Althea leads Edgeworth out of the building that holds the Korranberg Archive and into a busy open-air market it borders. The stalls almost exclusively seem to sell various paper products, primarily books, maps, and scrolls.

Edgeworth's gaze roams the area, though curiosity seems to have given way to an uneasy businesslike scrutiny.
Althea heads past a couple stalls and pauses briefly near one of the vendors, this one selling sturdy-looking books.
Edgeworth stops when Althea does. "Those appear to have no titles..."
Althea: Most of the books you'll see here have paper which was made specially for retaining scribed spells. The paper has to be of good quality, and there are certain rituals used in the production and preparation.
Althea: While typical divine casters don't rely on writing or collecting spells, some of the folks you'll encounter at the Archive do make use of these for scribing prayers as well.
Althea: They're handy enough for purely non-magical writing as well.
Edgeworth frowns. "Does nothing smaller exist for the latter purpose?"
Althea: I believe there are some smaller bound notebooks that tend to be favored by inquisitives and the like. There are also clipboards and cases for storing loose sheets, and you could always cut a hole through a small stack of paper and run a cord through it, assuming the paper's thick enough not to tear easily.
Edgeworth: How much smaller are these notebooks?
Althea: About half a foot wide and three quarters tall, and about an inch thick.
Edgeworth: If those measurements are similar to the American ones, that's still a far cry from anything pocket-sized.
Edgeworth: Then it's fortunate that this is refillable, given suitable paper. It may take effort to have it cut and punched properly, however.
Edgeworth pulls his organizer out of an inside blazer pocket and opens it.

This seems to catch the eye of the spellbook peddler.

Althea: Hmm, that looks fairly well-made. And probably rather expensive, but I get the impression those can be reproduced more easily where you're from...
Edgeworth: Indeed. We've developed means of mass production through the use of machinery.
Althea: Hmm... that metal adornment at the bottom of the center binding is part of some kind of mechanism, I'm guessing?
Edgeworth grins. "Indeed, that will open the rings to release the pages."
Althea: I would imagine there might be a few artificers who might enjoy a chance to examine the design of something like that.
Edgeworth closes and repockets his organizer.
Edgeworth: Under the circumstances, I'd rather guard this carefully.
Edgeworth: A pity; I had hoped that I could take notes more freely.
Althea: Understandable. Though you still might want to give some consideration to the various forms of value it might have; if you end up here for a long while, you may have to... consider monetary necessities.
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "I would hope that my skills would be of more use for earning money."
Edgeworth: I would simply need to overcome the language barrier, would I not?
Edgeworth seems to find this prospect strangely undaunting even for the circumstances.
Althea: In some places I'm sure they might be quite valuable. Zilargo's not much of a place for prosecutors, though.
Edgeworth: And why is that?
Althea: For one thing, there aren't any criminal courts.
Edgeworth looks stunned. "What?!"
Althea: The Zil have their own ideas about appropriate societal behavior and how to enforce it. I did mention this could be a somewhat unforgiving locale...
Althea: There's very little crime here, due in part to the fact that typical gnomish proclivities toward intrigue aren't crimes at all here in the first place. The rest... is dealt with by the Trust.
Edgeworth tries to hide his creeping dread under a glare. "What is this 'Trust'?"
Althea: Zilargo's peace-enforcement organization. They were created to put down feuds between the former nation-states after Zilargo was formed. Their membership is secret, and they're accountable only to the Triumvirate.
Edgeworth quivers slightly, though whether from deep offense or fear is impossible to tell. "I see..."
Edgeworth: In that case, I don't believe I wish to remain here for longer than is necessary.
Althea: I'm here on a research project at the moment, but it's fair to say I'll be a bit more comfortable upon returning to Breland.
Edgeworth nods slowly.
Althea: We're pretty deep in Zilargo right now. Fastest way out is east to Darguun, but that'd pretty much be out of the kitchen and into the fire. It's a pretty violent place, and the only place on Khorvaire where slavery is tolerated. Not to mention there's no roads heading east and a wetland to cross to get anywhere.
Edgeworth: Then I hope the situation isn't so dire that I must flee immediately.
Althea: Otherwise, best bet is straight north on the lightning rail at least as far as Sterngate, in Breland. There are also roads leading west to Sharn.
Althea: Not much will beat the lightning rail for a quick exit, though.
Edgeworth: I'm sorry — "lightning rail"?
Althea: I was planning on showing you later, but this might be an opportune time to head to the station.
