"You got a chocolate chai latte like the other place? No? OK, large soy chai latte then. On him." Bran collects his drink and sits down across from Norm.
"All right," Bran says quietly. "Here's what I know.
"Remember what Tannen said? Go see Ron Percy at the King's Head pub. Which is what I did. He and Tannen have some kind of a rivalry going on. Remember Tannen said Newcastle was 'My Turf,' capital emm, capital tee? Well, Percy thinks he's King of Newcastle. So you can see how there might be a bit of conflict.
"Percy said the thing Tannen suggested, Back Monkey, might tell us why we were protected from the memory loss. And it does look like we're protected and not Tannen and Percy vulnerable. I did a little research online, some weird stuff like the Register of Companies having annual reports for 2006 and 2009 but no other years. Maybe you professional accounting types will know what that means, I don't.
"Now, Percy's got himself a regular throne room in the back of the King's Head, and he has himself a little royal court, all his relatives and a guy named Alf who comes off like the court jester. Each of them, as far as I can tell, is supposed to be following one of 333 archetypes, like gods and goddesses. Maybe not all of them, but definitely Percy and his, ah…his brother I think it was they said, though I didn't meet him. The King and the Guard in the Darkness respectively. And I'm guessing Alf is one too. The more Percy acts like a King, the more power the archetype gives him, and if he were the perfect King he'd become some kind of god of royalty.
"These 333 together run reality, like. And there are these things called rituals. Little magic spells. One of them is Back Monkey, what Tannen mentioned. It's really simple but you have to do it yourself, no one else can do it for you, and it doesn't always work. It shows you if someone else has put a spell on you. I can show you how, all you need is a fishtank and a fish and a knife. Doesn't matter what fish, doesn't matter what water, doesn't matter what knife, at least that's what Rachel Percy said, she's Ron's granddaughter and she's my contact. You just cut your hand and drip some blood in the tank and it shows you the name and face of whoever put a spell on you. For me it was Jean Nodshorns, that old busybody.
"Alf pointed out to Percy, I don't think he knows I overheard, that Jean Nodshorns is an anagram of J. Honer and Sons. Percy thought it wasn't a coincidence.
"So, Percy had his intelligence corps or whatever track you down here, and sent me to meet you—and that Patwel guy. Price of his aid, beyond what he's already given, is that I persuade Patwel to sign on with him instead of whoever he's working for now. Percy said to try pulling his leg a few times, prove I can make him lose his temper whenever I want, and he'll have no choice. Unfortunately, Norm made me admit I was working for Percy. I'm still going to see if I can pull it off though. I have some plans. That's if Patwel can't convince me he's more use to us not working for Percy. But until I do that, I can't go around telling people Percy's got my back, which he seemed to think would open doors somehow.
"Last thing is, Percy figures that Patwel has enough power that he can tell us what kind of magic was used to make Honer's go away. Apparently there are different kinds…?
"That's the story, from my end. What about yours?" He took a gulp of his now-tepid-enough-to-drink latte.