The Hidden Poem of Patron Plinkerton

Fighting through his ennui, Edmund stared at Plinkerton’s journal where it lay, half open, on the floor. What did Plinkerton say he had done to her? He had put his words in her? Edmund flipped to the entry and read it for a fourth time. Yes, that’s what he had said; he had stolen into the library and put words in her. And somehow these words would save the Family?

When Edmund had first read those words, he had simply assumed that he had spoken to Tayatra and given her wisdom that would help future Heirs become good Patrons and Matrons. He had thought that fixing Tayatra had been enough.

Now, he wasn’t so sure. She had looked like a statue possessed, speaking words that didn’t sound like her own. Perhaps those words were the key to saving the Family.

Well, Edmund thought, then he needed to get those words out.

How?

Logically, Plinkerton had no idea who would find his words, so it probably didn’t involve dismantling Tayatra, or anything complex that might require education. At the same time, it also wouldn’t be something common that could be done or said in her presence by anyone and reveal the secret to the wrong person.

Edmund flipped to the last page of his notebook, gripping a pen in his fingers. Tayatra was designed to read, so the key must be something written. She had started to speak when she thought she read the word Cavalcadium, and then stopped part way though. If it was reading one word with sloppy handwriting that broke her, perhaps the complete phrase written cleanly would start her again.

As carefully and slowly as he could with his heart racing, he wrote out the words ‘Cavalcadium’ in big block letters–easy to read. He looked at it, and after a moment he added ‘of Fortune’ right after it. When he was finished, he placed the book on the desk next to Tayatra’s head. Tracing the net of string with his eyes to the back wall, he grabbed a single string and pulled down as hard as he could.

It was easier than he had feared, after trying to move Tayatra on his own and finding her so heavy. The pulleys squeaked gently as he pulled, and Tayatra’s torso lifted slowly until she was sitting straight up, her arms and head dangling heavily in the web of string. Reaching with his free hand, he nudged the book in front of Tayatra, and slowly lowered her torso again, bringing her head over the words he had written.

For a moment, nothing happened. Then, Tayatra’s voice, low and steady, echoed around the alcove like an angel’s message.

“Brought forth from the glory,
Hidden under the foundation,
Your Cavalcadium of Fortune lies.
The Key is writ in golden leaf,
From the mouth of memory,
Walk the winding path.
Beneath an unkindly hour,
The time my child first cried,
When lightning fills the sky,
Reveals the back way to history.
The wise shall see their reward,
The Cavalcadium of Fortune is thine.
Reap thy just reward.”

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