Edgeworth uncrosses his arms. "Very well."
Althea starts heading toward the northwest part of Korranberg.
Edgeworth follows Althea. "To return to the previous topic, my skills as a prosecutor aren't all that I have. As you observed, I can operate as an, er, 'inquisitive', as you put it."
Althea: Mm, there's certainly plenty of call for that in some cities, even if House Medani and House Tharashk have most of that market cornered between them.
Edgeworth half-frowns. "You've mentioned quite a few of these 'Houses' by now."
Althea: ...oh, right, of course you wouldn't know.
Althea: Oh, my, where to begin. I... suspect you'd not be all that interested in the Draconic Prophecy...
Edgeworth peers down dubiously at Althea.
Althea: The practical gist, is that symbols called dragonmarks began to appear within certain family lines millennia ago. These symbols enable certain magic powers in the bearer, the nature of which is specific to the mark.
Althea: The Dragonmarked Houses built up substantial economic power based upon leveraging their exclusive access to the abilities of each mark.
Edgeworth: I fail to see what this has to do with any "prophecy", but the end result she describes is remarkably plausible...
Althea: House Ghallanda is a halfling House that bears the Mark of Hospitality. They run the Hostelers Guild.
Althea: Houses Phiarlan and Thuranni bear the Mark of Shadow. Phiarlan runs the Entertainers and Artisans Guilds. Thuranni is often in similar business, but has some darker associations...
Edgeworth raises an eyebrow.
Althea: House Thuranni split off from Phiarlan during the war.
Althea: Elven Houses, by the way.
Edgeworth: What sort of place have I found myself in?
Althea: House Jorasco is the other halfling House, bearing the Mark of Healing. They run the Healers Guild.
Althea: House Sivis is Gnomish, and their main enclave is here in Korranberg. They bear the Mark of Scribing and run the Speakers and Notaries Guilds.
Edgeworth hrms at the description of Sivis.
Althea: House Deneith is a human House and bears the Mark of Sentinel. They run the Defenders and Blademarks Guilds.
Althea: House Cannith is a human House that bears the Mark of Making and runs the Tinkers and Fabricators Guilds.
Edgeworth: Presumably, they employ the "artificers" you mentioned earlier?
Althea: Mm.
Althea: House Kundarak is a dwarven House that bears the Mark of Warding and runs the Banking and Warding Guilds.
Edgeworth blinks. "Warding"?
Althea: House Lyrandar is a half-elven House bearing the Mark of Storm. They run the Raincallers and Windwrights Guilds.
Edgeworth: If you might explain those?
Althea: They do weather support; the Raincallers for agriculture, the Windwrights for travel.
Edgeworth: If that's the case, then it would seem that this world is not only less advanced in some ways, but also more so in others... I'll need to take note of how her various claims compare to the observations I make.
Althea: House Orien is a human House with the Mark of Passage, I mentioned them earlier. They run the Couriers and Transportation Guilds.
Edgeworth puts a finger to his temple. "And you believe they, if anyone, may be able to send me home for the right price?"
Althea: It's conceivable, if we could figure out where it is you're actually from...
Althea: House Vadalis is a human House bearing the Mark of Handling. They run the Handlers Guild.
Edgeworth: Handling of what, exactly?
Althea: Animals. Primarily mounts and livestock, but they breed for various other purposes as well.
Edgeworth nods.
Althea: House Medani is a half-elven House bearing the Mark of Detection. They run the Warning Guild.
Edgeworth: Presumably meaning that they work to prevent things in addition to the detective work mentioned...
Althea: House Tharashk is a human, orc and half-orc House. They have the unusual distinction of bearing a mark across two different races; humans and half-orcs can bear the Mark of Finding, but none of the full orcs manifest marks.
Althea: They run the Finders Guild.
Althea: They also have a significant presence in mining and control the Eberron dragonshard trade.
Edgeworth blinks in confusion again. How many unfamiliar terms will I encounter before we reach this "lightning rail"?
Edgeworth puts on a cooler expression. "What precisely is a dragonshard?"
Althea: Fragments of the... Erm, translucent crystal fragments with colored veins inside them that resemble dragonmarks. There are three distinct varieties, the most common being Eberron dragonshards.
Althea: They're often used in the creating of magic items, but have other uses as well.
Edgeworth: There seems to be no end to the strange tales she tells. At least I have some idea of what to look for now...
Althea: Eberron shards, found inside geodes throughout Khorvaire and Aerenal, are the most versatile, and are useful for most kinds of permanent magic item. They are also useful for holding psionic powers for later use, similarly to spell scrolls for arcane and divine magic.
