For three hours he and Fathala had carefully explained why Eric and Leif had set out from the pole. “Might be there are women of age who’d like to go, but not here in this camp, we have duties to perform.” she winked, eyeing the younger Polen suspiciously. Clearly he had looked at her, and seemed to drink up the sight he beheld, but he showed no further interest after their initial encounter. All the while he was sulking by himself, sitting a little off from his father. “The bane, as you call it, is still on Naga’na, the top of the Pyramid, but I wonder what good it’ll do any of us.” An exchange of glances between Fathala and Eric happened faster than Leandra realized, the two turned to Leif. “Tell me how that bane works son.” both spoke as one. Perplexed the young eunuch knight stared back them. “I,” he coughed, “I don’t,” he shook his head, clearly his anger showed in his eyes. The wench called me son! How dare she? “Bugger you.” he rose and trudged from the room.Outside the bay the waters were at unrest, constantly waves danced after waves, sending specks of light in all directions. The layout of the bay provided shelter from the waves, the water inside was perfectly still. Until disturbed by a pebble, skidding across the surface. Who does she think she is? Because she’s bedding father doesn’t make her my mother!Followed by another.And this stupid bafoon let her call me son without a word! Lost his eyes, and senses for what’s important, because of a wet fish cunt! Makes me glad I was cut!And yet another. Gods I wish I wasn’t cut. A fourth stone rested in hand. His gaze fixed on a small heap of land rising out of the still waters of the bay. A single fir stood on it, straight as if it had been planted there. Its reflection pointing in the opposite direction. Hypnotized by the perfect symmetry Leif let the pebble fall back on the ground. I wonder, is there an opposite? One that doesn’t involve me being cut. One in which I’m not always humiliated? His field of vision narrowed, only the island with the tree and its mirror image remained. “Admit yourself the fall.” a voice seemed to call out to him.Next he knew he was falling face forward to the water surface, a dark brown feather the size of his arm danced by on the still water.”Forgive him,” Eric started as Leif had stormed from the room. “he is young.” Fathala continued. Suspiciously Leandra narrowed her eyes. “You oft talk as one.” she squinted as if she wanted to see against a shining light, with her right hand she waved to a man that was standing close by, he too then looked at them with squinted eyes. After a moment he gasped and shook his head. “You didn’t!” he exclaimed, seemingly shocked by what he saw. “Didn’t you receive any training my good sir?” he addressed Eric.Feeling caught Eric explained how he came to being trained in his gift.”Humans, Albin and Fungals have rigorous training to prohibit the magi of their cultures from doing what you did!” Kanthaz folded his hands. “Although the length and depth of that training varies from race to race, and in our culture the aspired profession, one thing is taught to all: do not melt your minds! Do not touch your minds!” he looked at Fathala, hoping the Naga had a similar training on Naga’na. By her expression alone he could tell that they had not. “You.can lose yourself in the other, completely.” the two of them exchanged a long glance.Sudden realisation came upon both of them. “It’s too late to turm back, the thoughts left in your mind, like footprints, will grow.” each told the other. A smile appeared on their lips. “We never knew.” Eric turned to the Albin priest. “Thank you for your enlightenment.” slowly letting the smile vanish from her lips Fathala continued.This is how the fungal empire exists. Kanthaz eyed them carefully. They won’t turn away from their behavior, my warning came too late. “Just try to abstain from joining your minds again.” he had to say never the less.One of Leandras fellow warriors entered the room, there was haste in her eyes, with a mix of fear, as she looked at the strangers. “Their companion fell into he lake, face down.” she had hoped to be quiet enough not to be overheard, but failed at that. Both Eric and Fathala rose as quickly as possible, rushing for he door. Kanthaz looked after them, he also realized that they had already gone too far. Water pooled around Leif where the Albin guards, dripping wet themselves, had laid him on the shore. Well trained they had managed to revive him but, he was not responding to any noises or views. When Eric kneed down on one side of his son and Fathala going down on the other the young eunuch knight did not seem to realize them near. Leif stood on the shore where he had just fell into the water. To his astonishment he was bone dry. An awful silence hung above and around him. There wa sno noise from the waters further out to the east, no rustling winds in he groves along the path down south. Wait. These things are in reverse! As he wanted to raise his right hand, his left came up just as natural. He turned west, what would’ve been east a moment ago, only to find the Albin and their settlement gone. There was no trace of his father or the Naga either. Confused, but reliefed that no one was there to lecture him, he turned around a few times, he noticed the smell.Had it been rot, damp musky and moldy smells lingering the air before he fell into the waters, he now smelled spring. “Hello.” after he had turned half a dozen times with no one around, Leif jumped at the sight of the figure that had greeted him. A head shorter than him, the figure still stood tall, a cloak and hood of brown hemp covered the individual, brown feathers as long as his forarm and longer were worked into the cloth.”Who are you?” his hand went to the hilt of his short sword, only to find it missing, he had to put down their arms when they entered the Albin settlement. “Just a wanderer, with ears not deaf to your plea.” the woman answered. It was his language. “My plea?” nervously Leif looked about, he wondered whether there were more such mysteriously appearing wanderers in this mirror image of the world. “You wish to be taken serious, you wish to be a full man.” the woman replied, her dialect was queer, almost as if she was speaking the language as it had been ten thousand years before Leif’s time. “I can help you.” suspiciously squinting his eyes Leif still looked about, more in search of a weapon than wary. “At what cost?” he returned. “Your help. Look around you and listen. No humans to disturb the peace, no Albin, none of he other races.” she paused for a moment, underneath her hood he thought he saw her eyes light up for a moment. “No Naga!” “What sort of help?” his suspicion grew less, the thought of a Naga free world was intriguing. “All in good time my dear child, all in good time.” she lifted her hood. Unable to move or to look away Leif watched the woman with the alabaster skin and fire red hair stroll closer, her eyes had the color of mother-of-pearl. With one swift.move she opened the talon shaped clasp that held her cloak closed, revealing herself to be naked underneath. “Before I can ask you to help me, I shall bestow a gift upon you, so you know my sincerety.” Leif wanted to object, he had been cut, made a Eunuch, but his mouth did not not open, his words were not voiced. Instead he found himself studying her naked beauty, the alabaster breasts that heaved wih every breath she took, trembled with every step, the fiery red bush of hair between her legs. With gentle hands she opened his pants, let them drop down to his ankles, his small clothes followed in an instant. “There.” she breathed softly, short of moaning. A sensation he did not know before took hold of his senses, a quick glance down confirmed this feeling. He had a cock! It stood tall and firm, pressing against the woman’s fiery, moist hair.