Meanwhile, at the Archive, Dil eventually finds the time in all his work to read the notes Illyvalen delivered on Edgeworth's behalf. Once he finishes, the changeling shakes his head with a sad smirk, then carries the notes over to Althea, who's been spending time simply studying.

Althea looks up.
Dil: It seems that he decided to share that other vision you mentioned after all — a dream, to him, but one he found startlingly vivid.
Dil shrugs, then sits down at the table Althea is at.
Althea nods. "If he brought it up himself then I suppose it's fair game."
Dil: That's what I thought too.
Dil: It's not surprising that he'd have a sacred space like that. I am half-surprised he recognized it for what it is, though...
Dil: Even if he didn't put it that way. If anything he seemed reluctant to label it at all...
Althea nods. "I did make a point on pressing the temple imagery earlier over his objections; not least because I figured that was imagery he'd either have to embrace, or at least appreciate as applied to his situation..."
Althea: But yes, essentially we saw the temple of his faith from the inside, and observed how it varied from either of our expectations...
Dil shakes his head. "The few parallels he drew to a temple definitely showed irritation and reluctance."
Dil: But he let himself express being "impressed" all the same, and I get the feeling that's an understatement.
Althea: It did seem to represent the essence of his faith, to the point that the very act of attempting to open the doors and contemplate leaving struck him as tantamount to discarding his beliefs.
Dil nods. "He did mention that part. The other interesting thing he mentioned was how real it seemed to him even after he woke up. He wasn't sure at first whether he had awakened or passed out..."
Dil: But at the same time, admitting that clearly troubles and embarrasses him.
Althea: I wouldn't go suggesting to him that this represents a vision on his part... I realize he may be somewhat likely to be prone to such things, but it clearly troubles him so deeply... well, I think it'd be best to leave the matter alone until we're sure it's going to be an issue going forward...
Dil nods... "If he approaches me directly again at all, anyway. It was Illyvalen who delivered these notes."
Althea: I wouldn't read too much into that, I suspect Illyvalen doesn't want him going anywhere for today...
Dil shrugs. "I guess you have a point. She took some writing materials from here to him, too."
Althea: I'm told she can actually be forceful if she thinks someone's health and wellbeing are on the line.
Dil: Huh.
Dil: I don't suppose you can explain the way it was lit any better than he did? He wrote like it ought to be self-explanatory...
Dil: Not to say that he didn't try, but it read like someone trying to describe the self-evident.
Althea shudders slightly. "The light felt... very unnatural to me. Neither the light of the sun nor that of Irian could ever be at once so bright and so cold..."
Dil shrugs. "I think we can read between the lines that for him it was the most natural thing in the world..."
Dil scribbles down a few notes on this point.
Dil: Maybe even the most natural part of the entire space.
Althea: It felt like it would bear down relentlessly on anyone being scrutinized until they had not a shred of what it felt to be untrue to shield themselves with...
Althea: Had I been present in such a dream rather than observing from afar, I should think I would feel as though I had been stripped naked should such light fall upon me...
Dil looks briefly serious. "I think it's clear that it's not any kinder to him, though."
Althea: ...indeed. Perhaps it is just my differing nature that I should be... averse to that from which he draws such comfort...
Dil shrugs. "Maybe it's because of its presence that he couldn't help but find the dream real, despite it conflicting with his idea of what 'real' even is."
Althea nods. "I did ask him if it was the light of his truth. While he didn't like the way I put the question, he did confirm the speculation."
Dil: He was kind of vague about how it ended... he said that something swept through him and he manifested that outfit as a result, but he shied away from describing it in any way.
Althea: Suffice to say it looked appropriate for an adventurer of his station. He did suggest it would be the guise he took 'in due time' so I suppose we'll be seeing it eventually.
Dil raises an eyebrow. "He didn't mention that. Not even a hint..."
Althea frowns. "Hrm... he was... a bit different than usual due to taking his station. That might have impacted his outlook."
Dil blinks. "Different?..."
Althea: A bit like his moment of linguistic epiphany earlier.
