All the Other Worlds. Prologue

[One of those pieces of text found in an abandoned hermit’s cave]

Sometimes, half asleep or delirious, like from behind a paper wall, we hear in our minds strange words or see strange pictures. Shadows or glimpses of what didn’t happen, won’t happen, wouldn’t happen. Or did it, will it, would it? How could the impossible be possible? How could an ordinary being comprehend that and after… go back to live an ordinary life?
 
…If the retreat at the Crossroads looked as a giant spaceship mostly buried underground, that’s because it really was. Like a metallic iceberg the very top of which was just above the surface. In the gaps between blossoming vines travelers could see dull bronze shine of an otherworldly contraption, all rivets and elegant curves.

Soon the hostess would come out, barefoot, ageless, long worn out dress with unearthly patterns,  messy hair. She would offer a cup of herbal tea at a wooden table in a wild lush garden. Her large mysterious blue eyes would carefully study you.  If you are lucky she would offer a room to stay.   Inside you’ll find aged red damask fabric on the walls,  plenty of dull metal and other discolorated leftovers of once opulent alien interior.  The hostess will talk to you a bit.  Be honest because lying won’t work.  Be honest and you might hear a story or two of traveling between worlds, of danger and laughter, of friendship and love. She will talk to you because she is waiting and had been waiting for a very long time.  She need to know when a right person will knock on her oval alien door…

… Adela was standing in the circle of men, all tall, dark hair, dark uniforms. They were almost clones, with only slight differences in their features. She realized that her old “friend” Lee Gallainus Ferrer was one of them, although now his hair was cut short and the face unshaven. The strange thing: none in the circle would look into her eyes. Not shy types, for sure!

– Please turn round, – said the voice behind her. She did, and this time the one who spoke was looking directly into her eyes.

She shivered. It was like starring into the heart of the Universe, cool blue light pouring out, stars forming and dying in blasts of energy… It was the light which could not be caught on camera. Living beings could see it, nevertheless.

– This strikes you every time, – she heard Lee’s voice in her head. – That is why being both his bodyguards and his prison guards, we are not allowed to look into others people’s eyes – when on duty.

She was standing in front of the last Iliodor himself, semi-ceremonial leader of the Galaxy, who would be the most powerful creature here would he be free. She felt paralyzed with fear and awe, still full of curiosity and… compassion…

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