The Philosopher finally catches up to Eno, while a bit out of breath, he feels much stronger and youthful than his seventy two years normally felt like. “Normal. That is an interesting word to use as I no longer seem to know what normal is anymore,” he says to himself.
“Well sir, if I may offer an insight…” Eno starts to say before The Philosopher continues his thoughts out loud.
“I keep forgetting you can receive my thoughts without me speaking. That ability is normal for dragons and familiars but back home in… see what I mean? I no longer even know where home is anymore but I had to have lived somewhere before the tome fell from my bookcase and changed my life.”
“The important thing to remember Sir is you are now in the Other Realm and your life will never be the same again,” say Eno.
“That is exactly what I mean Eno. You tell me my life will never be the same again, but the same as what? Upashna calls me The Philosopher and tells me I am a philosopher but who am I. No one else identifies me by that name. Is there more to me than just the last three days? Why am I here? Can you tell me that Eno? O’ god. I am talking to a cat!”
“I am a familiar Sir in the form of a cat. I am here to assist you in whatever way I can. I am sorry I cannot answer your questions but I am positive they will be answered in time. Please be patient. May I bring you some food sir.”
“I am hungry. Shall I come with you to carry the food?” The Philosopher asks.
“Thank you sir but that won’t be necessary.” Then in a somewhat less dramatic way than Upashna changing into a dragon, Eno changed into a human male. He wears a full hooded cape like the wizards but his is black matching the color of his fur as a cat. “I shall return shortly sir with food and drink. While I am attending to your food, please make yourself comfortable. This is you chamber. If there is anything else you require I am here to serve you. I know it all feels confusing at this moment but I am certain things will become clearer soon.” Eno opens the door and leaves the Philosopher to his own thoughts.
The Philosopher places his staff by the door and looks around his room. A large cast iron boiling pot hangs from the ceiling by a molded iron chain. It holds a mixture of thick oils which are heated by a fire coming out of the floor to provide warmth for the space and to heat water for cooking and bathing. The Philosopher learns later from Eno that the pot and chain were forged by the heat of a dragon’s breath and took three days to cool because the breath of a fire dragon is the hottest fire known next to the fire of the sun.
In one corner is a single bed. In the middle of the room a work counter with various books and vases. At the far end is a book case but none of the books or authors are familiar to The Philosopher. The walls, floor and ceiling are all from the astroid’s stone supported by polished wooden beams. In front of the window is a sink and counter for bathing.
Soon Eno returns with a platter of fresh fruits, herbs, some dried fish and a jug of wine. After placing the plater on the central work table, Eno asks permission to revert back into his more common form.
“Yes,” replies The Philosopher. “I like cats very much, but tell me why do you all look the same and how are you chosen to be the familiar of a particular wizard?”
Eno replies telepathically while The Philosopher pours some wine and eats the fish and fruit. “Each wizard world has its own familiar. Some realms have birds, others reptiles and in this Other Realm the familiars are cats bread by the Sorceress Sophia on the western tip of the astroid. She provides the familiars for all the wizards of this realm but we each get to chose our own wizard and are bound to him or her until our death or the death of the wizard. You will seldom see a wizard without his familiar near by. The familiar will give his life for his wizard. If the wizard is the first to die, the familiar will join him by going to sleep and never waking up.”
“Tell me please Eno. How did you become the familiar for Upashna?”
“Upashna first came to the Other Realm with her parents around age three to be tested for the wizard’s gift. Her mother, the Princess of Morocco, was a non-wizard by birth. If both parents are Wizards, no test is required. The Sorceress Sophia came to the village to perform the test at the request of Baldwin and determined Upashna to be a wizard. At this point a single drop of blood was drawn from Upashna’s heel and fed to Sophia’s cat, Miranda, who in seventy two hours time birthed me. The familiars of the wizards all have a white spot on their foreheads in the spot commonly known as the third eye. Miranda, our mother, is solid black. She is the familiar to the Sorceress Sophia and does not have a white spot.”
“I understand Eno but did you not tell me the familiar chooses the wizard and not the other way around?”
“Yes, that is true. If the familiar is not born within seventy two hours, another drop of blood is drawn and the process repeats until a familiar forms a connection with the wizard’s blood and is born. That is how the familiar choses the wizard.” Eno rose onto all fours and looks toward the double entry door. “Someone is approaching.”
On the other side of the courtyard, Upashna and her mother, the Wizard Elza, are walking arm in arm to Upashna’s chambers. They appear like two young schools girls playing hookie from school more than the two princesses they are.
“Mother. When did you know you were in love with father? I mean. Did you know right away or did it take some time? How much time?”
“Slow down Upashna. Obviously you have deep feelings for this young man who accompanied you here. I knew the moment you transformed. I could not tell which was brighter, the flame of your transformation or the flame in your heart when you saw him. You failed to introduce him by name. Is that a result of your meeting with Mingus?” Elza asks.
“Yes mother. I know him as The Philosopher but he no longer owns that name. He gave it to Mingus for passage through the first gate. He was raised by his maternal grandmother. He never knew his father but…”
“Wait a minute. That is why your father showed such interest in this person. He is the one who assisted your father outside the library a few years back. Now I remember. Please forgive me darling. In my sudden awakening of thought I interrupted you. Please go on with what you were saying. The Philosopher never knew his father but…”
“… But mother. He carries a wizard’s staff which he tells me was left outside the door of his grandmother’s house on his twelfth birthday.”
At the chambers of The Philosopher, he rises from his meal to answer the knock on the door. It is the Wizard Baldwin.
“Please excuse my intrusion kind Sir. Might I have a moment of your time?”