We headed back toward the stairs. I was anxious to get to the room upstairs where at least we could be comfortable and safe while we tried to figure out how to break Antheus’ curse.
We made our way through the long halls to the rounded staircase in the corner and began the climb up. By this time I am thoroughly sick of stairs and I’m certain I will never have a staircase in any home I own during the next fifty years.
When we reach the top I stare down the familiar hall at the door in the dim light. The hall seems twice as long as before and I started to feel exhausted just at the thought of walking down to the door. After ten dragging steps I looked over at Sareanne. She seemed to feel the same exhaustion I was.
I stopped and shook my head realizing this could be another of Antheus’ tricks. The tarrange came over next to me and rubbed his head underneath my hand. I could tell something was up, but he didn’t seem angry like when Antheus had come before.
We moved on and I took Sareanne’s hand determinedly. “Antheus is working on us again, can you feel it?” I ask.
“Push past it, it will go away,” I advise.
We move forward toward the door and I shrug back the exhaustion and think about the safety that will exist behind that door. The tarrange stops behind us and lays down on the floor. I turn to encourage it, but I know it is better to move on.
“Come on. Tuug, we are almost there and then you can take a nap,” I call behind me.
With a growl the cat-like creature slowly gets to its feet and follows. My anger at Antheus surges to the front of my mind and I force myself to push past the sluggish suggestion. I reach out and touch the handle turning it with energy that is not my own. I push the door open and collapse inside the room.