“You may call me Alfvin, and I am exceedingly pleased to meet you.”
“I’m Gilfrid. People mostly call me Gil.”
“Excellent. But I think you will find that I am not like most people, and unless I am very much mistaken, neither are you, Gilfrid. So unless you prefer otherwise, what is what I shall call you.”
“Please yourself. I guess that’s true enough. I’m not really like most people back home. And from what I can tell, I’m not like most people here. Of course, most people here aren’t much like each other either.”
“An astute observation. Yes, the populace here tends to be… eclectic. One of the side effects of our location. Yet out of the many and varied individuals one may find here, you are the one that intrigues me.”
Gil felt a bit uncomfortable at that. He had been called many things before, but never intriguing. Of course, if the jumbled flashes of memory from last night were true, he could guess why. The pale young man had seen a wild beast approaching him in the forest, following him through the portal. But it had not been the same beast who woke up here.
“Fine, you know what I am. But however you think you can use that, you can forget it. I don’t plan to be anybody’s attack dog; not there, and not here.”
Alfvin seemed genuinely surprised by that reaction. “You misunderstand me entirely. If I have given that impression, then I have expressed myself very poorly. I have no interest in attack dogs, and if I had, then you would not be my choice. Look around you: do you see sun, moon or stars? Here there is no day, there is no night, no month nor year. You are not bound by the whims of astrological cycles here as you were there. Here you may forge your own fate, if you so choose.
“Indeed, it is because I empathise with you so strongly that you interest me so. My own situation is not precisely like yours, but it seems to me that we have much in common. You see, I first came through the doorway when I had grown tired of life on the outside. People can be so intolerant of anything slightly different from themselves. Here, I found respite from my problems and people who did not care what I was, only what I did. And it occurred to me that you might be looking for something very similar.”
It took a moment for Gil to process this. People who didn’t care what Alfvin was. But then…
“What are you?”