Dil grins. "Ah, I remember that."
Dil puts his finger to his lip. "I doubt someone like him is embarrassed about his own strength, though — so that begs the question, what's he hiding?"
Dil writes a bit more...
Althea shrugs.
Dil: One thing he did talk about again, though, was how frightening intuition is to him. It's like he expects it to possess him like some kind of malevolent ghost and begin fighting for things that might not be true...
Althea: I think that's part of why he's terrified of the thought of receiving visions.
Dil: What do you see as the rest?
Althea: He seems to find evaluating the highly abstract for symbolic meaning rather trying... a scenario composed of possibly nothing but that... I gather it's conceptually very daunting for him.
Dil nods... "It might seem like the opposite of evidence to him, actually."
Dil: He emphasizes proof so much, would he even act on a vision if he got one that called for it?
Althea: He does seem to reluctantly acknowledge that there is too much to such things to simply ignore it, at least when I've described my own visions.
Dil: Hmm... Of course, it's still all theoretical at this point, right? It's just looking a little bit more likely...
Althea: It's difficult to say. I think we'd best keep our speculations on the point to ourselves for the time being, though.
Dil nods again before lapsing into silent consideration of the notes.

Once Althea finishes her day's study, she makes her way back to the inn where Edgeworth has been spending so much time writing. By the time she arrives, the ink has dried and the paper set aside so that the prosecutor can eat a hot meal of shredded chicken, similarly shredded vegetables, and brown rice mixed together in a bowl.

Althea looks around briefly and nods to Illyvalen and Tikra. "Thank you so much, both of you, for helping out like this."
Edgeworth looks up and over from his meal and nods.
Tikra shrugs slightly and nods to Althea. "The occasional break from routine is not unwelcome. Besides, had I not taken a share, others would no doubt have shouldered too much of the burden." She glances slightly toward Illyvalen.
Illyvalen: Oh, it's no trouble at all. Well, okay, I guess it kinda sorta is maybe but I'm glad to have helped, really.
Edgeworth frowns at Illyvalen's words.
Althea: Why don't you two go get some rest; I can take care of anything else from here, and there are a few things Edgeworth and I need to discuss.
Illyvalen: Uh, are you sure? I could just... er, well, maybe I should come back in the morning, then...?
Edgeworth: I am feeling considerably better by now, Miss Mirilas.
Illyvalen looks a little awkward as Edgeworth refers to her by her surname, almost as if she were referred to by someone else's name. "Uh, it's okay to just call me Illyvalen..."
Althea shakes her head. "I'm sure he'll be fine by morning; he's not seriously hurt, he's just been through some shock, is all."
Illyvalen: Uh, okay. Yeah, you're right, sorry.
Illyvalen: I'll see you tomorrow afternoon, then?
Edgeworth nods. "Indeed. The next open chess meet will be then, correct?"
Illyvalen: Ah, were you planning to go again?
Edgeworth smirks. "Assuming I'm able, yes."
Illyvalen: I suppose it's as good an opportunity as any to speak Common, as well. I'll see you there, then.
Edgeworth: Take care.

Illyvalen and Tikra depart shortly, leaving the seer and prosecutor alone in the small room. Althea closes and locks the door behind them before taking a seat in one of the chairs.

Edgeworth swallows another bite of food.
Althea sighs slightly. "I hate to ask them for this much. Especially Tikra; it's hard to tell what she really feels about a lot of things, she'll rarely complain about anything..."
Edgeworth: Due to the concern that you would accrue new debts by doing so?
Althea: If anything, it's kind of awkward because I don't think either of them would ever think to call in such debts. Illyvalen's got a pretty giving nature, and Tikra... well, she doesn't have a lot of people she can call friends, but she's very loyal to those she has.
Edgeworth nods, a lonely glint in his eyes.
Althea:'s really kind of awkward when she says I'm taking on too much of a burden... I don't know all that much about her past, but I've picked up enough to know she had a much harder life before she came here than I've ever known...
Edgeworth glances aside. "She seems prone to speaking in terms of burdens, when she deigns to speak at all."
