-  Fiction - A Putative Implication









In Memory
Sean Pettibone



The Putative Implication

Determinedly avoiding my expectant stare to deflect further explanations that might potentially cause additional uncertainties to emerge. Swinging past my insistent gaze impetuously, she ruefully explained that he might have overlooked something of great importance before she turned and pointed back towards me, insisting there were indications that he missed. He seemed unsure exactly what he might have glazed past, largely uncertain of was happening until she articulated further detail. She held tangible frustration with him before methodically and patiently explaining there were too many profound invocations within my work to be easily dismissed and ignored. Sliding her fingers over the composition, she expressed a significant measure of disbelief, wondering how I'd been able to move fearlessly to recreate her composition without external prompting. Looking over the work with his own eyes elicited a startling revelation. Articulating that he quickly realized where she was heading with her incipient observation. Looking at me directly, I felt Gemine's piercing violet eyes flow right through me, but I was able to resist her direct incursion by quickly turning away from her unwavering glare. Appearing somewhat surprised, she hastily withdrew her insistent stare. Hastily adjusting her piercing eyes away from direct confrontation, she quickly turned attention towards the cloaked figure with visible resignation. Shrugging her shoulders, tangibly revealing that she didn't need to breach my vulnerable defenses. She responded dispassionately, marginally agreeing that I'd earned a measure of security, convinced that acting too aggressively would disrupt further artistic connotations.

Stepping forward, the enigmatic navigator quickly followed her example and stood squarely in my defense. HIs brief word to Gemine brought a sense of transitory relief. Hastily conceding that he had no idea where my inspiration might derive, but it could possibly be understood from a figurative perspective. I didn't exactly understand what he meant by this unusual l slant, but it clarified as he elaborated. He began explaining to her there was possibly a clandestine evocation or profound connotation at work, set far beyond our immediate comprehension. He intimidated that my prescient work was possibly echoing and resonating at much greater resonance than its outwardly uncoordinated, sketchy appearance might have indicated than his initial encounter indicated.

She thought about his provocative statement for an extended period, seemingly convinced but needing to make sure his observations were following the right path. I waited without trying to interfere with her silent contemplation. Gliding across the ground, she moved towards his direction. This motion appeared to signal conditional agreement with his complicated pronouncements. At the very least, she seemed to find his determination. She walked deliberately towards the navigator's location before setting herself at an appropriate remove. Steadying her gaze and peering back in my direction, though not as intense or focused. she began to reformulate her conclusion, assimilating his theories and refined perspective. She enunciated her idea that there was a strong possibility that an external energy that infused certain areas within my design. She'd thought of another convergent theory, professing that it was possible that I wasn't entirely aware of its power. He nodded and agreed that something unseen might have been subconsciously motivating methods, surreptitiously guiding my fingers, that I wasn't entirely in control of my imprints. He listened closely when she further extrapolated her concerns and worries, tugging at his sleeves in further consideration as she spoke. Preparing her words deliberately, carefully avoiding anything that might cause confusion. Explaining in a measured, calm tone, she held a concern there was a strong possibility that an uncontrollable possibly malicious threat was becoming increasingly certain as the composition grew increasingly complicated with every additional layer implemented.

The intricate vantage created uncorroborated elicitations and disorienting illuminations to emerge with uncontained power while Gemine watched passively. She appeared inherently unsure how to interpret the overpowering design, intractably perplexed and mystified by the source my prodigious abilities. Her experience couldn't help her decipher the intrinsically uncontrollable energies forging the pencil's path. She explained her eyes couldn't avoid the realization that something approaching magic was happening. The reanimated style was unavoidable, even in rough form. Slowly, she arrived at a tangibly unsettling realization. Looking at my illustrations brought a resplendent memory back to her undiminished by the extended interval that passed. She became somewhat shaken but was able to carefully reveal her suspicions that the vibrant work wasn't entirely my own. Sliding his hand out of his pockets and clasping his fingers at an uncertain rhythm, he narrowed and squinted his eyes while habitually folding and adjusting the robust handkerchief extruding from his jacket involuntarily before nodding his head in agreement. Speaking with firm conviction he proposed that perhaps the elaborate intricacies in the work were the result of hibernative or long-dormant memories. Perhaps, without realizing its ancestral presence, I held a subconscious inheritance.

I was partially relieved but predominantly unsettled with their reacquainted. It felt overwhelming to a degree I hadn't anticipated. Taking a measure of strength, there was relief at the realization that they found promise in my capabilities, at least on some tangible level. it was also pre-emptively reassuring that they'd simultaneously arrived at a shared and reasonable. Understanding and convincing explanation. It wasn't comprehensive or entirely determinative but I realized it wouldn't be a good idea to delve deeper into the oddly convergent conclusions and circumstances they both reached. She underlined her conclusions in a forceful manner, implying that she appreciated his interest, but warned he shouldn't allow himself to become lost in the myriad details. He seemed somewhat surprised with her dismissive approach, but listened respectfully. Since he couldn't see what we were talking about, the somewhat oblique conversations probably sounded ponderous. Appearing to agree, he tugged at his jacket, prompting her to continue. She'd considered his elaborate theories intriguing, but didn't have enough energy in place at that preliminary stage to ponder the unknown possibilities he wouldn't articulate. Quickly shifting focus from the underlying inconsistencies arising from his unexpected re-emergence and his imprecise assumptions about our compositions didn't take long. She moved expeditiously across the room, drawing attention from the empty easel standing forlorn at the room's center.

