The Disappearance of Sir Oliver Plumb
Chapter 2: The mystery deepens
Copyright© 2012 by normist
I delved into my Sorcerer's Tool bag and extracted the evidence bag with the tunic I had taken from Sir Oliver's residence. I also took out my psychic compass. Unscrewing the compass, I took out the boxwood needle and rubbed it on the inside back of the neck of the tunic.
This action uses the principle of contagion. Cells from the wearer's skin rub off onto the neck of the garment. The magical essence of these cells can be transferred to the needle of the compass which can then be used to find the wearer using the principle of similarity.
I reassembled the compass and it indicated the direction in which we were going. At the top of the hill, there was a T-junction. The cabby opened his door in the roof and asked "Which way now, Guv'?" "To the nearest main road that continues in the same general direction as this one." I replied.
"Right oh!" We turned right and took the next turn on the left. For the first few miles, the needle pointed forward. It then veered off more and more to the left. When it pointed straight out to the left, I directed the cabby to take a convenient left-hand turn
About a mile down this side road, the compass indicated a house off to the right Drawing up to the front door; I alighted from the cab and asked the cabby to wait. I approached the front door and knocked. After a couple of minutes and further knocking produced no results, I walked around the outside of the house. The compass was still indicating the presence of the tunic's wearer. In fact, by the time I was outside the drawing room and looking in through a window it appeared to be indicating the nude statue of a young woman in the corner of the room.
Looking around for a way in, I soon found that the back door was unlocked. I entered and made my way to the drawing room. The compass confirmed that the statue had, in fact, been the wearer of the tunic. Having expected to find Sir Oliver, I was confused.
My confusion was compounded by the fact that the statue of the young woman, with almost shoulder-length hair, was in a pose, reminiscent of Venus in Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus. It was, as though she had been suddenly stripped and had tried to retain her modesty.
I sat on a sofa in front of the statue to consider my problem. Not only was I surprised that the wearer of the tunic was the statue of a girl, it seemed to me that I could almost sense her thoughts. Was the statue stone or really a human turned to stone? It would be folly to attempt to convert a real statue into flesh and blood. I decided that the best solution to my problem was lithomancy, a form of divination using similar blocks. Such blocks can be gem stones, ordinary pebbles or even small blocks of wood. The resulting information can be derived from the patterns resulting from dropping them, the colors they reflect or even the sounds that they make.
The form that my lithomancy takes is that I drop seven small pebbles of different rock types and listen to the sounds they make. They seemed to talk to me. I reached into my bag to take out my box of pebbles. Taking and dropping them on a side table, I seemed to hear. "Please! Can you help me? I've been like this for almost a week and I think I'm fading away."
I put away my pebbles and approached the statue to examine it. Reaching up, I managed to wrap the tunic from my bag around the statue's shoulders. Standing back I pointed at the statue with my wand and murmured a restoration spell. Slowly the stone of the statue seemed to melt into flesh. Eventually, the figure of the gorgeous young blonde slumped towards the floor as I gathered her in my arms.
I carried her across the room and gently placed her on the sofa. I then left to fetch a glass of water from the kitchen. When I returned, her eyes were fluttering open. Her mouth opened and shut, making her look like a fish out of water. "Here's a drink." I said. "Don't try to drink it all at once. Sip it slowly." I supported her around her shoulders while I held the glass to her lips.
When she had finished the glass, I asked her, "How are you feeling now?"
"Very thirsty. Do you think that I could have some more?" I propped her up with cushions and went to get her some more water. After she had finished it, she said. "Thank you very much for saving me, but how did you know that I needed rescuing?"