LIAB Epilogue 14:1

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Parson walks along the upper level of the Temple of the Thinkamancers' lobby, heading towards a half-stair to the main floor. Maggie and Isaac are watching him approach. The Thinkamancer sitting in the bean-bag chair also turns to look. A thinkamancer with a pipe, suit, horn-rimmed glasses and a fifties haircut looks at the floor; a thinkamancer in a tank-top and hair rollers looks at the ceiling.


Only about half of the Thinkamancers physically looked at Parson as he entered the Temple. Isaac, at least, got out of his recliner and stood up to greet him.

He'd been warned not to speak in here. Maggie said to think at the group, like entering words into his eyebook.

"So, uh," he subvocalized, hearing the "uh" go out over some kind of telepathic channel in his mind, "Maggie says this is the one place in the world where Charlie can't snoop?"

"That's correct, Chief Warlord," answered Isaac. A vague facial impression of the caster, almost like a chat icon, formed in Parson's mind, and the sound of his thoughts actually reverberated in his head like a cheap sound effect. Parson found that funny for some reason. "The columns, roof and floor make this space opaque to any form of Thinkamancy we know of."

"Well, you guys know your business," Parson think-sent, as he proceeded around the Temple perimeter toward the little half-flight of stairs. He figured he'd better start with the elephant in the room. "But I was thinking. Let's assume that's true, okay? This place is telepathically impregnable.

"If I'm a smart and tricky...and rich...and powerful Carnymancer like Charlie, and there's one blind spot in the world where I can't use my magic Eye of Sauron to see, I'm gonna put a really high strategic priority on finding out what's going on in there."

Parson descended to the level of the couches and recliners, approaching Maggie and Isaac.

"Which means having somebody on the inside. One of you, reporting in."

Parson could hear something like clicking in his mind, little cutoff syllables of words. A switchboard? Some of the Thinkamancers who'd been standing up went over to their furniture and sat. One, a woman in what looked like hair rollers, looked up at the ceiling and closed her eyes. Her mouth hung open.

Parson walked up to Maggie, who held up a hand to him. He waited.

"[Clarification request] Carnymancer?" sent Roger Victor Clarence.

Parson's eyes went wide. The message he'd heard was a form of Thinkamancy that he hadn't run into before. It was like...multimedia thought. Weirder, even. What he received wasn't entirely sensory.

For one thing, he didn't actually hear the words 'clarification request.' Instead there was something like an emotional inflection to it. The feel of curiosity was on the single word of the transmission.

For another, he had never been introduced to Roger by name, but that name and identification was clearly a part of the message. It came into his head as factual knowledge, conveyed without actual teaching. That seemed like a useful trick.

Parson smiled, glancing around the enormous room. "Yeah, I just found that out. That's news to you all, too, then?"

More switchboard thoughts. Isaac raised an eyebrow. "If true, it settles a long debate."