She didn’t come out of the basement at all that afternoon, and so I decided to leave her alone. After the second day, when she still didn't surface I decided to head out to the town to do some research on my own. The book hadn’t given me anything new, at least as far as I could get just from looking at it alone, so I decided instead to see if I could recreate the chart on a larger scale.
The closest town was some distance away from her mansion, but it was close enough that the townspeople knew of my master and her house. As I walked into the town, the people out and about generally gave me looks of disdain, not terribly pleased with either of us. While I was glad that the so called 'witch hunting' of the western land wasn't nearly as popular around here, I would not put it past them to try something if they got too antsy, which is why we generally traveled instead of staying in one place.
Despite their reservations, however, they were at least polite, because we did purchase a good deal of things from them. "Ah, Greetings," came a voice as I entered into a shop building.
"Yes," I said in return, keeping to a simple greeting. "I am in need of a large canvas."
"Painting?" The man I was speaking to laughed heartily. "That does not particularly seem a normal activity out of your house. Retiring from whatever it is you people do to a more simple life?"
I chuckled in reply, as he began to look through piles of material lying around in some crates. He showed me several, but they weren't the size I wanted and so declined each one. "No, not exactly, just trying to recreate a star chart on a larger scale from a book from the west."
"Astronomy, then?" He finally found one I thought was a good size, and began to measure it out to determine the cost. "Well that sounds more like the magick arts, I guess. But why use an illustration when the stars themselves are easy enough to see?"
He showed me his figure, and I began to remove money from my satchel to match the amount. "It's more of a figurative chart, really, than a literal one. I'm trying to understand how the illustrator made it." I handed him the money, and he nodded in approval. I picked up the roll of canvas, threw it over my back, and left the shop.
As I headed back out of town, some of the people were whispering, and it seemed someone was going to try to cause some trouble. Sure enough, near the path that led out of the town, a drunk man was waiting, slapping away some other men trying to restrain him.
"Hey," he slurred, trying to hold still. I stopped, waiting for him to say something more. "I don't like you," he finally said.
"I see," I said simply, and started to walk around him, but he moved to stand in my way.
"Please excuse him, he's drunk," one of his companions said while trying to grab him, but the drunk just shook him off, and took a step towards me.
"You sit pretty in that house, along with that woman, while the people here struggle to get by with honest work. Have you ever even worked an honest day in your life?" He suddenly pulled out a knife, and jumped towards me before his companions could grab him.
I stepped to the side, grabbed the wrist of the arm he was holding the knife in, and threw it up and around his body, spinning him around. I then threw him to the ground, facing down, and bent down to lean pressure on the back of his neck. One of his companions carefully stepped forward to snatch the knife from his hand, while I leaned forward to talk into his ear.
"Before I began to serve my master," I said in a low tone, "I was businessman and trader in the west. I've killed raiders far stronger than you, so I would suggest you try and stay sober so you don't do something you wouldn't live to regret."
I then stood up, lifted him to his feet by the nape of his neck, and quickly brushed the dirt off his clothing. I then smiled, picked back up the canvas, and walked on without saying another word, leaving him there to comprehend what just happened.
Soon enough I had made it back, and locked up the property's gates behind me. I didn't bother to waste any time looking to see if she had come back up, knowing my hopes would just lead to wasted time, and proceeded to a room on the second floor which I had taken as my workroom.
The room didn't appear to be much, just with several tables with small scientific objects, but it wasn't a room I used for residency and so didn't need any comforts. The walls were barren, and I proceeded to nail the canvas to one of them.
The canvas was good, but I still needed some paint. I left the room, and left the mansion, heading out to a small tool shed that was disconnected from the main building. It was chained closed, with an old rusty chain, and as I removed the chain several links broke apart and fell to the ground. I groaned as I threw the chain aside, and went into the shed to retrieve some stored paint.
I grabbed two large canisters of different colors of paints, one black and one a dark blue. There were some brushes as well, leftover from having to repaint the mansion some years before, but of no other importance so wouldn't be missed if I tore them apart to make smaller brushes for detail. I grabbed those as well, and closed up the shed, leaving the securing of it for sometime later,
I reentered my workroom, and opened the paint canisters to stir them into something usable. I then set them down next to the canvas, and worked the brushes into something to let me draw narrower lines, and set them down next to the paint. Finally, I pulled up a music stand, and set the book on it and opened it to the chart that adorned the face of the pocketwatch.
For several hours I worked, carefully recreating the chart to as much detail as I could, even using a magnifying glass to find the finest lines. As the light of the day waned, I finally finished, and closed up the paint. It was as true as could be, and I closed up the book and carefully put it aside, safe from what I was about to do.
I pushed everything to the side, and took from my pocket a silver ring I kept there. I put it on the middle finger of my right hand, and the ring and my hand quickly heated up, an energy surging through them. This ring I kept allowed me to give an energy boost to other magic devices, which had come in handy in a few binds with objects that had lost their power source or had none of their own. While the watch itself seemed to work directly from the mechanics, somehow, I was hoping a recreation of the drawing with ink that could transfer the magic energy could allow it to operate off of that.
I held my hand up to the drawing, and arcs of electricity came from it and ran across the canvas. I set my other hand up to it as well, trying to access its future sight, but... Nothing.
I stood there for several minutes, trying, before giving up for the night. I decided to wait and continue trying the next day, so removed the ring and put it away, and went down to the main floor to get dinner. I ate, and went off to another room on the first floor I had claimed as sleeping quarters, and fell quickly to sleep.
I awoke the next day, slept near to noon. The ring had a tendency to make sleep draw out after its use, so I tried to avoid it when I can, but I was prepared to use it again. I went to eat some brunch, made some food for her if she decided to surface, and went back to my workroom. The canvas looked just the same as before, perhaps slightly darker from the energy that ran through it.
I pulled up a chair in front of the canvas, and took a quick look at the book again to double check my chart and make sure there were no inconsistencies. But it looked clear enough, matching the pattern in the book. I set it back down again, and stood up to pull out the ring.
"I wouldn't bother," came her voice from behind me. I turned to look at her, and she was standing there swinging around the watch with a smile, seemingly back to normal.
She walked up to look at my handiwork. "Looks good," she said, "but pointless."
She turned to leave the room, and motioned for me to follow. "The actual sight runs on a sort of percussive energy, I guess is a good way to put it. It only works because of the mechanics of the pocketwatch in the first place, otherwise its just a pretty drawing."
I raised an eyebrow, wondering how she had known that, but she wasn't looking at me and so didn't notice my reaction. We went back down to the main floor, and I decided to brave asking her again. "What did you see?"
She stopped for a moment, not looking back at me, but quickly recovered herself. "I saw," she said, trying to hide something in her voice but not succeeding well, "an error. I saw something that never actually happened.
"Somehow this thing resets itself to our Gregorian calendar. The spell for that must have a glitch, I guess, for the reset on New Years Day. " We sat down in the main room, and it was clear that she didn't want to talk about what she actually saw, so I let it drop.
"So what's the plan, then?" I asked, shifting the topic. She shrugged, and leaned back in her chair.
"We're going to be in the worst of winter soon, so I think we should just stay around here for now. Then once it warms up again we'll head back out, go back to what we usually do. There's more stuff out there we have to find, after all."
I smiled, and nodded. I then got up to make us some lunch. As I walked away I caught a flash of sadness and horror in her face briefly, before it returned to her calm collected expression. Whatever she saw, it scared her more than I've ever known anything else to, and the fact that she was trying to hide it made me somehow think that we were in danger.
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