Llara did not say anything as he told her his story. Kyle sounded somewhat awkward, almost like he was trying to describe a dream that did quite make sense the next morning.
Honestly, it sounded like a dream. Or the ravings of a madman. But there was a hint of truth to it. For one thing, although the world was large, and there were many lands Llara had never seen, she had never heard of any place like the ones he spoke of. The names were strange, and from what she could tell from what he was saying, the customs even stranger. How could he have flown from one land to another? Were their Wizards that powerful there?
There was also the little details about his journey – the floating bridge in the tunnel of clouds, the doorway like water – that were too close to what her uncle had talked about to be coincidence. Either this was an informed lie, a well planned deception, or…or Kyle was telling the truth.
“Then I woke up on that hill. You know the rest.”
She was quiet for another moment, then said “I think you may be from another world.”
“Yeah, or I’m crazy. I quit thinking I had somehow ended up in Zimbabwe when you showed up.”
Zimbabwe. Another strange name. “What is the name of your world?”
She arched an eyebrow. “Is that a question? No, no. I understand your hesitation. It sounds like a strange question to me as well. But it is yet another confirmation that you are not from this world.
“This world is called Turmia, which is a word from the Ancient elven language. I believe it once simply meant ‘here’, or ‘all of this’. Something like that. My point is that even if you were from a far away land, you would know that this place is called Turmia, and by your expression it is clear you have never heard that before. The elven empire covered all the world, and the name is the same in every language.”
Kyle grunted. She was not sure what that meant. Perhaps he was still not convinced himself? Perhaps he still thought he was in a far-away land in his own world?
“My uncle told me once that there are many worlds, not just one, and that they are layered on top of each other like a pile of leaves. Each world, each universe, its own leaf. Those who live in each universe never know that there are others, because we cannot see outside of our own leaf. Our own world.
“He said that it is very, very hard to cross from one world to another, almost impossible. But there is a way, something called the Well of Worlds. It’s like a tunnel between worlds. And that sounds it could be the tunnel of clouds you saw. I don’t know how you managed to get across, but I can only guess that is has something to do with that stone. Perhaps it is like a key for the Well of Worlds.”
Kyle leaned back against the wall. He sighed. “Well, at least you believe me. I’m still half convinced I’m nuts, an’ I’m not sure what that says about you, but at least you’re not treating me like a raving lunatic. And I’ve seen some pretty weird shit. Shit that seems real. Maybe too real to be my imagination.”
“I think I should bring you to my uncle. He could tell us more. Like how I am able to understand your speech. It seems like another world should have another language.”
“Yeah, I was wonderin’ that myself. What was that weird, babble, er whatever, that you were saying when you first started running at me?”
“Babble? Hardly. I’m not sure exactly what I said, but I was warning you about the orcs, and you just stood there like a stone, staring at me like I had two heads. Then, well, then the orcs got there.”
“Yeah. Fun guys.”
She looked at him sharply. Fun? Was he in league with them after all? Then she realized he was being sarcastic. He seemed to do that often. Perhaps it was a sign of nervousness?
She took her hand off her sword. She did not remember putting it there.
“Um, yeah. Sorry. Maybe not the best time. Your village. Sorry.”
“Not my village, but I am also sorry.”
Suddenly she yawned. Damn, she was tired. She had been up well before dawn, and it was dusk now. And she had been running and fighting all day. But did she trust this stranger enough to sleep with him here?
Kyle yawned then, and she yawned again in response. Damn, she would just have to risk it, and hope her watchdog spell would wake her up if he tried anything.
“Let’s sleep. We have a long day in front of us tomorrow. I have more questions, and I am sure you do too, but they will have to wait. I am exhausted.”
“Fair enough. Should we, like take turns keeping watch or something?”
“The orcs will not find us here.”
“Um, ok. How do you know?”
“This place is hidden from them. They could not find it even if they knew where to look.” At least, I hope so, she thought. These orcs were something new, maybe they could pierce a ward. Well, she did not exactly have a choice. There was no where else to go.
“Right. I’d argue with that, but I’m exhausted.” Kyle laid his back on the sand, and seemed to fall asleep.
Llara muttered a prayer under her breath and laid down as well, at the other end of the cave.
She was asleep almost before her head touched the sand.