Ventus – Day 25 of 135


The door to their tower room was bolted; the fire was lit and candles sat on the table. Jordan, Calandria and Axel sat in imitation of some domestic scene, each bent over an evening task. Except that Calandria was not darning, but poring over a map on the table top; and Axel was not repairing tools or his boots, but polishing the steel of a wicked sword; and Jordan was not playing games or cleaning, but sat cross-legged in the center of the floor, hands on his knees, eyelids fluttering. He was trying to count to three, one digit per breath, without allowing any stray thoughts to intrude on the way. Tonight he felt he was finally starting to get the hang of it.

At two-and-a-half breaths, he caught himself thinking hey, I can do this! Stop. Back to one.

“Shit.” He slapped himself on the forehead. Calandria laughed.

“You’re doing well,” she said. “You can rest now.”

“But I had it once or twice!”

“Good. Don’t push it, or you’ll get worse rather than better.”

He unwove his legs and stood. Two deep breaths, just as she had taught. Jordan felt great, relaxed and able to deal with things. He’d never really felt like this before… oh, maybe when he was really young, and didn’t know what the world was like. All his cares and worries seemed distant, and he was able to pay attention to the here-and-now. He smiled, and plunked himself down on the edge of the bed.

“Axel tells me you have quite a mind,” Calandria said. “He told me you figured out your own history of the Boros clan by reading their architecture.”

“Yeah,” he said suspiciously. He and Axel had moved on to talk about that this afternoon, after their conversation about the Winds and 3340 had ended in impasse. Axel had been quite unaware of the contradiction between the Boros’ official history and what the stones suggested.

“Do you want to move on to a new study? You must continue to practise what I’ve taught you, of course.”

“Sure!” He felt ready for anything. “What do we do?”

Calandria folded her map and put it aside. “We can build on what you’ve already learned. If you can relax, you can concentrate. If you can concentrate, you can do marvels.”

“Like what?”

“Perfect memory, for instance. Or perfect control of your body, even your heartbeat. Tonight, I’ll show you something to help you control your visions.”

“I thought that was what I was learning.”

“You’ve been learning how to stop them. Now you’ll learn how to make them happen.”

Axel looked up, surprise written on his mobile face. “Do we know that?”

“Everything’s consistent,” she said. “I’d be very surprised if this doesn’t work.” She motioned for Jordan to sit on the floor, and seated herself in front of him. “Now, close your eyes.”

Jordan wasn’t sure he wanted to be able to make the visions happen–he was happy that they were going away. But he obeyed. Armiger was not so frightening any more, and if he could stop a vision once it started, the prospect was less daunting.

“Now,” Calandria said, “without actually doing it, imagine you are raising your hand in front of your face.” He did so. “Examine your imaginary hand. Turn it back and forth. Make a fist.” He obeyed. “Look closely at your hand. Picture it as clearly as you can.”

Jordan did his best. “Do you keep losing the image?” she asked. He nodded. “Do you get little flashes of other images?”

Puzzled, he sat for a while. Then he realized what she meant: the hand was replaced for a split-second here and there by pictures of inconsequential things, like the washbasin in the corner, or a vista of trees he couldn’t identify. “I see it,” he said.

“This is what goes on behind everybody’s eyes,” she said. “A constant flicker of visions. As you practise the counting exercise and your concentration improves, you’ll be able to damp them down, and see what you want to see for longer and longer.

“Now, as you’ve imagined your hand, imagine you can see your entire body. Keep your eyes closed, and look down at yourself.” He moved his head, imagining his bent knees and bare feet against the flagstones. “Good. Now, keep your eyes closed, and don’t move. Imagine this second body of yours is your own, and stand up in it.”

He did. “Look around.” Jordan pretended he was standing and looking around the room. It was hard to maintain the images; they kept sliding away. He said so.

“That’s okay. Now pretend to turn around. Do you see the bench where Axel’s sitting?”

He concentrated. “Yes…” He kept seeing it as a memory, from the position of the bed where he’d sat earlier. He tried to imagine seeing it as if he were standing in the center of the room.

“See his pack on the floor next to it?”


“Go over to the pack. Open it up. Look inside. What do you see?”

He pretended to do as she said. “There’s… a knife, a book, a glass liquor bottle.”

“How full is the bottle?”

Jordan pretended to hold it up. It seemed to be a quarter full. “A quarter.” That was just a fancy, of course; he had no idea what was in Axel’s pack.

Calandria said, “Axel, open your pack. Is there a bottle in it?”


“How full is it?”

“A quarter full, but hey this is just a memory trick. I was drinking from it earlier, you both saw me.”

“Jordan, do you remember seeing Axel drink from the bottle earlier?”

“I… I don’t know. Maybe.”

“Maybe. But you’re not sure. And yet you see the bottle, and you know how full it is, and where it is. How strange, hmm?”

A strong exultation gripped Jordan. He had seen it! What he saw with his imagination was somehow real.

“Parlor trick,” muttered Axel.

“Be silent!” she commanded. “Now try this. Sit your body down again where your real body sits. Close your imaginary eyes.” He did so. “Imagine blackness. Now…”

Her hand touched his shoulder. Jordan struggled to keep his eyes closed. “Practise your deep breathing. Calm yourself, and see deeper and deeper black.” He felt the center of his consciousness dropping through his body, to rest finally in his belly, where great strength drove slow breaths in and out.

Calandria’s voice had taken on its most hypnotic lilt. “You will open your inner eyes again, but this time, the hand you see before you will not be yours, but rather Armiger’s. Do you understand?”

He nodded.

“Open those eyes.”

He did so.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. (To tell the truth I don't even really care if you give me your email or not.)