Brushing aside his implicit demand for agreement or denial, she turned around and walked in my direction, Stopping just sort of my location, she pivoted towards Gemine and waved for her to come closer and join the group. Gemine remained hesitant for several uneasy moments and seemed persistently unsure about the encounter and its complexities and contradictions. After thinking about things for awhile, I was relieved that she eventually decided to take a measure of solace and reassurance from an underlying confidence. set by their long-standing acquaintance. They'd obviously known each other intensely in the past and could proceed confidently without needing further elaboration. I couldn't understand precisely where or how my tentative sketches and uncoordinated aesthetic fit into their undefined mission or comprehend where they might have previously encountered within similar compositions. To my mind, it appeared they'd never come across something nearly as elaborate as her original evocative designs, my comparatively inadequate work surrendering impetuously, consciously forsaking any measurable claims to equivalence, their unfocused implementation set far beneath the qualities she effortlessly implemented. Perhaps, I was overly critical of my designs. Fortunately she saw the incipient work's potential, despite my inability to accept its intrinsic erudition and emotive capacity at that point.

Unconcerned by the lingering questions she moved in the design's direction unrestrained by the figures' inherent deficiencies and aesthetic contradictions. Instinctively opening ample space within their immeasurable fold, this neutral location allowed them to converge across from the easel unobtrusively. Without realizing the adjacent implications as they stood quietly, they found themselves standing alongside on another, taking apprehensive measure of the lingering uneasiness. They seemed unsure how to transcend their lingering unease but seemed determined not to allow it to predominate. Gemine turned toward the mysterious suited figure and nodded positively. Grinning slightly, spun around and winked at her in a knowing gesture. This seemed to temporarily put her worries at ease and I saw her shoulders relax. It seemed that this sequence of simple gestures had cauterized lingering tensions between them. This uncomplicated re-spproachment seemed reassuring., and appeared to set off an unexpected reaction, and one of them slid back as soon as she thought of the undiminished connection and convincingly unguarded connotations. It didn't seem like Gemine was entirely re-assured by his defensive explanation of his underlying doubt.

Standing across from the tilting easel in reluctant acquiescence, but It seemed that she'd reluctantly lend him the benefit of hindsight, but whatever occurred between them couldn't be easily forgotten. Together, their unsteady convergence formed an incipient alignment that appeared to have taken hold, with some reluctance. She took a respectful step away from them, opening a stratified breach which largely diminished any continuation. They'd expended inordinate effort within intervening explorations. It seemed they'd spent too much time apart from each other. While their paths converged again in an unlikely manner, their combination didn't appear predestined. They held each other in regard, but held a remove which formed an immediate incursion. Standing apart, they lacked a straightforward re-convergence. She hadn't entirely achieved her objective, putatively locating Gemine but not revealing her motivations. She'd succeeded in surfacing a renewed connection that remained outwardly steady but a wary trepidation appeared noticeably prominent, his was especially evident when I stepped only half a pace closer, viewing their lingering reluctance to fully embrace each other's accompaniment.

Pivoting quickly, I studied his arms and fingers looking for a tangible signal, and found visible indicators. Remaining passive and still, they didn't appear as steady or firm as he'd previously displayed until I looked closely. There were oddly-spaced pulses that came to the surface, indicating a nervous energy in the form of sporadic tremors and minor conniptions that shook him through the surface, I noticed his eyes shifting back and forth quickly as he surveyed the easel nervously. He grew increasingly impatient with our extensive contemplation of the composition's permutations and possible significance. She continued gazing into the canvas and almost seemed to ignore him pacing alongside our pictures, Concerned that she might be squandering her energies on a seemingly minor diversion, he moved directly in front of her to block the view, crossing in front of the painting with increasingly agitated steps. His purposefully intrusive placement worked to annoy her. She tried to wave him away from the composition but he responded with recalcitrance, taking longer, unavoidable steps into a concise position that almost completely blocked her viewpoint. Eventually, he came to a complete stop in front of the easel and expressed unvarnished annoyance, He turned in her direction and looked directly in front of her Gemine appeared at his side to form an unexpected alliance, her presence was surprising but she held an unexpected sway over the other figure. He stood straight up, no longer hesitant, in order to effectively reinforce the outlying energies.

Struggling against a significant measure of unmanageable apprehension, he asked in terse manner, directly why she was expending so much energy on an apparently nebulous task. Assuming she'd be more productive when focusing on tangible elements nearby instead of the immediate distraction, he continued imploring her to shift focus. Waving his determined hands across its flat, pulsating surface, he noted that the mis-formed characters I'd pictured weren't necessarily profound or important as they might conditionally appear. There was little additional insight that she'd be able to discover at that point. His disposition narrowed as he confronted her directly pointing in my direction, asking me whether I even understood what I was fervently drawing. This took my defenses down and I could only shake my head apologetically, much of the figures' and shapes were beyond my comprehension. He looked me over with a measure of insolence, and grew somewhat aggravated though he didn't articulate it emphatically.

