“Sareanne, what do you remember? Not what you think, but what you actually remember,” I asked carefully keeping my eyes on Antheus’ face.
Out of the corner of my eye I could see her troubled expression, then her head snapped up. “I remember my brother Mehean leaving for northern Anderosea.”
“Mehean is your brother?” I asked incredulously. I glared at Antheus knowing he had lied to me.
“And when he returned with his tale of monsters I knew something was wrong, something in his eyes, but I convinced my father to let me go with him to try and help the people in Elderich,” she explained. “I couldn’t leave them to the mercy of the monsters
“You took your book with you, didn’t you,” I surmised.
“Yes. In all of my family I was the closest to the gods of the earth and the power they shared. My book contained the mysteries they had shared with me, but only I could read it,” Sareanne replied.
I looked at Antheus, “the first time you brought me here and you tried to get me to read from the book.”
“That is forbidden, Antheus, even you should know that,” Sareanne said scathingly. “That’s why you were pulled back into your own world.”
“But you brought me the second time,” I said to Sareanne. “Why?”
“I needed your help. He had already opened the doorway between our worlds,” she said carefully.
“And what do you propose to do, Sareanne,” Antheus interrupted coldly. His voice sent chills down my back. “You are stuck in your circle of protection in the prison I’ve kept you in for twenty years.” He laughed.
“Why did you do this?” I blurted out interrupting his evil tiraid.
“He wanted to control my father’s vineyards,” Sareanne replied. “I remember now. He cursed me to try and force my father’s hand, so I burned the vineyards.”
“That’s when he cursed Anderosea,” I added understanding.
“And it will stay cursed until I get what I want,” he said menacingly.
He turned to leave and then grunted at Tuug. “Stagrath, Tuug.”
Tuug turned toward us and then lumbered over to the door and sat down watching us carefully.
I turned to Sareanne determined to get some answers now. “So it was you that protected me each time.” It was not a question.
“Yes. I brought you back hoping you could help me break Antheus’ curse. He had already brought you here once so I knew I could bring you back. I hoped that if he chose you to try and break my protections I could use you to vanquish him.” She looked down at me. “I’m sorry.”
I nodded fighting the surge of anger that coursed through me. I don’t like being used.
“So the tower is not in Anderosea?” I asked.
“No, it is. The borders of Anderosea go all the way to the northern mountains. Elderich is the northern most city in the land. The cliffs of Betlath mark the border between Anderosea and Betlath.”
“Oh,” I replied, “but the tower is where you met with Antheus?”
“Yes. We had never been plagued by the monsters before, he must have done something to control them or rouse them against us.” I could see the memories seeping back into her mind as more and more understanding dawned in her eyes. “I took my little army north and when we met Antheus I knew the only way to protect my people was to speak to the gods of the earth. They answered and the chasm was formed.”
“How did the tower come about? Antheus said Mehean built it for you.”
“Mehean, as far as I know, fell into the chasm. When the earth cracked I found myself alone on the island facing Antheus. He cursed me before I could protect myself, but I had enough time to enchant the book so he couldn’t take it and read it.”
“How does the curse work, you look normal to me right now.”
“The change starts when the sun sets and goes away when the sun rises, but I always end up in this room trapped in the dreams he has forced me into,” she looked into my eyes, “but you broke through and found me. Thank you.”I sighed, “but now we have to figure out what to do next.”