Althea: Siberys shards, found in equatorial and southern tropical regions, are primarily useful for enhancing the powers of dragonmarks, though they have some obscure psionic uses as well.
Edgeworth: So in a sense, they're a form of wealth akin to fossil fuels?
Edgeworth: I wonder if this world, too, will suffer a resource crisis in time...
Althea: Khyber shards, found underground in volcanic areas, are primarily used for the binding of spirits or souls. They also have some other, obscure uses, I believe.
Edgeworth appears skeptical at the description of Khyber dragonshards in particular.
Edgeworth: To return to the topic of these "dragonmarked houses", I couldn't help but notice that you bear the name of one of them. You may also be a halfling, though I'm not certain enough of that point to state it.
Althea: Yes, it's traditional for members of the House to identify themselves with the House name. A more specific family name is optional.
Edgeworth: Does this mean that you bear one of these "dragonmarks", then?
Althea: ...dragonmarks aren't that common. Even if both parents are marked, it's even odds whether a child will be. And a marked individual is valuable to the House; one wouldn't likely be allowed to shirk traditional duties and go flitting across the continent on various research projects.
Edgeworth smirks in an almost cruelly knowing manner. That doesn't answer my question. Of course, under the circumstances, I suppose I owe it to her not to openly point out this fact for the time being.
Althea: House Jorasco is more strict than most, I'll note. Every House member in good standing, marked or not, has to contribute to the Healers Guild in some way. I'm just fortunate I at least have enough aptitude for medical research to have come to an accommodation...
Edgeworth: Does this relate to why you associate with the Archival Foundation as well?
Althea: Honestly, my primary reason for involvement with the Foundation is more interest in what they represent. I'm something of a scholar of religion as well as many other topics, and they represent something that both transcends all religion and stands apart from it as well.
Althea: Their work is frankly fascinating.
Edgeworth grins — almost a smile, really. "An entirely understandable fascination."
Althea: Some in the Foundation belong to various religions, others none at all.
Althea: The man you spoke with earlier was a cleric of the Traveler.
Edgeworth: Do realize that I'm not familiar with the religions that you know.
Althea: Right. And there are quite a few, it would require some time to even scratch the surface of each...
Edgeworth: I've never seen any point to studying them in depth, but then, in my own world there isn't any practical purpose to such systems of belief.
Edgeworth hmphs to himself, glancing aside disdainfully.
Althea: I'd think it rather unlikely even in your world for studying such matters to lack practical value. Understanding religions is part of understanding people...
Edgeworth: It's enough to know that at times, people take irrational actions that stem from delusion.
Althea: You speak as if the religious are possessed of some madness that robs them of thought, or at least prevents their actions from being understood...
Althea: I'd think a prosecutor and inquisitive might find some value in insight to the workings of others' thoughts and beliefs...
Edgeworth: If the specifics matter, that will grow clear as the case progresses, and from there they can be uncovered.
Althea: ...I suppose if the aim is only to solve crimes and not to prevent them...
Edgeworth: I've never found myself in a position to prevent such things. I'm either assigned a case once a crime has already been committed, or find myself in the midst of one.
Edgeworth: ...Is something the matter?
Althea: I suppose your view is not all that different from how some of the religions may view each other.
Althea: After all, why would one bother trying to understand the perspective of people who are obviously wrong.
Althea: ...arrogance like that terrifies me. There are some parts of life about which I'm quite sure of what I believe. There are some I'm still trying to figure out what I believe. But there are astoundingly many things I do not know, and I try never to lose sight of that.
Edgeworth looks down his nose at Althea. "One must understand that where I'm from, the religious find themselves proven wrong time and again about the basic truths of the world, and each time sorrow results from their struggle against reality itself."
Edgeworth: By and large, it's the religious who believe themselves to have all the answers, and scientists who acknowledge that we do not and thus continue to question even their own conclusions.
Edgeworth shrugs and shakes his head, arms outspread, even as he walks. "Men of faith see that, and merely assume that men of science must be lying since they keep 'changing their story'."
Althea shakes her head after a few moments. "I don't think religions in Eberron can be painted with such a broad brush. Even among the Church of the Silver Flame, there are those who fully embrace radical interpretations of doctrine and those who are more restrained and concerned about outcomes and consequences..."
Edgeworth looks grim. "Unfortunately, it's the former who more often sway the masses where I'm from."
