Rigolph: Maxima, nice to see you. What's with the tophat? Max: I'm going to go and get mother later. She wants to see the new library. You know she insists on dresses. Rigolph: I'm afraid I don't quite understand... Max: If I need to wear a dress, I'm choosing the hat. Rigolph: Well, I guess that's fair, but Mirabella won't be happy. Max: I'm not happy in this dress, so it's a compromise. Rigolph: It looks nice, though. The dress, I mean. Come in, so we can talk.
Max: This place looks the same as always. Rigolph: I don't like changes. - You know, we didn't really have time to talk at the funeral. Max: Yeah, that was a bit chaotic. It's so heart-warming how many people suddenly get all appreciative and respectful once the pain in the ass is dead. Rigolph: I wouldn't put it quite like that, but I guess you got the gist of it. - So, what brings you here now? I mean, this isn't exactly on the way to your mother's place. Max: It's about the compound. Rigolph: Have you moved in there already? Max: Yes. I always liked the place. And there's room for apprentices. I've got two at the moment. Rigolph: Maximilian would like that. He wasn't into teaching novices, but he respected people who had the patience.
Max: I have a slightly strange question for you. About the compound. You see, I've been doing some excavating, because I'm extending the place, and I found... Rigolph: Tunnels? Max: You know about them? Then you also know about the cell. Rigolph: I guess you're wondering why it's there. Max: Yes. I was hoping you would know something about that. Rigolph: I helped Maximilian build it, so yes, I know about it. - You're probably imagining all sorts of horrible things. Max: Well... I'm not quite sure what to think.
Rigolph: He wasn't doing anything wrong. He was helping somebody. Max: Who? How? Rigolph: I cannot tell you who, because even though the guy is already dead, there are family members still alive. The how question I can answer. - Maximilian was asked to help the family, because one of them had a strange problem. He went totally crazy during the full moon. Maximilian took charge of him and took him to the compound. There he tried to find a cure, and every time during full moon... Max: The guy was locked into the cell? Rigolph: Yes, for his own and everybody else's safety. It was what he wanted.
Max: What is it with guys who want to sleep in a cell? Rigolph: That is not a cell, it's my bedroom. It's not like there's anyone else here, so it's as private as can be. Max: I guess so. - So, that guy, was he cured? Rigolph: Unfortunately not. His condition was really hard on his body, and finally his heart couldn't take it anymore. He died during one full moon due to a massive heart attack. Max: Poor guy. Did Maximilian find out what had caused the problem? Rigolph: He got close, but it was such a strange case... I haven't heard of another case like that. Max: So the tunnels were closed, because the room was not needed anymore? Rigolph: Maximilian didn't want anyone to get in there by accident. Max: Thank you. It's such a relief to hear what it was all about. Rigolph: Maximilian may have been a difficult person at times, but he wouldn't have locked up anyone without a good reason.
Rigolph: Have you been using a tesseract? Max: What makes you think so? Rigolph: You look different. I can't say what exactly it is that is different, but it was the same with Maximilian. Max: I hope that's a professional observation. I wouldn't want anybody else to guess something like that. Rigolph: They won't. It's just that I can tell. I never got far enough to use one, but Maximilian was doing it probably more than was good for him. Max: Those places aren't for everyone. Rigolph: That's what he said. - You inherited the compound. I assume that means his library as well. Max: Yes. Rigolph: There's a book in there, a book about making them. Max: I know, I found it. It's safely hidden now. Rigolph: Good. If I were you, I wouldn't let anyone know about it. The fewer people know the book exists, the better.
Max: Hi dad. Are you alone here? Carl: Your mother is coming any minute now. You know she doesn't like it here, she just thought there was no point for you to go all the way there. Max: She doesn't want me to meet that guy. Or the other way round. Carl: That tophat certainly won't help. I know, I know... At least you're wearing a dress. I don't know why she's always insisting that, but I'm glad you're making the effort. Max: Anything for peace and quiet. Or if not anything, at least quite a bit. - It's certainly peaceful here. Carl: I like it that way. I can almost imagine I'm the last man in the world. - How are things at your place? Max: Mostly peaceful, not counting an intruder. Don't worry, he was caught and is in the hands of proper authorities now. Carl: Intruder? Who would...? It's about Maximilian's business, isn't it? Max: Sort of, but it's all over now. Nothing to worry about. Carl: Don't try that on me, you're just making me more worried.