He moved onward, brushing past the easel in a quick burst of annoyance. Without engendering much sympathy in my suddenly vulnerable direction, he looked at Gemine and took a long breath inward to regain composure. Calming down noticeably, he quickly apologized to me, telling me that my efforts were impressive, though somewhat incomplete and unformed. It didn't take long before his underling motivation returned to question her motives directly, He complained that her unshakable focus on the esoteric painting had become a distraction. Explaining somewhat defensively that he'd observed while its divergently elaborate, deceptively hypnotic construction had surreptiously taken control and was attempting to alert her to its invisible hold over her constrained attention .

Its unexpectedly malevolent form had built to a clandestine presence, its emerging shapes silently, yet dangerously coalescing into a steep barrier that had thrown her off the proper bearing. He exhorted that he'd watched in silent fear as the picture had prodded her attention and pushed apart her focus, drifting away from her most important path. He demanded that she disperse her attention immediately. Appearing somewhat surprised but not entirely shocked, she took a step back somewhat angrily denying she'd fallen under its spell, maintaining that she held firm control throughout..Somewhat defensively, she apologized for getting caught up in the sketches and scribbles before elaborating he motivations. Explaining that she was seeking signals within my work while attempting to prevent its tangential force from taking command. Rebuffing his lack of confidence in her capabilities, she walked towards the easel and turned the page over. The shapes on the paper disengaged immediately, demonstrating how easily she maintained unquestioned control of them. .

Showing further dominion over the page, her tenor lowered as she took a moment's reflection before explaining that she wasn't squandering her prolonged efforts. Further explaining that she remained impressed by the remarkably proficient quality within my somewhat incomprehensible designs. Expressing a measure of surprise and discordance, she carefully reiterated that she couldn't easily explain the evocative forms' familiar lines and recurrent forms. This brought forth an unexpectedly wistful moment when she shared that. The unexplained phenomenon inevitably brought back distant memories she'd been unable to articulate. Examining the parameters within the reflective designs elicited an emotional response on her part, there were connotative elements that seemed guided by another hand. It was quickly becoming evident that my uncannily designs evoked a distinctive energy and inherent style she'd previously thought long departed. She couldn't precisely understand the connection between my work and the one she'd encountered in the distant past. Her emotions took over and she seemed to become disoriented and noticeably upset with the drawings. Walking past the canvas, I sensed a different force emerging from the drawings. It seemed they held more power over her than she realized.

Their strength re-energized, it became clear that she'd accidentally provoked their temporal defenses, they'd grown concerned when they encountered an unexpected visitor scrutinizing their intricate figures. Inevitably drawn in by the distinctive shapes and lines, she appeared unsettled as she articulated a disorienting conclusion. As she looked at my work, the less ambiguous it appeared. She couldn't deny that my work elicited the memories of a distant hand. It seemed that observing my largely imprecise, yet strongly connotative designs had unexpectedly invoked the unmistakable expression of a dormant spirit. She admitted that couldn't be entirely sure whether that convergent phenomenon represented a profound sign from a distant memory or an unfortunate coincidence, Whether this occurrence was preordained act or a random, reflexive manner wasn't immediately clear but it changed my perception significantly. Realized that I could possibly have arrived at the wrong conclusion about the drawing. Working without her prompt or command, It appeared the figures within the page had a measure of their own volition. Perhaps, the shapes weren't only confined to responding to her acts and could respond to an unseen, outside force, This made them much less predictable and tangentially uncontrolled than I'd anticipated. This was an unsettling realization that changed my perspective almost immeasurably; It wasn't clear how we should respond.

I looked at her for guidance or advice and seemed expressly concerned by the symbols' newfound freedom. She unexpectedly apologized, admitting that the composition held unexpected strength. Concealing it powers without determination, she admitted that its malicious presence was like visiting a ghost, if she viewed it from specific angles. Unable to further elaborate further on this strange occurrence. Firmly articulating her determination appeared to release her fears. Calming its emotive force, her constrained nervous energies appeared to radiate outward in a quick burst then quickly subsided. I wanted to run up and comfort her, but my instincts told me to stay out of the way, Watching somewhat hopelessly, I could only observe passively as she began to recover. She continued stammering around the room for several moments walking across the floor in panicky circles. This unease didn't last long and she quickly recalibrated her disposition, Looking back at the navigator, she waved him away as he began to attempt to assist her. There was no need for undue worry, she held herself. Regained composure quickly, assuring us the situation had stabilized, apologizing for the distraction she created.

