At first all Astrid could do was stare around the room she had found herself in, unable to believe what she was seeing. When she had walked out of the cave she shared with her pack she had never expected to step onto another world and end up… She turned to look at Nerys.
“It’s yours,” Nerys said, wagging her tail. “You do have to pay rent, but here you will always have a comfortable home.”
Astrid’s happiness faded for a moment. “How do I pay rent?”
“Until you are used to Taithmarin and feel capable of working you will be given money each month, as a sort of welcome gift. Once you start working you will earn your own money and have more choice as to where you live.”
“Working?” Astrid shook her head. “This place is so different and I haven’t even had a chance to look around.”
“I know. I felt exactly the same way when I first got here.”
“Okay, tell me what I need to know, Nerys.”
“That’s going to take a while. As your guide I will be here for two weeks to help you get used to Taithmarin, the races that live here, and how our magic has changed.”
Astrid sat down. “I really have stepped onto a different world, haven’t I?”
“Yes, you have.” Nerys stepped forward and touched her nose to Astrid’s. “It’s going to be fine, but getting to know this place is going to get time. That’s why I’m here.”
“How long have you been here?” Astrid asked as their eyes met.
“Just over three years.”
“I last saw you seven months ago.”
“No one really knows how the door works, so I couldn’t know how long it had been for you, but time is very different here.”
“So if anyone else from our pack finds a door then it could be years after I arrived here, even though it won’t be anywhere near as much time for them?”
Nerys nodded. “Are you thinking about your mum?”
Breathing deeply at the reminder, Astrid shook her head. “We believe she was caught by hunters during her patrol, but we don’t know for sure. She just disappeared, so we held a memorial service for her, and…” She sighed. “Of course now there’s the possibility she might be alive here, but I doubt it.”
“I’ll ask around. There have been a lot of new arrivals recently. I was the last guide without an arrival to help, so we’re hoping that there isn’t another one for at least two weeks.”
“Is that normal?”
“Occasionally it happens. We don’t know why, but we do our best to help every new Nox Gadael arrival. If there is another new arrival then you may find them staying here.” Nerys shook her head. “That doesn’t mean your mum is here, but I hope she is.”
Astrid shrugged. “I don’t know if I want her to be or not. I haven’t had time to mourn her, but to me she was gone for good.”
Mirrored from K. A. Jones Writing.