I start at the beginning. Or at least, the beginning I’m willing to share with an outsider such as myself.
“You’ve seen the Mountain Door,” I say. “Or I assume you have. Can’t see how you could have missed it, considering your capabilities. Surprised it didn’t drive you mad the first night you spent in the Lodge.”
“It almost did,” I say back to myself. I’m getting used to this being in two minds at once. Looking at him and looking back at myself, who is me. We’re both me. And him. Tahki. The Sad Man.
“You killed our finest hunter that night,” I say. “Without even leaving your bed. I was furious.” Burst of anger at that. Anger, and something else.
“You were impressed, too.” A twitch. A slight raise of the eyebrow. I didn’t expect myself to be able to read that deep.
“Yes,” I say. “Impressed. You killed a Nukpana warrior in a dream. Quite a feat. But we were talking about the Door in the Mountain.”
“Right. What about it?”
“The Door is not new, Agent. It was there before the killings started. Before the snakes. Before the white man.”
“Before the Alo?”
“No. No, not before the Alo. But it is ancient, and I have dealt with the problems of the thing many times.”
“Problems you caused?”
“Not me alone. Me, and Heyoka, and the rest. So many lifetimes ago. We were young and cocky. Thought we could rule this world, open doors, come and go as we pleased. We were wrong, and we’ve been paying ever since.” I shake my head and