She and the old man were always speaking of scientific inquiry, their version of alchemy. It just wasn’t clear how this specific experiment would be of any value.

I was at the top of the mountain with my Mistress and the old lunatic she referred to as Maestro.

At a summit some distance away, I could see that creepy man, the one who always dressed in black watching us. He was never far where ever my Mistress went. His cape flayed in the wind and his shoulder-length hair undulated like a castle’s flag.

Look,” my Mistress had said in her usual strange humor, “I have a personal weathercock.”

Hee hee,” the old man giggled. “Weathercock!”

It was an odd combination. He had eyes that spoke of madness, a weathered face that evoked the passage of many decades, and he giggled like a small boy amused by the sight of his own wiggling toes.

Of course, I did not understand. The words were simple enough, but even after a few years with her, there was a huge cultural divide. At least that’s what she called it.

She tucked her hair behind her ear, a gesture that mystified me because she had cut her hair so very short that you could barely run your fingers through it. I think it was phantom hair – like phantom limb syndrome.

A weathercock is an instrument used to measure wind direction,” she told me. “Typically they are built as architectural ornaments, a type of functional sculpture, and placed at the highest point of a structure.”

It seemed to me that the world my Mistress had come from was full of strange contradictions and senseless traditions, but also obsessed with incredibly odd and useless things they called science.

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