Oxford is full of experts and around each expert are rivals, sycophants and entire communities and that’s not counting the created communities of Oxford. Charles knows his way around his section of Oxford and has a passing knowledge of other areas but Classics, that is rather more daunting. There are rivalries and politics that are renowned throughout the campus just from Classics itself but he is determined to know all he can of Iris and that means finding the right expert.
His telepathy only helps so much because while the small politics of interaction are easily heard, he needs to know how they fit within the complex hierarchies of the departments. It’s a challenge he enjoys and through it, he improves his grasp of Latin and Greek as many of the thoughts he encounters are of the difficult work of translation and interpretation.
In time and after drinking many glasses of tea in lounges and offices throughout campus, he finds the perfect don who wrote a famous monograph on the messengers of the Greek world from Iris to Hermes to the unnamed messengers of the tragedies. All Charles has to sacrifice to the don is part of a good bottle of Scotch and reciting a passage from Homer to prove that he does know what he’s talking about. The Homer required a slight bit of cheating as it had been many years since he’d had to recite Greek, but he enjoyed the power of the words.
ὣς ἔφατ᾽, ὦρτο δὲ Ἶρις ἀελλόπος ἀγγελέουσα,
μεσσηγὺς δὲ Σάμου τε καὶ Ἴμβρου παιπαλοέσσης
ἔνθορε μείλανι πόντῳ: ἐπεστονάχησε δὲ λίμνη.1
Most of what he learned was how the mythology had many ideas and couldn’t seem to agree on any of them. That was what he knew was true of most myths, that simply meant that he would learn best from Iris herself.
Along the way he learned of the don’s own history and his passion for the power of the proper messenger. He had been in the signal corps during the war and saw Hermes and Iris in Morse code and the Windtalkers of the Americans. Messages shifted over space and time yet the heart of them always remained true no matter how cryptology twisted and changed them and that made them powerful. The messengers of the gods and the same word was used for angels who were after all the messengers of god all held those truths, communication and words can reach any distance. It all resonated with Charles who knew that thoughts come in many shapes and are constantly changing but everyone has parts of their mind that are simply them.
When he returned to the flat, he had a notebook full of hints and sources to read along with a feeling of excitement. He can only prepare so much for Iris and he finds that uncertainty tantalizing.1-So spake he, and storm-footed Iris hasted to bear his message, and midway between Samos and rugged Imbros she leapt into the dark sea, and the waters sounded loud above her.
The Iliad Book 24 line 77-79 Translated by A.T. Murray.