Althea: Arrogance can masquerade as confidence, and confidence can be very reassuring to the uncertain...
Edgeworth: I'm well aware of that.
Edgeworth: After all, I was at once taught that and a victim thereof...
Edgeworth touches the pocket containing his badge briefly as he continues forward with a darkened expression.


After a few minutes of awkward silence, Althea and Edgeworth arrive at a building that looks quite similar to any major train station on Earth. However, details that stand out include prominent displays of a unicorn crest, the fact that humans are more commonly seen here than gnomes, and that the "tracks" aren't rails connected with wood, but lines of small blue runed pyramids. At the moment, the station isn't particularly busy; apparently the lightning rail isn't due to come anytime soon.

Edgeworth raises an eyebrow as he stares at the strange "track".
Althea: Doesn't look like there's a train due soon. At any rate, this is part of one of the pieces of vital travel infrastructure controlled, maintained and operated by House Orien.
Edgeworth puts a finger to his temple.
Edgeworth: This bears superficial similarity to a railroad station in my own world.
Edgeworth: The, er... what I assume to be the track is remarkably different, however.
Althea: I suppose at a guess the tracks you're familiar with are probably meant to accommodate some kind of purely mechanical process?
Edgeworth looks over at Althea with a mildly pleased smirk. "Indeed so."
Edgeworth: The specifics have varied with time, but the general idea is a series of wheeled cars attached to one another that are pulled by a single, powerful engine.
Althea nods.
Althea: Lightning rail trains are a type of bound elemental vessel.
Edgeworth's look is questioning enough.
Althea: The rail line contains magical artifacts called conductor stones, which House Cannith makes for House Orien, situated at regular intervals. The storm elemental bound to the train can essentially 'jump' from one of these to the next.
Edgeworth frowns in confusion, looking to the conductor stones and then back to Althea. "Er... forgive my ignorance, but I fail to see how smooth travel would be possible by such a method."
Althea: Er, it doesn't really literally jump. Moreso kinda pushes and pulls them via lightning energy...
Edgeworth points at the stones. "Something is clearly missing from your description, however. I see no ruts where wheels might have passed."
Althea: There aren't any wheels. The elemental holds the train up.
Edgeworth is silent for a beat as this processes. "It hovers? Huh... I'll have to see the evidence for myself when the time comes."
Althea: Note that, particularly for something as sophisticated as this, maintaining control of the elemental is going to be critical. That's a large part of why House Orien has exclusive province here.
Althea: Doing without that control would be a bit like trying to pull a wagon with an untamed horse.
Althea: Anyway, there's a train coming in about four hours, but I assume you might want to see a few other places in the mean time.
Edgeworth: Indeed.
Edgeworth glances down at his stomach as it growls. "Er, um... I suppose one destination presents itself. I was on my way home to prepare supper for myself when... er, when I lost consciousness."
Althea nods. "There are certainly a number of places to get a meal. There's a Ghallanda establishment not far from the station, and there are gnomish restaurants all over."
Althea: Any preference? It's largely a question of whether you'd rather sample the local cuisine or have access to a more global menu.
Edgeworth taps his temple and grins. "I've traveled much of my own world, and have found there to be truth to the assertions that a country's cuisine is best sampled within its own borders. It would be a pity to waste an opportunity that ideally won't come again."
Edgeworth: It seems rather unlikely that the question of how I'm here at all will be answered quickly, after all.
Edgeworth shrugs and shakes his head.
Edgeworth: Ergo, I should have sufficient time and opportunity to sample other sorts of food at a later date.
Althea nods. "I know a good place out near the library district, if you don't mind the backtracking."
Edgeworth grins. "Not at all."
Edgeworth makes a sweeping bow. "Please continue to lead the way."


The pair of them make their away back through the city quietly. Once they're most of the way back to the library district, however, Edgeworth notices a mechanical humanoid-shaped creature that looks like it's primarily made of metal across the street from them.

Edgeworth's eyes pop wide as he audibly chokes back any especially undignified reactions.
Edgeworth: What the hell?! Just as the fantasy theme appeared to have grown entirely consistent, I notice what appears at first glance to be a robot?!
Althea doesn't seem to take much notice.
Edgeworth: Um... excuse me, but what, er, precisely is that?
Edgeworth points across the street at the 'robot'.
Althea: Huh? Oh, that's a warforged.
Edgeworth: I beg your pardon?
Althea: They're constructs originally created by House Cannith as soldiers during the Last War. The Treaty of Thronehold recognizes them as free sentients, so most of them integrate into society as best they can now...
