I followed her out the door and into the bare hall. The tarrange was close at our heels. The walk back to the mirror seemed much shorter this time, probably because I expected to meet Antheus at any moment. We reached the mirror and experienced the sensation of passing through liquid glass as we crossed back through into the castle.
“Where are we going?” I asked Sareanne.
Her brows knit together. “I don’t know. I’m not sure how to…tackle this.” She waved her arm in a circle including the silent castle and land.
“Well, I was on my way up to the room I stayed in the first night I came here. There is a book that I want to look at,” I said.
“I can take you up there,” Sareanne agreed.
We started along the hall back the way I had come. I thought about what had happened that morning and the lay of events in Anderosea. Antheus had told me partial truths and some of the holes had been filled in by Sareanne, but it still didn’t make much sense to me that a sorcerer would go through all the trouble of cursing a land and people just to control some popular vineyards.
“Sareanne, what was so special about your father’s vineyards?” I asked carefully feeling this must be the crux of the problem.
She remained silent so I tried another line of questioning.
“What really happened after you cracked the earth and found yourself on the island facing Antheus?”
“I didn’t realize who he was at first. I thought he was one of the refugees from Elderich and the northern part of Anderosea, but then he spoke the words of cursing. I could feel the power of the book instructing me what to do before I changed completely. I set the book on the ground and spoke the words of protection, then watched as a circle of white rocks formed around the book.”
“What did Antheus do?”
“He was angry and he tried to use sorcery on my protection. It sent a shock out that threw both of us away from the book and when I got to my feet again the tower had risen around the book. We met at the doorway and I knew he couldn’t harm me any further, though to a certain extent I was in his power.
“We both went into the tower and climbed the stairs to the room at the top. The walls were lined with shelves of books. Instinctively I knew which book was mine, but I didn’t share the information. Antheus moved to the bookshelf and tried to pull the books off, but he wasn’t allowed to touch them.”
“That probably made him very angry,” I surmised.
Sareanne nodded. “He tried for several days to get to that book, that’s when he used other magic to pull you here. I knew he wouldn’t be able to reach the book so I left to discover a way off the island and back to Perdeen so I could warn my father. I didn’t know he would try to use someone from outside our world, but that wasn’t allowed that’s why you were pulled back so suddenly.”
I was a little confused at that point because I had only spent one day away from the hotel and when I returned twenty years had passed, but I wanted her to continue so I remained quiet and attentive.
“After his attempt with you failed he decided it was time to leave the island and use other means to get my book. When I had returned to the tower that night I knew what he had done and that it had failed, but that was when a plan formed in my mind. Since he had already broken the boundaries of our world, perhaps I could now use outside help as well. I wasn’t able to put my plan into effect though because Antheus’ curse had finally completed and I was under his power.”
“Then how did you finally call me here?” I blurted out.
“It was a moment of lucid sanity that occurred one morning just as the sun was peaking over the horizon. Perhaps Antheus was busy thinking about something else or perhaps the earth slowed down just enough to render aid to me. Whatever it was I found myself down in my prison, but I wasn’t under the influence of the dreams Antheus usually thrust on me. I know what is in my book and I used that information to call you out of your world and into mine.”
“But twenty years had passed for you and only one day for me,” I said wonderingly.
“I don’t know why time passed differently in our worlds,” Sareanne replied.
I had to accept her answer, because there was no other way of explaining it. “So Antheus gave up trying to reach the book, what did he do next?”
“He made the bridge,” Sareanne stated.
I stared at her in surprise. “Out of thin air?” I asked waving my hands in the air.
She nodded. “Crossing that bridge finalized his curse. I didn’t realize it would, but as soon as I stepped onto Anderosean soil on the other side I was completely under his power. During the day I looked normal, but I was forced into the dream world he had created for me. He tried to use me that way to influence my father when we reached Perdeen, but my father was a wise man. He was suspicious of my behavior, so Antheus made a show of turning me into a monster.”
“But that happened every night,” I interrupted again.
“My father didn’t know that and Antheus had kept it hidden from him. As a monster, at night, I was more myself then during the day in my normal form. I could see my father weakening in his resolve, so I went out and burned the vineyards.”
“That explains the painting,” I murmured thinking of the fiery canvas with the menacing shadow.
Sareanne’s expression became thoughtful and then realization spread across her fine features. She nodded sadly.I decided it was time for the answer to my original question. “Sareanne, I can understand why Antheus would want your book, but when he couldn’t get it he went after your father’s vineyards. I need to know why,” I said gently.