The Ghallanda inn where Edgeworth is spending his nights is relatively quiet at this time of day. The only obvious sounds at all come from the direction of the kitchen downstairs. As such, the prosecutor and the scholar neither notice or are noticed by anyone there as they enter his room.

Edgeworth seats himself in one of the larger chairs and crosses his arms, frowning. "I hate to admit this, but I was lost throughout most of your explanation to the Medani heir we hired. I do grasp that it involved some sort of further explanation of quori and Dal Quor which she took to be what you believed, but not necessarily the truth."
Althea nods. "The high-level summary would be that Dal Quor resets itself periodically, all quori are remade into new beings in that process, most quori don't want to be and believe they can hold it back by controlling our dreams."
Edgeworth looks uneasy. Mere days ago that would not have seemed remotely within the realm of possibility, and yet...
Edgeworth: What does this have to do with the religions you mentioned?
Althea hesitates, starts to speak, and stops, looking conflicted. After a minute, she responds. "...Far too much for it to be safe to discuss under the circumstances..."
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "What differs between my own circumstances and those of the, er, half-elf we hired?"
Althea: Conspiracies like this are House Medani's business. I can afford to point them vaguely in the right direction. Even so, I did not mention the P— er, the most relevant religion. I can't afford to have that major a breakthrough in their efforts become traceable to myself...
Edgeworth frowns in thought for a moment, then asks, "How precisely are conspiracies House Medani's business?"
Althea: I should say more precisely that they are the business of the Warning Guild. A large part of their organization is about amassing intelligence on potential threats of various kinds.
Althea: House Deneith and House Tharashk can provide the muscle to defend against an immediate attack. Medani's services are more geared toward ensuring that such a threat to their clients never materializes.
Edgeworth: Thus does the difference between the "inquisitives", as it's apparently said here, of Tharashk and Medani grow clearer.
Edgeworth: In short, saying anything at all in this case involved reporting what you thought you could to, if not a proper authority, at least a relevant non-governmental organization.
Althea nods. "House Medani will need to know much, in time. But..." She trails off, looking conflicted again.
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "But you are constrained both by fear of what this foreign religion could do, and a promise made, presumably to a member of the other religion you refuse to discuss."
Althea winces and nods.
Edgeworth: Given your phrasing when you first mentioned them, I presume that the Path of Inspiration is the former religion and the Path of Light the latter. Your mention of wishing not to be caught between House Medani and "the Inspired" would seem from phrasing alone to corroborate this.
Althea can't help glancing around nervously as Edgeworth names them in this context, but neither says nor indicates anything to contradict him.
Edgeworth begins to smirk, but this quickly melts into a more sober expression as he uncrosses his arms. "...Althea. Presumably, you would not come here if the Trust you describe as spying on the people of this country for their own sake posed a threat to you, whether through apparent connection to this foreign religion or some other reason. Ergo, your fear being quite this immediate must have some other root."
Althea sighs. "If it were the Trust who I feared hearing this, I have a power that could have helped to thwart their observation for a time... but such an ability would merely attract the attention of those who pose the true threat..."
Edgeworth: So this conspiracy you speak of already has a presence on this continent?
Althea: It has some presence in most of Khorvaire's nations by now...
Edgeworth: The book I read concerning religious perspectives on magic did not mention the Path of Inspiration. As such, I presume that this presence is a recent development. Furthermore, it seems highly probable that the Path of Inspiration is far older than its presence here if it poses any sort of threat at all.
Althea nods.
Edgeworth: Furthermore, the lack of any mention of the Path of Inspiration goes beyond that book — I've yet to overhear any mention of it at all at the Archive. As such, I believe we can eliminate evangelization as the nature of that presence. A people as curious as the Zil associated with the Archival Foundation would be looking into a newly-arrived religion.
Althea: ...
Edgeworth: All that having been said, is the nature of this "Dreaming Dark" you mentioned some form of spy organization?
Althea: Er...
Althea: ...not precisely, no...
Althea: The Dreaming Dark... are the quori who seek to prevent the turning of the age.