Edgeworth continues to stare as they pass, by now looking over his shoulder to do so and appearing mildly awed. "I see... Though we fancy making similar beings, several obstacles stand in the way."
Edgeworth: Not the least of which is that we haven't devised any way to simulate sapient intelligence via the computers I mentioned earlier.
Althea: Don't know that I could advise it, really. Purpose-made soldiers don't necessarily fit a world without war very well...
Althea: It's a bit too easy in times of war to overlook the needs of any other time.
Edgeworth turns his head to look back down at Althea again. "'The old samurai, too, struggled for a sense of purpose in times of peace. Being built for the role changed less than you presume.'"
Althea shrugs, oblivious to the reference. "Perhaps. Did these 'samurai' have anyone equivalent to the Lord of Blades, though, I wonder...?"
Edgeworth: If you could explain this "Lord of Blades"?
Althea: He's a warforged, and leader of a warforged sort-of religion or cult, also by the same name. Disaffected warforged who feel abandoned by their creators have gathered around him. They generally seek to destroy or enslave all other races...
Althea: Fortunately, you're not too likely to run into his followers outside the Mournland.
Edgeworth: Er, no. That sounds more akin to what one might hear in the more pessimistic sorts of speculative fiction.
Althea: Of course, I can very well appreciate needing to set aside a purpose that's been handed to you and seek out a contrary calling... and I have a lot of respect for those who can integrate well given such origins...
Althea: But it really seems... kind of beyond unfair to give someone one and only one 'proper' purpose, when that purpose itself can become obsolete...
Edgeworth looks to the ground ahead of him. "Or, for that matter, if that purpose is inappropriate to begin with."
Althea: ...war pretty much feeds itself; either everyone stops or no one can stop... Unless of course the goal simply is to wipe some group out, and you actually succeed...
Edgeworth: To say nothing of the fact that it can reduce people to either monsters or traumatized shells of their former selves.
Althea: ...just that, for all the unmitigated costs, once you're caught up in it all, it certainly seems like there's not all that much of a choice...
Althea: Peace is very much a collective obligation; just about everyone needs to value it or no one will end up having it...
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "I count myself fortunate for never having to directly deal with situations of such a scale."
Althea: ...
Edgeworth: Perhaps she hasn't been so fortunate herself...


The two continue their journey to the restaurant Althea chose in awkward silence. Upon their arrival, they find the crowds relatively thin, given that it's too late for lunch but too early for supper. The majority of the tables here are round, gnome-sized ones on raised stages, though some human-sized ones line the middle of the dining area. Most of the wait staff is gnomish, though one elf stands out.

Edgeworth looks between the different sizes of table in mild confusion. In a whisper, he asks, "Er, what's the etiquette in a situation such as ours? There aren't any diminutive humanoid species in my world."
Althea: Technically it'd be my call, but I don't really care that much, so whatever you're more comfortable with.
Edgeworth bows. "Then I'll yield to your own dignity, ma'am." He them makes his way up to one of the stages.
Althea nods and follows Edgeworth.
Edgeworth kneels down at one of the small tables and pulls out a chair for Althea without skipping a beat.
Althea: They should have some seating mats available...
Edgeworth looks over to a set of mats hanging from the wall. "Ah, is that what those are for? They're rather exquisitely patterned."
Althea: Mm, those are from the Talenta Plains.
Althea sits in the proffered chair.
Edgeworth slides the chair in, then stands to fetch a mat for himself.
Edgeworth: What else can you tell me about these "Talenta Plains"?
Edgeworth pulls a chair out from the place across from Althea, sets it aside, slides the mat into its place, and seats himself atop said mat.
Althea: It's the center of halfling culture, at least for those halflings who can be said to have their own culture.
Edgeworth nods and begins to reach for a menu — only to stop halfway and frown as he remembers he'd be unable to read it.
Althea: It's populated by various nomadic tribes, though they've become more united as a consequence of being dragged into the war.
Edgeworth: I see.
Althea: Mostly they try to stay out of the affairs of the Five Nations. They live off the land, they don't bother with things they don't need to survive or maintain their way of life.
Edgeworth: As is typical of nomads.
Althea: Most halflings you'll find in cities don't have any real connection to the tribes or their culture.
Edgeworth nods.
Althea: The tribes largely hunt and herd cattle. They also believe in a spiritual connection with both the spirits of their ancestors, and with their mounts.
Edgeworth crosses his arms and taps his finger. This seems to be par for the course thus far...
