I spent days in the sensorium recording every experience I had left, taking time only for food and sleep that Annali provided. I lost count of the stones I recorded, but Annali joked that they might have to make a separate room just for my stones.
When I finished, Annali gave me my payment in two sacks. The first nearly burst the seams with gold coins. The second was filled with large gemstones.
"You have experienced a great deal, my friend, most of it from a place none have ever been before, and with creatures that are rare and unheard of. Truly these are some of the richest experiences we have seen in over a hundred years. I have even mentioned your name to the factol. I think that you would fit very well into the society, if you are willing?"
"Yes," I said. "I feel welcome here. Preserving memories and experiencing life are what I believe in."
Annali made me a member of the Society, and I walked out of the festhall with a new identity. I did not hold on to all the wealth I had gained. First among my purchases were new materials to begin my magical practice again, and to create the enchantment that would protect my dreams.
Second, I clothed myself and refilled Rina's pendant. In describing the rose to the perfumer, he mentioned that such a flower, or even the essence from the flower, could be a gate key. And I knew that it was the rose oil that had opened the portal that brought me here.
The third was for a spell to be cast that allowed me to speak to Markun. He still lived. After searching for me on the mountain, he reclaimed Alistair, and was able to resurrect him. Markun promised to raise a toast to me and my new life.
After that, it didn't take much to find a portal to a pleasant glade where I physically enjoyed the rain for the first time since I had arrived. I made sure to remember this portal as I returned to the City of Doors, or, as I now liked to think of it: home.