Edgeworth grits his teeth and winces. "Er, right, of course. Hence why the discussion you were having was primarily about Dal Quor and quori."
Edgeworth: I really must seek more resources on Common!
Edgeworth pauses to regather his thoughts.
Edgeworth: You were speaking of a center to Dal Quor unmentioned in the books you lent me before, were you not?
Althea: The Quor Tarai - the spirit of the age. A powerful force shaping most of Dal Quor. The current Quor Tarai is a powerful force of darkness known as il-Lashtavar... literally "Darkness that Dreams" or "Dreaming Dark"
Edgeworth: Presumably, to adopt the same name they must consider themselves to be its direct servants.
Althea: The last turning of the age happened shortly after the quori invasion of Eberron was repelled by the giants. No quori who lives now knows anything of the Dal Quor that was before the cataclysmic change.
Edgeworth: And yet, to see stopping it from happening again as a goal worth pursuing, they must know it to be possible, presumably through evidence of it happening before.
Althea nods. "Aside from the turning of the age, the quori are effectively immortal. The quori that exist today know of the quori of the invasion from us, but only by that means; essentially their entire identities were remade when it happened."
Edgeworth: Two things strike me about this. Firstly, all of this implies a sapience to quori that was not implied in my own reading. Second, if they wish only to save themselves yet aren't being straightforward about it, this seems to imply that for some reason they would not expect anyone's willing cooperation.
Althea: Would you be inclined to help preserve those who prey on your deepest fears for sustenance?
Edgeworth: Hmph. Point taken.
Edgeworth: She seems more willing to discuss matters from this angle — and given her prior comments, she clearly believes it all to be interconnected. How much can I learn along this path?...
Edgeworth: Concerning the matter of sapience, if what you say about the current inaccessibility of Dal Quor other than through dreams is accurate, then it must be extraordinarily difficult to properly study quori. Even in my own world, the smartest of animals were not recognized as such for some time; I can scarcely imagine the difficulty in this case.
Althea nods. "Hence the general belief that the quori are merely predators, and dangerous on that level only."
Edgeworth: And yet, you speak confidently in terms of them being sapient. The only means by which I can imagine that to happen under the circumstances you describe would be direct testimony. Even a vision would leave a great deal of room for doubt without some such context.
Edgeworth: Furthermore, this could not have happened in a mere dream, or else it would have been suspect.
Edgeworth: Ergo, some workaround has allegedly been devised by them and you have met someone claiming to be one in some form, have you not?
Althea: It would as easily suffice for one in whom I had sufficient trust to have obtained such testimony.
Edgeworth spreads his arms, shrugs, and shakes his head. "Given that you claim to study the planes, such a secondhand account would beg personal verification. After all, someone less knowledgable than you could more easily be taken in, could they not?"
Althea glares warningly at Edgeworth. "If I had any reason to presume they were less knowledgable, perhaps."
Edgeworth: Even if they knew as much or more, extraordinary claims must require extraordinary evidence and conclusions must be put to the test even here.
Edgeworth stands and points down at Althea. "Or do you claim, even after having demonstrated your own ability to drag the truth kicking and screaming from its shell, that you would leave such a claim well enough alone?!"
Althea glares at Edgeworth and responds in a Missive. You've already seen the truth in my dream; must you truly wrest it from my lips in circumstances such as these?
Edgeworth's eyes pop wide at receiving a thought that isn't his own outside of the context of a dream, then his expression transitions from surprise to realization.
Edgeworth: The mentor my doppelganger tortured...
Edgeworth stops pointing in favor of raising his finger to his temple. Her implication is clear — her mentor claims such a connection. What she claims to know of this conspiracy, she must primarily have been told by him. Presumably she has gone to some lengths to verify as much as she can from there without needlessly endangering herself.
Edgeworth winces. And... loathe as I am to admit it, her own visions must have been of some aid in realizing this as well.
Edgeworth: If there is any truth to the notion that quori have the intellect, motive, and means to conspire in any way... then Althea would pose some form of threat to any action of theirs she disagreed with. In turn, the dream I bore witness to might well have been intended as...