Eventually, she extended her hands with firm conviction, looking erratically for a steady point in the destabilized atmosphere, waving them around discontently. She wandered around the room for balance until she finally found something tangible to hold onto. It took several moments before she was loosely grasping Gemine's hands, regaining her center. Steadying her hands, allowed her to concentrate her focus, taking in an unpronounced measure of strength from the cloaked figure. Grateful, she released a gasp of anxiety and thanked her for grabbing her before she fell into the pit, The navigator shared their sense of relief and brushed his head, and stepped forward, firmly standing tall alongside her. This unlikely connection between them allowed her to regain a shaky balance, Lingering doubts and uncertainty vanished immediately underneath this newfound trust. His durable friendship appeared to settle her nerves, reducing her worries significantly. Catching her breath and regain her center between the understanding pair, she was able to settle her shaken nerves. She regained her composure and shifted back to the mechanical elements of the painting. Reasserting command of the situation. theorized that the composition's unstructured shapes and tentative forms held surreptitious qualities that would potentially emerge in the future. Any subsequent answers might have seemed intractable or elusive, but she articulated, taking a subtle, near whispering cadence, that she was determined to find them. They didn't argue with her, instead relieved that she'd defeated the impeding consternation, dismissing the divergence she encountered as an unfortunate result of excessive conjecture and wishful projections.

Looking over my composition with an unspoken mixture of uncertainty and admiration, she continued studying  the page with unsettled perception set in place by its unusual level of confidence and  technical profanely.  She accentuated her astonishment regarding my shallow experience and diminutive age by washing her fingers above the surface in hurried motions. She remained openly confounded but inexorably curious as to how or where I'd derived presumptively mature capabilities. However, she decided that there was a reasonable explanation, unwilling to venture further into unknown permutations, purposely avoiding potentially unpleasant evocations, She underlined her attentive focus on the composition was for good reason. She'd become voluntarily enraptured by my work unprovoked so it could be effectively encouraged and cultivated by her. Deterring an adequate response took him awhile, he expressed surprise that she'd taken on an protective role and underlying appreciation of the present work and, more importantly, the implied displayed. Thinking about it a bit deeper, he nervously straightened his neck-tie, reconsidered his initial criticism and changed his mind. Eventually understanding her motivation, he apologized, explaining that he wasn't surprised by her methods after all, given her consistently generous disposition.

I noticed his arms had resumed expressing their underlying uncertainty; twitching nervously at this realization but his incomprehensible shakes became increasingly pronounced. Circling around in the air, I noticed his doubts begin to slowly take command of his inner serenity, causing unexpected commotion. After several uncoordinated minutes, he walked across toward Gemine and seemed ready to jump in the air unheeded but came to his senses, allowing himself a moment to inhale. The gust of cooling air appeared to calm his nerves momentarily. Stepping away from uncomfortable proximity towards Gemine, he swiveled around for a moment and looked askance, tilting away from her in apologetic fashion. She didn't seem bothered by his sudden uncontrolled edge and remained tranquil with his engagement, assuring him that an unseen force was battling for control. Gemine presumed that it likely derived from the supernatural composition, we'd all suffered its transitory attacks, though not at the same level or intensity. Sensing her unease beginning to lift, he relaxed and explained that he understood the fixation with the figures and her curiosity to an extent. However, her remained unhappy and expressed unease with the composition's disproportionately defensive response. It seemed to have taken on excessive powers. He said he felt alone, unsheltered and vulnerable standing outside the tower and felt somewhat abandoned by us. Extending her hand, she grasped his fingers and strongly reassured the putative Navigator that she hadn't forgotten him. She expressed undiminished appreciation for his loyalty and steadfast demeanor.
Accepting her considerate approach. he drew a breath before reiterating his most important question, asking once again why she'd allow objects covering a flat surface to maintain such a strong hold over he emotions. She'd thought about things carefully in the intervening period and concluded that she been taken in unexpectedly. Pointing in my direction to underline my limited capabilities, Gemine elaborated and said her task had begun as a form of protection. Eventually realizing that she'd probably expended excessive energy attempting to decipher my disorganized work, she turned her direction towards his direction and her eyes narrowed, signaling a determined shift in her intent, instantaneously recalibrated to focus solely in his direction. Needing no further appreciation from her, he declared that there was little additional that we'd be able to determine at that juncture. Looking past the immediate surroundings, he pointed past the room's distinct accents and back towards the vestibule beneath the entrance. He felt that it was long past the time for us to leave the composition's powers, letting the shapes slip back into its inner conniptions. He explained his theory that its restless shapes would diminish and relax, they'd eventually settle enough allow their deceptively powerful design and convergent form to settle. However, this would only happen outside a direct presence.

This passive technique seemed contradictory to how Gemine expected things to end up but his observation seemed to make sense the more she thought about it. Realizing he was following a correct yet elusive tactic, she took note and signaled that she knew he was correct. Standing up straight, she turned her steady gaze away from the canvas field. She walked quickly past the easel and left the paper to flap in the wind untouched, quickly shielding her eyes from its direct glare before pivoting directly towards the doorway. Noticing a darkly-cloaked shadow just beyond the perimeter, she impatiently realized someone else had already reached the exterior before we could respond. Signaling backward, her hands implemented a final swinging motion across the room. Gemine was hesitant to leave her comfortable location safely ensconced within the building, She looked across the room somewhat wistfully, pausing to let its atmosphere soak into her. Gazing wistfully, she began walking to join us at the exit while I kept going for several steps. She stood in front opt the canvas and looked it over, somewhat regretfully, and stared at the page flapping across the surface. Reaching out for the page. Gemine's pace weakened then faltered as her sentimental misstep led directly into its obstinate path. It didn't take long for her to realize her mistake and she turned to face us, looking away from its cognitive incursion before it could take hold.

