At last, now that I have left behind that desolated land of jackals and blood, I can rest. I am, gratefully, not much the worse for wear, and under Bhakti's faithful ministrations, the wounds I still carry are healing well and cause me very little grief. Irene and I departed Karachi on April 27th, bidding a final farewell to Mukherjee (who proved himself a good man in the end) and the sea, and thereupon traveled through Tehran and Ankara by train. We presently find ourselves in Constantinople, that great and ancient metropolis situated between the Dardanelles and the Bosporus.
Before indulging myself in a Turkish bath, I wired ahead to Klaus to apprise him that I would soon be returning to Berlin and to humbly ask if I might impose upon him to share his living space for the extent of my visit. I am eager to see him again, for, although he certainly has his share of oddities, he is at his heart one of the most hospitable and engaging souls I have yet encountered on this earth. I am sure Irene would find him (or her, depending on the mood) most charming, as he shares her love for knowledge, fashion, and adventure; and though he is blessed with many talents, he has never struck me as haughty or pretentious.
Very soon, Irene and I shall find ourselves on the Orient Express, which will conduct us from Constantinople westward through Bucharest, Budapest, Vienna, and finally Munich before I disembark and take another train north to Berlin. It has been years since I have visited these cities, and some of them I will be seeing for the first time. I trust it will be a refreshing change to shed the role of harried scholar for that of a simple tourist, and to trade camp rations and hospital food for cuisines prepared by true masters of the craft.
I do not know Irene's plans for herself; although we have briefly discussed having the Pashupati amulet examined by various university experts, I have not yet told her of the mirror or how I managed to acquire it. I am reluctant to do so, though I know I must, for it would be grossly unfair of me to keep such a find from her. I simply do not know what her reaction will be; while I do not believe that she would betray me to the authorities, I am much less certain whether her favorable opinion of me will withstand the revelation. It is this one concern of mine, and only this, that has kept me from sharing the truth thus far, and I find myself postponing the inevitable, hoping for an opportune moment wherein all might be revealed with the least probability of damage.
Though I have emerged out from under the shadow of Mohenjo-Daro, I still find myself casting wary glances over my shoulder. I am especially loath to let my baggage from my sight for any length of time, and though no customs officials have given me any trouble as of yet, I am anxious at every border crossing. I have taken the precaution of secreting the mirror on my person whenever it seems prudent; and though it is made of an unnaturally light mineral, I find that it seems to weigh rather heavily on me, as though I am carrying an immense spiritual burden that has been accumulating since the beginning of time.