Tales of the Recondite Notary

Not very far from the main thoroughfares of the Bazaar Side-streets (the main side-streets, if such a thing exists), in a narrow side-alley (aside even from the side-streets), one can find, if one has a mind to, a group of easily overlooked office-buildings that would be described as ‘ramshackle’, ‘dilapidated’ or ‘run-down’ in every other quarter of the city—but not here: we don’t have buildings of such description in this neighbourhood, thank you very much. The realtors selling property hereabouts use terms like ‘historical’ (meaning it just about survived the Fall and has continued slowly falling to pieces ever since), ‘old-fashioned charm’ (meaning it has neither heating nor electricity nor running water) or ‘lots of potential’ (which doesn’t really mean anything unless one is in the habit of calling cockroaches, woodworms etc ‘potential’) and generally speak very quickly to leave less room for further enquiries. (The realtor in our case didn’t speak very much at all after hearing the word ‘Notary’ and being presented with a rather thick wad of shiny new Echoes—the bills did look as if they’d just been printed, but were perfectly unobjectionable. The contract was signed within less than five minutes, a new personal record for her.)

In the top story of one such a building, since some undefinable point in the recent past, now resides one ‘Ph. von Raven, Notary Public’, if the plaque outside their office is to be believed. And certainly, once one finds oneself inside their office, there are on the walls all the expected and necessary certificates and references, printed on the right sort of paper, with the expected and necessary arcane signatures and stern seals in all the correct places, leaving one in no doubt that, yes, here we are indeed in the august presence of one such humble public servant, entitled to certify and accredit contracts, wills, and whatever papers are brought before them in accordance with the law.

All of which is perfectly true, of course. To point out that every one of these certificates and references is in fact a cunning and elaborate counterfeit, that the so-called ‘Notary’ has never studied the law (except on how to break it without being caught), or that the Mysterie of Writers of the Court Letter is more than a little puzzled about how their name suddenly appeared in the membership registers, would certainly mark the visitor as a person of particularly low character, lacking all manners and, more importantly, all imagination. As the Recondite Notary is fond of saying, &quotPeople in general are too uptight about the concept of ‘reality’. Reality is far more flexible than small minds are prepared to allow, and that’s their loss.&quot

And of course, in the event of pointing out all these things one would have to be able to prove one’s claims. Which one cannot, because the documents are real. Which is the point.

And so, the Recondite Notary certifies and accredits what is brought before them. Everything. If the anxious client points out that a certain contract is only ever printed on a particular sort of paper with a distinct watermark, they will open a drawer and take out a page of this very paper, with the watermark unmistakably in evidence. If a document needs a particular seal which only the highest Bazaar officials are allowed to use, the Recondite Notary naturally has it at the ready, paired with the correct sort of sealing-wax.

It is very important to note that throughout all this they’re not producing anything so crass as fakes—they are augmenting, correcting, or even sometimes creating reality. And so are augmented, corrected or created—and made indubitably lawful—last wills and testaments, business contracts and property sales, marriages between all sorts of persons (who are sometimes not ‘persons’ in the strictest sense)—whether the law likes it or not.

An august calling indeed.

(OOC: I will add posts to this thread from time to time, as ideas come to mind, but it is a public thread open to everyone: if you have a character who might be in need of the Recondite Notary’s services, don’t hesitate to write a little post of them visiting the office—or if you’re anxious to blunder, PM me first. :))
edited by phryne on 12/23/2018

Jolanda Swan has enquired about the work of the Notary and aims to pay a private visit, and sooner rather than later.

The Recondite Notary keeps irregular hours, but clients may call at their office whenever they wish. One of several chipper, well-dressed newly-ex-Urchins is around at all hours to make appointments, keep the chimney fire burning, and ensure the paraffin lamps on the stairwell don’t go out. Often, a raven or two can be found keeping the urchin company. They apparently nest on the roof and are employed for messenger services. The Recondite Notary mistrusts bats.

In the hall outside the office is hung a large, spotless mirror in a mahogany frame. It is a very well-behaved mirror and no client has ever seen anything unusual or unexpected in it. Still, it is because of this mirror that the Notary never has to bother with the stairwell.

Directly opposite the mirror stands a venerable grandfather clock. Due to this, the Notary never misses an appointment.