Edgeworth: ...My apologies, Althea. It would seem that there is one more motive for you to fear spreading the truth as you know it than I realized — one quite recent, at that.
Althea: ...
Althea sighs. "The less that is discussed, the better, I fear..."
Edgeworth nods. "While I cannot accept that secrets of the nature we were more openly discussing should be kept for long after proof is obtained, I can at least appreciate a need to exercise caution in proceeding towards that moment lest the truth be lost entirely."
Althea appears to be about to say something, but apparently thinks better of it and remains silent.
Edgeworth seats himself again. "What of Dil? You mentioned previously that he has reason to take quori attacks seriously. Does that have anything to do with these matters?"
Althea shakes her head. "His brother, Mik, is plagued by nightmares of the Last War... and is thus an attractive target for tsucora and du'ulora quori. There's nothing more to it than that, to my knowledge."
Edgeworth nods. "I see..." In short, be wary of jumping to conclusions concerning such things.
Edgeworth: Unfortunately, I believe I've pushed Althea as far as I reasonably can for the time being. Still, I believe there is one more potential connection that could be drawn from what we've already discussed, even if it would appear I cannot ask her for verification.
Edgeworth: If there is any reality to this conspiracy theory, clues would be scant. I do, however, believe that by now Althea has earned enough benefit of the doubt for me to remain open to the possibility.
Edgeworth: ...Do you have any advice or other further remarks on this matter?
Althea considers for several seconds before answering. "If you must pursue this truth, tread lightly and avoid haste."
Althea: You have yet to truly begin harnessing the capabilities your faith provides you; you may need to master your potential to survive upon the road you now contemplate taking...
Althea: ...I should also point that this is far from the only fading ward threatening Eberron. If I did not think it unwise, I could name several more, and I strongly doubt I know of all of them...
Edgeworth crosses his arms, seeming unimpressed with that refusal to speak further but not actually pressing the seer further.
Edgeworth: She speaks as though she finds me to be a threat now.
Edgeworth: Anyway, we ought to head back to the Archive. It is true that I need to continue my studies, and while at the moment I feel further study of Common would benefit me most, I also need to take the first opportunity I can get to return the wand.
Althea nods and stands.
Edgeworth stands as well and heads for the door out of the hotel room.


Edgeworth and Althea return to the Archive, the latter resuming her earlier reading while the former dons the helmet and restarts his effort at selecting his own next reading.

Just as Edgeworth has selected a book, however, a middle-aged gnome with teal green eyes, pale mocha skin, flyaway dove-grey hair, and a short beard featuring swirls of random pastel sea green, aqua, and sky blue enters from the staircase to ground level, looking worn out. Some of those present look impressed or intimidated as they glance over at the gnomish man, while others simply nod in acknowledgement.

Belgiwig sighs, then mutters under his breath, "If all of Siberys's remains are consumed by the time we have another meeting like that, it'll be too soon..."
Althea looks up from her research, all traces of her earlier distress gone. "House politics trying as usual, or perhaps an extra measure today? At any rate, good morning, Belgiwig."
Edgeworth looks over to Althea at hearing her speak up, then to the newcomer with a critical eye.
Belgiwig: Something to test endurance rather than strength this time — at least Aureon's rather than Dol Dorn's...
Belgiwig smiles. "But good morning, Althea."
Althea smiles and nods sympathetically. "I was wondering whether you might happen by while our new guest was present." She glances briefly in Edgeworth's direction.
Belgiwig looks to Edgeworth himself. "So this is the one who may teach us all an important new language..."
Edgeworth blinks. "I beg your pardon?"
Althea: This is Belgiwig Santor d'Sivis, the founder of this Archive. I believe you've read some of his work? Belgiwig, Miles Edgeworth.
Edgeworth smirks in a way bordering on a half-smile as he puts back the book he had selected, turns, and makes a sweeping bow.
Althea: I'm afraid he's still coming to terms with some aspects of relating to the divine, so I'm not entirely certain he'll catch your meaning in some regards.