Its fluctuations had quieted enough and she thought about rolling it up once more, but though better of trusting it. Gazing in our direction, she refocused her view in our direction, gaining enough confidence to move away from her secure room. Gemine's route narrowed directly and she crouched downward, folding her gown neatly so it wouldn't get in the way. Straightening her shoulders and leaning back, she extended her foot before effortlessly gliding across the surface. It didn't take more than a few seconds before she sprinted outward, streaking across the room before meeting us at the lower section of the perimeter. She reconnected with her trustworthy Navigator without trepidation. Grasping each others' fingers, they placed themselves alongside us, then readied themselves. It took a minute until we built enough strength to cross the breach. I felt an unexpected surge of energy burst from across the room, but we anticipated and deflected its final assault. Purposely avoiding further detrimental contact, the composition's redolent energies and pervasive insistence seemed ineffective, its surge of energy only allowed it to bounce off our backs harmlessly. With a strong sense of release from its malignant invocations, we walked silently yet somehow triumphantly underneath the opening before shutting the doorway firmly behind us. Taking several seconds, we waited for a final clasp until we sure it was safely sealed. Looking straight ahead, I noticed Gemine wistfully glancing inside the room as we extradited ourselves from its hold, narrowly forging a hasty yet prescient disengagement.

As we walked beyond the closed door, our footsteps quickened. The long, straight corridors weren't difficult for us to navigate and we moved towards the structure's exterior without encountering any further delays. Taking the lead, the Navigator held a steady pace ahead of us as we followed without premonition. We'd nearly gotten lost, trapped within the composition's frame and felt fortunate that he'd arrived at just the right time to shake our attention from its disorienting spell. Her dark cloak concealed her feet but she was able to maintain her stealthy shadow, keeping a strenuous pace alongside her companion. Her unyielding footsteps showed no signs of concern about his sudden appearance. Looking back, I noticed that Gemine was partially conflicted; somewhat appreciative while remaining somewhat uneasy about leaving her secure station within the tower. She walked a hesitant pace behind us initially. While the corridors remained somewhat constrained, I noticed the atmosphere in the routes had brightened and seemed less clouded. The surrounding temporal release infused Gemine's steps with renewed energy; as her uncertainties and reservations steadily diminished, she quickly caught up with us. We took several turns in direction traversing the tower's grounds, slowly ascending over its ramps until they flattened and expanded, their unnamed paths unfolding inexorably towards the outer section.

He didn't slow his relentless pace and precise footsteps to any degree, their consistent timing unfolded at a consistent rate. It was clear his attention was completely focused on the next objective and he allowed nothing to detract or impede his deliberate maneuvers. This made it somewhat difficult to keep up with him but we managed without getting tired. The long, repetitive hallways seemed to blend into each other as we traversed endless rows of brightly-illuminated, largely vacant halls. Its unrelenting sameness could have become discouraging but we were encouraged. His confidence didn't waver in the slightest. He never seemed to doubt his own capabilities. His demeanor remained unflappable as he forged ahead fearlessly away from the interior, relying his intuition and memory for direction. Inducing our position from within the corridors was difficult since there were no markings or visible indicators of distance or space that we could use. There was nothing in the space that made any of the sections appear distinctive from each other, the vacant walls and surfaces extended outward endlessly. It was unclear how far we'd travelled or whether we were headed in the right direction. Gemine didn't seem to have much apprehension as we walked through the featureless conveyance, tracking her steps silently as we forged ahead without meeting anything significant. I looked around and wondered if the unchanging design and seemingly endless stretches of monotony were purposely designed in order to dissuade unwelcome intruders from venturing deeper, its sameness working protect her through its unchanging visage and recurrent appearance leading to a potentially disconcerting conjecture if you didn't know precisely where you were heading.

It seemed like the long, monotonous path we followed would never change, but we seemed to have little choice in moving across its narrow field. I maintained some familiarity having gone through the tower previously, but couldn't be completely sure we were following the same path back out and precisely what awaited us. We continued walking through the long corridors for what seemed like forever until we reached a section that seemed to rise at an unexpectedly steep angle for a brief interval before arriving at another flat section.
After undertaking such an extensive effort, it came as a conciliatory relief when we finally arrived at a split in the path, where two routes diverged unexpectedly. We took a brief moment to recharge energies, when looking around, it appeared none of us wanted to take an extended rest. He didn't stop for long, shifted his feet quickly and resumed his journey. He knew precisely where he was going and wouldn't be delayed. We followed his dark blue suit quickly, he quickly departed. taking the eastern path without excessive contemplation Holding unwavering certainty about the impending direction helped us shake off the lingering haziness. Looking just ahead, I noticed her gaze fixed forward with increasing confidence and determination. Achieving a steady balance allowed her to move forcefully but she wasn't overtly aggressive, allowing him to maintain leadership of our excursion. She didn't switch location or try to take over as she'd done during their earlier encounters. Keeping a graceful distance she instead graciously walked slightly behind her companion, her trailing dark cloak shadowing her movement and protecting her from exterior elements. Appearing to trust his instincts, she didn't offer a word of intrusive concern, allowing him to sprint ahead undistracted.

