Copyright 2017 Evelyn Zinn.
All rights reserved.
It only took a week to get the house set up properly. It was the setting of wards, traps and other much more mundane things that seemed like they took forever. Whether I liked it or not, good wards are cast during the right moon phase. Which meant a lot of time on the telescope (which I didn’t mind) but also meant staying up or waking up at oddball damn hours to cast, which I minded greatly.
I had found an old in great shape trunk on CL and spent much of the time when not working on the website or doing other secretary things, working on sanding and refinishing it.
Maxine was over for that weekend, to help me finish unpacking and setting up. It wasn’t until we were done that I showed her the chest. She gave a low whistle and just barely touched it with her fingertips.
“Excellent choice in stain color. I believe you now when you say you’ll be able to hide it in plain sight…”she paused and studied the chest “Oh you clever girl.”
I raised an eyebrow.
“The protection and shielding spells you’ve literally worked into the piece. How?”
“45 hours of sanding and 12 hours of staining work.”
Maxine looked at me mouth agape.
“Are… you serious? That’s how you did it? Claudette you genius. You were already putting in the work so why not add the magic as you worked which would then just soak into the chest like the stain does.”
It was incredibly hard not to blush at the praise. The concept was a damn simple one and one I had stumbled across purely by accident. Unlike Maxine, I’d never had a real teacher for the magic. It was all trial and error. I think that’s why Maxine enjoyed my company so much. I wasn’t afraid to admit I done goofed on anything.
She looked at the walls that I had painted inside the house and at the small bits and pieces of artworks I had hung.
“You did the same with this space. That’s why you rolled your eyes at Rosscoe because it didn’t actually matter about the moon phase on the inside of the house.”
“I’ve never restricted myself in such manners. Imbueing as one works, is one of the fastest, most thorough and clean ways of working magic. With even a few minutes here and a few minutes there, one can weave a ritual symphony simply and efficiently.”
Maxine nodded as she thought over the implications and applications.
“Are you sure you don’t want to inherit my circle?”
She laughed long and hard at that. I was not the kind to function well in a big group of what were supposed to be close knit people. I had a few very close friends and then an outer circle of sorta close friends that numbered in the dozens but most of the time I didn’t invite the outer circle over for tea.
There were always jealousies or envies to guard against and the drama that could happen in a group always left me feeling depressed. Maxine usually only joked anymore about me taking over the group when she was ready to step down. Unless another fight had broken out between probates, then she’d rant and rave about how I was right, it wasn’t worth the loss of one’s hair color and ability to give a damn.
“When will the chest be ready?”
“Not for awhile yet. I still have to build the false walls and it looks like I’ll only be able to hide maybe eight journals in there. We have twenty six that need hidden.”
We headed into the kitchen to eat dinner. Maxine plopped herself down at the kitchen table and watched as I measured out two bowls of lamb stew. It was a few minutes before Maxine spoke again.
“How much of that stain do you have left?”
“How does a matching china cabinet and a couple of bookshelves sound?”
“Too bad because I have such sitting in Marcus’s garage. They’ll go nicely here and you’ll have a decent looking living room for a change. Besides what good are cliches if you can’t occasionally take advantage of them? ”
The back handed compliment triggered an involuntary eyeroll.
We changed the topic of conversation for the rest of the meal as Maxine filled me in how the community meeting of the local pagan representatives was a debacle. The spirit world was still deathly quiet and the many psychics who were legit were accusing the Wiccans of binding them, the Wiccans accusing the Asatrau of sealing off the city from anyone or anything spiritual of any kind, the Astrau accusing the Fey worshippers of cruel glamours and the Fey just rolling their eyes and in general sounds of disgust at everyone pointing fingers. Then there was everyone in between the different flavors of Celtic, Greek, Egyptian, South American, etc that tossing around some of the most outlandish conspiracy theories I’ve ever heard. I shuddered at some of them.
I never went to those meetings and never will. I was content outside of the general population and it was going to stay that way.
“I managed to open the oldest of the journals without the binding cracking into pieces,” I decided it was time to go back to talking about the business.
“How is it?”
“Exquisite. Sadly it from one of the extinct families.”
“Which one was that?”
I mentioned them and the immediate family members that were present during their last years.
“Explain to me how they went extinct again?”
“Like three of the other families. All sons were killed or so badly maimed in the Civil War that they never had kids. Any daughters went west, many dying along the way and those that made it out west never married. They found themselves content teaching or running shops with an uncle or widowed aunt.”
“You’ve traced the entire family then and know for a fact that there’s no one left to give the journal too?”
“Yeap. Unfortunately even if there was a descendant, they would have no idea what to do with the book. I’ve started disassembling the book so that I can go over each page more thoroughly. Rosscoe has leather blanks on order for me when I’m ready to rebind it.”
Maxine mused for a few moments.
“I’d say don’t rebind it. The papers are going to be so fragile that it might be more work than what it’s worth. Turn the leather blanks in large pockets, not bindings. It’ll be easier on the old books that way.”