The shop was already closed but Tanisia didn’t want to go home. There were so many things to do, so many objects to examine. She has been enjoying her new life despite the fact that she had to work now. She was young, fit and beautiful again, nothing else counted. Almost nothing else…well, she had certainly to be more careful. After several people recognized her host and called her out on the street she decided to dye her long hair blond and change the style of her clothes a bit. After that she could start looking for a job. She needed money as well as new artifacts for her magical treasure trove – the source of power of every witch, magician and warlock.
This little pawn shop with rare books, pictures, furniture and drawings caught her eye as soon as she visited it the first time. She was a bit lucky – the owner, an old lecherous coot, liked his ‘girls’ young and pretty so he hired her without any problem. It wasn’t him that intrigued her the most, of course. His shop happened to be full of hidden magical treasures and she doubted the owner was aware of it. Tanisia decided to exploit his lack of knowledge. After her last dealing with that warlock she was as close to broke as ever.
Today she found one perfect specimen of the kind she has been looking for. At first glance it was just a simple charcoal drawing – a portrait of a young boy in his teens, his lips smiling, his eyes full of energy, happiness and mischief. However, if you used magic and looked at it at the right angle you could glimpse quite another face – that of an elderly, desperate woman in a hat, crying. Tanisia knew the drawing was supposed to show other things too. It was a special artifact, a link connecting all members of a given family. It could also be attuned to whoever you wanted, providing you had the proper skills.
Tanisia has been sitting in total silence for a long time, exploring her catch, watching the changing faces, totally enthralled by their similarities and differences. All of a sudden she saw a movement of tiny specks of dust, hanging in the air, right out of the corner of her eye. She froze. Somebody else was with her in the shop but who? The owner went home long time ago – she always made sure he went home earlier and slept very soundly now adding special tincture to his afternoon tea. She wanted to have more quality time with his shop. Then she felt a cold hand on the nape of her neck.
‘Don’t move, don’t say anything, don’t shout or you are dead.’
The voice was barelly a whisper but it carried a lot of authority – so much that indeed she didn’t dare to disobey. Not when she wasn’t sure who and what she was dealing with.
‘Good girl. Now put your hands on the table where I can see them. Slowly.’
She did what she was told, feeling more and more uneasy. Something was horribly wrong. Her ears caught strange jingling, her hands became sweaty and very, very heavy; so heavy as if an invisible power glued them to the table. Magic. Somebody was using magic on her. She closed her eyes, focusing on other senses. She felt a strong aura surrounding her but nothing else – no smell, no sound, just sheer power. A ghost? An apparition?
‘Tanisia…my girl. What a pleasure to meet you again’
This time the whispering was a bit louder, her left earlobe almost burned from the hot breath of her assailant. As he came much closer she recognized the voice without any troubles. It sent shivers down her spine. The warlock she considered safely and happily dead, Barnabas Oak, somehow managed to survive her assault and now was standing right behind her, binding her with his magic. She groaned invardly. Her long day was going to end in an unexpected way.