Within the house the king also held his sword, until his host insisted he put it away. Help had been given, he was assured. He would soon be safe.
A polished wooden egg almost the size of his head was placed upon the floor in an upper room, from which all furniture had been cleared. His host pressed a small button on one side. A section of the side of the egg slid out. Like a puzzle box, she twisted and pressed it and more panels and rods slid one by one from the egg. The king watched as it began to spread across the floor. From fine circles carved into the wood, wooden columns rose. These too bore designs and from them wooden steps and spokes emerged. By now the shifting mechanism was much larger than the original egg had been. The king stepped back to avoid an unfurling flower of polished boards.
There was a table now, and stools arranged along one edge. A cupboard had appeared and as it slid open, there was elaborate glassware within such as an alchemist might use. There was a wooden arch with a door in it. To this last, the king’s host beckoned him. Beyond was another room, surely extending well beyond the room of the manor into which the egg had unfolded.
The king understood now how he was to be hidden.
The Veshar searched the manor and soon enough found the king’s rescuer. Sword to her throat, she told him at once what he already suspected. The king was here, but had recently fled to Bylignion. Sheathing his sword, the Veshar Verlaine ran to his horse and rode East.
The laboratory egg is a puzzle egg which unfolds into an alchemist’s laboratory. Accomplishing this is a difficult process, but requires no sorcerous skill and anyone can be taught to do it in an afternoon.
The egg was made by Xoane Malthene with the aid of a number of powerful allies and servants. It is said that he himself was able to continue the unfolding process to expand the laboratory into a complete wooden castle.
It is entirely possible to refold the egg with objects or even people inside it and they will not be harmed. However, unfolding the egg is not possible from within, so for a person to permit themselves to be contained in this way requires no small degree of trust.
Although the laboratory is quite small, it is typically kept well stocked by the egg’s owners and is sufficient for any work that a skilled alchemist might wish to carry out.
Despite seemingly combining the great arts of the Lossanbrant, Malthene never travelled there and studied under none of the human masters of those arts. In the later years of the age of exploration its provenance was frequently misunderstood for this reason.