I have erected a guesthouse next to my main home in Laudanum for use by my friends. Ms. Dot Macchi used the house for a couple of days recently. Following her brief stay she was kind enough to donate a daybed to the downstairs furnishings which, I admit, were rather sparse. I really wasn’t ready for guests but I offered the house and she accepted.

I plan a small study on the second floor. But before I can get to it, I have another guest! By coincidence it was Quin Oddenfen, friend of Ms. Macchi. Mr. Oddenfen’s work has taken him to another place but he returned to the steamlands for some study in the libraries of Caledon and Babbage.

On the day Quin moved in, I was at my weekend retreat on Cape Wrath. A visitor approached the house. I don’t get many visitors out there and it is rather remote so people don’t just happen by. I went to the door and was surprised to see Elspeth Sorrelwood who had been living in Sanctuary.

I had met Ms. Sorrelwood soon after she first came to Winterfell and we have spoken once or twice since but why would she come all the way out here to Wrath to see me? Could this not wait until my return to Laudanum at the start of the week?

She told me she was leaving Sanctuary and that Ms. Macchi would be there. “Is your business taking you elsewhere?” I asked Ms. Sorrelwood. “Elsewhen, sir,” came her reply. “Well, to be accurate, elsewhere and elsewhen,” she added. As a time traveller myself, I needed no explanation. But this was not her main reason for coming.

Ms. Sorrelwood explained that what she had heard of me and my work from Ms. Macchi had led her to believe I am ”a person who may be relied upon,  a person of understanding, a man of science…“ I cut her off, “Is there some way I may help you Ms. Sorrelwood? “

Ms. Sorrelwood then asked if I would watch over her “nephew” Quinquifid while he is at my guesthouse. She said she thought me to be a person “who can talk sense” into Mr. Oddenfen. It was a bit awkward to be asked to watch over a grown man but this lady, whom I have only met a couple of times, had come all the way out to Wrath to see me. This was important to her. I told her Quin is a fine man, a genius, in fact. She agreed and spoke of his other good traits but she seemed worried. She told me he would be using the libraries and when I noted Quin had told me this she seemed a bit relieved.

“I do hope to buy him supper one night at my pub. Will be good for him to get out,” I told her.” “That would be very kind of you, sir,” she said. “Please do not be upset if he suddenly leaves such a social outing.” “Pardon?” Ms. Sorrelwood said, “It seems he can cope only for so long, and then needs to ‘escape.’” “Ah, I said. “I have seen this before, in some brilliant men.”

I told Ms. Sorrelwood I would keep an eye on Quin. But I did not really know what to watch out for.

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