The following excerpt comes from a paper submitted by bureaucrat Samsen Meridicus to the 113th Symposium of the Mezzanine Club, an event run by one of the earliest Imperial salons and advocacy organisations to debate matters relating to the future of the empire.

Mr. Meridicus, a gentleman with an extensive personal interest in alchemical and thaumaturgical matters despite his lack of training in the disciplines, is known as a sober and respectable scholar, and as such his wilder claims were given more credence than they would otherwise. However, for undisclosed reasons, Mr. Meridicus withdrew his paper from consideration the very next day after submitting it. Furthermore, the one extant copy of the submitted paper was lost in the shuffle at the Dreary and Sons print shop.

Such suspicious events are far from abnormal in the Trade, of course. That this paper was censored is not proof of its veracity, especially when its claims are nakedly heretical; it may be that the Mezzanine Club simply wished to avoid a religious controversy. Nevertheless, we at the Perpendicular Press cannot help but be intrigued by its claims. And as luck would have it, a copy of Mr. Meridicus’s paper has made its way into our hands.

So read on, and judge Mr. Meridicus’s claims for yourself. For was it not said, “let us read, and let us dance; these two amusements will never do any harm to the world”?

… Now, the testimony of Defendant ‘HC’ has generally been dismissed, the desperate ranting of a torture subject who would make any promise to make the pain stop. And yet, if you pursue the matter, a certain pattern does indeed come to light. To the extent I can verify, the murders, thefts and vandalism she attributes to agents of ‘Titania’ and ‘Oberon’ are all genuine, and many would be hard to discover. Furthermore, the stout soldiers of the Empire who assisted in her capture are unanimous that she displayed thaumaturgical powers, despite no evidence whatsoever emerging that she is trained in the Art.

Such claims nevertheless remain hard to swallow. After all, the Sacred Geometries make clear that the world is naught but earth and sky; there is simply no room for other worlds to exist. And yet, for learned souls such as we, a little flexibility in interpretation may be warranted. Even if this investigation is merely a flight of fancy, or a metaphorical description for a mundane conflict between merely terrestrial forces, such a roundabout route may cast an unexpected light on the truth.

For this reason, I undertook to search the Northbank Archive for any further mention of ‘Oberon’, ‘Titania’ - as well as the other individuals claimed to be associated with them, such as ‘Puck’, ‘Peasebottom’ and ‘Mustardseed’. To my surprise, my research bore fruit. These names do not recur frequently, but that is, as I will show, actually all the more curious. Crimes similar to those of ‘HC’, by individuals who claim to be motivated by one of these entities, have been attested over a timespan that represents not mere decades, but all the way back to the the first years after the beginning of the Record of Criminal Affairs.

Yet in each case, little seems to have been made of them. Perhaps these incidents are simply too infrequent for the link to be discovered. Or perhaps, I dare to speculate, some force within the Imperial Judiciary has a vested interest in ensuring the unifying factor is not detected.

At this point, you may imagine that my interest was piqued, to say the least. Whether a being from another world or the assumed name of some clandestine organisation, ‘Oberon’ and ‘Titania’ seem to have worked tirelessly to shape our empire from the very dawn of the Geometric Era.

Which naturally leads to the question: perhaps even before?

After the Geometrists’ Sacred Revolution, it is a sad fact that most records from the Ancien Regime were destroyed. I could not comb judicial records as I had before. And yet, a number of diplomatic papers survive, notarised and copied during the Ecumenical Accords, during which the diplomatic obligations of the nascent Empire were determined.

And here, in a dusty archive, written by forgotten people in an archaic tongue, I found something astonishing: a peace treaty and set of economical agreements with the Kingdom of Oberon.

No such kingdom is known in recorded history; unfortunately the treaty did not give any indication of where this Oberon’s kingdom should be located, geographically. Yet the terms of the deal were intriguing. The trade deal involved nothing so everyday as grain or copper, but rather involved of receipt of a certain quantity of ‘draíocht’ in exchange for a far larger quantity of ‘aisling’; we can translate this as witchcraft (i.e. pre-thaumaturgical magic) for dreams.

An unlikely trade, with an unlikely partner. Does this continue into the present? Remarkably, it seems that a representative of this Oberon attended the Ecumenical Accords, for the agreement has been filed as a renewed commitment of our own Empire. Is our Empire involved in some sort of clandestine trade monopolised by the Imperial House, a trade that passes unknown to the Exchequer?

If so, I believe that - whatever the circumstances dictating the secrecy in the past era - it is imperative that the truth of the matter with this ‘Oberon’ be made clear, at least among learned individuals not like to panic. After all, we are of like understanding that many aspects of the Parallelogram’s teachings are best understood as metaphors, without negating their indisputable truth; why might the same not be true of the existence of other worlds? Surely it would benefit the Empire that our extraterrestial allies - if allies they remain! - be a known quantity.

(To be continued.)