Kael let Mr. Vibius show her where “her quarters” was after the meal. He gave her a key that she wouldn’t (she hoped) need, told her a bit about the area, and then left to close down the museum.
She looked around “her quarters.” Someone had taken some effort to do what she presumed was modernizing on the rooms, including a bed that looked wider than she remembered and thus a little tight for the space, but it was – or it had been – Joaon’s sleeping quarters.
They had not been his first. She had built the room for a woman named Glerine, but she had, after five years of serving Kael, run off with a fur-trader who presumably had a more interesting life than a woman cloistered high in a potions tower.
There had been three others between Glerine and Joaon, who Kael had originally hired as a groundskeeper, game warden, and general strong-man-around-the-place. But all three had decided that the life of serving a potion-mistress was too. Too difficult, too irregular, too fraught with heroes.
And then Joaon, filling in when the last had run off with a heroine, had asked Kael a question about what she was brewing.
There had been apprentices before him, of course. A couple had even gone on to be tolerably good potion-masters. One had gone on to be an amazing potion-master, and she should really look into what had happened to that one, when she could figure out what to do.
But Joaon – they continued to keep up with the story that he was her assistant, even when he was her apprentice in all but name. He might have started learning potions to be able to procure for her exactly the right ingredients, but by the time – well, by the time she had sent the whole Tower into some sort of time-locked sleep – he had been a potion-master in his own right.
Enough. She shook herself. She could not sleep in Joaon’s bed, and would not think about other women pretending to be her, sleeping in his bed.
Vibius was gone. She walked up to her own tower and looked at the bed.
It was still there. It was still perfect, the way it had been when she last lay down in it.
A thousand years ago. A thousand years ago.
She couldn’t stand the thought of sleeping in it again.
She looked at the key in her hand.
She looked at her potions laboratory.
She started to work.
Two hours later, she had a long shopping list written in what was likely a dead language.
She also had a potion of Cloak of the Road, a potion of This Gold Is Good, and another translation potion brewed.
She had also brewed a basic building potion, but that could save for later.
She drizzled the first potion over her body, approving, again, of the clothes this place came up with. She drizzled the second on the table in front of her and was a little surprised to find it produced a card of something flexible and warm. Her name, or at least a version of it, was printed on the card, along with a series of numbers and a shimmering square.
She drank the translation potion and walked down the many, many stairs to the back door, the hidden one.
She was going to find out what this city was all about.