn Equinox, and that anyone can put someone's name into the vessel - thus making the competition open to all regardless of whether they are a mage. It is not clear what the consequences might be for putting someone's name forward with malicious intent, but the wise caution against testing the patience of an eternal, even one as relaxed as Lashonar.
Lashonar's competition is designed to explicitly reward written communication skills - skill at performance will not be necessary to take part or to win.
The Brother of Wizards, the Father of Bats, the Globberslotch, o Patrício Astuto, has made no secret of the fact that he is increasingly distressed by the Empire's decision to remove him from the list of eternals who enjoy the amity of the Empire. A week before the Autumn Equinox, he dispatches a messenger to speak to the civil service. Giving her name as Neora of Spiral, the messenger appears to be a mortal girl of no more than twelve years old, albeit one with a potent naga lineage.
She formally requests the right of parley with the Empire on behalf of the Black Sloth, under the auspices of the Archmage. Her mentor wishes to discuss a number of topics but specifically wishes to talk about an opportunity to save the Halls of Knowledge from the Druj.
If there is any time after that, he also politely requests an opportunity to offer a minor boon to the Imperial magicians - specifically over the years he has provided a number of rare items to Imperial magicians to help them with their magic. Should the Empire consent to offer him a parley, he would like to offer the opportunity to have such items reforged or restored in power as appropriate (although Neora indicates that there may be a little quid pro quo involved).
He would also like to discuss "the location of a certain weirwood tree" with anyone who might have information about it, and what kind of boon they might ask in return for disclosing this information.
Finally, in the event that a formal parley is granted him, she mentions that this would be a perfect opportunity for the tea houses interested in the legacy of the Dark Moon to discuss that matter with him.
it is rare, but not unknown, for an eternal to request a parley without responding to a plenipotentiary message. The final decision rests with the Archmage of night. Should they wish to offer the parley, they should let the civil service know, and dispatch a Missive for Sadogua to let the Brother of Wizards know. The time suggested for the parley is half past ten on Saturday night - assuming that the Imperial Conclave has concluded its business by then - or immediately afterwards if not.
Sadogua received an invitation to a parley with the magicians of the Empire, which took place on Saturday night in the Hall of Worlds. Precisely what was discussed remains a matter between the eternal and the magicians present, but shortly after the Winter Solstice the Halls of Knowledge vanished from Zenith under mysterious circumstances. This may have been the result of an arrangement with the Father of Bats, or due to some machination of the Druj.