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I was at the table that night, Winter Onset, 2897. Saint Urquart’s Feast Day. 
How like an Asilid [you are] remarked my neighbour to me – scraping her chair, noting perhaps with envy my perky cap and substantial handy hochs (=knees & elbows). If there seems little point in committing to paper what is already widely known, then – Reader -, pray put down this book. 
Instead, do abandon your fellows and go to the rooftops and there celebrate like the blackbird. Pass whole evenings singing your own idle song. While your children, the ink-addled finch & the Tivetica sparrow, a prey to Himavant-ish winds, work for their thistle in the street below. 
Our refectory, Aberrative Hall, held a combined Rua Kenana H Hangi and Read-a-thon every Saturday night. Widely publicised in the Iraklion Almanac and Eventyr Archives Calendar it was held in the kitchen and many came from afar. For this reason the kitchen boasted the most secure door - of solid heartsease. And a lock as impenetrable as Plum’s old heart. And of course we were safe by our location in the Barrens. 
Known as “Caddis Hall in the Barrens”, we sizzled & scorched our way through high-end Zoraps Examinations. Scripted for princesses from the Barrens – hence the truculence of my neighbour at the kitchen table. She was an invigilator of some vintage.
Around the table therefore that night were several Royal graduands from the higher echelons, their cheroots aflame.  And smoke which may have given offence to some only gave licence to Catullus. Possibly drunk - she burnt the cakes, the biscuits – even the toast. 
Thick drifts of smoke incentivised the lock’s tremulous springs – and flooding whole Hall from Trout to Whistle with shrill alarm - and allure; thus responding the guests all came running; but few were admitted. In fact, just one. 
I would like to say more about many. But this is a story for which kings would give, and did give, whole hives of honey. And you would know this without my having to say so – had you but travelled in the Pallakkad - as have I.  
Reaping the lush clover from the Hadrar Puig, relieving bent canes of the weight of berry in Serendip, treading among the burnt beets of Gehenna, - and checking through the ashes of the Sirippuddy. I am the first to break that soil. 
Deserving of derision (‘Asilid’ I may be) – thanks to self-imposed joy; but let us see in the next chapter the unanimous recognition that enabled the uplift.

First Chapter: Work
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