And yet…

And yet.

Le Aaiun recuperated in the City of Bronze for nearly a year, working on her book in every waking moment. In this work she was assisted by the scribe and storyteller Ad Dakhla, whose work makes up the final two chapters of Le’s book.

Dakhla, who had fallen in love with Le, speaks of how he entered her chambers with salves and fresh dressings for the traveler’s many injuries one evening as he had done many times before. He found Le in shock, and had great difficulty in coaxing what she had seen out of her.

“It was as if I, myself, were in these chambers, radiant and beautiful in a way that I never could be and have never wanted to be,” said Le, according to Ad Dakhla. “I was dressed in flowing robes and seemed at peace.”

“Surely it cannot have been thus,” Dakhla records himself as saying. “Did you ask this intruder who they were, and what they wanted?”

“I did, and she did not answer the question. Instead, she told me a tale with all the appearances of a fable, about how for every person who ascends the infinite slope, there is one who turns back and one who continues – two halves of a whole.”

“That does not make sense,” said Dakhla. “It was your companion who continued, not you.”

“I never had a companion,” said Le. “All had died. Perhaps I was lying to myself. Perhaps I really was carved in twain by the terrible power of that place.”

Dakhla, worried, went to summon the doctor. When he returned, the room was empty. None of the guards had seen anything other than an exceptionally bright full Dreaming Moon.

Le Aaiun was never seen again.

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