There was a very nicely equipped tailoring room that Douglas spent most of his time in. He had a pretty good idea what most of the things were for- cloth and thread and needles all made sense. There were some constructions that were probably for holding clothing still while it was being worked on. Douglas hoped nothing important was missing, because he would have no idea what to ask for. Not that he needed it anyway but it might help him maintain the pretense he was actually doing the repairs.
Well, he was repairing things, just not with actual tools. And even though it was magic, he did need some of the things in the area. For example, if there was an actual hole in something and not just a rip, he needed cloth to replace it. Magic didn’t just create something from nothing. Everything that seemed like it did- such as fire or light- was just manipulating the world to make it that way. At best, magic could create temporary physical or intangible effects.
Outside of his work- which was actually mostly sitting in a room doing nothing- Douglas got a large amount of paper and ink as well as a blank book. With that, he was creating his own spellbook. He didn’t have many spells memorized- he was fortunate that his repair spell had been one. Beyond that, he had to recreate the spells from the basic words he knew. That included making them fit for him to use by turning the words of the spell into a wordimage that he could actually invoke. Once the spell was finally done on his papers, he would copy it into his book… and then the paper was burned in the fireplace.
Douglas hoped that he seemed like a crazy eccentric instead of someone who was actually hiding something. He couldn’t actually say what would happen if he was found out to be a wizard. It wasn’t like Scoubar had gotten anywhere close to Irieby yet. The only thing he was concerned about was people like the Bakers. Well, the parents anyway. They had turned him in to save themselves… except it didn’t seem that the soldiers from Scoubar were actually going to do anything to them. It was just out of petty revenge for what happened to Theo… even though he had been the one to want to learn magic. Beyond that, nobody could have imagined it would bring something horrible on him like having his tongue cut out. People just made no sense… and so Douglas decided it was better to just be skilled at repairing tailoring. At least nobody was really concerned about tailors one way or another as long as the work got done.
Outside of his workroom, Douglas had his own room. It was small… in comparison to many of the other rooms in the manor. It was still bigger than his part of the tower had been and also bigger than the servant’s rooms. The servants were what made Douglas actually believe going with the countess was a good idea. They were well taken care of with good places to stay as well as decent food and pay. There were high but not unreasonable expectations of their work.
The servants were Douglas’ only friends during his time at the manor so far. Douglas wasn’t interested in being friends with the countess anyway. She was fine… but her eyes saw too much. Frankly, Douglas wasn’t that interested in being friends with the servants either… it was just there was nothing else to call them. He certainly didn’t dislike them, but he couldn’t exactly have a casual conversation with them. They could all read so that gave him the chance to have a conversation at all but writing wasn’t good for conversations. As for less casual things, Douglas had no desire or ability to chat about tailoring… and he didn’t think anyone had the expertise to speak with him about magic. Even if they did, he wouldn’t want to let on that he knew it.
That was something else he couldn’t directly ask about. Were there no other wizards who could cast repair magic in the countess’ region? Surely there must have been. However, there was no way to bring it up. He did have the chance to browse through the library after work… but that didn’t have any of the sort of information he cared about. It was just tons of information about politics and nations and all that sort of junk. He did read up on Scoubar and Vospia… since Scoubar seemed to have become relevant to him.
Then of course there were the lessons in Vospian. His teacher was an old man who walked with a cane- Stephan Lowry. He couldn’t speak, so it was just the teacher speaking to him- sometimes in Vospian- and then him writing responses. The teacher might also give written questions. The alphabet was easy enough to pick up- most of the letters were structurally the same with similar sounds. The teacher seemed to prefer making him read fancy script, but it wasn’t hard to memorize that stylization as well. It was nothing compared to magic runes and the necessary precision for them.
Vospian seemed to be a very formal language. Perhaps that was just the perspective he was learning- after all, the countess had chosen mister Lowry. At first, he had spoken very slowly to Douglas, assuming like many others that he was stupid just because he was dumb… that is, because he was mute. He wasn’t interested in explaining that magic had taken his voice away along with his mother’s life, for a number of reasons.
Once mister Lowry realized Douglas could learn quickly, he still spoke slowly… but just in a natural way. He was very clear with his intonation. It wasn’t of any use for Douglas to pronounce things, but it helped him mentally grasp what the language sounded like. After a certain point, the entirety of the lesson was in Vospian. After much practice listening, when the countess came to test Douglas on his learning he was able to grasp her much quicker speech. He wasn’t sure why she cared, but perhaps she just wanted to know her money wasn’t going to waste.
That said, Douglas couldn’t say it wasn’t being wasted. There were so many dresses… he knew she got a new one for every ball and party which seems to be almost weekly. Not all of the dresses he repaired were hers, however. He could tell that some of them were for taller or shorter or… wider… women. That made sense, because the countess wasn’t so careless as to damage even the admittedly delicate fabrics she wore as often as he got something to repair.
He wasn’t being paid multiple gold per dress… but he was being paid more than his father had made repairing tools for the villagers in Pendle. More per day, more per single repair spell… though he supposed it was a bit tricky to connect every single thread together. It took quite a bit of visualization along with the basic part of the spell itself. It was quite good practice, however. Being able to focus on his magic instead of worrying about whether he could get a meal or sleep in a bed did wonders for his ability to actually learn. When he made a mistake, he could just try again later.