Belgiwig displays a slight limp as he makes his way to the table Edgeworth was sitting at. "Of course; clearly even the literal languages here are still causing him trouble if he's still crowned with Aureon's blessing."
Althea: He is, nonetheless, making rapid progress on both fronts.
Edgeworth rubs his forehead. This may be a rather trying conversation.
Althea: On the latter, he is largely focusing on Common for the time being, for obvious reasons.
Belgiwig: Oh, understood, understood!
Edgeworth then crosses his arms. "'Literal languages' as opposed to what?"
Belgiwig looks up at Edgeworth. "Religions are languages in their own right — languages of symbols and metaphor, whose prose speaks of things not easily said and whose poems touch reality in ways ordinary magic can't always match."
Edgeworth glares. "The language I would most appreciate at the moment is plain Common!"
Althea looks back and forth a couple times, trying to keep her smile more one of pleasant friendliness than amusement. "You can see my point."
Belgiwig shrugs and shakes his head. "Sorry, sorry. I'm more used to that sort of language by now. It can be taxing to speak plainly..."
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "Given that I'm not of this world, that effort will be rather necessary."
Belgiwig raises an eyebrow. "Someone thinks he's already one with the Divinity Within..."
Althea: While I've given him a very brief overview of those common here, he is not very familiar with the religions of Eberron.
Edgeworth furrows his brow. "I hardly subscribe to the concept of 'divinity' at all."
Belgiwig grins. "And that's why your language could be so enlightening."
Edgeworth huffs in frustration, then stops to try to make sense of the conversation so far.
Edgeworth: Thus does another limitation of this helmet grow clear.
Althea: Stripping away divinity from the divine, and discovering what remains? It certainly provides a most unique perspective.
Belgiwig looks to Althea. "It's a purer form of what we do in some ways, but I never thought it would be a cleric who would do it."
Althea nods. "I've been accused of attracting unusual circumstances by some; I'm certainly starting to appreciate why."
Edgeworth glances aside disdainfully. "I'm merely trying to make the best of a bad situation."
Belgiwig glances back up at Edgeworth in surprise. "I never expected to hear that from a cleric either. That begs the question, why is a blessing a curse?"
Edgeworth rubs his temple. "'Blessings' don't exist. This world just has different physics."
Belgiwig: Don't you mean metaphysics?
Edgeworth: They're the exact same thing!
Belgiwig shakes his head. "But they do different things..."
Edgeworth recrosses his arms. "Then what's the difference?"
Althea can't help giggling a little at this exchange.
Belgiwig: Common physics don't depend on someone's education or state of mind or heredity to be manipulated...
Edgeworth: I fail to see how that makes it a distinction worth drawing.
Edgeworth: If anything, it seems a purely cultural one.
Belgiwig shrugs. "It's a view worth thinking about, I guess. We archivists can't get far by being narrow-minded."
Edgeworth grins triumphantly.
Belgiwig: On the other hand, neither can you...
Edgeworth winces and glowers.
Edgeworth finally notices Althea's expression and give her a glare as well.
Althea shakes her head. "I think you may eventually find your ideas are separated more by words than meaning. And there is still much for us all to learn."
Edgeworth: Hrm...
Belgiwig clears his throat. "Oh, absolutely, absolutely! Aureon's work was left half-done, and it's the harder half we're trying to do here."
Edgeworth looks puzzled.
Belgiwig: Sorry, sorry. Maybe I should unveil that one's meaning; you might hear it a lot with us...
Belgiwig: Aureon is said to have been the source of mortals' knowledge of arcane magic. Of course that's not literal — even Vassals see the Host as more ephemeral than that, usually anyway. But anyway, that still leaves a big gap in our knowledge...
Althea: Namely, the incompletely tapped mysteries of divine magic.
Edgeworth taps his finger as he hears this out. I do seem to recall reading something of the sort in his book on religious perspectives on magic.
Belgiwig shrugs. "Even if we've found a way to collect poems from many languages of those mysteries, we still have a long way to go."
Belgiwig: What drives a rare few to the way of the paladin and lets them actually follow it? Why are certain rare spells selective? What secrets keep druidic magic relatively contained even when talented rangers can draw out some of the same answers?
