The video recording started with a completely black screen, with a recording dot blinking in one corner. "Is this thing on?" A middle aged man's voice could be heard, accent phlegmatic with experience as papers shuffled upon his desk, reaching towards something unseen. "Oh. The lens cap is on. Bless." ♫ Final Fantasy Tactics Advance - Law Card ♫ The sounds of the man's fingers could be heard handling the camera-upon-tripod, popping the lens cap off and letting the ambience of his study flow in as the picture came into focus. First to pour in was the outline of a man with a thick white beard, easing away from the camera to sit in a reclining chair. Before him was a crusty keyboard, many of its glyphs faded, with a kludged extension to add additional runes accountable only to the Weald upon academic papers - accountable to a peer review board. His desk was a mess of thickly-typed papers, scattered stationery, the odd coffee mug or plate covered in crumbs, folders of student's assignments in a tray, and a battered blotter doing its best to conceal the teak wood beneath and protect it from the rings of coffee which had accumulated on it. Peeking up from the edge of the desk was a a white snout and paws, wispy and ethereal as its starry eyes looked into the camera curiously. Behind the wizened man and his odd dog, glass windows looked out into a dark snowstorm on the boreal landscape of York, white powder accumulating on the glass as the night rolled on. A row of bookshelves was to the camera's left, crammed full of well-annotated books and papers, while on the right was a doorway to the rest of the interior of the fortress of Horrigan University, one of York's three premier magical universities, as old as the city. "Good afternoon, my name is Professor James Ulrich, and this is my Spectral Sighthound and erstwhile companion Billy." The man introduced himself and his Weird, adjusting glasses on the bridge of his nose. "I've finished grading some assignments, and I have some spare time - so I figured I'd put this time to use by starting what my students call a web log." Ulrich put his elbows on his desk, laying his hands atop each other - the sleeves of his robes long and loose. "I shall use it to teach laypeople about the Weald, Weirds, and the like as simply as I can." With his purpose stated, he stared into the camera for a couple of moments before realising that a web log had to contain content - it was his first shot at it after all. He looked down upon some of his notes before glancing back up. "The Weald is ... a curious place. It exists parallel to ours but it and its beings do not follow any of the laws of being as we know them. Traditional scientific analysis shows that Weirds and the Weald defy many scientific theories and laws, including but not limited to the Pauli exclusion principle, thermodynamics, equal exchanges-" Billy hopped away from Ulrich's desk, then settled their paws upon the professor's lap, reaching up and trying to be a lap dog despite their size and weight. "Billy, no-" Professor Ulrich tried to shoo his pet to a bed in the corner of the room, but Billy ended up hopping up, paws and all and settling on James' lap. The lecturer heaved a sigh of amusement. "...and social norms too, I may add. Anyway, the study of the Weald and its inhabitants falls squarely upon the ethereal sciences, as conventional models simply don't work." James cleared his throat, sitting up in his chair as he allowed Billy to sprawl on his lap. "It helps to think of the Weald as a dotted line, instead of a solid line that represents here and now. Every pocket in the Weald and its resulting inhabitants is different." He illustrated, drawing the two lines on the back of a sheet of scrap paper, labelling the lines and showing them to the camera. "Similarly, no two Weirds are alike, as they have an excellent degree of control over their appearances and their qualities are just as varied, whether for their whims or other purposes. There is a broad list of identifications for types of Weirds - such as Billy the Spectral Sighthound here-" Billy looked up and licked the professor's face, "-or an Imp you may find in servitude around campus -but I am certain it is a list that will keep on expanding, as the Weald's many pockets keep on existing and interacting with our existence." James removed his glasses and set them on his desk. "Speaking of, a question I'm asked many times by my students is if I have been to anywhere in the Weald - and the short answer is yes, in my more adventurous days as an understudy. It took much research, preparation, and bargaining with the native Weirds to prepare for the trip, and it was no picnic throughout the whole process." His voice softened as he looked down, remembering his experiences warts and all. "We had to barter using knowledge from other pockets of the Weald the university had accumulated, many trinkets and baubles, books, even some of our flesh and blood." James rolled his shoulders, placing one of his hands upon Billy's head, stroking them. "The area itself was totally unreal to behold, hostile towards us without proper protections, and some of what I saw, I fear, will never be the same again if I were to return. It left all of us changed but for our efforts, the university received the stewardship and protection of an Elder Weird. No small feat in either direction." The professor tilted their head back, looking up at the ceiling as the recollections came back to the present. With that off his chest he faced the camera again. "Speaking of Weirds and the Weald, natives to York will recall an incident a few months back where a gargantuan thing attacked Rightshore's Gladstone Refinery." He looked away to grab a picture he had printed - a collage of amateur videos of the disaster, red pen circles upon the humanoid identifying possible similarities with other Weirds based on outline, and other furiously scribbled notes. "I cannot disclose further details, but Horrigan University has been working closely with the Governor and other universities to identify this Weird - if it even is that - so we can prevent another attack like it from happening in the future." There was a knock on the door from behind the professor. Billy's ears raised and he looked up, while James turned around and told whoever was outside to come in. Another boffin from the university stepped through, and Billy jumped off James' lap to greet them. "I'm in the middle of something, let me wrap it up and I'll be with you posthaste." Ulrich explained before looking back towards the camera. "I will have to conclude this for now - something has come up which requires my attention." Professor Ulrich stood up. "I hope you have learned something, today. Until next time, viewers." He gave his robes a shake, grabbed a sheaf of folders, and begun departing. Billy was about to follow, but then they paused before exiting, padding over to the professor's desk, pushing the chair closer, then hopping up onto it and putting paws down on the mouse and keyboard. "Gadawodd y blwch llun yn rhedeg." Billy muttered, looking into the camera as it dragged the mouse towards the record button for the capture application. "Dim ond ail... Bye bye!" The feed then cut out, and Professor Ulrich's first recording was uploaded shortly afterwards to the university intranet, then the wider network of Aleph Null. Billy then ate some kibble and went to sleep, dreaming of chasing hares in the field.