Althea shrugs. "Speaking is certainly a... deliberate act for her. Illyvalen's said that she used to have a lot more trouble expressing herself..."
Edgeworth nods, then crosses his arms. "Quite frankly, I'm eager for the day when I can once more stand on my own... er, relatively speaking."
Althea: On the point of debts, there are some matters we should discuss regarding your situation.
Edgeworth looks to Althea with a grim expression. "Given today's events particularly, that's entirely understandable."
Althea: To begin with, there is the matter of the extent to which I have shared my observations with Dil and with Belgiwig up to now...
Althea: I have been particularly open with Dil as we've both been engaged in trying to understand the challenges you're facing well enough to help you through them...
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm.
Althea: But with Belgiwig, the concern I've had is with regard to the other side of the equation...
Althea: In addition to being the head of the Archive, he's... very well-placed within House Sivis. That can be both advantageous and disadvantageous in various ways, and he does have a fairly difficult balance to maintain himself...
Althea: At any rate, House Sivis, and your relationship thereto, may end up being a rather significant matter... seeing as the House is the main source of presence of Zil culture outside Zilargo...
Althea: In particular, while they have their own preferred ways of handling matters of justice within Zilargo, Sivis gnomes are nonetheless quite adept at working with the laws of other lands as well.
Althea: The House's presence is felt in the makeup of courts throughout Khorvaire.
Edgeworth appears disturbed briefly, then glares piercingly. "In other words, a single extended family has a stranglehold on one of the pillars of government on most of a continent?"
Althea: Pretty much the essential trait of any Dragonmarked House is that it has a stranglehold on at least one and usually several vital resources throughout the continent...
Althea: Though their power with respect to matters of governance is limited by the Korth Edicts, at least in theory.
Edgeworth: I suppose that's another aspect of law I'll need to study.
Althea: At any rate, for my part, I am trying to make sure that even as you receive help and resources from the Foundation, that they see as great or greater return in insight for that investment.
Althea: well as to make clear that should your needs grow beyond the ready resources of the Foundation, that I am prepared to shoulder such burden myself...
Edgeworth frowns. "I can't say I'm comfortable with this arrangement, but if the alternatives are as scant as you claim, I suppose it's nothing entirely new to me either."
Althea: It would be... best for your prospects if at a minimum you accrue no debts to House Sivis. If they should find themselves in any way indebted to you, that would make the path ahead much easier...
Althea: I bring all this up now due to a combination of matters... for one thing, you have reminded me recently of your sensitivity with regard to the sharing of... some things... and seeing as I bear such a debt to you, it is only appropriate that I exercise as much care in my discretion as I... would hope for you to exercise on my behalf...
Althea: For another, as I noted, I was forthcoming with Dil in particular because he is your teacher, and we had a common goal to pursue in that regard... if that relationship is in question, such collaborations would also be...
Edgeworth looks away somewhat. "I appreciate your recognition of that."
Althea: I can try to follow your lead somewhat based on the writings you submit, but... it would probably be best if we were to periodically discuss on which sides of those boundaries my observations might lie... and the value considerations that may be at play in deciding whether certain uncomfortable matters might be better divulged anyway...
Edgeworth glowers. "I can't see that discussion of my past traumas or my nightmares generally accomplishes much beyond exposing weaknesses of mine to attack and causing me unnecessary misery."
Edgeworth: While I'm forced to concede its relevance to Dil's understanding of my progress, arming House Sivis with such information seems as likely to undermine my position as strengthen it!
Althea: First and foremost, we're talking about supplying the Foundation with what it needs to further its purpose, and there are very many ways in which many aspects of your identity and experiences shed light on the mysteries they are trying to uncover.
Althea: The nature of your relationship toward magic, colored as it is by your traumatic experiences, itself tells us important things relative to your manifestation of magic here.
Edgeworth: Oh?
Althea: As Belgiwig himself noted, it shows in particular that even a most fervent desire to disbelieve and not to have divine magic... has seemingly no influence on that which bestows such power; it responds to your faith despite your having no faith whatsoever in it.
