Documents of Tabat: Ducal Correspondance

What are the documents of Tabat? In an early version of the book, I had a number of interstitial pieces, each a document produced by the city: playbills, advertisements, guide book entries. They had to be cut but I kept them for this purpose. I'll release them at the end of April in e-book form; careful readers will find clues to some aspects of Beasts of Tabat in them. -Cat

What are the documents of Tabat? In an early version of the book, I had a number of interstitial pieces, each a document produced by the city: playbills, advertisements, guide book entries. They had to be cut but I kept them for this purpose. I hope you enjoy this most recent installment. -Cat

Addressed to Alberic, 23rd Duke of Tabat, Commander of its Navies and Armies, and Peace-Keeper in the fourth month of winter of Year 299 of Tabat’s Rule

We trust that this letter finds His Grace well. Because we are so keenly aware of the interest the Duke finds in our works, we have set aside a costly resource in the form of a skilled scribe, in order to furnish the daily reports His Grace requires, although the number of them may be better reduced to fit within our budget.

“Translation: give us more money and fewer demands,” Alberic, 10th Duke of Tabat snorted.

Our foremost researcher, Master Mage Faustino, has prepared quarters for the Manticore we spoke of. In this endeavor, he is assisted by the College’s own Sphinx, who has taken the Manticore under her figurative wing, and who evidences great interest in each and every proceeding having to do with her newly found friend.

“Gibbledy gibbledy gibbledy. They can never get straight to the point.”

Theories regarding the wellspring of the Manticore’s unwonted aptitude differ. Some credit the raising by the Beast Trainer (who is unfortunately no longer available, having perished in a recent training accident, and say that he perhaps bathed the egg in the light of certain salubrious stars, or introduced fluids designed to increase its intelligence while it was still an embryo, via the mechanism of a slender needle inserted through into the shell, such as Master Mage Faustino has recently attempted, perhaps with better results sealing the gap than he has experienced.

Still others credit the breeding, saying this is no true Manticore, but rather one adulterated with the blood of a more intelligent creature or a sport, such as Nature gifts us with from time to time. They propose various ways to investigate his parentage, whether through costly time mirrors or expensive rituals allowing the ghosts of his forebears to be questioned. Of course, we are extremely lucky here at the College of Mages of being the only establishment capable.

“Would it were not so! If they had rivals, I’d patronize them at ten times the cost just to be rid of these sniveling, timorous, mealy-mouthed and never certain, doddering old fools!”

Mage Rehallow (“That conservative old fart!”) continues to worry that its combination of mental faculties, magical potential, and brute force represent the vanguard of a new race of intelligent magical creatures that will undertake the overthrow of Humanity. (“The man’s been rowing that leaky rowboat of an idea since before I was born! At one point, he thought earth elementals were undermining the city and funding a revolution with plundered gems!”)

As always, (“There they go again!”) we have checked the signs and portents, using what we have learned of reading the future (“Reading my peach-colored rear!”) in order to reassure his Grace of the future happiness of his realm. (“Oh, this should be good.”) However, portents are cloudy and ominous at this time — events are in such turmoil that nothing can be predicted with accuracy. (“For once they’re right.”)

We urge his Grace to pay attention to ensuring that he and his surroundings are magically cleansed each hour (“More incense and muttering.”), that he adheres to the purifying diet prescribed by Magus Rehallow, (“Old fool!)” in order to avoid repetition of last week’s distressing events, and that each night where he lies down to take his repose, he focuses on the patterns, or mandalas, we have furnished or else take three drop of our prescribed elixir in a small glass of tepid — not hot! — milk.

On a final, lighter note, your Grace may recall the Fairy Champion Quickblade, who defended the Duke’s Honor in the last Spring Wars. He requests a boon of you, that you endow the College with a fund to ensure the hive is always supplied with sugar.

Master Mage Faustino, Diligent Scholar of the Fence of Illumination

“Feces of Illumination, them and their mysterious names! What’s the next letter then? Indeed? That one next, then.”

***

To Master Mage Faustino, Diligent Scholar of the Fence of Illumination

His Grace bids me tell you that under no accounts must any experiments be undertaken that in any way jeopardize the Manticore –- if this slows down the investigatory efforts, then so be it.

As to the matter of the bill for the feed for the creature, it is His Grace’s understanding that the Circus known as the Moon’s Accomplice should be paying for that creature – it is an expense that they were already due to incur, and they are being paid well for the loss of their creature’s time, as well as being housed in prime territory within the Inner Walls of Tabat and allow to take in monies from the crowds there. Accordingly the Duke wishes to decline responsibility for this bill, but remains ready to pay the bills for the circus already agreed upon.

It is his understanding that the profits from the ship Saffron Bloom are to be split and that the ship is due to harbor soon. Is there any word of its arrival?

As to the Fairy, have it drowned in honey and sent to the Ducal Table for enjoyment. His Grace has had enough of insolent Beasts.

Scribe Hasten, for Alberic, 10th Duke of Tabat, Commander of its Navies and Armies, and Peace Keeper for the General Good

#sfwapro

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About Cat Rambo

I am a science fiction and fantasy writer and editor. My three collections of short stories are THE SURGEON'S TALE AND OTHER STORIES (with Jeff VanderMeer), EYES LIKE SKY AND COAL AND MOONLIGHT, and NEAR + FAR (forthcoming this September).
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