Belgiwig looks up at Edgeworth with determination. "And what are the boundaries of 'faith'?"
Althea: Hopefully your experiences and insights may provide critical evidence.
Edgeworth smirks, though he pauses before saying, "I'm certainly willing to provide any evidence I can, particularly if it will lead you out of an age of darkness."
Belgiwig smiles and claps his hands. "Music to my ears."
Edgeworth takes the wand from earlier out of an inner blazer pocket. "Since you're the head of the Archive, I presume you can put this back where it belongs."
Belgiwig reaches up to take it, looking surprised. "Have you unlocked this door already?"
Edgeworth: Indeed.
Althea: Rather sooner than expected, I should think. You were only in there for what, half an hour or so at most?
Belgiwig raises his eyebrows as he pockets the wand. "Really? He must be especially fluent in his native tongue to conceive of the right metaphor so quickly."
Belgiwig frowns in concern. "But why the metaphor for this in particular?"
Edgeworth: It's nothing you need to concern yourself with.
Althea: Suffice to say an opportunity arose.
Belgiwig: Hmmm... So! For the sake of our records, how many times did you try?
Edgeworth: Only twice, given the situation.
Belgiwig stares up at Edgeworth.
Althea: Only twice, he says. Don't beat yourself up too much over wasting a whole charge on the way to enlightenment.
Edgeworth shrugs smugly with a shake of his head. "I've already learned that perfection is a lie."

This earns Edgeworth a brief stare from one human.

Belgiwig tsks and shakes his head. "Not a lie, but a myth. There's a difference."
Edgeworth crosses his arms again, appearing impatient. "Either way, it's something we can't truly achieve."
Belgiwig: The Silver Flame would disagree, just to warn you.
Althea: It is, however, something we can conceive, and contemplate the contours of. Relate our experiences and observations to... I think that at the very least makes it useful.
Edgeworth grins. "With that, I most certainly agree."
Belgiwig smiles. "Well, well! Maybe we'll be speaking the same language sooner than I thought!"
Belgiwig: Speaking of that, have you written down any of your experiences yet?
Edgeworth shakes his head. "No, I've been too busy. Or rather, preoccupied."
Althea: Preoccupied. At any rate, I've been taking notes on some of the observations you've brought up so far. I suspect Dil's probably taken note of his own observations as well.
Edgeworth smirks and taps his temple. "Then it would seem that I need to take the time to present my own case thus far."
Edgeworth: Though words in Common may still fail me at times.
Belgiwig shakes his head. "Don't worry about it — the literal language used isn't important for now."
Edgeworth nods. "Understood."
Althea: There are means for others to extract meaning from your writing, and the important thing is keeping a record of your impressions and understandings as you come to them, before they have a chance to be muddled, reinterpreted, or reimagined.
Althea: One can miss one's own insights sometimes if one is not careful.
Edgeworth: Indeed, I'm entirely familiar with that need from my work.
Edgeworth shrugs and shakes his head. "Though we often pull the truth from such accounts regardless. You're simply not in a position to do the same."
Belgiwig points at a cabinet. "Trees' gift to civilization can be found there. Do you have a pen?"
Edgeworth frowns in confusion briefly, but then nods. "Of course." Was there any point whatsoever to waxing poetic just then?


Edgeworth takes some paper, seats himself, and starts writing down his thoughts. Meanwhile, Belgiwig heads downstairs with Althea in tow, puts the wand back in the locked walk-in closet Dil retrieved it from, then heads further down the hall to stick a key seemingly through a part of the wall and open an unseen door. The head of the Archive subtly beckons the scholar to follow him past the illusion, where a long, narrow, and dimly-lit staircase leads two and a half stories down to a metal door with a different key. Past that is a far better-lit room — an office of entirely gnomish scale, apart from the ceiling's height and two of the chairs in the corner.

Althea follows Belgiwig into the office and takes a seat in front of the desk.
Belgiwig seats himself behind it. "So what is there to know about this twofold mystery man aside from him being an arrogant genius?"
