You may not believe this, but we are almost finished with the first section of this story. Next week will close out the group and it is essentially a continuation of this piece. Something to consider if you haven’t traveled with us before, almost no questions will be answered. I think we might be used to that around here. Strange how everything works…
Bring the pieces back together or catch up to where we are now with the links below. They are listed in story order.
The Shaper’s Shop
He felt out of place. Jak had directed him to a shaper that owed him a favor. A better lead, than any he had on his own, it could be his only chance to decipher the amulet’s glyphs. The trouble was finding the guy’s shop in hightown.
High town was the Shaper’s showplace. Aether lights lit the night streets. The glow from the lights gave off shadows a bit differently than those from gas lamps. The shadows from the gas lamps danced and swayed with the rhythm of the burning gas, they felt alive. This felt sterile, an unlife.
The feeling grew more foreboding by the horseless cabs moving throughout the streets, another shaper addition. Powered by aether the cab traffic flowed steady, hustling passengers throughout their various destinations. The streets were clean, and again felt more bereft of life than elsewhere. Although it was just past dusk, Tisdan found it odd that there were no children playing in the streets or on the sidewalks.
He stepped to the curb and a cab pulled up beside him. The door opened and he stepped inside. There was no driver. “12 Flickman Avenue,” he said to the empty air, and the cab was in motion. He watched through the window as the cab drove on. How could this have become so different than the world he grew up in. After a ten minute trip through the city the cab stopped in front of a two story building, and the passenger door popped open.
The two story building had seen better days. Few buildings in high town fell into this sad state of repair. The brickwork around the doorway showed its age. The door itself was solid, just as the walls of the building on the first floor, there were no windows till you came to the second floor. No signage hung on the facade of the building to give a clue of who or what could be found inside.
Tisdan knocked on the door, and looked around the deserted street. He knocked again, still no sounds issued from within. His patience gone, he turned the knob. The unlocked door opened on well-greased hinges. Aether lights hung from the ceiling, extended the deathly light across the entryway. A stairway traveled up alongside a hallway that lead further into the first floor.
He followed the hallway and found it ended at two doors to each side. The door on the left was unlocked so he opened it and took a quick look inside. The cluttered workshop proved much more elaborate than his meager bench had been. In the far corner was a lab table with bubbling beakers heated by blue flames. Across from the door he found a workbench with a medium sized automaton lying on it. A dim blue glow shone out its open chest.
He didn’t hear the door behind him open, didn’t notice anyone there until he was almost knocked to the floor by a man shorter than himself. He recovered faster than the other. The man, still oblivious to Tisdan, mumbled something about cleaning women and equipment where it didn’t belong.
Tisdan relaxed, his breath released in a quiet sight, watched the man dust himself off for a minute. “Um, Hello?”
He looked around and then focused on Tisdan for the first time. “How did you get in here?”
“The door was open?” This couldn’t be the shaper Jak had sent him too. Something about him ground against Tisdan’s intuition. He must have missed something.
“Oh right,” he stepped toward the work bench. He left Tisdan in the doorway without a second glance.
“I was hoping you might be able to help me.”
“The way out is the reverse of the way you came in.” He grabbed a wrench and struggled with a bolt around the automatons midsection.
“Jaktor said you might be able to tell me something about this.” Tisdan moved to the work bench as he pulled the amulet out of his waist-sash.
He dropped the wrench onto the workbench and looked again at Tisdan. As his eyes dropped to the amulet in his hand, the man’s eyebrows scrunched together and he gave a slight jerk of his jaw. “What’s this then.” He drew a magnifying glass from his tool box and stepped around the bench to get a closer look. He held the amulet with tongs as he examined both sides through the magnifier. After a few minutes on each side he voiced a ”hhhmmm,” before he stepped back around to the other side of the workbench. The blue glow grew dimmed the further it moved away from Tisdan. He moved it closer and further away from Tisdan as the glow changed with its proximity. “It would seem that it has attuned to you. Give me your hand.”
“Why?” Tisdan stepped back.
“Stop the shenanigans and give me your hand.” His voice had taken an icy chill as he swiped at Tisdan’s hand.
Tisdan offered his left hand, the hand that had been holding the amulet. The amulet’s glow highlighted the deep indentations in Tisdan’s fingertips. He had felt nothing other than the throbbing pain in his thumb that grew stronger with the amulet in the shaper’s hand.
The shaper guided him closer to the light. The glyphs from the amulet had embedded themselves across his fingertips, though he only felt the sensation on his thumb. He needed the amulet back. A part of him had gone missing even as he knew where he could find it.
The shaper examined the markings on Tisdans fingers with the magnifying glass. “This is most unusual. How long has this been in your possession?” He set the amulet on the work bench. The amulet inched toward Tisdan’s hand, moved with a life of its own back to its home.
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