The adventure begins here!
“These marks, here…” Nym motioned over the surface of the Elderwood door without actually touching it, “are newer. See the color variation in the wood? Someone engraved these later, after the others, but for what purpose? And this,” Nym pointed to a scar on the wood, “was likely the location of the old handle and lock. It’s very curious. The door itself is ancient, these markings – I’ve seen many languages and cyphers, but these are completely new… the roundness is similar to the Southern aborigines…” Nym was speaking out loud, and Amos suspected ,to herself.
Staring at the young woman Nym, he realized for the first time that he knew very little about her, and seeing the sparkle in her blue eyes as she lost herself in thought- and the golden strands of her messed hair straying over her pale cheeks, he thought that he had never seen anyone quite so beautiful.
“How do you know all this?” He asked, feeling humbled by his poor education and lack of insight into her inspection.
Nym continued to scrutinize the door, hardly seeming aware that Amos was still by her side. “I need to record these inscriptions and symbols and take them back to the Archive.” Nym burst into motion collecting her notebook and quill and beginning to transcribe everything before her.
Amos nodded, he knew she was in a world beyond him. A world he was not a part of.
Aware that any hope of food and rest was gone for the time, and knowing that there was nothing helpful to do but stay out of her way, Amos scurried back through the tunnel and into Marcel’ office to wait.
Amos opened his eyes, blinking away the last of a dead sleep. Nym was standing over him impatiently talking and scurrying.
“I can’t blame you off course,” Nym shuffled a few items in her bag and secured it across her body. “I’m certain that we have been here for at least a day and a half – if not longer – no, I’m glad that you were able to rest. I’ve finished my transcriptions. Some are fairly rude, mind you, but I think they will be enough to follow. Rubbings would have been better of course, but something …How are you feeling?” She stopped her fussing and gave him a smile.
Amos sat up and ran his fingers through his hair. There was a hollow gnawing in his belly.
“Hungry,” he admitted.
“Yes. I suppose we should eat.” Nym was looking around the room making a mental catalogue of everything she saw, so that she might know where to resume her search when they returned. “Still, we should try not to waste too much time, I’ve no idea how long we have -but it feels urgent that I begin my research at once.”
Amos, taking the hint, stood up and gave a long catlike stretch, “Alright Peach, settle down.” He gave her a half smile and she blushed. “Just let me to the gents and we can set a course.”
Nym smiled and began double checking that she had everything she would need once back at the Archive. Her heart was racing. Finally, she might have something solid to help her understand what was going on in Meiville.
Scrambling out of the ceiling door proved more challenging than had the climb up. Despite Amos’ sincere attempts at offering support, Nym stumbled and slid down the collection of haphazardly stacked boxes. She eventually secured herself to the floor below with a jarring half fall that tumbled her safely into Amos’ arms. She could smell his skin like salt and musk and sleep and feel the strength of his arms. Despite herself, she lingered close to him for a moment longer than was needed.
Awkwardly Amos stepped back, feeling the effect of holding her body so close to his. He was confused by her pause and suddenly found himself unnaturally apologetic for her unsteady descent. A state of dismiss that had the effect of embarrassing Nym.
“He likely had a rolling set of library stairs at one time,” Amos stammered and then busied himself by surveying the room- and avoiding Nym’s eyes.
Just behind the security automaton Amos saw what he suspected might have been a scaffold and he moved away from Nym in an effort to inspect it more closely. “See here, Peach? If we can move this over it will make it a lot easier…”
The green eyes of the automaton snapped open, it’s mechanical head turning toward Amon with a fixed and dangerous gaze.
“Um, Peach?” He said, stepping back nervously. “Peach, you better hit the street!”
Amos searched around for anything he might use to disable the automaton as it’s mechanized body clicked and whirred signaling it’s return to duty. His hands settled on a long piece of metal pipe, which he raised in front of his body like a heavy and uncomfortable sword. Standing a nervous ground between it and the door, Amos hoped to provide Nym (at least) a safe escape.
Nym stood back but did not move to leave, instead seeming to realize that she had forgotten something important.
“Nym! Seriously, you gotta get out of here..!” Amos pleaded.
The Automaton was now advancing with heavy, pounding footsteps. Slowly raising its primary weapon: a stun stick that was certain to render Amos unconscious at least. If he were lucky it would be low on power and only sting for a moment. He knew better than to run, as that could inform the machine to use a more lethal force and he could not stand the idea of Nym being in danger.
Nym said something to Amos which he could not hear over the machine’s mechanical advance, and he simply responded by motioning again for her to leave.
Just then, a tremendous jolt of sound raced passed Amos’ head. Bewildered he watched as the automaton, now bearing a hole in its central processor large enough to see through, lurched forward and was silent.
Astonished, Amos turned around to see Nym tucking a pistol back into her satchel.
“We don’t have time for this, Amos.” She chided, completely unaffected. “I’ve forgotten to pack that strange letter.”