As I floated there at the window, Dinlas’ face began to fade. Everything around me seemed to disappear into a greyish haze. “Come child,” I heard the old woman whisper into my mind, “’tis time fer ya ta be comin’ back now. Listen to ma voice and follow it home.” The pull of her tone drew me back into my own body. The vision was over.

I tried to sit up on the bed, but dizziness overwhelmed me and I fell back. The old woman slowly helped me sit up and handed me another cup of tea. I knew this one was to help me regain my composure and I willingly accepted. I inhaled the sweet-smelling steam of Tamalian flower and Montacili tree sap. The aroma helped lift the fog in my head and I began to recall my experience.

I closed my eyes and could see his world as clear as I had in my vision. “Who is he, Mother?”, I asked not really wanting an answer.

The old woman smirked as she watched my face. “You know who ‘e is, child. ‘e’s the son of one who causes men’s’ blood to turn cold. ‘e’s the reason women poison their husbands and men destroy their own lives. ‘e’s the offspring of life’s opposition…in ‘is realm. Here? In this realm, ‘e’s no more powerful than anyone else. ‘e is, however, much more clever than most who end up here. In fact, ya might want ta get back to yer bar. Seems he’s figured out how ta get what ‘e wants.”

The old woman helped me stand up and make my way to the table. She gave me something to eat to help me regain my strength. I didn’t know what I’d find at the tavern, but I did have to get back. As I finished up the last of my meal, the old woman reached into a bag. “You’ll be needin’ this.”, she said, handing me a gemstone necklace.

“I have one.”, I said, reaching up to my neck and finding nothing there. “My gemstone’s gone. What the hell?” I began to panic knowing I’d had it on when I got here.

“Aye, child, ya had one. But now ya don’t. Good thing I happen to have extras. Now, get yerself back to yer bar. And be sure to take the napkin off the mirror.” I had no idea what she was talking about but agreed.

I grabbed the gemstone and thought about the tavern. Being in the old woman’s cabin meant I wouldn’t have to return through that damn forest and deal with all her little henchmen. I thanked the old woman and headed for the door.

“One more thing, child,” she called out, “remember that things aren’t always as they seem. What is true in one perspective, is a lie in another.”

I smiled at my mentor and headed through the door. I emerged on the other side in my busy little tavern.

I walked over to the mirror and found the napkin the old woman had told me to grab. There was a note scrawled in pencil, “Hey, me, it’s me. I’m not sure what happened, but some guy was in here saying we’d already met. He’s got a necklace.”

How the hell could he have gotten a necklace. My necklace. It was around my neck at the old woman’s place, then it was gone. I looked over at the hook by the door when it hit me. He’d figured out how to work the Verse. But that was impossible. It took many of us several lifespans to figure out how to work the Multi-Verse and most of us still hadn’t figured it all out.

There were two things I needed to know. I needed to figure out who this other person was that Dinlas seemed to be looking for and I needed to know more about that stone of his. I would need to visit the library of the Philosophical Fathers. If there was anything known about this Eye of Charon, I’d find the answer there.

The next thing I needed to do was figure out where Dinlas and his query had gone. There were literally millions of places they could have ended up, not all of them fun places to be. My best option wouldn’t be for me to go to them, but bring them to me. The Fathers would know how to do that as well.

This Dinlas character was really beginning to get under my skin.

~~*~~*~~

Image by Jan Steiner from Pixabay

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