Книги о Ралионе
  Энциклопедия Ралиона

The Guardian
8. A gift and a door

"Welcome, strangers," Rhissa read a small plaque on the wall of a house. "I've seen this somewhere before..."

After they walked the path for several hourse, it descended into a valley; just near a small lake a beautiful gray house was built, made of fine marble. The door was not locked. Besides the plaque, written in Thalen, they saw nothing unusual. A small garden surrounded the house. The windows were curtained and no sounds came from inside. Yet the valley did not seem deserted.

Nlaminer knocked. The door immediately opened. "Come in," a voice called from within. As they stepped in, Nlaminer had time to notice the plaque had vanished without a trace.

"Come in," the voice was pleasant and resonant. They passed down a wide corridor and entered a hall, decorated with runic inscriptions.

A low end table stood near two large windows; the host of the house was sitting on the floor. He was robed and first they saw nothing but a humanlike figure. Then he stood and turned to them.

Rhissa saw a wisened old Haans, with darkened scale and vivid, flaming eyes. Nlaminer saw a Marrkes sage, with snowwhite fur and gray eyes. The host sat and gestured, inviting them to sit, too. Cozy wooden chairs appeared beside them. The host went to the windows and pulled away curtains. Sunlight filled the hall.

"I am rarely visited here," he said. Rhissa heard hissing overtones; Nlaminer heard resonant 'r's. "Well, first I think you should tell me your names."

"I think you know them," Rhissa stood up and Nlaminer rose, too.

"I'm Rhissa Thalasshes and Shiora, the Cleric Watcher and High Priest of Naata. This is my friend in Unity, Nlaminer rad Haorsst." Nlaminer shuddered when he heard her spelling 'friend in Unity'. "But our titles and abilities are nothing to you, Ezoxu the Wise."

The figure laughed. "No, you are wrong. You earned your titles; besides, you are the ones mastering the fate of your world now. No, Rhissa, it's just a tradition. I do not use my powers of knowledge here at home."

Nlaminer shuddered again. "This is your home ?" he asked with much reverence.

Ezoxu nodded. "My race left this world long ago; it was left ever young and glorious. I doubt there is anyone of my race near. But the world still lives and I live here, too."

Rhissa bowed slightly again and stood silently. Nlaminer felt as if he were in a dream. Ezoxu sat. "You are guests here; no need to pray to me. I hear you quite well."

His eyes narrowed as he smiled. "Speak to me as you'd speak to any other, Nlaminer. If you think gods only sit on thrones casting mighty spells, you are wrong. We all were mortal beings like you. I like living here just like any of you would. So don't be afraid. The task you are solving is great and probably you will return some day to your world. Until then, be my guests." He stood and added, "Please excuse me; I will return soon." He walked noiselessly out of the hall.

Nlaminer said in a low voice, "You never told me that you are a High Priest, Rhissa."

"Well, you never asked me," and she laughed. "If you think it's quite usual for me to speak to gods, you are wrong. I'm also feeling like I am in a dream. If he came with thunders and flames, roaring his words and being a hundred feet tall, I would be less astonished. But he never uses lightnings and flames. His domain is knowledge."

"I know," Nlaminer replied thoughtfully. "I feel I could question him day and night. He would soon become tired."

Rhissa smiled mysteriously. "We shall see."

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