Unfortunately Blackwood was in when she inquired at the front desk. She’d kind of hoped he’d be out, and she could leave the box with his secretary. As she rode up in the elevator, she examined her handiwork with her new senses. Impressed and dismayed by the work she’d done before she could properly see what she was doing. The Elder Keys had done more than open her eyes to the history of her race, which Shub Niggurath had more or less already told her. She had learned to use senses she’d barely been aware of, like a kitten before its eyes opened. There were energy patterns which overlay everything, from the tiniest pebble to the largest solar body. It was the framework upon which the planets and galaxies spun, what spiritualists called auras. But they were so much more complex than that. They were as essential to existence as a skeleton or circulatory system was to a living thing, as magnetic and chemical bonds were to all matter. A thing’s aura defined it more than a mere physical examination ever could and was itself defined not just by the object to which it was attached but by the auras of those things with which the object came in contact. It was as much influenced by the thoughts of those who observed it as by the uses to which it was put.
What she had done in her clumsy human fashion was attempt to change the aura of the items she intended as armor for Dr Blackwood’s handling of the eldritch tomes in his care. For the most part, she had succeeded, though now that she could see the auras of the apron and gloves, she could see that there were sizable holes in her protections and that she had only managed to temporarily change their purpose. They still remembered what they had been intended for and that set up a dissonance between what she intended them to do and what they had been created to do.
The gloves were intended for the garden, the apron for cooking, but the foundation of their existence was protection. She hesitated as she reached out to them and saw the fluttering edges of her own aura, though not black, still so much like the tendrils she had seen creeping into her home form the dark corners of her kitchen. It was the work of only moments to build on the idea of protection in the apron and gloves before she drew back and turned off her Sight with a shudder. As long as the seams and weave held, Dr Blackwood would be safe from his occult fueled nightmares.
The bell dinged, and she stepped out onto the top floor of the library. Blackwood was just leaving his office to meet her. She handed him the box and followed him back into his office. “This will keep the nightmares at bay?” he asked, holding up the apron skeptically. There were dark circles under his eyes and he might not have eaten in a week from the hollows in his cheeks.
“Up to a point, but I doubt you have reason to handle more than a few of the things in the vault in the course of a week. So I wouldn’t worry about it too much. I want to make you a metal skullcap too, but I’m not a smith. So that’s going to have to wait. Are you having nightmares even when you’re not going downstairs?”
He was silent a moment. “Yes,” he finally said, setting the apron back into the box.
“Well, try wearing at least the apron to bed a few nights and see if that doesn’t help,” Glory offered. “You can burn some myrrh too, if you don’t mind the smell. Do you have any plants?” He gave her a funny look.
“You look ill,” she said, checking him over with her other senses and seeing dark patches on his aura. “If something’s taken hold of you from one of the artifacts downstairs, it would just as easily suck the life out of any plants in your home as it would you. If you had plants that died suddenly, that’d be a sure sign. Plants, like pets, are also protective. You take care of them with water and attention. They repay the favor. Prickly things are very protective. You should take a week or so off and plant holly bushes outside your bedroom window if you can. Get a few spiny plants… cacti, crown of thorn plants.”
“I don’t think Nigel would like that,” he said in a tired voice, letting the mask he kept over the crumbling foundations of his being fall away for a moment.
Glory scowled. “You care too much about what he likes. Seems like everyone here does. Ann would probably be right here telling you this the same as me, but you need to get some rest or you’re going to kill yourself and how is that any help to anyone?”
“Ann?” he looked startled.
“I, ah, overheard her give Professor Scott her resignation, and then saw her as I was leaving. We got to talking, and well, I hired her to be my nanny since she didn’t have anything else lined up.”
“That’s good. I’m so glad,” he sighed, sitting down behind his desk. “I was worried when she just disappeared from campus. I drove by her place a few times…”
“You could have called her,” Glory said in a puzzled voice. From the color that appeared in his pallid cheeks, she got the impression he was too embarrassed or shy to call. Glory smiled at his discomfort. “Well you do as I said, or I’ll send Ann down here to make sure you take some time off.”
Flushing even more deeply, he stammered out a flustered, “Thank you” and saw her to the door of his office.
Her smirk lasted about as long as it took her to reach the parking lot before thoughts of Scott darkened her mood. It seemed the man rode roughshod over everyone, including his closest allies. She couldn’t imagine what kept people loyal to him beyond validating the weird experiences that probably had brought them to his attention with belief. It had to be hard witnessing something unbelievable, knowing that no one would ever believe it was true. It was a short jump to convincing his underlings that what they did to other, seemingly alien races was for the good of mankind.
As she drove away from the campus she was at least relieved that she hadn’t run into professor Scott. Something would have to be done about him, but she hadn’t a clue what. She had a feeling forced retirement wouldn’t work.
to Book 7, part 1, page 5