Fathala only managed to nod, a smile refused to come to her lips. “Tell this woman here of thw stranger and his Albin.” for a moment Fathala hadn’t noticed how the man referred to Whlana .”Well,” she looked the Naga up and down with a judging gaze. She wants to say that she sees no woman, but only a Naga. “he treated her kindly but she seemed to be a little slow of mind, if you know what I mean?” “No. Whlana was a member of the Albin forces, stationed at Naga’na. Before, she had not been slow of mind.” the woman rolled her eyes.”Like she wasn’t all here. I seen me some drunk people in my life, and I recognize someone who isn’t all here.” Fathala understood. Probably bewitched with the bane. Gods know what he has done to her. “He was not speaking our language, that much I know, and he always kept a sailorsbag with him. Even if the two just went out to look around town and returned within the hour.” The bane! Couldn’t control her without it. “When Jeff here asked to many questions, they left.” Thanking he woman Fathala bowed and turned for the door. “Where are going to go now?” Jeff was at her side within moments. “Which gate did he turn to?” “Listen, here are three gates to this city, one leads up to the sanctuary of the gods, a simple chapel overlooking the town, one other is the one you came on, did you meet him there? No, I didn’t think so. Leaves,” “Two.” Fathala stemmed her hands on her hips stopping abruptly. “Where did he go?” They just assumed he went down! Idiots! “He left in the middle of the night, we,” “You don’t know, do you?” Jeff shook his head. “You send someone to he sanctuary, right away.” she barked turning northward to the other gate. “Tell your sentries that I will be flying out and in again, so they won’t lose their bolts at me.” she hissed leaving. Jeff nodded, a hint of fear showed on his face as he hurried off. Grey rocks glistened wetly beneath Fathala. Flung from.the northern gatehouse she had covered most of the narrow path, but no sign of Leif or Whlana. Even if they took the path, it has been two days, they ought to be off the path by now. At the lowest camp site on the northern path she had found remnants of a fire, but it was as cold as could be, probably a day old. From there she had glanced down the path in hopes to see some sort of activity, but nothing moved, other than a hawk, some rodents and a few adventurous pigeons and gulls. The grey in grey landscape and overcast made it a strain on her eyes. Again she flung herself into the air from.the ledge. If Leif was wise, he used greay cloaks with hoods to cover himself and Whlana.Or he hid in sanctuary. Fathala mused gaining altitude to return to Fallhus so she could be certain. Maybe the bane holds secrets he learned during his visit to the other world? He might be around, but concealed himself from our view? Sometimes she knew a thought wasn’t entirely her own, and Eric’s thoughts oft used the plural. We’ll find him my love. I swear it. The walls of the gatehouse were trickling with little streams of water, rainwater from the roof instead the otherwise omnipresent waterfall. Tall and grey, covered with lichen and mosses, it seemed almost as if the unmortared stone grew back onto the mountain from which had been hewn to build the structure. An eerie silence hung over it as Fathala approached. To be on the safe side she had landed on the narrow path and continued the last hundred meters on ground. Yet, shehad knocked the heav oaken door, yelled to the guard, with no effect. Shift change? Minutes crawled by with not a sound from the gatehouse, no guard appeared to stand watch outside. Half an hour passed since she had arrived. “Do not be alarmed, I am.not hostile, yet I will come up now!” she coiled up, propelled herself upwards and began her further ascend until she could.land on top of the gatehouse. It was an unpleasant experience, the roofs were studded wih tiny spikes, designed with the.purpose of giving discomfort to anyone who lands on the roof, or climbs on it. Fathala’s worries grew as no one tried to apprehend her, yet the town clearly showed signs of life, the lanterns and lamps were all lit. Smell of cooked meals drifted out of the tunnel alleyways. However, there was no one to be seen. Alleys, narrows, tunnels, windows the main road and the battlements – deserted. Gently she touched the talisman underneath her blouse, reassured that her powers would work she jumped down behind the gatehouse, alert that something was awry.

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