Althea: They have something of an interesting reputation in part due to the unique relationship with a fairly unique mount.
Edgeworth raises an eyebrow. "Of what sort?"
Althea: For the most part, Talenta dinosaurs haven't proven to make good tamed mounts, so the tribes are primarily the only ones to make any effective use of them.
Edgeworth: I — wait, what?!
Edgeworth recoils, accidentally bumping the table from underneath with his knees in the process.
Althea: ...let me guess, another thing that supposedly doesn't exist yet you miraculously have a word for it anyway?
Waiter looks over at the noise and chuckles a bit at the face of Althea's apparent guest.
Edgeworth: Er, no. Rather, they were long extinct by the time humans came to exist. We only know of them through fossilized remains...
Althea: Well, both dinosaurs and halflings were around here before humans, but both still thrive in the plains, I assure you.
Edgeworth looks awkward. "It's, er... a rather bizarre mental image to picture them serving as mounts for humanoids regardless..."
Waiter: Heh, taunting your new Sarlonan friend, Althea?
Waiter has approached the table by now.
Althea shrugs. "As I noted, they don't serve well as mounts for most needs. Even the ones House Vadalis tried taming have only been any use to a handful of adventurers."
Althea: Not exactly, Rimmiyacha. Bit of a long story.
Rimmiyacha: Oh really? There's always time for those...
Rimmiyacha leans in a bit closer to the table.
Althea: Perhaps later, once I've finished working it all out.
Rimmiyacha: Oh, come on, a good cliffhanger's always fun!
Althea: Yeah, but in this case I haven't yet worked out the beginning.
Edgeworth blinks, looking between Althea and Rimmiyacha.
Rimmiyacha: In media res, is it?
Althea: Very much so.
Rimmiyacha: I don't suppose it's worth a discount on feeding a human appetite to you, is it?
Althea: Seems our friend has taken an interest in your story.
Edgeworth frowns. "Shouldn't he be concentrating on his work?"
Althea: Zil culture has its own priorities. I'm not sure precisely how much I can advise you, but he has offered some compensation if you're interested in sharing.
Edgeworth recrosses his arms. "Of what sort?"
Althea: Discounting your meal. I've got you covered so you don't need to feel obligated.
Edgeworth uncrosses his arms and puts a finger to his temple. Is it worth allowing rumors to circulate?
Edgeworth: What do you suppose are the chances that our visit to the Archival Foundation has already spurred the rumor mill?
Althea: I'd say about 97.2%. Plus or minus three.
Edgeworth spreads his arms and shrugs. "Heh... then I suppose we have nothing to lose."
Rimmiyacha paces a bit.
Althea: He's still getting used to Zilargo, I kinda figured I owe it to him to run it by him at the least. Seems you're in luck, anyway.
Rimmiyacha: Well, then! I think I might have discounted your meal either way, so you are too!
Althea: So, you want me to translate for you, or just cover this myself? I'd imagine the former might make things easier in terms of trying to learn a language.
Edgeworth responds with a near-smile. "Indeed, the former would be most appreciated."
Althea: You've been hearing us in Gnomish so far, but perhaps we should switch to Common?
Edgeworth: If that would be no hardship on him, it would be most appreciated.
Althea: If you don't mind, let's switch to Common for his benefit; he's trying to learn it.
Rimmiyacha: Sure thing!
Althea: Might as well start with as much of a beginning as we have, even if that's more about unknowns than anything...
Edgeworth: Very well. Apparently, my home world of Earth lies beyond the known boundaries of existence, or so Althea claims. Certainly, reality as she describes it bears no resemblance to anything I'm familiar with.
Althea repeats Edgeworth's statements, taking care to keep sentences in order and to keep rephrasing to the absolute minimum required to avoid being overly literal or confusing.
Rimmiyacha: That's a pretty fantastic tale...
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "Admittedly, I was rather skeptical myself. If not for the consistency of my experience thus far and the fact that each of us knows several languages the other can't so much as identify the origins of, I wouldn't so much as consider the possibility."
Rimmiyacha: So if that's the case, how did you get so far from home?
Edgeworth looks grim. "That, unfortunately, is a question for which we have no answer. All I know is that I awoke at the mouth of an alley after having been unconscious for half an hour."
Edgeworth: I attempted to ask for help, but Althea was the only one who demonstrated any ability to understand me...
Edgeworth frowns. "...attributing that capability to using 'psionics' to 'borrow my knowledge'. This eventually led to us arguing past each other based on reality as each of us understood it."
