| Evening brings an advertisement. Embossed, delivered to Morag's address even if she's not disclosed so much to Anglesey-bound mentors. The glossy little rectangle advertises the pleasures and tastes of The Standing Order, one of Edinburgh's classier venues for drinks. Certainly the huge bar is enough to attract attention. Fewer people know how to navigate the stairwell into back rooms usually reserved for 'private events.' In other words, meeting of the Thearchs on the Isle of the Mighty.
Evening brings a sparse crowd above, a heavier mass of well-dressed below. Just three here spend their time embroiled in affairs. A quiet conversation happens around a table, the pair hardly touching their drinks. Another sits alone, separate, a stemmed glass dangling from her fingers and a survey directed at a tablet computer in her other hand.
One dresses up for such occasions, and so Morag has managed a bit of sleek sophistication on her simple budget. Rather than lug around a backpack, she carries a sleek clutch in which the small box has been securely wedged. Upon arrival, she surveys the crowd, a little anxious about spotting Niniane. But she wants to transfer the box to the appropriate hands as promptly as possible. It feels like an axe over her head.
Hard to miss among a trio, Niniane lifts the glass to her lips without letting it quite touch. That gesture's refined elegance surpasses youth's blush, the tilt of her heel above the ground making glammed up audience downstairs vulgar in reproach. Another entry is noted without pulling her gaze from the screen emitting a dull glow. The pair continue their unabated conversation in the hushed tones that exude seriousness, not a casual chat about what's happening or idle gossip. Niniane's review of her literature proceeds until otherwise interrupted. Rude? Perhaps.
Morag approaces the trio, hands resting gently on the strap of her messenger back. "Excuse me." she says politely, "I don't mean to interrupt. I have a delivery for Miss Niniane."
Cool eyes draw away from tallies in three columns. A flick of the finger eradicates text and images in a blur behind a serene image on a twilit field. "And you are the courier?" she inquires. Hers is the precise cut of Edinburgh Scots, cultivated to a polite pitch. "A pleasant evening then. Please, do not stand." The pair watch for a moment, then avert their gazes politely.
An Edinburgh girl herself, Morag does her best to try and keep the fine line between respectful and not being spineless. "Yes, ma'am. You know my Aunt Nim? She wanted me to bring an item to you, but if you would forgive my presumption, it might be best presented in private. At your leisure, of course."
Fair brows notch higher and resculpt a fresh expression warmer than the last. Clouds break on the cusp of a smile, the horizon of a touch of warmth. Niniane says, "Certainly. It has been long enough." The end trails off without explanation, but then her legs are uncrossing and she's setting down the glass. "Let's not interrupt them when we have room enough to host a banquet." Smooth warnings are concealed behind glittering etiquette. She need not smooth out her skirt, its fall quite neat, or worry about creases in her silk shell blouse. All is precise and well. Quite effortlessly she proceeds towards one of the side lounges concealed by its own luxurious fabrics and a screen. "And how is your aunt's health?"
Very well, thank you ma'am." Morag says. "She assured me I'd see her at the next gathering at Glastonbury, if not sooner. May I convey your regard?" She takes a seat, but only after Niniane does, unless the lady indicates she should. Setting the messenger bag down, she opens the latches, but doesn't pull the box out yet.
"For the freedom to simply fly south into Somerset to offer them myself. She must not think me lax in returning her messages. Of course you may wish her the very best," Niniane replies, a light tip of her shoulders inching upwards under her tailored jacket. She slips into one of the seats portioned around smaller tables meant for intimate dealings, not the boardroom affair in the main room. "Now as ever, a mini-break for the festivities sounds a luxury. At least with the tourists gone for the season, she must be enjoying well-earned peace." One hand lands over the other in a natural pose, and she watches Morag through open, wide eyes clear as the sky. "But for you to be here is quite the surprise. Just in time for the dreary weather to dampen your spirits?" She doesn't look to the box, not at present.
"I was born here, ma'am." Morag says demurely. "Edinburgh is home to me, even if I've been traveling and studying in these past few years. She's only just released me to stand on my own feet, you see. It seems the fashion though; several who were tied to Anglesey have made their way here."
Niniane gestures to a seat with the slightest inclination of her hand if Morag hasn't taken the chair. "A veritable deluge come to our rocky shores," she says, "drawn to the beacon of Athens alight. Say whatever they will, the Fellows shall be pleased. A fresh crop of students and visitors adds to the intrigues. Have you finally drawn in with a cabal? Your aunt has high hopes, after all."