Edgeworth's eyes widen at that.
Althea: That's not an insight that would be easy to come by from anyone in this world, I would think.
Edgeworth glances aside awkwardly. "Er, I suppose not."
Althea: There are other elements as to the full nature of your faith that remain unclear relative to our understanding of how faith underpins divine magic. I don't know if we'll ever have a complete picture, but aside from observing you in action as a prosecutor, much of that insight may well prove to be tied up in trauma as well. I speak from my own speculation on that point, but you...seem to have experienced a great deal of that sort of hardship, and it has shaped who you are and how you approach your beliefs.
Edgeworth grits his teeth briefly, then huffs in frustration.
Althea: I'm not suggesting that it is necessary or wise to lay bare every detail of your life... but it's important to recognize when there are important truths within that may have much value when shared.
Edgeworth frowns. "I should hope that things such as what I wrote today will prove to be a less dangerous source of insights."
Edgeworth reaches over to grab his writings.
Althea nods. "I would imagine many will be eager to see that."
Edgeworth: Though it may prove impossible to read without magic, given that several of the concepts within are undoubtedly alien to this place.
Edgeworth: It is only by such means that I could contextualize... that.
Althea: Maybe you and Illyvalen should work on trying to come up with an authoritative translation? Though at this point you might not have time to complete such an effort until after the concert.
Althea: If all else fails, I'm certain the Ninth College has the resources to decipher it.
Edgeworth: "Ninth College"?
Althea: That's the particular branch of House Sivis to which Belgiwig belongs. They have a particular focus on expanding the power and usage of language.
Edgeworth half-frowns. "How would such a project affect the balance of favors? It seems as though Belgiwig would owe his co-workers quite a large debt were he to resort to such means."
Althea nods. "Quite possible, though I would think he would find it worth it should no alternative be readily available."
Edgeworth looks resolute. "Then the task I must pursue after gaining full proficiency with my new capabilities is clear."
Edgeworth: There is, however, the unfortunate difficulty that I'm neither an astronomer nor a biologist.
Althea: There are those who are familiar with such areas of the sciences, and they may also be much interested in any insights you might provide...
Edgeworth: It seems as though this may prove to be quite an ordeal to undertake...
Althea: Don't forget that both Illyvalen and myself have contact with many researchers; assistance for this endeavor can most certainly be found, likely very eager assistance.
Edgeworth: Nor should you forget that I don't wish to grow obligated to remain in Zilargo.
Althea: I suppose it's possible I'm overestimating the value that could be derived from the endeavor. Perhaps you should present what you have to me and I can try to judge?
Edgeworth nods. "Very well."
Edgeworth starts to offer the papers in question, then stops upon remembering that Althea had to read translations of his other writings.
Edgeworth winces, then takes the papers back and clears his throat.

Over the next few minutes, Edgeworth reads what he wrote aloud to Althea, much as though simply making an especially lengthy opening statement...

Althea listens quietly and contemplatively to the presentation. After its conclusion, she looks up at Edgeworth.
Althea: I won't pretend to understand everything you just read to me, but I think I have a better appreciation of something of what you said about your mathematician-machines earlier. A lot of your world's understanding of science is based in numbers and scale, isn't it?
Edgeworth puts the writing back on the table. "Indeed so."
Althea: The idea that something can seem to be very different if you look closely or from far away... that's what these machines are, essentially, aren't they? Something you can put together in a particular way at a small scale, in order to seem to be something much different at a large scale?
Edgeworth grins. "Precisely."
Althea smiles. "I think that ideas like that may be more valuable than necessarily knowing the science behind them; that kind of thinking fires the imagination and inspires people to look at what they know in new ways. Even if you can't tell us all the secrets your society has discovered, you can testify to how your society thinks about its problems, and that could lead to the same or even entirely new discoveries."
Edgeworth actually smiles for once himself.
Edgeworth moves the bowl containing his half-finished meal aside, then takes a clean sheet of paper and the pen Illyvalen delivered.
Edgeworth begins to write with a confident smirk on his face.

