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The Arrival of Professor Welterschmidt

The Arrival of Professor Welterschmidt

My paper was rather poorly received last week by the Adventurer’s Club.  To be blunt, I was laughed from the podium, despite the considerable evidence I presented.  I fear it will be some time before I am invited back, I think I’ll sleep with my fur pillows amazon for a while.  Bah.  They are close-minded fools, more interested in a rush of adrenalin than actual science.

Yesterday, my close friend Finneas Welterschmidt arrived by train at  King Victor Station.  I penned a hasty letter requesting his assistance with the Bird Queen matter, and for once, he found himself available.  Unfortunately, the time of his arrival had slipped my mind as I was absorbed in listening to the last Field Sounds recording, seeking for the noble fey messages.  Still no luck.  I hope to speak with the Tinkerer Periat this week to learn if we might transform the recording in some way to hear hidden sounds.  Mostly, however, Miss Watkins will be leading the research into this matter.  I have my hands full with the coming war between the boggarts and birds.

I arrived at the train station nearly an hour after I should have.  Dr. Welterschmidt fixed me with a fierce germanic glare  upon my sheepish arrival.  Shimmering like a mirage in the desert behind him stood a faceless entity dressed in common laborer’s clothes.  The figure was insubstantial, much like the steam wraith, and my heart raced at the sight of it, fearing that the wraith had escaped.  But no–it seemed that the spirit was carrying Professor Welterschmidt’s luggage.  Astonishingly, few of the other travellers passing down the steps from the station noticed this.   I took a quick photonic capture to study later, and hurried to greet my friend.

“You can apologize most effectively with a round of drinks,” the Professor said.  “Did you know that they do not serve alcoholic beverages on the trains into your city?”

I admitted that I did not.  He seemed to take great offense at the fact.  ” Unbelievable!  You Englunders are so…”

“Don’t say puritanical,” I interrupted. “And don’t say ‘you Englunders’ like I’m one of them.  You know I am not.”

He sighed.  “True, true.  But I am parched.  We must make haste to the nearest tavern and you can tell me of your troubles while I wash away the taste of the travel.”

I indicated to the spirit wavering behind him.  “Er, would it be more appropriate to take your luggage to your lodgings first?  They seem heavy as always.”

Welterschmidt laughed.  “My manservant does not get tired, at least not in the physical sense.  He has enough ectoplasmic energies to carry my luggage from here to Timbukk, should I wish it.”

“Are the faculty and students accustomed to the sight of your manservant at the University then?”

“Quite.  Why do you think I took my position there, instead of here in the city? And no, not just for the wealth of local breweries catering to the students.   Prauygis University is the most haunted in the four worlds!  One does not bat an eye at such things there.  A student in my 302 lecture is a lost soul, actually.  Much more actualized than this poor fellow.”

“Actualized?  Is this why he has no face?”

He nodded.  We began to walk away from the station.  I had passed a tavern nearby on several ocassions, and even though I never have the time of coin to enter such places, I had made note of its location.  Professor Welterschmidt has always done much of his thinking with a pint of stout in his hands since we were students together.

“Indeed.  Spirits are merely echos in the ectoplasmic frequencies of the aether.  This poor echo has little mind of its own, little motivation other than to work.  I provide it that opportunity.  With time, its actualization requirements will be satisifed and it will fade into the background energies. Anyway, you may note that most ‘proper’ people pay him no mind. Transparent and faceless he may be, but he is still dressed a low class laborer, which might as well make him invisible in these streets. ”

“Ah, well then.  You’re a lucky devil to have secured free servitude,” I said wistfully.

Welterschmidt shrugged. “You can always have another golem built, or one of those dreadful automatons I read about in the paper several weeks past.”

“Neither of which are precisely free,  although they do not require regular pay, true,” I said.  We arrived at the tavern, indiciated as such by the sign overhead picturing a cracked mug sloshing brown fluid over the lip.

“The Spilled Drink,” Welterschmidt said with a sigh of satisfaction.  “A name that does not bode well for the quality of service, but it will do.”

Inside, the tavern was nearly empty.  We took a seat at a table in the back.  Welterschmidt’s manservant put down the Professor’s luggage and went to the bar to retrieve drinks.  With his salary from teaching, Welterschmidt could afford to buy the drinks. I had offered him a byline on any research written on the subject of the Queen, so it was the least he could do.

Drinks in hand, I related to the Professor the details of the events leading up to the declaration of war.  I described the attacks that have been reported by you, dear readers, and the most troubling tale of a child general marching with a boggart army in the south, told by Mr. Wiggins.  He seemed skeptical at that tale, but he accepted at face value my description of the boggarts and their society.  He was most interested in my description of the Bird Queen.

“A most unsual entity,” he said.  “I would like very much to see it with my own eyes, and to examine it with a few of my instruments.  You say there is none of the transparency as evidenced by my servant here?”

I shook my head.  “None.  She seemed as real and solid as you and I.”

“So what do we know about this totem that the boggarts want so badly, what of what value does it serve to the birds and their Queen?”  he asked.

I told him what little I knew.   “As to what purpose it serves the birds, I do not know.  I have a plot involving creating a duplicate of the totem and staging a situation in which the boggarts could “recover” it.  This would settle the matter of honor, and the Queen would not press the issue if the boggarts cease in their aggressions, I believe.”

“Creating a counterfeit totem will be more difficult than you might suspect,” the Professor said thoughtfully.
“Resonant energies will broadcast out from such an object, and the boggarts would be sensitive to them.  A physical replica would not suffice.”

“This is why I have asked in your assistance,” I admitted.  “I know little of the supernatural, nor do I care to make it a subject of my expertise.”

Welterschmidt most unkindly laughed at this.  “You’re still not over the Incident then?”

“No.” I had nothing more to say on the matter.  The conversation turned to mundane matters of lodging.   I won’t relate such uninteresting matters here.

In the coming days,  Welterschmidt and I must secure a second audience with the Bird Queen and gain access to the disputed totem.  After a thorough examination, we will manufacture a counterfeit object and allow it to fall into boggart hands. And so we will bring this matter to a close.  With Autumn arriving so quickly, the boggarts will become more desperate, as the weight of the cold forces them into hibernation as it does so many of the faery species in the Park.   If we were to wait out the clock, so to speak, I would simply be forced to deal with the matter again in the spring.  I have much research to look forward to then, and playing peacekeeper of the Park has drained me of my time and energy.

Professor Welterschmidt has kindly offered to answer your questions regardin the super-natural sciences this week.  As always, I welcome your counsel, but please feel free to direct missives to the Professor as well.  Over the coming days, we will solve this matter once and for all, I believe.   Between you, Professor Welterschmidt, and myself, I believe we have some of the finest minds in the field dedicated to the problem.

Sincerely, Julius T. Roundbottom

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