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The Guardian
10. Alone in the mist

As the Palace before, the Theater was splendid and magnificient.

Nlaminer saw nothing that would be appropriate for a theater still.

Passages and corridors went round and round, spiraling to some mysterious underground void. Many doors, all of them locked. There was nobody around, though he heard voices and music, and all sounds of normal undisturbed life. To hear it here, it was weird, too.

He spent a hour to make a trip around the outermost passage. He wouldn't descend down any staircases yet. If he found nothing new and returned to the bridge entrance, he would think of visiting some other floors. He had water enough to live here for several days; and little food, too. He thought of Rhissa and frowned. What if she is also in some stone labyrinth, with no water, no food, nothing at all but her vivid spirit and clerical skills ? Well, right now he could do nothing. He sent her his greetings... hoping she will feel them, and stepped on staircase. Like the passage he had just left, it was lit by a light globes attached to the walls. The walls were of a very fine carving, with textures rich and interesting. Whoever built this Theater, he had excellent imagination.

Radial passages crossed the lower round passage. He saw human-like and other figures coming through the passages in the distance; the air was a bit dusty but not stagnant. He tried to open the first door he saw on the curving wall and it opened easily.

It looked exactly as he could imagine it. A decent room in some small inn far away from big cities. Fireplace with several logs burning, a supper on a silver dish that waited for him. Sleeping room and bathroom were farther, behind fine oaken doors. He closed the door behind him and approached the table. A card, made of glistening paper was lying on the dish. It said: 'The room is reserved for Nlaminer rad Haorsst, voyager.

Uaron, the Manager.' Nlaminer fell into chair and burst into laughing. He laughed until his throat began to pain. The whole scene was so unexpected he could not help laughing... Then he stood, waited for several seconds and said, "My best regards, Mr. Uaron. I appreciate you care very much." He tried to sound as earnest as he could. Then he thought.

This Uaron, whoever he was, should know much about this place... For Nlaminer it was more Inn than Theater. He looked at the dish and felt a terrible hunger in the same instant.

He ate with much appetite. The tension of the last events had consumed too much energy. When he finished, he visited the bathroom to clean himself. His fur was so untidy... and his comb was lost somewhere between the worlds. After a while he managed to create more elegant appearance and returned to the fireplace.

The silver dish vanished. Instead, a small silver key was lying on the table. Nlaminer took it; it was almost weightless. A strange thing indeed. He shrugged and sat in the chair.

The first thing he would like to do was to understand where he is and where is Rhissa. He was quite a novice in the mental journeys and the rite gave him sensation these journeys need special training to perform.

The second thing was to learn how he could leave this place and visit any other. Preferably, to find Rhissa, wherever she was now.

The third thing was to learn what so-called Toxxar was doing and why he ceased to pursue him. He felt no mental oppression any more.

That was pleasant, but was giving unquiet feelings, too.

I should find Uaron, he decided. After I rest for a while. Beside the warm fireplace, in the comfortable chair he soon was dozing. His mind was gathering efforts to find a solution to the three problems.

Meanwhile his body rested.

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-- mecenat --

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