Edgeworth spends a few minutes writing down the concepts he and Althea just discussed, elaborating slightly. Once he puts the pen and paper aside, however, he digs his badge out of his pocket again...

Edgeworth: There is a disadvantage to such a view of the world, however.
Althea: Hm?
Edgeworth places his badge face-down in the palm of his hand and lowers it for Althea to see.
Edgeworth: Though the use of numbers eases record-keeping, the degree to which they're used for identification within a system can at times grow disconcerting.
Althea: Then this number denotes your place, the piece you represent, at the internal scale of the system of justice you champion?
Edgeworth: Indeed — though as much as I may value it, I'd rather not be regarded in that way exclusively. ...That is part of the reason why I don't wear it.
Edgeworth repockets his badge.
Althea shakes her head. "Being represented by something is not the same as being one with it."
Althea: Though I can see why you might expect to be seen as a prosecutor above all else...
Althea: ...but then, isn't part of your faith the importance of appreciating how things are at all scales?
Edgeworth: What exactly do you propose that has to do with faith?
Althea: Isn't that connection precisely what you expressed in your notes? It's been clear from early on that it is in significant part because of your faith that you are a man of science.
Edgeworth: What I expressed in my notes was an attempt to describe and make sense of an experience too vast and intense for my mind to fully encompass!
Althea: Wasn't it too vast precisely because you couldn't just look at it in terms of a scale that made it manageable?
Edgeworth puts his finger to his temple with a serious expression. Perhaps that is what must be done...
Edgeworth: To discover the level on which it must be viewed to find spells within it would seem to be my next task.
Edgeworth: In any case, an appreciation of things on several levels is hardly incompatible with a desire to be appreciated on the level of a human being.
Althea: No, but I fail to see what that has to do with hiding your badge or its number. You certainly don't try to hide the fact that you're a prosecutor.
Edgeworth: Unless one were in the know, however, it wouldn't be apparent before approaching me first as any other human.
Edgeworth's expression hardens. "To do otherwise would be to reduce me to that number, and thus do me a disservice. Numbers are perfect; people are not."
Edgeworth: I had never before thought to consider how different my current motive for this behavior is from that of the "Demon Prosecutor"...
Althea shakes her head, and after a momentary hesitation switches track somewhat. "Numbers are abstract. They may highlight or obscure details of that which they represent, depending on how they are used, but they neither grant nor deny perfection to anything real."
Edgeworth: Indeed, it is that very abstraction which provides them with such perfection.
Edgeworth: However, it would be appropriate to say that what science in my world hopes to accomplish is to come up with equations that are accurate reflections of every aspect of reality.
Althea frowns. "I wonder if such a thing is even possible. I suspect not, but at the least, much could be learned from the attempt."
Edgeworth shrugs and shakes his head with his arms outspread. "Much already has been."
Althea nods.
Edgeworth crosses his arms. "It's a far cry from simply clinging to ancient stories as a guide to reality no matter how grossly they might contradict it."
Althea: If one must choose between reality and meaning. Are your people always so polarized on matters?
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "In the courtroom, such matters are intertwined, given that when attempting to find the truth behind a crime, one cannot ignore motive."
Althea: And is this nuanced perspective found only in court?
Edgeworth: Certainly the rest of the justice system must think in such terms as well. Historians and archaeologists must consider human factors in their efforts to uncover truth as well.
Althea: Just not "scientists"?
Edgeworth frowns. "There is science involved in all of these pursuits, though the humanities, as they're known, are regarded as relatively impure when compared to those fields more readily reduced to numbers."
Althea: So meaning is an impurity introduced into science only when absolutely necessary?
Edgeworth hmphs. "That is the assertion made by some."
Althea: How would you portray the matter, then?
Edgeworth considers this for a moment, lifting a finger to his temple.
Edgeworth: All truths are worthy. If those I help to uncover in my work are to be seen as something lesser, then it should be due to their localized nature rather than due to involving human factors.
Edgeworth smirks. "By being deposited here, I've been placed in the midst of a far larger search for truth than I ever could have hoped for."