Althea: I haven't been digging too deeply as yet, but a lot of things have come up already regardless.
Belgiwig: Oh?
Althea: His world seems to be one in which machinery and artifice has advanced more substantially than magic, to such an extreme that few in his world apparently know that magic truly even exists there.
Althea: Indeed, it took quite some doing to even get him to admit to what he knows of its existence, for reasons that ultimately turned out to be somewhat personal.
Belgiwig blinks. "How is that possible? Are there no magical beasts in his world either? Or manifest zones?"
Althea: He claims not, though it's difficult to say whether his knowledge on the matter would be complete. At the very least, such things would have to be more subtle there. Ultimately, I've encountered only clear accounts of two types of magic thus far, though it is quite possible there is much more he is not himself aware of...
Belgiwig raises an eyebrow in interest.
Althea: Most prominently, there appear to be a group of people with the ability to summon the dead into their own bodies, transforming into the likeness of the one thus summoned.
Belgiwig stares. "I wonder if the children of Vol could have done anything like that..."
Althea: Beyond that, there is also word of a relic that can wrest secrets from a person being questioned...
Belgiwig looks thoughtful. "I'm surprised that they know how to make Onatar and Aureon speak as one at all in a plane like that."
Althea: It's not entirely clear who "they" are, though the impression is something along the lines of a cross between a dragonmarked House and a druidic sect...
Belgiwig grabs a pen and paper and begins to take notes.
Althea: His relationship to magic in his world has been a deeply troubled one, due to magic being responsible for a rather traumatic revelation about his father; it was far easier to see the resulting conundrum as a consequence of a charlatan's act than a consequence of a violation of principle committed after death...
Belgiwig: Well, well! That explains why he's reluctant, doesn't it?
Althea: It does explain much of it; he's only recently started to come to terms with it, and he's been making much more progress since that point. It's clearly not the only source of trauma in his life, however, and I suspect other obstacles will reveal themselves in the future.
Belgiwig grins. "It also tells us something about the nature of divine magic itself. That he didn't want to believe it didn't matter — it responded to the beliefs he has anyway."
Althea: An interesting point. Perhaps no one else could have provided such an insight.
Belgiwig looks thoughtful as he scribbles further. "Though the words traveling the wind don't say much about those beliefs — only that he's an 'atheist cleric'. That ingredient has spawned a dozen recipes already."
Althea: His faith is intrinsically tied up in his choice of occupation.
Althea: Indeed, it seems that what here serves as the holy symbol of his faith, is a mere badge of office in his world.
Belgiwig raises an eyebrow.
Althea: I believe Dil provoked him into articulating the essence of his faith as being in "justice, the truth on which justice depends, and the rationality that allows us to uncover the truth."
Althea: ...it's striking just how perfectly attuned to our purposes he seems to be in some ways...
Belgiwig: Incredibly, but I haven't exactly been performing any calling rituals for someone like him.
Belgiwig shrugs with his free arm.
Althea: Actually, the matter of the means by which he came here was brought up earlier, and ultimately we decided to enlist the assistance of a Medani scion to try to determine what we could; there was no sign of magic or psionics on him or the place he appeared that would have explained how he arrived. Given that, I suspect we can rule out the possibility of his being called here by magic directly.
Althea: He had already dismissed that idea on his own, based on his preliminary research into magic.
Althea: ...rather, his first thought was that he may have been the victim of an act of abjuration rather than conjuration...
Belgiwig stops writing for a moment and looks up from his notes. "Even if that's possible, how many enemies would he need to have to seriously consider that happening in a world where spellcasting is unheard of?"
Althea: I gather he's had something of a cursed existence in his own world; he seems scarred emotionally on more levels than I can really identify.
Althea: That said, even if he might have been sent away by magic, that it left no trace upon him would seem to reduce significantly the number of possible means that are even conceivable...
Althea frowns. "Assuming, that is, that the magic of his world is even detectable to those of ours..."
Belgiwig frowns as well, then continues to write...
Belgiwig then grins. "Though since power visits him here, not only do we know how a blessing is a curse, we know how a curse is a blessing too."
