“Oh yes, he was the economics expert there. I was assigned to him when he was elected to the Copuncil, and stayed, of course, when he was appointed Minister of Finances nine years later.”
Rael poured more scotch. Sipped her own.
“Those were the good years. Haggy and I started The Book. She, of course, did most of the writing. I researched, fact checked, and copy edited. Found or made the charts and graphs she needed. And photographs.”
Wiped more tears. “After she died, I finished the last bits of The Book, and got it published.”
“Were you still living near the University?” Rael studied Jues’ body-language. Trying to control it, suppress it. Not faking it.
“I loved that house! Aggie still lives there. They thought about selling it after their father died, but in the end they kept it.”
“Oh! You must have missed them when you were recalled!” Oh, that got her!
“Ha!” Sniffle. “I quit so the boys could stay there and finish high school. Well, it was just a year until Aggy graduated, and two for Illa. They both went to Daiki, you know, so I kept house for them. Between Igly’s life insurance, investment and the royalties from The Book, it worked well enough.”
“It seems like half the Faculty of NYU attended Daiki. Did you know many of them?”
“Oh, yes, Igly and Ejti were good friends. We had him over regularly, and Adse and Eshy as well, when we needed to balance a table. Rather nice young men. Very impressed with Haggy’s book, always telling her she really ought to publish it. In fact, it was Adse who introduced me to Dr. Aqti, the publisher, you know. Aquitain Press. The Book made that company the powerhouse they are today.”
Ejti, Adse and Eshy. All three of them in it from the very start.
And then-Professor Igly was elected to the Council in 1330? So Jues knew Ejti for years before the first field trip to Granite Peak, and possibly those grad students before as well.
“And then they all left for New York, and the New Directorate School.”
Jues gave a generous wave. “Not all at once. Ejti was over there already, and got promoted when the head of Sociology moved to the Directorate School. Then the younger ones followed him.”
She shook her head and had to grab the counter to avoid falling off the stool. “I still can’t believe Adse left Sociology and turned to studying magic!” She lowered her voice. “He’s not very good at it, you know! And Eshy! I barely recognized him the first time he came to dinner after that field trip. The worst beard ever, and he was so proud of it!”
Rael grabbed, as the woman tipped . . .
“Woops! I think I may have had a little too much to drink, you, you, Bad Girl, you! Spilled my guts, didn’t I?”
“Just your grief. I hadn’t realized you were so close to Madam Haig. But I think I’d better get you home. Where do you live?”
“Oh, just right off campus, no trouble. I can get there on my own.”
Rael propped her up and steered her across campus and into the nice neighborhood to the east. To a large house, and handed her over to a live-in maid. Still protesting that she wasn’t that drunk.
Pretty posh house for an unmarried woman on a professor’s salary. I think I’m looking at royalties from that book. Or perhaps an agent’s cut? Sixty-seven years after it was first published, it’s still selling.
“Well. That was interesting.” Xen’s voice out of thin air.
“Indeed. I hope I don’t have to write a counter argument ‘The Magical Child’ book. Because that’s where it’s starting. A generation of unprepared power assumption by teenagers who needed to be suppressed until they had control, turning into standard suppression of magic right up to about the second year of college, when they finally get some training.”
Xen faded into sight as they crossed the street and walked into the campus. “Possibly encouraged and enabled by some Purple agents who substituted themselves for the legitimate researchers on Granite Peak.”
“Have you been reading my notes?”
“I’m a spy, remember?”
She sighed. “Usually.”
Back to her notes.
Eshy grew a beard in the field. Cover for plastic surgery? Or did they find someone close enough to the original Eshy that they just needed a distraction for a year or so until age would explain away everything?
Then there was Adse and Ejti.
Could I have missed a third man? Except Ejti had long term friends. And Adse looks just like his family.