Her craft was unlike any others. She worked with the same materials but by some magic she made things that were so beautiful it could make a man cry. She could make something so terrifying it would protect the person who owned it. She could create something comforting for those who could find no solace.
She wove her magic into the metals, stones, cloth and fill creating creatures and objects of clockwork so wonderful that people from miles and miles around sought her out. The Kingdoms wanted her for their army, the kings to marry their sons. With the whole world being offered up at her feet, Minerva refused to accept what everyone else could not. Instead she chose to devote her life and art to the unfortunate. The shop back door became an altar for offerings of kind words in return for charms of good fortune.
Minerva was a witch with the kindest soul. A force of nature who could not be stopped if the scales ever tipped out of balance, but she never liked to be the cause of harm even if it was for the greater good.
She lived a life of solitude in her tiny shop, her creations were the only company she regularly kept. The shop window was the home to a tiny golden tabby whose fur shone brilliant and golden in the warm afternoon sun as it warmed itself. It was a sight to see this tiny golden kitten that would never grow to be anything more. Emerald eyes would peer out from beneath heavy lids when the children tapped at the window panes interrupting his nap. He would let out a tiny meow in distaste that always made Minerva laugh from her workbench.
“You know Callian,” She said not bothering to look away from her work, “it’s your own fault.”
Callian meowed back at her narrowing his faceted eyes at her.
“Well it’s true. If you do not wish to be disturbed you shouldn’t display yourself in the window like you do.” He meowed once more. “Don’t sass me young man. Go sleep in the bedroom if you are so annoyed, the sun comes in just the same up there. I think you just secretly enjoy the attention.”
Callian grumbled tucking his head back onto his paws and returning to his laziness. She glanced at him stifling the laughter that bubbled up in her throat as the children cooed outside the window because she could just barely see the smile on her strange cat’s face.
“Now where were we?” she asked herself turning back to her work. A large sheet of paper was sprawled across the surface covered in plans and drawings of gears and movements. There were material samples pinned to the corners of the paper ranging from copper to silver, silk to muslin. “Hmm, we could do that. We could make you of porcelain, how do we feel about that, hmm? Be soft and delicate, but beautiful and graceful. Although…”
Minerva dug through a pile of things on the workbench adjacent to the one she was working on looking for one sample in particular. The previously pristine stacks of materials toppled over as she searched through leaving the once organized space in complete and utter ruin. A corner stuck out from the very bottom of the tallest pile and Minerva gasped delightedly as she tugged it from its hiding place sending the tower to the floor in return.
“Yes, yes this is more fitting.” She spoke once more to seemingly nothing as she ran the small thin scrap between her fingers. “Yes much more fitting. We will make you of bronze for strength, and this…this will mark your appearance. It’s a new material, made of some form of silica. Soft and pliable but just as tough as any real skin.”
“Your tea, Mistress.” the words startled her and she clutched her chest. Laughing she retrieved the tea cup from the silver tray in the butler’s hands. His head cocked to the side mechanically ticking slightly with his inner mechanics.
“Thank you Jarvis.”
“Did I startle you, Mistress?”
“Yes…well no. You know how I get my dear.”
“Is this the new project?”
“Yes, dear it is.” Minerva sipped her tea swiveling her chair to face her creation. “What do you think?”
“I cannot rightly say, Mistress.”
“Oh come now, Jarvis.” Minerva smiled gently. He was the only family she had and respected him greatly even if he was created in her workshop. She didn’t want to push and make him uncomfortable, so instead asked “What color hair do you think she should have?”
“Well…” Jarvis started, thinking a moment as his eyes telescoped into focus on the samples near the edges of the paper. “What about this one, Mistress?”
Jarvis took a mechanical step forward placing a finger onto a raven black sample of silk threads. He absentmindedly touched his own head where strands of the matching silk had been combed back neatly.
“That’s a wonderful choice!” Minerva clapped her hands together smiling lovingly at Jarvis. “Looks like she will be like your little sister.”
Minerva circled the sample with a red pencil to mark the decision. Jarvis straightened up beaming at the prospect of having a little sister. Gently he set town the tea tray and hugged his creator. Minerva laid her hand against his arms and laid her head against his chest listening to movements of his heart ticking away in his chest.
“Now what was that for, dear?” Minerva inquired straightening herself in her chair and taking Jarvis’ hands in her own.
“I’m just very happy, Mistress.” Jarvis replied calculatedly. “I am happy to have a family.”
“I’m happy to.” Minerva beamed. “No one should ever go through life alone. Everyone deserves to have a family and as much as treat you as my son and my family I know I am not the same as you. You should have more than just your crazy mother in your life, right?”
Jarvis chuckled his laughter the deep chiming of a grandfather clock. Minerva laughed with him pushing a stray curl back into the unruly bun atop her head. Callian lifted his head over in the window squinting at them in annoyance grumbling.
“Do not worry, Callian.” Jarvis laughed going over to stroke the sunning cat. “You are my family too. We do share the same crazy mother.”
The pair lost themselves in a fit of laughter once more and Callian purred rubbing his head against Jarvis’ polished bronze fingers.
“I have one more question for you both.” Minerva breathed catching her breath as the laughter subsided. “As she is to be a part of our family, I want to have you help decide on her name. I’m thinking Persephone.”
Jarvis and Callian looked at one another with matching expressions that seemed to say “Really, why?”
“No to Persephone then.” Minerva scratched off something on her paper, which the two could only assume was a name. “How about-”
“Aura.” Jarvis interjected hand flying to his mouth surprised at his speaking out of turn. “I’m very sorry I didn’t mean-”
“No, no.” Minerva waved him off with a smile. “No need to apologize. Aura. Aura. Aura. Hmm…yes I love it. I think that will be just perfect!”
She grinned from ear to ear as she transcribed the name onto the page in swirling script above the plans.