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Tr. Leland: "Fellow councilmembers, we've already spent twenty sovereigns to buy her at the auction. I'm not condemning Tracer Merrion for having done such a thing - if we let some brothel owner outbid us, that would have caused great harm to our reputation. But now that we've made our investment, let's not see it go to waste."

Tr. Jacques: "Go to waste? What good is she? She's no 'treasure'; she has no money and has never traced a sigil in her life! Then the idiot girl gets those two sigils branded onto her forehead and she becomes our responsibility?"

Tr. Leland: "To the contrary, Jacques, she knew exactly what she was doing. Tell me, if you were born a peasant girl four thousand miles from the University, and you wanted to study magic, how would you have made it here? Would you have thought to brand yourself with the sigil for 'treasure' and the sigil of this University? Would you have braved that searing pain, submitted yourself to light knows how many years of rape and slavery, just to come here? Would you have known, as she had, that she would be traded from slaver to slaver, that they would, in seeking profit, always sell her closer to the University than where they'd bought her? Do you have any idea what resolve it must have taken for her to trust her life and freedom that that brand would eventually bring her to our doorsteps, like a compass unerringly pointed north? Her wisdom and dedication are a match for any of us here."

Tr. Merrion: "And that's why she belongs here. Besides, now everyone knows that this so-called 'treasure of the university' is with us now. If, several years from now, people ask us 'so what have you done with your treasure', and we say, 'we spent all that money but turns out she wasn't a treasure after all', we shall certainly lose face. So we don't really have a choice here. And that, I think, was part of her plan too."

-- internal transcript,

Council of Mages deliberations dated 23rd Leavings

-- by Yunzhong Hou

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