The outline of the island was lightly portrayed here. On top of these were small dots, tiny and black. Comparing these to our own map, we were able to see that these were in the same general place as the points of interest we had spotted from the tower.
Touching the painting lightly, I noticed that it was rough paper stretched over a hard surface, probably wood. But then I felt that beneath each of the black dots, this surface was noticeably raised. I cautiously pressed against one of the black spots. The raised surface beneath clicked downwards. A button.
I waited for several moments, in uneasy anticipation. When nothing occurred, I almost began to speak. Then, under my feet, I realized that I could feel a subtle rumbling. It reminded me greatly of volcanic tremors on Riven, something I had not felt for years. But at the same time, I knew of course this was not a natural phenomenon. For one thing, how could a tremor be triggered by a button?
No, this was mechanical, I was sure. As held my breath and felt these vibrations, I began to hear the ghostly sound, so quiet I was unsure if I was imagining it, of the tinny scrape of stone against stone.
You felt that?
After searching the library for the source of this sound, we came to the conclusion that it had indeed come from the tower, as we had expected. By this time, the island was shrouded deeply in a post-twilight veil.
We were yet to explore the Household option through the elevator, but we agreed that the tower warranted another look, considering the circumstances.
As the car slowed to a halt, and both doors were slid to the side, we exited the vehicle. At first, everything seemed the same. The telescope stood ahead of the elevator and I began for a moment to grow annoyed, as I had thought very much that this had been the source of the sound.
Then I realized.
The tower had turned. Or rather The world turned was the thought that first sprang to mind, as that was how it certainly appeared. Instead of facing the clocktower, the tower now faced the South, the direction of the brick building of which wiring from the dart supposedly led.
I walked up to the telescope, which now pointed in a noticeably different direction, supposedly having turned with the tower. I looked through the lens, flecked with bits of dirt.
The telescope now pointed directly at the gears. I could now see closely that where they sank into the ground, there was subtle machinery surrounding the edge. The platform on which the gear sat also contained a small wooden console with one lever, on a platform of it's own to the side, partly obscured by the trees.
I stepped back and saw that my companion was gone. I walked to the other side of the tower. He stood copying down the message, which I saw now had also changed. It said in the same bold lettering, 2:40 and below that, 2,2,1 .
Got it , he said, Ready to go, I think we've got a few more settings to check out.
Perhaps I should stay here, and you turn the tower, I said, It'll go a lot faster if we're not going back and forth.
Good idea, he took out a pocket watch and wound the mechanism, I'll give you a minute for each setting.
And he was gone. I noticed that as the elevator closed, he glanced down at his watch again.
As I waited for him to get the rest of the way to the library and rotate the tower, I took the opportunity to study the telescope again. The cylyndrical body was made of the same red oak as the interior of the elevator. I could see that in the past, it had probably looked polished and beautiful, but currently wind and rain had degraded the wood, and airborne dust had lodged in the crevices. I looked into the lens again. For a moment, I began to study the gear again, but then I noticed at the top of the lens was a measurement of degrees, counted off in Dunn'e numerals. At the moment, it was resting at halfway between two of them. They looked almost identical, but one had a slightly different second box.
Just then, as I was studying the shape of the numbers, the ground shifted under my feet, and I fell back onto the ground. As I lay there, the clouds, currently shifting to a twilight hue of purplish orange, turned above me.
I got up, holding onto the rail of the tower for balance, and the tower stopped. Then, the telescope turned, first pitch, the sound of minute gears sliding across each other, then yaw, the sound of a weight sliding into place.