The smooth table surface was fascinating. His fingers drummed a beat over and over again as he waited. There were lines drawn in hypnotic circles around but he couldn’t feel any edges, or bumps or sign the table was anything other than a perfectly smooth plane. He tried hard to focus on the table. He tried to just trace his fingers along the hypnotic loops drawn for him.
Thumpity thump thump. Thumpity thump thump.
A rhythmic order to his fingers. His thoughts sifting and filtering back down into the ruts in his mind no matter how he tried to shift them away.
A family of sorcerers, with centuries of tradition, a very public place in society, and a near constant presence in the halls of power. And he was an embarrassment to them all.
Thump thump thump thump.
The table didn’t help at all. It was supposed to calm him and free the inner essence that he had so longed for so wished for, some sign that he had anything of the magical talent of his siblings, of his parents. But nothing
Thump thump. Tick thump.
Every night he came here to this table. Every evening exactly at the same time. At first his family had come with him, full of hope and dreams that he would break this block and join them. As the days drug on with no results they stopped coming.
Thump tock. Tick thump.
At first he kept the habit up out of duty. Then just out of habit. Now he kept it up because it got him away from all of the staring eyes, and whispered murmurs. In a small way this retreat had become a ritual. From the moment his hand touched the door he took every action with a religious precision. Every step in exactly the same spot. Every movement the same.
Thump tock. Tick tock.
He instructed the servants to leave the room untouched so that nothing would disturb his rhythm; so that everything would always be the same.
Even the beat his finger’s drummed.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
A cold chill slid along his spine. Nothing had ever changed. He scanned the room. There was no clocks in the room.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock.
The sound came from everywhere and nowhere.
Tick, tick, tick tock.
He closed his eyes and tried to calm his breathing.
Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick.
Behind his closed eyes a glowing sigil slowly faded into view. Nothing sorcerous, or even divine. He’d studied every sigil, every glyph, every symbol in his desperate attempt to break his block. This was something new. And it shown, oh how it shown, so bright.
Tick, tick, diiiiiiiiiiiiiing, dooooong, ding.
As the sound of the clock striking echoed in his ears the sigil exploded even brighter and his eyes fluttered open as he gasped in pain.
And there in front of him stood an impossible amazing thing. Kneeling on the marble tabletop was an angel like creature. An Angel of Gears, impossibly fine gear work twitched soundlessly like muscles twitch when you shiver. Metal wings stretched out to either side of the angel, silver feathers hanging from a golden frame. A thin, metallic finger held up swung back and forth with the echoing sound of the strikes.
Doooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong, dooong.
The angel stared at him and offered its hand. He took it, and he was pulled forward. His hand placed on the angel’s heart. Under the silent machinery he could still feel the clock striking, ding dong, ding dong.
He jerked and his own heart skipped a beat. Tick, tock, tick.
His eyes widened, and his mouth shaped a silent acknowledgement of wonder.
The Angel nodded and smiled, shining gold teeth, glimmering in the room’s dim light. The glowing sigil appeared slowly tracing itself above the Angel’s left eye. And in her smooth flawless eyes he could see it glowing above his own eye; a promise of eternity.
Tick, tock. Ding, dong.
As the sigil settled he felt the magic roar in, and knew this was something new. Something different.
And also that he would never be alone again.
Two hearts beating in perfect time, a metronome of unending promise, time and silence, T’kk’tck and D’ngd’ng.