Rimmiyacha hmms and nods...
Edgeworth: I might perhaps have been abandoned to my fate if my situation hadn't grown stranger still. I still don't entirely understand what happened; it's outside my experience, though apparently not outside Althea's.
Rimmiyacha: Oh yeah? It must have been pretty big!
Edgeworth rubs his forehead in frustration. "In a moment of resolve, a faint... sensation passed through me and caused a dim flash of light. She insisted it was 'divine magic', despite my insistence that I lack any religious convictions."
Rimmiyacha looks skeptical...
Rimmiyacha: I don't know, this tale's getting pretty tall...
Althea points to herself before adding: "It does seem as though he has some potential as a cleric, despite all the reasons that would seem unlikely. I witnessed him spontaneously botch a turn attempt."
Althea repeats herself in English while still pointing.
Rimmiyacha: If you were so sure, I'm guessing you brought him to that Archival Foundation you like so much, right?
Althea nods.
Edgeworth nods as well after Althea repeats Rimmiyacha's question. "Indeed she did. There, she introduced me to a gaunt, pointy-eared man who tricked me into repeating my earlier deed..." He balls his fists and glares. "...by claiming I could rid myself of this apparent power by abandoning my convictions."
Rimmiyacha: Which obviously just made you angry.
Althea: Cleric of the Traveler, that's the kind of approach he tends to find most suited.
Rimmiyacha: Hmph. Leave it to them, I guess...
Edgeworth: That this led to a second so-called "botched turn attempt" seemed to serve as evidence that their claims that my secular beliefs are somehow "religious" enough to allow this to happen had merit — yet this runs entirely counter to the division as I understand it.
Edgeworth looks away and grips his arm. "I need to be sure that I haven't found myself in a world where belief in rational truth is itself irrational, hence why I've asked Althea to show me around."
Rimmiyacha scratches his head... "Now this has turned from unbelievable to just confusing..."
Althea shrugs a bit. "I gather it's something along the lines of only just having considered the possibility his own values and convictions might be no less a matter of blind faith than any religious conviction could be..."
Althea holds off on repeating that one for Edgeworth just yet.
Rimmiyacha: But that's kind of a paradox, isn't it?
Althea: Yeah, I just don't get the sense he was ready to see such basic things as... let's see, how did he put it... "justice, the truth on which justice depends, and the rationality that allows us to uncover the truth" as anything less than an inherent given of existence...
Althea: I think he's coping with that in part by thinking that maybe, it's just not an inherent given here.
Althea sighs. "Mind, there's an undercurrent there that suggests maybe he thinks the only way something can be a religious conviction is if it's wrong..."
Edgeworth has yet to 'unwrap' himself, still glowering away from Althea and the waiter.
Rimmiyacha scratches his head again...
Althea: I'm not sure if it's just his experiences or the differing situations where he's from, but he tends to have a dim view of religion generally. Talked about the religious in his world going to great lengths to deny reality when it went against their prejudices, with disastrous consequences.
Althea: Seems to view religion and science as diametrically opposed rather than having any possibility of being complementary...
Althea: You can understand why I'd think the Foundation might be the only ones to help sort him out...
Rimmiyacha frowns... "It sounds like something's gonna give otherwise."
Althea looks over toward Edgeworth, hesitates a moment, then starts catching up on translation, pointing to indicate the speaker.
Edgeworth looks halfway over as the translation resumes, gritting his teeth at times early in the continuation. While the later parts don't appear to hurt as much, his grip on his elbow is still tighter by the end, and he looks back away, trembling just slightly.
Edgeworth: ...You have the right of it. I fail to see how this does anything but prove my inability to be objective.
Edgeworth: It's one thing to be wrong, and quite another to be incapable of being right save by sheer accident.
Althea: I certainly don't know of any way to prove that proof itself exists, or even that existence itself isn't some kind of elaborate ruse of pretending to be consistent just to misdirect us or somesuch...
Althea: But I can offer this thought...
Althea: The fact that you believe in something does nothing to diminish any reality it may have.
Althea: Divine magic is a phenomenon of this world. It accrues to believers. That's just a fact of this reality, as far as we know it. It may or may not have any bearing on the underlying truth of those beliefs...
Althea: ...I happen to think it's healthy to consider the possibility that one may be wrong, even about the things one is most sure of, at least briefly. But for things so basic and unexaminable, to yield to such fears is useless.
Althea: Inevitably all one can do is set them aside and simply hope that reality cannot be quite that cruel.
