Extor was surprised by The Philosopher’s willingness to forget all memories of his life but he was not surprised by his attraction to Upashna, the Princess of EarthSea, for she was an intelligent and most comely figure of a woman.
“Well then my good man and Princess Upashna you are both permitted to pass through the third gate and into the Other Realm. I must go find my brothers and collect on our wager. They did not believe you would surrender all three measures of whom you thought you were as toll for passage through the gate,” said Extor. He was full of smiles as he opened the portal. He was happy for The Philosopher and Upashna.
Upashna was still standing on the same spot amazed and speechless. She too was uncertain if The Philosopher would give up all that defined who he was, his name, his desire and his memories to pass through the gate when she heard Extor’s request, but she was pleased with his decision. They both quickly gathered their belongings and entered the portal. The Philosopher looked back toward Extor, extended his hand and Extor extended his.
“Extor. Thank you for believing in me and offering me the opportunity to widen the glimpse of my life. I am curious. If I might ask, what made you wager against your two brothers.”
Extor answered. “I did not place my wager until last night.” The Philosopher and Upashna were now in the vortex of the gate and the fields of magic are quickly changing but he and Extor are still bound in their handshake. “You have your father’s eyes,” he said. The portal closes.
They were through the third gate. The Philosopher was still lost in Extor’s last words that he had his father’s eyes.
“Be careful my Philosopher,” Upashna called as he stumbled and almost fell into the dark abyss surrounding three sides of the small plot of land upon which they both stood. The gate which they just passed through was now a wall of rock climbing up above them for as high as the eye could see. On three sides above and below them was nothing but dark star filled sky.
“So this is the Other Realm,” says The Philosopher. “It is not quite what I imagined Upashna.”
“Philosopher. Thank you for coming with me. Your sacrifice is a great one. I appreciate your offering,” said Upashna. “I was not sure you would agree to the toll.”
“The thought of waking up in my… there is no before this time for me any longer is there?” The philosopher could no longer remember where he would be if he chose not to be here, now.
“No Philosopher there is no before now for you anymore. Your memories have all been erased except for our time in the realm of magic and the labyrinths. You have no memories of your past. You came into existence only a short time ago. You are free to become who you are meant to be,” says Upashna.
“That is easy for you Upashna. You are a beautiful woman, a wizard and a princess. Your parents are wizards. We are in the Other Realm to assist them. I do not know anything about me. I do not know who I am. Extor said I had my father’s eyes so perhaps that is at least a start. You call me ‘Philosopher’ but I am known by that name only to you. Was I a philosopher? Do you know my father or my mother?”
“Yes, that is true,” replies Upashna. “It is easier for me. My being is more defined by my lineage and my memories. You have a lineage too but you do not know what it is and all your memories have all been removed. You have just been born into existence. Your new life awaits you my Philosopher. And yes, you are a Philosopher although that is no longer your name. The wisdom you acquired through your life cannot be erased. That is still yours.”
“It is an on going life unfolding in layers as I move through it in the same manner you became known to me.”
“What do you mean,” asks Upashna?
“Well, I first only knew you as the woman who knocked me out with her staff and tied me to a chair, then as Upashna, the daughter of the Wizard of SwanSea, although I can no longer remember why I was in his home. Later I learned both your parents are wizards in a place called the Other Realm where we are now. Then I learned you are also a wizard and a princess. I gave up who I was and the life I lived to enlarge the glimpse of the life waiting for me and I did all these things because I love you. I suppose some things do not change no matter what realm one is in,” says the Philosopher.
“I wish your first memory of me was not my knocking you out with my staff but it is a little funny and makes for an interesting story. Wait. Did you say you love me? You did and that is why you are here. Philosopher. Your words still cause me to blush. We have much to discuss. Indeed, but now is not the best time. We must catch the Other Wind and travel to the Other Realm. My parents are waiting there for us. We must leave now. I promise you we will continue this conversation after we arrive. I promise.”
“I understand Upashna. We must leave. How do we reach the the Other Realm? I thought we would be there once we passed through the third gate.”
“No my Philosopher. This is merely a landing station. The Other Realm is on the other side of the sun,” Upashna tells him.
“Now I am really confused. The other side of the sun? How do we get there.”
“Do not fear Philosopher. Remember at the second gate when you gave Free my father’s tome. You told me we must trust each other completely if we are to complete our journey?”
“Yes, I remember. It is one of the few memories I have because it occurred within the realm of magic,” answers the Philosopher.
“I must now ask you to trust me completely and to follow my instructions without question. All will be explained in time. You must trust me. Please.”
“I trust you Upashna.”
“Then there is one more thing I must share with you about who I am,” says Upashna.
She backs up a few meters from the Philosopher. Takes her staff and strikes it three times upon the ground and closes her illuminist eyes. Within seconds her body is completely consumed by fire. The Philosopher jumps to assist her but is told not to touch her. He backs away and watches the fire grow larger. A long neck appears thru the flames. Then two wings and a tail.
“My god Upashna. You are a dragon too!”
…to be continued.
This chapter concludes Book One of The Philosopher Series. Book Two will start on Sunday, May 24, 2020.