I went from being slung over someone’s shoulder to standing on my own feet in a matter of moments and then the bag was pulled off my head. Frankly, I didn’t feel much safer than I had with the bag over my head. I cannot recommend trying to stand on your own two feet with your ankles tied together and your arms bound to your sides. To add to my discomfort I was standing in the middle of an inscribed magical circle. There was nothing about the situation to put me at ease.
I had been walking from the library and the book store back to the house I shared with my guardians when I had been grabbed, a hessian bag had been pulled down past my shoulders and I had been hoisted up over someone’s shoulder. I hadn’t heard an outcry, not even from my maid who’d been following me, so I surmised that my abductor had taken me into some type of invisibility or overlooking spell. I kicked and pummelled and shrieked of course. All that got me was a pause somewhere my captor must have felt safe and myself bound and trussed before being put back over his shoulder. At least my captor smelt clean with an odour of good quality soap and freshly laundered clothing. Also, all that picking me up and carrying me didn’t seem to make him exert himself – I am small of course, but even so...
And now I saw my captor for the first time. Broad faced, broad shouldered, coarse blonde hair tied back in a queue, good quality clothing but with a slightly neglected air: it was the man two of my guardians referred to as the Badenisch pig farmer, Ernst von Voellinger. They, and thus I, knew who he was because he was a person of interest in the theft they were investigating, that of a dangerous book from the episcopal palace. A book that fitted the description of the one currently open on the lectern in front of von Voellinger.
The circle around me was transcribed in red. The scent, presumably of the ink, was a mixture of blood, wine and roses. “Your guardians should have minded their own business and kept their noses out of my affairs.” My captor’s speech had only the faintest trace of a Germanic accent. “If they had, I would be using someone else to test whether this book is what it is purported to be,” he looked me up and down without changing his expression, “Someone willing.”
“The book was stolen from the archbishop’s official residence,” I pointed out calmly, “They’re Knights of the Church. Its theft is their business.” I decided I needed to keep him talking. “What is this spell supposed to do?” I wondered if I could fall over and damage his sigils so he’d have to start writing them all over again.
“Lust.” He raised his arms and began to chant, the Latin-Germanic syllables rolling over the top of the question I tried to ask. I tried falling over. Not only didn’t it work, the wall of force I fell into bounced me back to upright.
The spell didn’t take as long as you might imagine and although I felt a shiver go through me as von Voellinger pronounced the final syllables, I didn’t feel any different afterwards. “How do you tell if the spell worked?” I asked.
He looked at me, oddly I thought, and said, “Start telling me about me. What do you want to do?”
“Polish the buttons on your coat,” I said promptly, “They’re tarnishing. Straighten your collar. Tuck that stray piece of hair over your left ear back in where it belongs.”
“You sound like my mother,” he dismissed, “This spell does not seem to do what it says.” He turned several pages discontentedly.
“I sound like a wife,” I corrected, feeling annoyed that I needed to state the obvious. “I’m not your mother and what I’d really like to do is slide up inside your clothes with you so I can be next to your skin.” Which is when the door splintered in and my guardians arrived.