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"Please! Please, help me!" But the flowers and the bones and the crystals are silent. Even as life is still in them, they are silent. Accomplished, perfect were they for the plant, the animal or the mineral souls, but they know nothing of the soul of man. But then how can such a soul be held to life in their midst? He raised his eyes. Jayden was smiling. She also remained silent. "Can there be another matter than these? Could I know it? ...What finds its way in the potion built of inferiors so that it reaches beyond my body?" The vision of the goddess vanished revealing only the exit from the cave. The answer must be out there...

He said goodbye to Grim and the others. Grim just nodded. He had some stored goods to sort. Dylan and Maxine answered. But it didn't really matter because he felt this is a road on which he's ment to be alone. He smiled though. If he fails, at least, he would have done all that was possible, in his whole life, in all things. Now... he must turn his back to all that he can't take with himself. Stepping out of the cave, he faced the open desert. In this larger circle, the circle of the cave, with its worries and needs, seems like another empty space. Slowly, his mind begins to merge with the openness. For a short while he can look for the sceneries of his dreams. And then he will find the same path of work, of one step after the other, of just trying, of not knowing ahead. This is the only measure of time until reaching the border to Portland - to have become again a part of the loneliness of the whole...

...At the banner he felt like stopping for a moment. What may he be seeing of himself in it, as in a mirror? Could it be of the past, the stubborn affirmation of his ideal in the middle of a barrenness of unmet desires, while everyone else in his life, and life itself, passed by? Could it be of the future? He reached for the painted cloth and it felt like having reached for his heart. "What could still have held his soul in there, among the dust of failed potions?" On the other side, only more waste could have been gueesed. But he steps through, again, because this is were the path takes him. Something changes. Slowly, the beats of his heart begin to measure his steps, one after the other, like grains of sand dropping from the bottom of an hourglass. Between the promisses of small tufts of grass, taking the place of the desert, and the threat of the goblin, from the distance, time flows thinner here, like a string, pulling him, waving him into the tapestry of the banner.

Aluwen must have been walking at his side for some time. He didn't noticed. "There is no defense against him - you know, don't you?" He gathered the materials closer. "Sure, you will do your best. But if you're getting tired, just close your eyes." The materials sighed. For a moment he saw himself in the Underworld... He blinked a few times to clear his eyes. The goddess was gone. But he did feel like the path widened. And while the time of arriving safely at the School kept flowing in a line, time as a whole seemed to flow from all directions at once now, going nowhere. A smile? Was this a time to smile? Why not? It was a time for anything. Even for raw materials. And if there would have been a potion for smiling, could it have done more than take out of the way all that was never ment to be his concern? No expectations then? His steps begun to feel like he was dancing. The grass, the flowers, the trees and the sky above, and the houses, and the people in them, and the people passing him by - all were beautiful music that he was free to enjoy. And through the loosened fabric of his heart, he let the colors of the dawn out into the soul of the world...

There is no recipe for a soul touching another. And there can be no failure, every reaching is perfectly full of hope, of love. And the other ingredients matter only in the beginning. Or not at all...

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