Althea: If there's any truth to his conjecture on the point, and assuming the new risks he finds here do not outweigh the opportunities. I... don't suppose you've heard this either, but the opportunity for him to use that wand today... is due to a successful quori attack. In his third nightmare since arriving; I was able to witness and assist him twice, but was occupied with my own difficulties this time...
Belgiwig's eyes widen. "That many in a week?"
Althea: I hope only that many, there remains the chance of a fourth or even fifth for that record...
Belgiwig: The balance of favors might have to shift for his sake...
Althea: I... would retain responsibility for such favors myself if possible, for the time being...
Althea: Thus far I have had some amount of involvement with each nightmare, and I suspect there is a reason which goes beyond my academic interests. Until such time as it is clear I cannot provide sufficient aid...
Belgiwig half-frowns. "If you're sure of that."
Belgiwig writes some more. "Back on the topic of his beliefs, do you know anything else about them? They must be a very solid foundation if divine power began building upon them so easily."
Althea: I know that it is in many ways because of his faith that he considers himself a man of science. He... has an unfortunate tendency to see science and religion as diametrically opposed, due apparently to many of his world's religions standing in opposition to it. Apparently it is a much younger discipline in his world than ours.
Belgiwig looks terribly confused.
Althea: I can only guess no true analogue to Aureon can be found in any mainstream pantheon there...
Althea: For that matter, as I understand it, belief in some pantheons has disappeared over the ages, leaving behind only symbols of some purely historical connection to aspects they presumably once presided over.
Belgiwig: Teachers outliving their teachings? My, my...
Althea: Or at least becoming dissociated from them.
Althea: After all, has one necessarily lost sight of the truth if one comes to know it in a different way or under a different name?
Belgiwig grins. "Of course not — but it sounds like something stranger than that is happening in his world if science was forced to be a warrior from birth."
Althea shrugs. "It's difficult to say what the true state of this is with only one witness's account..."
Belgiwig shakes his head, then scrawls some more. "So he believes in justice, truth, rationality, and science... but just holding a few virtues dear usually isn't enough. The fog is still too thick..."
Althea: I haven't really pressed him on such details yet; I'm hoping to give him more time to accommodate his current circumstances. Eventually, I'll try to find time to dig deeper; I suspect there is still much of his knowledge I've yet to scratch the surface of, even leaving aside the difficult, trauma-filled bits.
Althea: I do gather that he not only believes fervently in those values, but that in properly doing his job, he is fighting for them.
Althea: There is much about his manner in regards to his profession that reminds me of the Silver Flame.
Belgiwig: Really now?
Althea: I asked him to elaborate on a comment he made when Dil and I were speculating about his having the Knowledge domain in addition to Truth; Dil had mentioned he seemed like more of a thinker than a fighter, and he responded, "It would be more appropriate to say that I prefer to fight with my words."
Althea: In the ensuing discussion, he described his profession thusly:
Althea: "I fight injustice, and to prevent the truth from being lost or incompletely understood. I challenge the defense to rise to the same standard, though I've known rather few who are good at meeting that challenge. It could also be said that I fight for the stability of civilization itself. If criminals never suffered for their crimes, what precisely would prevent the world from spiraling into chaos under the burden of mankind's sinful heart?"
Belgiwig nods with a spark of interest in his eyes, then writes for a minute before responding. "I see what you mean... though if words are his weapons, it's possible that a third domain may touch his soul."
Althea nods. "Very possible."
Althea: "Lawyers of every kind must put the truth before themselves or their clients. Persistence and strength of will are necessary on both sides as well if the truth is to be unearthed in its entirety. A case presented weakly, shared incompletely, or insufficiently challenged will leave some aspect unexplored, and that very aspect could change how we understand the situation completely."
Belgiwig nods... "That's a familiar song, especially from heirs who turn their backs on Zilargo... but strength of will is a new verse."
Althea: There can be little question to his own strength of will. Aside from that which can be readily observed from how he behaves and how stubborn he can be, there is also the fact that, counting a couple of botched attempts, I've seen him perform turning six times in a single day, and it is clear the last time required pushing his limits...