Drawing inexorably closer to the outer edge of the tower, his pace visibly slowed. Scaling the final length of paths became bit trickier as the uniformly flat surface gave way to uneven steps that had to be carefully navigated. Their inconsistent formations and irregular depths required greater care but weren't excessively difficult for us to climb. Interspersed with the steps were short lengths of flat areas that were somewhat uneven, tilting slightly at their edge, creating an unexpectedly challenging portion. It required greater concentration and effort than we anticipated but we weren't going to allow these inconsistencies to defer us from walking further. It slowed us down but couldn't dissuade us, though there were a few sections where I thought I might lose my balance or trip. Fortunately, this portion of the tower wasn't as smooth or polished but remained visible and clear. A bright atmosphere went a long way making its surface relatively simple to traverse once I gained familiarity with it uneven structures. The inconsistent construction signaled that we were nearing the end of our excursion beyond the tower's imposing barriers. Its environment opened further, lending a noticeable gust that permeated the stagnant air. The blowing wind seemed to flow under our feet, propelling us past the minor barriers without causing any significant impediments. After enduing an deceptively tedious engagement within the seemingly endless corridors, we finally arrived at a flat surface that unfolded outward quickly from the each side. The constrained, unchanging path rapidly opened until we found ourselves standing firm over a flat, unobstructed plateau. Its opening provided enough space that allowed us to stretch outward, keep a larger distance from each other while walk around the immediate area with welcome flexibility. This gave us the opportunity to rest for a short intercession. Looking askance, I noticed the opaque windows alongside the outer section were noticeably brighter than before.

It appeared that the raging morning sunspots had arrived at full force, the emphatically bright unapologetically emanating from the twin suns began to predominate, suffusing the sharpening atmosphere with a diffuse yet coherent energy that was unavoidable. Gemine seemed ready to embrace the radiating daylight while the other figure drew her cloak inward, wrapping it around her body and pulling its trail above her head, wrapping herself in a protective layer. Shielding herself from the light, she managed to find a location where she could hide from view. Standing in front of the outer doorway, the Navigator seemed uncertain how to proceed exactly and set himself in firm position. I kept a slight remove and observed the surroundings while contemplating the extent of our excursion. It seemed that we'd spent days or weeks examining and thinking about the canvas. Looking outward towards the brightening horizon revealed a different frame,

The aesthetic diversion appeared to take an inordinate amount of time but in actuality, we'd only spent a modest effort contemplating the evocative design within its narrow frame, consisting of perhaps a few hours, designing, sketching then studying and observing the composition's intricate designs and hypnotic style. The strange movements and elaborate dances the figures performed seemed almost delusional from even that slight remove. It seemed that their inexplicably lively behavior and sporadic maneuvers were the result of subconscious reaction on our part, not a tangible reaction. This appeared to be the most sensible response to the permutations. None of my mysterious companions desired to bring their unnatural functionality to further elaboration.  Arriving at an unsettling realization, I came to a dispiriting conclusion that either the figures' orchestrated dances and complicated maneuvers never occurred or represented an elaborate deception.

Marginally drained by our long, mostly uninterrupted sprint across the long corridors, he took awhile to catch his breath, exhaling and inhaling rapidly into the brighter environment for a period. Kneeling down for a quick respite, he crouched downward, shut his eyes and stared at the ground. This startling moment of contrition didn't last long. He quickly rose and opened his eyes before reasserting himself The immaculately-clad personage swiveled in our direction and lightly punched his chest in a triumphant gesture, angling himself so he could see the three of us clearly. He stopped briefly and tethered himself to the ground, planting his shoes in a determined manner. Setting his placement firmly on the ground, his face took on a different expression. Becoming more fulminative than previous, his rigid determination replaced with an unexpectedly thoughtful demeanor. He seemed uncertain regarding his next action.

Looking to the sealed door behind him, he hesitated before deciding against opening it. His sudden lack of confidence was surprising, but there was definitely something holding him back. The cloaked figure seemed shaken by this strange turnaround and stepped out of the weak shadow. Unraveling the edge of her shrouds, she uncovered her face and asked him if something was wrong. This seemed to catch him off-guard and he stood silently, unable to arrive at an tangible explanation. His mute response seemed to elicit additional concern on her part and she walked a carefully measured step closer and wondered why he'd taken a sudden indecision regarding the imposing surroundings, Steering cautiously towards her, he stopped before he came to close and held his jacket closely, placing his hand across it in order to keep it in place. This seemed like a strange gesture that appeared like he was protecting something from view. Inspired by his movement, she crossed and closed their spatial proximity until she was directly in front of him. Gemine followed suit and then quickly converged beneath between their convergent placement, increasing in size until their growing shadow nearly surrounded his diminishing form. Lacking their forthright confidence, I held myself a cautious step back from the encounter, maintaining a purposeful remove and respectful distance, not wanting to intrude further into his carefully chosen location.