Althea: And the philosophy of your science is that how things are at any scale can fundamentally affect how they are at any other scale, even though they should at that point seem completely different?
Edgeworth: The potential is there, yes. There is an illustrative story in which the beat of a butterfly's wings sets off a chain of events that ultimately causes a storm elsewhere.
Edgeworth glances aside with an annoyed look. "There are those who look to such things and call it proof of a chaotic world. I rather assert that it merely demonstrates that we cannot know all factors in play at all times."
Althea: Then I have to wonder why you are so loathe to consider matters of meaning and story, until it be established that no other possible path to the truth exists. Are scientists of your world so deeply at odds with the religious that they must fight for purity in every respect they can manage? Or is it more reflective of your own struggles?
Althea: Ironically enough, I can think of one main aspect of science on Eberron to face that kind of stark dichotomy: the study of magic.
Althea: And even the arcane/divine divide is not entirely pure.
Edgeworth seems about to answer Althea's question, but is clearly caught by surprise by what she has to say next.
Edgeworth shakes his head. "It's no mere matter of war. It's merely important to value objectivity if the truth is to be learned. Even in court, evidence is more concrete proof than testimony."
Althea crosses her arms. "That really doesn't answer the question."
Edgeworth crosses his arms as well. "I fail to see what needs further clarification."
Althea: There's a big difference between valuing the objective over the subjective, and actively trying to avoid certain types of information...
Edgeworth: Is it not reasonable to avoid that which is unverifiable, or to dismiss that which contradicts the evidence?
Althea: The latter certainly may be reasonable in some circumstances, though it may be wise to carefully examine the nature of the contradiction first... Matters are not always as clear-cut as they may initially appear.
Edgeworth taps his finger on his arm. "I'm well aware of that." I do, after all, take advantage of that in court.
Althea: The former, though, seems potentially foolhardy. It is difficult to ascertain the value of that which one refuses to examine...
Edgeworth glares. "Even if it cannot be examined?"
Althea: I'm not sure what you're getting at...
Edgeworth rubs his forehead with an irritated sigh. "I mean that this entire process has been so mired in subjective impressions that if it weren't for the concrete results I've managed to attain thus far, I would already have dismissed it as mere delusion!"
Althea: That is precisely what I was inquiring on, yes. You're considering the guidance we have to offer only because you're essentially being forced against your will to acknowledge its relevance...
Althea: What if by preemptively dismissing it, you were to miss the opportunity to encounter evidence supporting it?
Edgeworth: What do you hope to accomplish by exploring this hypothetical scenario?
Althea: ...maybe achieving a better understanding of why you approach things the way you do, and how much is or is not representative of your world overall...
Edgeworth: I don't believe I could have denied the physics of this world forever. The differences are far too fundamental and the scope far too extreme for a ruse.
Edgeworth: Even if I'd dismissed Korranberg as some sort of theme park, what then of the world beyond it?
Althea nods. "So you believe the truth will out, in objective form, however thoroughly one might ignore any warnings of uncertain credibility?"
Edgeworth grins. "Precisely so, though it may at times take years for this to occur."
Althea nods. "That answers one of Dil's questions, at the least."
Edgeworth frowns. "That being said, however, I can't claim that I'm comfortable with the level of subjectivity involved in this particular pursuit."
Edgeworth: Even this morning's... event was far from something that would be considered admissable.
Althea: For my own part... sometimes truth shouts and sometimes it whispers. Even if you can count on the former happening eventually, sometimes you wish you'd paid more attention to the latter...
Edgeworth peers skeptically. The question, of course, being whether even that sort of experience can qualify as the truth "shouting".
Edgeworth looks back over at his notes. If it can, then given the pace at which this investigation has progressed, it shouldn't be long before that fact grows apparent.
Edgeworth appears uneasy. Yet if it is true that truth can manifest itself in such a subjective form, what does that mean when it comes to how I proceed from there?
Edgeworth: I cannot simply allow myself to fall back into the habit of assuming myself infallible.
Edgeworth glowers. Whatever else might happen, the Demon Prosecutor must remain dead.