FIC (Then Let Me Walk Away) Death Gate Cycle for teinte Title: Then Let Me Walk Away Author: Karen Fandom: The Death Gate Cycle Character: Alfred Montbank Rating: General Disclaimer: Belongs to the original creators and authors of the series,

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman; and none of the characters or settings are mine.

The story references events from the 4th book in the series, "The Serpent Mage'"

"Then Let Me Walk Away" by Karen

He should not be having these feelings because not only are they inappropriate for a man his age, they are also highly imprudent and impractical. Alfred Montbank has never fit in, never felt that he belonged. Even the time spent among the citizens of the Air world of Arianus where he served in the role of both mentor and servant of Prince Bane, was not entirely without mishaps and misunderstandings.

Alfred winces inwardly when he remembers that he has had a parting of the ways with his previous obligations and allegiances. He sloughed off his responsibilities to the prince by allowing the Patryn, Haplo,

to take the boy away. Alfred tries to console himself with the fact that there was little he could have done at the time, under the circumstances.

Alfred realizes that he has fallen into the habit of referring to the inhabitants of the Sundered Realms by the term that both Patryns and Sartans use, mensch, and he shudders.

He reaches down with one hand in an absent-minded gesture to rub the silky ears of his four-legged companion, Haplo's dog.

The dog has expressive, intelligent eyes and Alfred is more than a little worried about how Haplo ever allowed the animal to become separated from him or lost in the first place.

If his surmises about the animal are correct, than Haplo has lost more than a traveling companion and trusted friend, he may have lost a piece of himself.

If Alfred is confused about where his new allegiances lie, his hosts are even more worried. He should be happy, after years and years of searching in vain, Alfred has at last found his people, the Sartan.

He takes a good long look around at his beautiful surroundings. Here on the water world of Chelestra it is like he is just now discovering just what he's been missing all these years. It's beautiful.

Alfred realizes that he should be elated, excited even and with a deep sigh, a sigh that begins at the roots of his thinning, gray hair and travels all the way down to the soles of his ragged shoes, that he is not content, not excited, and most definitely not happy.

In fact he is restless and anxious, and he thinks he just might be in love with another man's wife.

The fact that the Sartan leader is none other than the man who led the Council of Elders to order the sundering of the old world, Samah,

is cause for worry. Samah has been kind, gracious, and expressed the understanding of a paternal leader for the wayward of a long-lost brother, but he is growing suspicious of Alfred.

Alfred wonders if it is a fault in himself; he's seen too much, been through too much to be a proper Sartan, to ever feel truly at home here. He is not happy, and that feeling is being communicated to and picked up by both of his companions, the dog and Samah's wife, Orla. Alfred has come to a decision; he is in love with her.

She is in love with him; that will complicate matters a great deal.