Standing defensively, he swirled around towards the west and crossed his arms so that they wouldn't reveal a breach. Their interference wasn't successful in divulging what her was keeping secret, but it certainly seemed important enough that he wasn't going to let go easily. Hoping that their presence nearby would be enough to dissolve his defenses, neither figure budged. The room's outer section experienced a narrow burst of light, originating from far above. It seemed to be a type of transitory burst of energy reflecting from the clouds or perhaps a stray beam from one of the suns. This illuminated a narrow path of sudden flame that momentarily filled the atmosphere from all directions. However brief, the shining interval lit a narrow portion of his jacket that revealed a hidden object he was attempting to keep from our eyes. The brief glimpse it provided revealed a strange object partially visible beneath his jacket's concisely-folded extensions. Sticking out awkwardly, its frayed edges weren't projected but their frayed edges elicited an awkward familiarity I couldn't determine at first. It had fallen out of place almost by chance, but it was obvious that he was holding something that was briefly visible when accidentally exposed. He attempted to push it back beneath his jacket pockets in order and conceal it from view, but he was too late. Its accidental appearance brought a renewed inquisitiveness from the pair who began to ask what exactly he was hiding underneath his suit. He didn't answer and held his arms outward, expressing denial. He took on a strenuously defensive tone of denial, but his loud renouncement couldn't hide what they'd seen with their own eyes.

Rushing from behind to a forceful location just ahead, he vainly attempted to deflect they attention away from his pockets and looked towards to the door and began to turn its lock, hoping to deflect their attention. Before he could open it widely, Gemine shouted at him to stop and explain what he was hiding from them and demanded to know why he was suddenly acting so secretively. He took a nervous step back from their incursion and closely crossed his arms across the jacket signaling that he needed to think about allowing them further inroads into his space. He looked at them carefully, still not entirely convinced of their motivations. He required a slight remove before determining whether he was entirely secure letting them know what he was concealing. There was an indecisive period while he contemplated their unexpected discovery. The exact ramifications weren't clear but they were important enough that he delayed making a firm decision. Her disposition grew unsettled as she became unexpectedly impatient and spoke up in order to reassure him that they meant nothing harmful or intrusive. Making the point in concrete fashion. Bowing slightly, she quickly stepped back away from him to allow some space. She concluded by articulating that the decision to unsheathe the mysterious object was his alone. Gemine agreed and mirrored her steps, taking her place slightly further back into the room. He thought about it for a moment, weighing his options relatively quickly before coming to a trusting acquiescence. Without causing additional delay, he decided to take a risk, rummaging through his jacket before grabbing the object.

Reluctantly pulling a thin, frayed sheet from his immaculately-pressed suit, its surface was noticeably worn. Its somewhat faded edges revealed a largely intact illustration when he fully unfolded the paper. The front section  appeared marginally deformed, somewhat torn and debased by age and exposure. Its surface looked somewhat discolored and stained, resulting in a withered and fragile appearance. Handling it carefully, he opened the page divided between four sections until it was fully extended. There was nothing on the facing surface that changed when he turned it over. Its reverse-side revealed a strange sight that I hadn't expected, but recognized to a degree I couldn't anticipate. Residing quietly, a vaguely familiar portrait emerged as he held its face upward toward the light. Somewhat weakened and lightened by the elapsed period, the figure retained a mesmerizing brilliance, undiminished by time. The mysterious face invoked didn't appear upset in the slightest by the prolonged absence of attention, unchanged by the elapsed intervals between viewing. She held a translucent radiance, with long flowing hair, enigmatic eyes and an alluring expression that immediately created a formative emotional connection.

It required several moments before I remembered where I'd seen that face before. I thought back to our excursions over the turbulent ocean and odd portfolio we uncovered. The fevered repetition and unyielding focus on a single subject was emotive and unnerving. The unknown creator's portraits made them appear simultaneously timeless and immediate, their constrictive focus left an enduring impression within the subconscious. Looking at the enigmatic figure after a prolonged exposure to her design, brought unexpected meaning to the portrait. elicited a strange complicity between them. The composition and portrait shared disorienting similarities in design with recurring shapes and forms visible in each. The portrait appeared far more detailed and vibrant than I recalled, but I recognized similar lines and flourished that occurred, revealing themselves almost within the figure's placid facial expression, flowing hair and especially its haunting eyes. I was taken aback by their aesthetic connections. I couldn't be entirely sure without making direct comparisons, but the coincidental similarities appeared far too pronounced to be explained away as random occurrences.
The portrait's background consisted of any number of parallels and coordinated designs I couldn't have foreseen. I was impressed that he had the foresight and premonition to hold onto the wordlessly conversant relic.

I realized he'd managed slipping it from the stack of similarly esoteric drawings we'd found without making a sound and held onto it all this time. Precisely why he'd kept and protected it and why he'd chosen this particular illustration was a mystery my eyes couldn't begin to comprehend. Startled and unnerved by these discordant question, I wanted to ask what he was doing. The navigator brushed right past my curious visage without explanation and didn't appear seriously concerned with my thoughts in the slightest. She'd seen the picture as well and probably wouldn't have much insight to offer. Instead, he moved past us and held it directly in front of Gemine. Holding the portrait outright, he asked directly whether she recognized the figure commutated within. She hadn't anticipated his question but looked at the mysterious figure intently for a minute. Intoning with some regret, she told him somewhat sadly that she had no idea who the composition endorsed. he held it up to the light and let the surrounding energy infuse it for a moment before quickly shielding it beneath his jacket, away from the direct impact of the intensifying suns' unyielding beams.