Althea: Given that he is only just starting to develop such abilities...
Belgiwig: That isn't quite the stuff of legends, even if it is especially good. On the other hand, the rumors said that he didn't even speak Common, but...
Althea: He spoke not a word of it five days ago. He began studying it only four days ago.
Belgiwig stares. "Now that is amazing. If his words weren't slow or his accent wasn't obviously unheard of..."
Althea: That may improve with time as well. Actually, someone I know from the Library was planning on tutoring him a bit as they each have time.
Althea: I don't know if you've heard of Illyvalen Mirilas Forlin?
Belgiwig grins. "Ah, yes, we do know of her at the Ninth College."
Althea: The allure to her of one who speaks otherworldly languages is quite obvious.
Belgiwig: Yes, yes, indeed!
Althea: Anyway, one aspect he has that is sadly rare among followers of the Flame... As arrogant as he is, he clearly has some measure of humility, which he has folded up into his understanding of his role and his faith.
Belgiwig: Mm, he would be a heretic among them...
Althea: He speaks of the path to Khyber being "paved with good intentions."
Althea: "I'm under no illusions of being infallible, or of that even being possible."
Althea: Though it seems much of his idea of balancing out his imperfections involves "fighting" an adversary with equal capability, equal commitment to the truth, and complementary strengths.
Belgiwig: So one cannot be perfect, but the right two can be more perfect than one...
Belgiwig: I wonder if he's ever sought someone to share his life with.
Althea chuckles slightly. "It does sound almost like a romantic sentiment, though I imagine he'd take offense to such a characterization."
Belgiwig: Oh?
Althea: He's a very private sort of person, when it comes to matters not related to his beliefs or his work. I haven't pried into personal matters beyond those which seem to be causing him problems now, but I suspect he'd be fairly reticent on the subject.
Althea: He... doesn't seem to be the type to forge strong emotional bonds easily. There are only a couple of people from his world he's even talked about thus far, though I'm vaguely aware of a few more due to a vision.
Belgiwig nods... "So married to his faith, then?"
Althea: Probably a fair enough assessment, at least for now.
Belgiwig: I wonder how intimate that relationship has grown...
Althea shrugs.
Belgiwig: If the children of prayer have shown themselves yet, I'd be shocked, though.
Althea: Prayer may represent something of an obstacle as well. I've only recently broached the subject of praying for spells... Suffice to say such terminology and the concepts it evokes for him are not an obvious fit for his faith. I anticipate this being one of his more trying struggles...
Althea: Many of the usual trappings of faith are eschewed in his beliefs. Even the revelation of truth he feels duty-bound to struggle for is something he refuses to see as "miraculous".
Belgiwig lapses into thought after writing down a few more notes.
Belgiwig: Even if not, the truth is something he seems to believe in more than himself, and that's saying something.
Althea: Mm.
Belgiwig: A full understanding of that piece of the puzzle-box might be necessary to open it...
Althea: And such will not come easily... I have picked up that he has been betrayed by those feigning altruism in the past, but any more detail than that is probably somewhere he won't go unless he has to...
Althea: He has explicitly rejected the idea of any sort of higher power. Apparently the truth does not qualify to his mind, despite his devotion...
Belgiwig frowns in confusion as he looks to the ceiling. "I wonder how many of his thoughts the paper has absorbed so far... If that isn't it, it would be nice to know what is."
Althea: Despite his objections, I suspect it is the closest analogue. Most probably, the very concept of a higher power is something he has become closed and hostile to due to his experiences...
Belgiwig: If science and religion are sworn enemies where he's from, just being on one side might make him ready to attack the other, too.
Althea: I don't think it can be quite that simple; it seems clear he has allies among this "Fey Clan" if nothing else. He also claims not to have known war himself, even if it is clear he has enemies.
Belgiwig: It sounds like it's only the kind with swords and spells he's never been part of.
Althea: True enough.
Belgiwig: I can't help but imagine that Aureon's drafted him into yet another.
Althea: Perhaps more than one.