Max: Okay. I've got something Maximilian left behind, and there are people who are interested in getting it. I really can't tell anything more. Carl: I know, wizard business. I probably wouldn't understand anyway. I hope you've got some sort of security. Max: Not officially, but my apprentices are so bored of the desert that they will notice anything out of the ordinary. And one of my lodgers is a ranger. She's away quite a bit, so I have been thinking of hiring someone who would stay there all the time when I'm away. Carl: You can afford it, and you need to think about all the others who live there. Or think about relocating somewhere safer. Max: I'm not leaving. The compound is mine now, and I'm staying. Carl: I've never understood what's so special about that place. It's a desert. Max: Yes, it's a desert, without distractions. Makes it easier to focus on things that matter. Keeps people away, too. Carl: You're more like Maximilian every time I see you. - I'm not sure if you know, but he never liked me. He just tolerated me because of your mother and you. The feeling was mutual. Max: I thought so. - You know, I went to see Rigolph before coming here. We talked about the... um... item in question. He never used it, and I know there was something a long time ago. Something happened and he never became like Maximilian, but nobody ever talks about it. Do you have any idea...? Carl: Sorry, can't help you with that. I hardly know the guy. I mean, I've met him briefly once or twice, but that's all.
Carl: I suppose you better ask your mother about that. She should know, she was engaged to him. Max: What?! Carl: Didn't you know? That's why he hasn't been that interested in meeting me. Would be a bit awkward, I suppose. - Talking of engagements, how's Rupert? Max: We're not engaged. - He's fine. He's buried in Maximilian's books as we speak. He finds them endlessly fascinating. Carl: The old man never let anyone even close to them. Max: He had his reasons. There are things in them that wouldn't be safe in wrong hands. Carl: You trust Rupert? Max: Of course. His ambitions have always been purely academic. Carl: So what's the problem? Max: I don't need to marry him just because he's in my library doing research. Carl: Look, he's the only one you haven't managed to scare away. The only one who's not a wizard, I mean, and one wizard per family is probably enough. Max: Is that why I'm the only one? I thought the others weren't interested. Carl: Even if they had been, it would have made no difference. Maximilian chose you. Max: Why don't I know about any of this? Carl: There are a lot of things we've never talked about. - I wasn't thrilled about it, but you were so obviously into the stuff, and your mother said it was the best thing that could have happened. So, I just... gave up. I did a lot of that when Maximilian was concerned.
Mirabella: Maxima, you're here already. What is that thing on your head? Max: A hat. And don't start. I'm wearing a dress. Mirabella: You're impossible, but I guess it's too late now. Max: You should know wizards aren't exactly fashionable people. Or to put it bluntly, we don't give a shit. Mirabella: Carl, aren't you going to say anything? Carl: Such as? In your words, it's too late now. She's an adult, has been for quite a while now, and our work is done, regardless or how well or poorly we did it. Mirabella: I don't remember you doing much. Carl: I would have, but somebody always knew better. Max: Don't start that again, you two. Mom, I think we should go. Rupert's waiting for us. Mirabella: He's such a nice young man. Max: We've gone over that one already.
Max: Okay, we're here. Let's go out, so you can see the new part. Mirabella: You know, it would be so much easier, if you configured this thing... Max: I've told you, it's a security issue. Now more than ever. Mirabella: What do you mean? Max: Nothing, forget it. Anyway, the only way to use this is to travel with me. Of course, you could always travel the old-fashioned way... Mirabella: In the desert? I don't think so. - I can't believe this. You still have that... thing at the door. Max: His name is Hugo, as you well know, and he was a very nice person. He will stay as long as he wants. Come on, let's go and see the outside of the extension.
Mirabella: Have you gone out of your mind? Max: What? It's an extension. You know, a really extensive extension. The only possible way was up. And the color fits the surroundings perfectly. Just wait until you see it from the inside. I've got a proper trophy room now, and Rupert loves the library. Mirabella: So, is that where the portrait is? The will said you need to pay for the artist to finish it and then it should be put on display in the compound. Max: Done and done. The artist got his money. The problem was, the picture was creeping everyone out, but I solved it. Good thing the will didn't specify where in here it should be displayed. Mirabella: So, where is it? Max: I'll show you. Then we can go up there.