Finding vanishingly legible enunciation of the portrait's unspoken mysteries didn't seem to surprise or upset his expectations. Gemine seemed sympathetic to his plight asked him if he had any intuitions as to who the figure might represent. He seemed reluctant to share and only provided a vague answer that he thought the drawing might not be strictly reflective. He felt that the figure might have crossed his path as a purely representational decision by the artist, it may not have implied someone specifically. This explanation didn't seem adequate, and felt more evasive than illuminative. She kept position at a secure remove, keeping herself within a constrictive field, away from outside intrusions. This allowed her a sensible distance, but her pronounced reluctance became disengaging when she drew closer to the developing afternoon. Emerging from the shroud of her long, dark cloak, she seemed somewhat unsure how to proceed into the broadening light. She didn't roll its flowing robes back and didn't extend her arms, maintaining a conditional purpose within the room without revealing herself. I was half-expecting her to slide her convergent-light machine into the broadening sunlight and show its hidden capabilities, but she resisted any temptation to reveal more of its clandestine attributes than necessary.

Walking deliberately just ahead of him, she stood in place and held closely to her visibly detached position. Unwilling to draw further attention she motioned away from herself, extending her fingers towards the frayed portrait and reminded him that there was a specific reason. Why his assumptions might not be accurate. She pointed out that they'd discovered a large number of illuminative portraits of the same personage, it seemed unlikely to her mind that the drawings were fanciful abstractions or illustrative inventions. She admonished him for avoiding making a direct comparison between the drawings. Outlining their coincidental paths and designs, she pointed out that there were almost certainly instructive elements they held within. After listening to his extensive lecture, she implied that his vision was far too literal, and told him should look beyond the immediate forms. This would allow him think more broadly about its underlying purpose and accompanying implications. He nodded appreciatively but it wasn't immediately obvious how implementing her approach would alter his perspective. Upon further reflection, she firmly advised him to avoid getting distracted by the portrait's details. Gemine seemed to a agree for the most part but didn't appear entirely convinced that he should entirely dismiss the visible similarities. Gemine was somewhat doubtful that he'd be able to transcend his narrow perspective but didn't seem overly skeptical, She instead implying that she hoped he'd see that there was a more profound inspiration at work that exceeded what initial, surface appearances might indicate.

Waiting carefully to ponder her commands, he hesitated before jumping to misguided insinuations. Reserving enough confidence to proceed, he cautiously and deliberately discarded his frustratingly indecisive determinations. He was able to adjust his perspectives quickly to flexibility arrive at less rigid, and non-conditional response. Broadly theorizing, the Navigator conceded that there were multiple possible explanations behind its meaning and origin, which would explain their contradictory determinations. He admitted a lack of clarity regarding many aspects of the portrait but remarked that it held a mysterious power over him. Maintaining a confusing hold, the portrait built enticing mystery that divergent thoughts were unable to fully dislodge. Explaining that he'd spent an exorbitant amount of time staring into the subject's unblinking eyes, looking for answers, Her found himself caught in an unexplained hypnosis by her timeless gaze. It held a subliminal power over his imagination, eluding his attempts to decipher its precise emanations. Recognizing the parallels between our works only seemed induce untold curiosity. The convergent designs further motivated him to keep attempting to decipher its innumerable uncertainties. Gemine appeared surprised but intrigued with his extensive contemplation and asked him to elaborate further. Shaking his head sadly, he said he'd been unable to venture further into the portrait's silent conversation without further detail. Finally, he trepidatiously admitted that its power had gradually become overwhelming and he had to stop looking so intently for his own protection.

His realization that the fragment of paper retained so much power over him caught her unprepared at first. Ruminating carefully about his predicament, she thought it silently before asking him if he knew what motivated his protection. She wasn't sure why he'd hold such an unsettling and potentially dangerous portrait so close to him. He struggled to answer her and looked around the room incoherently, away from us. Quickly shifting his eyes in all direction to avoid direct contact with us. Struggling to come up with a sensible response, his carefully reinforced defense finally collapsed. He was silent for an uneasy period until he finally admitted that nothing could really explain the source of the portrait's persistent hold over his consciousness. His demeanor changed from unshakably determined to somewhat despondent. He revealed with a measure of profound embarrassment that he feared that it's continued presence guarded and concealed within his suit up to that point wasn't entirely voluntary, its continued hold instead the result of an upsetting premonition. Lowering his tone with slowing enunciation, his eyes began turning away from us to evade connection with our eyes, He kept avoiding our intrusive gaze, tilting his head downward apologetically. Finally he spoke, evenly without the same confidence he held earlier. He sounded nearly despondent, regretfully conveying an unsettling elicitation. It occurred unexpectedly as he stared at the portrait inexplicably. He found himself repeatedly pulled into its field, submerging beneath its relentless currents for a extended period. He'd grown increasingly convinced that he felt an unarticulated insistence emanating from the unchanging, static, and substantially-aged portrait. He'd grown increasingly yet improbably convinced the mysterious figure might be alive, patiently waiting for our arrival at an undefined point in an undetermined manner. Turning to us in an unexpectedly emotional moment, he asked if we could help find her.

- Michael Palisano