Reed of fortune
She looked at Robin, her fiance, for some kind of explanation. "What's that doing in our fields?" she prompted when none was forthcoming.
"Counting... I think. That's what he asked to do."
"Counting the fields?", Matilda queried him. "Right then - your Da has seventeen fields, the back pasture, and the three braes. Now, get rid of it before it twists us a wrong turn."
"Not the fields." Robin replied, shaking his head. "He said he wanted to count the grain. I think... I think he's counting the stalks."
Matilda snorted in derision. She stared at him and wondered what had comes of his wits. If only having a beard made you wise. "What d'you swallow that for, ya daft sod?" she challenged him.
Robin shrugged, and spread his hands. "He was civil and spoke proper, like the friar does. And he promised he wouldn't be no trouble."
"Ya flaming idiot, your Da's gonna shout your ears off your head if he catches on that you let a ruddy boggart on the farm. And worse, you're stood idling and gawping! He told us to have that ditch dug by nightfall and it's going to take hours. We've got to get rid of this thing and make a start. Lost time is never found."
Robin broke into a huge grin, as he turned to face her. "Done it already Mattie - that creature said he'd help me in return for letting him count Da's grain. I said I needed to dig the ditch first and he said he didn't have enough time for that, but he'd help if he could borrow some of mine from next week. So we started together and we've been digging all morning, and I kept wondering when you were going to come and join us and then suddenly it were done and now you're here."
"If the sun's curdled your brains completely Robin Stock March, I swear I'll get the Landskeeper to bury our oaths in a black field. I followed ya straight out here you oaf, you've not been here more than a quarter of an hour."
Robin pulled her towards him, putting his arms round her waist as he turned her round to look at the neighbouring field. It was the smallest field his dad owned, but even so the newly dug ditch in the east corner was a good fifteen paces long. As she stared in disbelief her fiance leaned forwards and in a conspiratorial voice whispered a lewd suggestion on how they might spend the rest of the day.
The eternal Ephisis is an enigma and a mystery. She resides in the City of Gold and Lead, deep within the Autumn realm. There are plenty of stories of magicians who claim to have dealt directly with Ephisis but they are all a little unconvincing. It is a well known fact that the Lady of the Counting House prefers to work through intermediaries ... assuming she even exists and is not just a cunning fabrication of the powerful heralds who claim to work for her.
One such herald is Reed, the Reckoner of Hours. During the last three months, this powerful genie has been visibly active in the mortal world, within the Empire.
The herald has been spotted discussing business with silversmiths in Temeschwar, and printers in Tassato; taking syrah with the mistress of a Feroz paradour; counting planks stacked on the docks of the Atalyan shipyard; discussing distribution practices with employees of the Imperial Mint; principles of best practice with auctioneers from the Imperial Bourse; asking questions about the availability of medicinal herbs with imperial orc bonesetters; observing a Wintermark forge from sunrise to sunset without speaking more than a few words to the hard-working smiths; visiting several Navarri wayhouses and enquiring about the methods of the Navarri brokers; evalutaing the price of grain, beets, and beer with canny Marcher merchants; the cost of transporting metal ore with gruff Varushkan wagon-raiders; and debating the aging of fine with with Dawnish seneschals. He has even been reported having a heated argument with a few suspicious Highborn benefactors. Nobody ever sees him in transit; and scattered somewhat unreliable reports place him outside a theatre in Sarvos on one night, and engaged in deep conversation with a Winter Sun orc in Bregasland the next.
As near as can be ascertained, he is engaged in some sort of audit on behalf of his mistress - speaking to those who produce and increase the wealth of the Empire about topics related to their work - and their politics.
There is some consternation about this in certain quarters - as a powerful herald, Reed should not be able to enter the mortal world unless the eternal he represents has received amity from the Imperial Conclave (she hasn't) ... unless invited with ritual magic by an Imperial citizen. Surely no loyal citizen would flaunt the will of the Conclave by arranging such an invitation?
After many weeks actively moving around the Empire, Reed makes a brief appearance at Anvil where he leaves this message for the gathering Conclave before returning to the Autumn realm.
On behalf of my Mistress, the Prince of Scales, I wish to purchase from you the status of amity, for the duration of no more than one hour on the evening of the second day of the Autumn Equinox. This purchase being for the sole purpose of allowing our City to present a single address to the Conclave.
If Conclave can determine the value of this hour and passes the necessary declaration, please have a representative send details of the offer in a box to the City of Five Rings. If the price is amenable then I will gladly send it back with the requested payment and join you for Conclave on the following day.
Reed, Reckoner of Hours.
Currently, neither Reed nor Ephisis, the eternal he represents, have been granted amity by the Conclave so it is only possible for him to enter the Empire if he has been granted access by a powerful Imperial magician.
Reed does not appear to be interested in amity on an ongoing basis. Rather, he wishes to employ the ability granted to all eternals and heralds with amity; that of placing an address or declaration on the agenda for a conclave meeting.
Due to the way sessions are arranged, if the Conclave wishes to extend this opportunity to Reed they will need to raise and pass a Declaration of Amity during their Friday evening meeting. This will permit the herald to present items for the Saturday night agenda to the civil servants who support the conclave. Reed has further suggested that a Declaration of Neutrality be raised for the same conclave session; in this way the Conclave, having considered his words, can decide whether to maintain the gift of amity or remove it forthwith.
While this is a somewhat peculiar way of doing things, it is scrupulously within the word and spirit of the rules related to the Conclave - it appears that Reed is being extremely careful to follow Imperial protocol as closely as possible.
Reed received amity from a Declaration of the Conclave, and used the opportunity to address the assembled magicians. Following his address, the conclave returned him to a neutral status using the Declaration of Neutrality.