They stayed for several months in the wonderful forest where
time didn't flow. The shadow that touched Nlaminer in that Realm
flight was not leaving easily. He felt almost jealous observing
Ezoxu and Rhissa talking merrily, but the whispering voice was
melting away. He wandered about; he did not dare to hunt, nor was it
necessary. His head was spinning with all he learnt here and he sat
singing his songs or playing the flute... sometimes he did that far
from the gray house. He felt the essence of this world: calmness and
8. A gift and a door
One day they woke up simultaneously. Without a word, they
took their belongings. Rain had poured through the night,
quiet and steady, as everything here was. Rhissa took his hand and in
the same instant they found themselves standing in the familiar well-like
place, with thirty six mirrors glaring at them coldly. For some time they
did not realize there was a subtle white glow around them. It seemed to
be constant, as if it were a farewell gift from their host.
"I forgot to say farewell to him," Nlaminer muttered.
"No need," Rhissa echoed back. "We will never need to say
farewell to him. We will meet from time to time."
Nlaminer went to the nearest wall and grasped the obsidian amulet
hanging on his neck. His homeworld... he sighed but could not let
these memories flow away. They moved before his eyes like distant
fog-covered peaks of the mountains, always on the horizon, formless
and unreachable. Rhissa's voice called him back. "Nlaminer ! It
opens !" He opened his eyes. The mirror melted away; a wonderful
land was before their eyes; different from the quiet Ezoxu land but
nonetheless breathtaking. He was about to step over the boundary
between the worlds when a sudden thought struck him deeply. "No."
He pulled Rhissa back. "We will not enter."
His eyes radiated such a strange light Rhissa did not venture to
protest. After a while the entrance dimmed and disappeared; a mirror,
still cold and impenetrable blocked their way.
"It's my homeworld," he whispered and sat on the floor; Rhissa
sat beside him, speechless, holding his hand tightly. "If I pass, I
bring him with me." Marrkes do not weep; but his sorrow was dark and
painful. "He left a spy deep inside me, Rhissa. If I show him any
weakness, he will strike. I shouldn't leave this place until I force
him back." His words thundered with unexpected might and a globe
above them flashed like a small sun. They ignored it and sat
until the cold had left their hearts.
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