Max: Here he is, in all of his creepiness. The others rarely come down here. In fact, they're not supposed to most of the time. Mirabella: Maxima! You cannot put your great-grandfather into the basement. Max: I already did. Seriously, don't tell me you don't find the picture creepy. It creeps me out, and I wasn't scared of him. Fenimore says he's positive the eyes were following him as he came down here to get some ingredients. Mirabella: Who's Fenimore? Max: One of the apprentices. Anyway, it's just a picture, and this fulfills the letter of the will, if not the intent. Good luck trying to find a legal person who would be willing say I haven't fulfilled the conditions of the will. Especially as this is one of the oldest parts of the compound. - Come on, let's go and see the library.
Mirabella: Did you really have to build it so high? These stairs are horrible. Max: Hey, it's not like you need to climb these every day. And like I said, this was the only way to build. I don't want to take all the land from the other inhabitants around here. Mirabella: Inhabitants? They're giant maggots and other nasty creatures. Max: They have just as much right to live here as we do. Besides, they have their uses. People tend to stay clear of far away places with nasty creatures. I bet that's why Maximilian got this place.
Max: So, what do you think? Mirabella: I must admit it looks very nice. This place used to be so dusty and dirty. This is much more civilized. Max: I told you so. Mirabella: You mentioned trophies. I take it you didn't mean that collection of outfits you've got. I really don't understand why there aren't dresses for mages and sorcerers and such. They would be fabulous. Max: I don't think the guys would care much about those, and neither would I. But the trophies, let me show you.
Mirabella: You... you fought with this? Max: Sure. That's what I do. I thought you understood. Mirabella: Maximilian never spoke about anything like this. I always thought you'd be in the court. You know, fancy clothes and even fancier friends with loads of influence... Max: That was his thing. Besides, the court is different nowadays. No Royal Sorcerer for the new king. Mirabella: That man is a fool! Max: He's far from it. He would have become a king a long time ago, if it hadn't been for Maximilian, who kept the old king alive for far too long. Mirabella: There's nothing wrong with some medical treatment. Max: You know he did more than that. What he did was against the natural order, and the new king knows that. - Besides, I'm perfectly happy with the way things are. I don't owe allegiance to anybody, and I'm free to do as I wish. The king knows where to find me, if he one day decides he could use some help.
Max: The library is here. Rupert should be here somewhere. Mirabella: What are those things flying on the other side of the room? Max: Just some pets I've picked up during my travels. Totally harmless, but they need vertical space, and this room has plenty of it. Mirabella: It's very impressive. I thought you didn't care about something like this. Max: Not when it was just me here. There are others now, and the library hopefully makes life a bit more interesting even for apprentices bored of the desert. And of course building this was fun. Mirabella: You let the apprentices come here? Max: Of course. Anything they mustn't see is stored elsewhere, safely out of sight.
Max: There he is. - Rupert, mother is here. Rupert: Oh, nice to meet you again, madam. Mirabella: Didn't I already ask you to call me Mirabella the last time? I know I meant to, maybe I forgot. Anyway, it's nice to see you too. Nice library you've got here. Except for that thing in the ceiling. What is that? Max: Just another trophy. Nasty creature, but that's nothing new. - If you don't mind, I'll leave you two alone for a moment. I'll go and get the coffee. We can have it here, but I don't want Janine climbing the stairs with the tray. Mirabella: Isn't that what you're paying her to do? Max: I'm paying her to be a housekeeper and cook, but I also want her to stay healthy and not fall down the stairs and break her bones or her neck. Rupert can tell you about the library while I sort this out.
Mirabella: I didn't realize there would be this many books. The last I saw of Maximilian's library was quite different. Rupert: Well, his library didn't contain all of his books. There were boxes and boxes full of books in various storage rooms. I've been arranging them here. Much better storage conditions than in the basement, although the desert is very dry. I cannot bear to think what would have happened in damper conditions. Mirabella: So, are you here permanently now or just visiting? Rupert: I... um... I'm doing research. Max has said that I can stay as long as I need to. Mirabella: Is it the money you're worried about? Rupert: I don't understand. Mirabella: I think you do. You're not proposing, because you think people are going to say you're after her money. Rupert: I think that is none of your business. Mirabella: My dear boy, of course it is. I'm her mother. You should think about it. And remember that marriages have been about convenience, business deals and politics far longer than they have been about love. I married for love once and look where that got me.
