After a while, they stopped near one of the stone doorways. Alfvin said it was the one they had started out from, and it looked just like it to Gil. But so had many of the others they had passed.
“Now, I am afraid I must ask you to make a choice. You see, I was just beginning an excursion to the outside when I first saw you, and judged it prudent to cut the trip short. Indeed you have proved more interesting than I anticipated, but sooner or later I must return to business. Will you accompany me this time?”
Gil felt indebted for the welcome he had been shown, but he had reservations. It must have been at least an hour since he had woken up here, but he had no idea how long he had lain unconscious before that. Would the wolf pack that had pursued him be waiting on the other side? He wasn’t even sure if it would still be night. What time had it been when he had escaped through the unseen doorway?
“If it’s still night, then I won’t be much use to you. And what if they’re still there?”
Alfvin smiled. “I am certain that neither of those concerns will be a problem. And if I am wrong, it is a simple matter to retreat until the danger has passed. After all, if it is near midday I shall need to do the same.”
“I don’t think I was passed out that long. Was I?”
“It is hard to predict what the time will be, even after a relatively short absence like this. You will see when we get there.”
“And if it is broad daylight, what do you expect me to do?”
“Since it is your first time crossing in this direction, it might be best if you remain with me. If you prefer, you may wait for me on the other side, but I advise against wandering far afield. Here the doorway is well marked, but not so on the other side. It could be very difficult to find again.”
“Okay. And you want to go now?”
“Unless you have more questions?”
Gil thought for a moment, but all his objections had been addressed. He was curious to see how he had got here.
“Excellent. Now, I believe you said that you remember little of coming through the doorway the first time?”
“Nothing, really. I’m taking your word for it that I came from there at all.”
“Then perhaps you should take my hand. If you do not know what to expect, the sensation can be quite disconcerting.”
Though it made him feel a little silly, Gil did so, and together they approached the doorway of stone.