Angel: Chapters 9 & 10 by Fr.Thomas Kulp

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SUMMARY: The story continues....

Chapter Nine

I had no idea how such a thing could possibly be, but there was a whole mansion hidden inside that heap of rocks. It truly was impressive. Due to the weakened state I was in at the moment, the impact was totally overwhelming. I simply couldn't take it all in at once. My mind was on sensory overload. There was a big fireplace across the room from where I stood, and my one thought was that I had to reach it, to bathe in the radiance of that marvelous heat because I was so, so cold, but I just didn't have the strength to make it that far. My last thought before passing out was that I was probably going to die, but it didn't really bother me that much, because at least I would be dying in my own home.

When I finally awoke, I was lying in a large canopy bed under a heavy quilted comforter. The mattress was rather hard and lumpy, but I was finally warm and dry and felt more relaxed and rested than I had for a long time. Someone had apparently taken off my wet clothes and dressed me in a red linen robe with fluted sleeves. Sitting up, I looked around and saw I was in a round room about twenty feet across. The walls were dark gray stone and there was a lit candelabrum suspended above me. A coarse woven mat covered much of the floor. There were no other furnishings. I guessed I was in some sort of tower or turret room. What really caught my attention, though, was a clear leaded glass window which looked out over a landscape that seemed to belong to another world. It was flat and bumpy and red, like the landscape on mars. Maybe it was a desert, but it didn't look sandy. Stranger still, the cloudless sky was softly aglow with a deep violet light, though no sun was visible.

As I sat there musing, trying to figure out where I could be, I was startled by the sound of footsteps and the opening of a small wooden door to my right. Immediately there entered a small, gray-haired woman wearing a full length brown dress that looked to be made of a burlap sack. Her dark face was lined with wrinkles and there was a deep sadness in her big muddy brown eyes. She was carrying a tray on which was a ceramic mug with some sort of steaming liquid and a small round loaf of black bread. She set this on the mattress beside me.

"'Tis good to have you back again, M'lady," she said. "You been sleepin' three whole days and sick as a dog you were, but now I see you're clearly on the mend, though you'll be needin' a bit of nourishment." She held the mug to my lips and I drank deeply, though the taste was somewhat bitter. I was feeling much better for sure, but I was still weak and the drink seemed to give me strength. I ate the bread and drained the mug before I said anything. I was really famished, which isn't surprising considering I hadn't eaten anything for days.

I glanced toward the window. "Where is this place?" I inquired weakly.

"Ah, don't you know then? Pity you don't remember, but then you've been away a long, long time. This be your homeland, the Domain of Santania, with you and Lady Selena being the rightful Chatelaines of Castlerock.

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