Althea repeats Edgeworth's comments and her own in Common after a moment's pause.
Rimmiyacha appears all but lost at this point.
Edgeworth: Does the truth, then, lie not in religion as she put it before, but in faith itself?
Edgeworth: ...Heh.
Edgeworth can't help but smirk after a moment.
Edgeworth turns to look at Althea again, releasing his elbow in order to fully cross his arms again. "Althea d'Jorasco... for someone who's supposedly been borrowing my knowledge of the language, you've made quite a few errors or simply peculiar word choices, haven't you?"
Althea: ...as I noted, even such methods as these can have their flaws and limitations. Languages and their use are quite complex matters.
Edgeworth taps his finger. "It shouldn't have taken quite this long for it to become clear that 'religion' was far too specific for what you were attempting to refer to."
Althea: ...I did mention that I didn't think you were viewing that term as broadly as we were.
Althea keeps up the translation.
Edgeworth sighs and lifts one of his hands in order to rest his forehead in it. "While it's understandable that you would choose that word in the beginning if my linguistic knowledge were all that you had available, did it not occur to you to make sure words with less negative connotations might exist in my vocabulary once that concern grew clear?"
Althea: ...I'm not sure I follow.
Edgeworth: I mean, ma'am, that if your abilities are what you claim them to be, at some point you ought to have stopped attempting to explain the mechanics of divine magic in terms of "religion" and started doing so in the less specific and loaded terms of "faith"!
Althea: Hmmm.... I suppose that does seem like a somewhat more concise term, at least in some contexts...
Edgeworth: Are you prepared to present some form of evidence that would help to distinguish between deceit and mere incompetence?
Althea: ...are we really doing this again?
Edgeworth just taps a finger impatiently rather than dignifying that with an answer.
Althea: Setting aside whether your expectations otherwise are reasonable or warrant insults... why don't you learn to figure out that distinction yourself? If "truth" is such an area of significance for you, then you should develop abilities suitable for detecting or averting falsehoods.
Edgeworth: ...Why and how does that itself ring true?
Edgeworth: ...Very well. Clearly this... ability is something I need to learn to control anyway, lest I flash with light whenever my convictions and the desire to see something gone intersect.
Althea catches back up on translation before adding: "Definitely not a straightforward matter at all, but hopefully you found something worth your while in all that."
Rimmiyacha: The less straightforward information often is the most valuable later. As much of a feast as it's been, I'll do everything I can to lower the cost of your order — even if I owe the owner or the chef even more myself.
Althea nods. "We appreciate it."


Althea orders meals for both herself and Edgeworth. Between cooking and eating, the two of them spend an hour in the restaurant. Edgeworth finds that he has to savor gnomish cuisine to make out the spices and flavors in it. An hour after the conclusion of their "negotiation" for a bargain, the prosecutor and the scholar exit the restaurant, having paid only half price for their meal thanks to Rimmiyacha's willingness to repay them for the information.

Edgeworth seems somewhat ill at ease as he steps out.
Althea: You really shouldn't worry about it. You went to the trouble of telling most of that story yourself, anyway, and frankly, you might need the money.
Edgeworth: I'm well aware of the latter point, hence why I accepted the difference in my own meal at all.
Edgeworth shakes his head, then looks thoughtful. "If that was typical of Zil cuisine, it must be among the subtlest I've ever experienced."
Althea: That was a bit richer than what might best be called typical fare, but overall gnomish cuisine is subtle. They tend to have stronger senses of taste and smell than most races.
Edgeworth: Huh. Your friend said the, er, "maleko" was likewise stronger than was traditional, did he not?
Althea nods.
Althea: Prestidigitation can be quite useful for providing subtle flavor.
Althea: Pretty much any aspiring gnomish chef is going to have to be able to at least cast that.
Edgeworth: I see...
Edgeworth: It's remarkably strange to think that enchanted water would become a part of everyday cuisine. If I hadn't been invited to sip the water first, I would never have believed it...
Edgeworth: Is there a reason why that's peculiar to gnomish cuisine in particular?
Althea: Gnomes tend to be particularly adept at that spell in particular; many of them learn it regardless of whether they seriously study magic otherwise.
Edgeworth: Huh...
Edgeworth: Anyway, where do you believe we ought to go next?
Althea: Well, it's going to be a while still before the next train comes... You up for another brief visit to the Foundation in the mean time?
Althea: Could at least get started on some of the basics.
Edgeworth takes a deep breath. "Indeed."