Morag shakes her head. "I have not yet." she admits. "I've seen so many cabals seem to fall out, I'm trying not to be too quick to bind myself until I know it's right. I do hope I will find the right people, though.'
"Better the flower that blooms once for the season than an unsown seed on the wind." Niniane folds her fingers a little closer. "But you hardly came to hear me speak platitudes to you all day long. Just mind not to let the choice sit too long. It lends the wrong impression in some quarters, and Nimue cares too well for you to permit that to stand, doesn't she?" The smile moves a little higher. "There is no shortage of potential here, for certain. Well that you have come back home, though Anglesey has been good to you?" A question, not a question. "And bearing gifts."
"There is...a lot of expectation for me in Anglesey." she says, and reaches into the bag, carefully withdrawing the box. She sets it down on the table, and gingerly nudges it toward Niniane.
The woman does not hesitate. By extending her arm, she places two fingers down upon the lid and pulls it towards her. The soft friction of unfolding magic is a fever trill down the spine, a misty tickle slightly damp upon the skin. "Ah, stylish as ever. Thank you, my dear." Niniane doesn't even open the package, taking what she will from it. "I will arrange a response in good time, but it shouldn't take you away from your reacquaintance with the city for long. You are keeping busy, yes?"
"Yes, ma'am." Morag says promptly. "Looking for work right now, hoping to get a flat, maybe with one or two of the others from Anglesey. I'm trying not to, well, go back to Mum's."
Niniane purses her lips. "The east side's little improved no matter what the Edinburgh Council insists. Relics of the bad old days when architecture was a forsaken subject among the developers, have no doubt the Dumbiedykes are still filthy with crime and worse." Straightening slightly, she draws the parcel near her. "Work is going to find you by the simple acquaintances you keep. Or what you eat as a matter of habit. What was your breakfast, dear?"
"Eggs and hash, ma'am." she says, looking a bit puzzled by how breakfast has an effect. Hopefully Niniane will enlighten her!
"And the day before?" asks Niniane without a beat missed.
"Porridge." she replies, "With bits of bacon and maple syrup."
Niniane nods. She gives her nails a thoughtful look, straightening a ring turned crooked on her finger. "Quite so. There you have the proof of it, and the reapers ride the whirlwind with you." She does not smile. "Three people have already fallen sick. DEFRA, of course, reports nothing about this. You've likely been poisoned too."
Morag frowns, letting her Will manipulate the Supernal, checking her own internal 'levels', such as they are, for traces of any kind of poison. Beyond the usual fats and grease and the like of traditional Scottish breakfasts.
Poison might be an imprecise word. A peculiar virus on the other hand? Much more appropriate in trace amounts that flitter through the pattern in quantities just barely enough to be noticeable. Barely... but there, a smattering of iron filings in a puddle. More than would be from a helping of mash or a spot of porridge. Niniane's eyes are still and calm as she awaits the magic to pass by, certainly felt. "I believe it well within the Sleeper population if culls are already called. Public concern will turn towards the products perceived responsible for illness, and distrust follows soon in its wake. The veterinary officer says it shouldn't be transmitted between livestock but you can see for yourself that's hardly the case."
She adds, not without some evident compassion, "You would be far from the first to cross this. Give your credentials, I would like you to look into it." See? Work.
Morag murmurs softyly in High Speech under her breath; it takes her a moment to realize with Niniane is asking of her. "I can try." she says. "I don't know much about livestock, but...it seems that proper application of Cleanse will cure it, at least if it's only at trace level. That's worth knowing."
The pressure point of gathering the virus together and ripping out the central heart of it, at least to the point her immune system can disassemble the threat, takes a push. It's hard to know whether the Supernal energy folded and knotted into a neat pattern will succeed at first, since the symptoms are not present at visible levels, but the first spell may reveal fading blotches where the toxins were to Morag.
Niniane picks up her package and stands. "I worry less about livestock and how it came to affect humans. The Royal Infirmary has them, in Liberton, not in quarantine. A good opportunity to find out whether there is something underneath the unfortunate events or we have wandered into an unhappy coincidence. I do look forward to hearing of your findings. Best." And with that, she nods and turns for the outer rooms.