Phoenix Later Phoenix is making a trip to the paperweavers herself, on an appiontment with Iallu and one of the 'handmaidens', Mosese. They congregate in the drying hall, where huge sheets of paper with patterns inlaid in their very fibers hang from the ceiling, rustling softly in the fan-driven air. In sort of a private joke, she is dressed in close-fitting black clothes and a hood that exposes only her eyes and nose.
Iallu A few minutes pass before Phoenix's intended meeting partner arrives. Iallu has clearly taken the effort to go out in public, cloaking herself in the visage of a handsome (if slightly unkempt) woman of slightly above young age and clothing herself in an outfit that is quite striking, but unfortunately also about 500 years late from being highly fashionable.
Phoenix embraces Iallu by way of greeting. "It's good to see you again. How are you?"
Iallu "Oh, I'm fine." She dusts herself off for no visible reason -- one might gather she finds the whole "human form" thing a little disconcerting. "Everyone who's pissed at me is stuck in Heaven and I'm running around free down here, so things are just peachy."
Phoenix "If only we all had such luxuries... but to business. Mo and I asked you to meet with us regarding the...ahem...diplomatic fellowship. Also I have some wine-glazed pheasant for Nibbles...somewhere in here..." She rifles through an extremely large wicker basket.
Iallu "Oooh, he'll love that." She smiles in a way that shows how attached she has become to the tiger. "Yes, the diplomatic fellowship. Yes."
Phoenix "I have caused to be constructed a studio-temple per your specifications among the flowered hills of the Karala... it only remains that we assemble a teaching staff and discuss our curriculum."
Phoenix "Oh, my manners. Mosese, this is Iallu; you know the rest. Iallu, this is my most trusted handmaiden and secretary, Mosese, who will be the de jure headmistress of the school, for I think it prudent at least at the moment that you remain...a private investor in this enterprise."
Iallu nods, slowly. "Hello there," she says, to which Mosese nods politely.
Iallu "Good, the temple should be more than satisfactory. So... tell me what you have been thinking."
Phoenix "That's a ...broad topic."
Iallu "Well, this was all your idea, right? I'm sure you have some sort of elaborate conception of what this curriculum should look like."
Phoenix "Ooooh. I thought you were asking the question in a ...grander sense." She pulls a strange glass rod out of her sleeve and applies it to one of the hanging papers. It appears to be a pen. Ink flows from its tip, describing several interlinked rings.
Iallu looks on with interest.
Phoenix "The curriculum will teach several interrelated disciplines. The outermost skill, to be taught to any that apply, is the art of charm, that is, to smile earnestly, to be a pleasing and witty conversational partner, to keep up with fashion and dress accordingly while minimising the expense of constant wardrobe update, etc."
Iallu picks at the collar of her outfit absentmindedly and nods. "Mmhmmm..."
Phoenix "The inner skills are to be offered to those who are selected, or those who select themselves by noticing that they are going on. Of these are the arts of dissembling, stealth, sleight-of-hand, ciphering, impersonation, cat-burglary, alchemy, the rudiments of magic, and close-quarters self-defence."
Phoenix "Also included are information-gathering of various kinds, i.e. lip-reading, close interpretation of speech and expression, the art of inducement and confidence..."
Iallu claps her hands together with eagerness. "Now that is more exciting. We absolutely must start gathering a faculty immediately."
Phoenix writes several names on the paper. "I have located masters of certain topics, in the matters of the physical and linguistic disciplines. Mo will handle the charm faculty and I believe you were interested in teaching cat-burglary and alchemy yourself, and Iallu, I leave the information-gathering department to you."
Iallu preens a little. "That sounds most excellent. I have already begun to cross-reference every text on the topic ever written. Especially the ones never published."
Phoenix "You are a treasure. I hope to begin classes with the new moon; will you have preparations made by then? The inaugural class will be hand-picked by myself and staff, of course."
Iallu "Absolutely. I, uh..." she looks back and forth for a second. "...don't really have anything ELSE to do, you know...."
Phoenix "I might have something."
Phoenix "You might have noticed that the borders of Creation have expanded slightly."
Iallu stares at Phoenix. "Yes. I might have!"
Phoenix "I'm curious as to whether anything interesting has emerged...tombs of our forefathers, forgotten archives, cabals...
Phoenix "If your ahem busy schedule allows ahem then maybe we can undertake an...expedition."
Phoenix "There are certain landmarks that have caught my attention..."
Phoenix As an afterthought, Phoenix flicks the paper sheet sharply with the other end of the pen. The ink flakes off instantly and falls to the ground in illegible fragments.
Iallu "Hmmmm, an expedition you say." She thinks about it for a while. "I've never been much of a God for fieldwork in the past, but... maybe it would be a good idea to mix it up every thousand years or so...."
Phoenix claps her hands delightedly. "Oh good, I was hoping you'd say that. I have all kinds of fun stuff for us to do..."
Iallu "Where do you want to go first....?"
Phoenix "I thought we might start at the Thousand-Forged Hatchery, or the Scar."
Iallu "Sounds good. I'll get my things together." She pauses. "Thats what you humans say, right? I don't really have any things."
Phoenix giggles. "I'll add 'acting like a human' to the curriculum."