Funnily when I wrote about grinding tree bark today, I actually was grinding tree bark. Couple of days ago I noticed that the bark on that tree outside the house had a nice dark red powder between its layers and picked up a chunk. Today I scratched the powder from the hard bits and mixed it with flaxseed oil to make paint. It didn't turn out very nice, kinda dark brown, but let's see what happens after it's dried a bit.
After that day a lot of things suddenly changed.
Like the Weather.
Today was the third day of constant cruel storms. Only the first day way accompanied by heavy rain, but the Master assured me, that those were not common for the region. Hopefully they will stop some time soon. I can't really go outside in such kind of weather. Master Zargeth already went through old boxes and chests to find heavy boots that might fit me, though even if he'd found any, I am not used to wearing shoes of any weight. I do wear socks, but in shoes I'd feel like I'm nailed to the ground!
Err… where was I…? Oh, yeah.
Since my Master had decided that I have to become a witch - because he can't - we've revived the lab that's attached to my room; or that my room is attached to. We stripped the sheets from the shelves and tables. Most apparati were still as new, hardly used, just needed a bit of cleaning. Witchery is closely related to Alchemy, so I had to at least learn the basics quickly. We even fought our way through the ridiculously strong wind (Master opened a portal) to collect quicksilver drops from bare cinnabar.
Most of the time, though, I ground tree barks, bug shells and antlers into powders. With a mortar and pestle. I think my arm strength has increased immensely.
However, as fascinating as Alchemy and Witchery might be, my mind was occupied by other matters.
Did the object Master Zargeth bound his disguise to, still exist? Can it be destroyed? Would it be enough to have bits of it back to reverse the spell? Where whould the Magisters keep it, if they didn't destoy the object? How could I acquire it? Would the Master help me or oppose to it?
It was just past midnight, when I decided to slip out of bed again to do a little bit of research. I didn't dare illuminate the stairs lest he might see it, but I'd already memorised the way up and around the library. Only after I'd gotten past the first shelves did I whisper the word. "Solume." A tiny light began to shine from my palm and I bent my fingers over it to keep it dim. Carefully I pointed it at the backs of the books. One after the other.
What was I even looking for? A transmutation? An alteration? A seal or sign? There're even cover-up spells in a book about shadow magic which let you 'cover' the sound of your footsteps with some other sounds, like chirping or even music (it's on my todo list, it's fairly advanced).
I pulled them all from their shelves, put them on a stack and decided to go through them later. For now, I wanted to look around more. There was one place in the library that I still wanted to check.
In the back, at the end of the winding path past countless bookshelves, was a door. Actually, a normal door. Made of wooden planks with a little window with iron bars at the height of someone's head, that was at least 20cm taller than me. But even from down here, I could see still more books in the room behind it. I grabbed the bars left and right and pulled myself up (I am light!). What lay on the other side of the door was exceptionally curious.
Despite noone being there, light flickered to life. Several candles lit themselves, as if they'd noticed my presence and wanted to help me see. Well, this was a wizard's Tower. This Tower changed its appearance at will, at its OWN will, and even hid and revealed rooms sometimes. We once found an old food storage that was chock-full of crates with dried plums in them. Next to them lay a skeleton (we buried it that day behind the tower). We guessed that this person must have tried to hide from something or someone, but forgot to bring a crowbar (I'd procured one and placed it next to the body before we closed the grave).
The room behind the door was narrow and not exceptionally long, so even from just a few candles it was brightly lit as if it were wholly on fire. It almost felt fierce and daunting. My heart wanted to back away, but my curiosity grew only stronger.
Something was at the back, concealed behind high stacks of books, but I needed to see what it was. I let the bars go, dropped to the floor and had a quick look at the lock casting a bit of my own light on it. Of course this door was locked, I'd tried the handle.
Hah! Easy peasy! Though, just in case, I wanted to check if he'd put safety mechanism on it. I'd do that if I had something to hide from a snoopy apprentice. How did that go again?
I put my left hand over the keyhole and slowly drew a circle on the back of it. Already I felt my reach extend into the metal and wood around it. I could hear my own heart beat in excitement. Then a vertical line all the way to my wrist.
Just in that instant a glinting blade shot past my face and stabbed into the door with a THAB.
Unmoving except for my neck, I turned, my eyes following the blade to it's origin. It was mounted on a stick and… Master Zargeth was holding it. No matter how dark it was, those glaring red eyes, that often make dark elves appear evil and cruel, I could see them, piercing my vigour.