Max: I see you found the balcony. How do you like the view? Mirabella: It feels uncomfortable. Too high. But at least the railings are high enough. Rupert: Yes, there's no way you can fall from here accidentally. Max: The coffee is ready. What were you talking about while I was away? Rupert: Nothing much. About books. Mirabella: Yes, I was really surprised to see the amount of books. I had no idea, but of course Maximilian had more secrets than most people. Max: I bet a lot of people are relieved to see them go with him. Mirabella: But did they go? I find that hard to believe.
Max: We three are probably the people who know most about Maximilian. There is something I need to ask from you both. Mirabella: I'm not so sure anymore that I know much about him. Rupert: What do you want us to do? Max: If anyone asks anything, the official truth is that Maximilian left no personal notes, just books, scientific research papers and such. Mirabella: No secrets? Max: No secrets. Nothing anyone needs to come after. Rupert: You're thinking about the people who sent the intruder. Mirabella: Intruder? I haven't heard anything about any intruder. Max: Just a common thief, hired to steal some useful items. It's all sorted now, but that's the reason for the need of security I mentioned earlier. Mirabella: I'm starting to think it was a mistake to let Maximilian train you. Max: Relax, everything is fine. Let's sit down and enjoy the coffee.
Max: The guest bedroom is here. Mirabella: In the basement? Max: We don't get many guests, so this was more of an afterthought. It's still quite comfortable and very safe, right next to a Ward of Protection. Mirabella: That's the thing that keeps the nasties away? Max: Yes. No giant maggots anywhere near it. Also, this is the only accommodation here with a private bathroom. All other bathrooms are shared to some degree, but I thought this is nicer for guests. Mirabella: I guess I could stay for the night.
Max: You know, dad said you were engaged to Rigolph. Why haven't I heard anything about that? Mirabella: Haven't you? I guess not. It's such old business that neither of us really thinks about it anymore. Why are you interested now? Max: There's something... something happened to Rigolph a long time ago, but dad said he didn't know. All I know is that it's got something to do with why he never became a wizard. Mirabella: I guess you're old and wise enough to keep your mouth shut, if I tell you about it. Rigolph had a nervous breakdown. And before you ask, no, it had nothing to do with the engagement ending and me marrying your father instead. Max: How about start from the beginning and tell the entire story? Mirabella: If you wish, but it's not that interesting, really.
Mirabella: I was engaged to Rigolph, because the marriage would have been sensible. Rigolph was well on his way to becoming a great wizard, and I was Maximilian's granddaughter. You know, business and politics. Max: Did you love him? Did he love you? Mirabella: We liked each other. It would have been enough, but then I met your father and fell in love. I realized I couldn't marry Rigolph, and I think he was secretly relieved. Max: So what about the nervous breakdown? Mirabella: I'm coming to it. Some time after I set Rigolph free, so to speak, he went out traveling to learn more magic. He came across something he couldn't handle, and after that, he turned to alchemy. He's good at it, and he would have been good at magic as well, but it seems there's something about higher magic that makes it unsuitable for certain individuals. Maximilian certainly never thought less of him because of what happened. All he ever said about it was that he was glad Rigolph got back alive. Max: So what did he come across? Mirabella: I don't know. And that's the truth. I think the only person Rigolph has ever told about it was Maximilian. And don't you go asking him about it. If he wants you to know, he'll tell you.
Max: Yes, Janine, what is it? Janine: I'm sorry for interrupting, but I was wondering... is madam going to stay for the dinner? Max: Yes, and also for the night, but everything here seems to be fine already. Mirabella: Max, there's no fireplace in here. How...? Max: The temperature stays quite nice, because the room is underground and the walls are made of stone. Cool during the day and comfortably warm at night as the stones store heat during the day. Janine: We also have hot water bottles, if you wish to have one. The nights in the desert can be cold, but like Max said, the temperatures indoors won't drop too much. Max: Mom, are you really saying you don't know all this already? Mirabella: Maybe you never paid attention to it, but I haven't stayed the night here before. The accommodation wasn't there, and anyway, Maximilian always wanted everyone gone before nightfall. Max: Now that you mention it, I guess you're right. Funny that I never noticed it.