In Chapter 87, Dora performed psychometry on the ruined spellbook discovered in the basement of Briarstone Asylum:

She saw the master bedroom atop the guest house of Iris Hill. A woman in her late 40s or early 50s sat at the desk in front of the window. She was tall and slender. Warm metallic skin. Cold metallic hair. Blazing violet eyes.

It was Dora’s body, but Dora wasn’t in it.

Thema had the spellbook open on the desk in front of her. It wasn’t torn up and destroyed at this moment.

Next to it was the book HE found for her and sent to her in secret. He did a lot for her in secret.

The book was ancient, and over 500 pages long. Dora recognized it as the one Melisenn had on the throne in the Court of the Unspeakable One. It’s written entirely in Aklo. Except, of course, for the spells.

The Pnakotic Manuscripts. Nearly impossible to find a copy, anywhere. But Mun managed to find one. Bound in devil flesh, as far as Thema could tell.

Thema had been writing for nearly five hours straight at this point, and the sun was going to set soon. This was the most powerful spell she’d ever deciphered. The most powerful spell she’ll ever have cast, when she casts it tonight for the first time. She’s flush with excitement. And pride. And accomplishment. And pride. So much pride. It’s practically punching out of her. This nearly bottomless well of pride is the source of the psychic significance of this otherwise quiet moment.

The handwriting… it wasn’t Dora’s handwriting. It was, but it was being made with her left hand, so it’s like a warped mirror of Dora’s handwriting. Understanding now what she was looking at, Dora knows she would now recognize Thema’s hand as well as she’d recognize her own, moving forward.

As Thema wrote, a small black and orange fox, sleek and smart, alert and protective, darted back and forth through the room, slipping out the door to keep an eye on the top of the stairs, slipping back into the bedroom to leap up on top of the desk and cast its gaze out on the courtyard. Reynard was unflaggingly vigilant in looking out for his mistress. The work of a familiar never ends.

But Thema only had eyes for her spell. And for herself. And her own accomplishments.

She was writing with her left hand, but her right hand alternated between two activities. For a time, it gently stroked the set of finger bones laid neatly before the book. There was some sort of ritual going on here. There’s a pattern of touch tip of finger, touch knuckle, switch fingers, repeat, switch fingers, repeat, run a finger down the length of a finger, switch, repeat, run a finger across the set left to right, then right to left. Rinse, repeat. Rinse, repeat. Daria. Daria. Daria.

The mental focus needed to write a 5th-level arcane spell into a spellbook is intense, so Dora imagines this happening almost automatically, like it’s something she’d done thousands of times.

When the ritual with Daria’s bones was complete, Thema’s right hand engaged in another essentially-unconscious activity. While her left hand scratch-scratch-scratched its way across the page with the fountain pen, her right hand snaked up her chest, up the side of her throat, and buried itself in the layer of grayish purple fungus coating the backside of her neck. She sighed almost imperceptibly, as if touching the fungus simultaneously lit up her pleasure centers and deadened her humanity. The fungus seemed to have originated from inside her ears, where it crawled out and spread to the back of her neck… and presumably elsewhere.

This is what happens when you focus on God. When you send him your love. When you spill your soul into your dreams and his dreams and you cultivate the process. The others don’t understand. Well, the count does, of course. Twisted siblings, we’ve become, in a way. And why not? We’ve both read so much. And learned so much. And cultivated so much. And grown so much. Our vision is clear, because we do not fight the Great Transformation… we welcome it. And its Consequences. We see the beauty of the Grand Plan. We see our role in it. We embrace our part in Xhamen-Dor’s majesty. We know we must BECOME.

As the woman in Dora’s body writes the final arcane rune into her spellbook, she writhes in pleasure… and the vision fades.

First Reference: Chapter 87
Other Notable References:

 

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