"He's right, you know," Agromas told me.

I smiled, as even before my old teacher had spoken I had known that he was in the room. It's his smell, I realised, the grin on my face broadening, a mixture of old leather and weeds that always proceeded him wherever he went. Bathing appeared to be useless against it, but then again the old man had never been big on cleanliness.

For a moment I allowed my thoughts to drift, watching my newly awakened memories drift by. Odd, I thought. Why the memories? Why now?

I could hear Agromas clearing his throat.


"Pay attention. This is important."

I felt the smile fade from my face, my mirth disappearing as what he had said earlier began to sink in.

"Right about what?"

"You, killing a dear old friend of his." He hesitated for a moment, and I could almost feel the tension building in him. "That would have been me."

I sat there, slumped in my seat, unable to respond. Of course, I thought. Of all the deaths that I had caused, his would be the one to come back and haunt me. I shivered, black spots dancing in front of my eyes.

"Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Neither you nor he can afford that luxury."

I'm not sorry for myself, I thought. I want - something, and I want it more than anything else in the world, and I don't know what it is.

A movement caught my attention and I looked up. Paulos was leaning back in his seat, one hand covering his eyes, still appearing to be lost in a world of his own. Through the window I could see the still-black sky - though the night seemed to have gone on for hours, it was not yet near dawn.

"What do I do?" I asked Agromas. "What do I tell him?"

"Well, that's easily answered." I could hear him chuckle, a dry sound devoid of any mirth. "You tell him the truth, of course. And you do what he wants you to do. You won't have a choice. It's this place." For a moment he seemed lost in thought. "Damn, I wish I knew how he did it. He always promised me he would tell me, but I don't think he ever intended to."

I waited for the information to sink in, but it didn't. It was as if I was turning his words over and over in my mind, examining them without comprehension or rational thought, cold dread filling my heart. After a while, one thing that he had told me came to the fore.

"You told me to pay attention, that this was important," I said, finding it an effort to string the words together. "Why? What did you mean?"

Do you hate me so much, I thought. Is that it? Do you want to see me suffer at the hands of another, now that you can no longer harm me yourself?

Before I could think, or even take another breath, I was out of my chair, two leaps taking me to the door before I could even hear the clattering of the wooden chair on the flagstone floor.

"Stop, you idiot, I've brought you here to help you," I could hear Agromas shout from a great distance before the pounding in my ears drowned all other sound.

I crashed into the door, momentarily stunned by the impact, my clumsy fingers seeking the handle. It wasn't there.

I stepped back, stifling a sob of frustration, my breathing ragged. I looked up and down the door, not willing to believe what my eyes told me. There was no handle.

"Please, you're not leaving already, are you?" Paulos' voice sounded almost pleasant, as if he were a host and I his honoured guest. "We've hardly had a chance to get acquainted."

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