The Edge of Darkness

  In the Dark I awake, dizzy, on a cold, hard floor. My head spins and throbs, my body nauseous, stiff and strange. It takes all my strength to sit up slowly, and open my eyes. The world stays dark, with no trace of light anywhere around me. Am I blind? I struggle to stay conscious, and fight to open my energy sight. I push through the dull darkness, and the energy world flashes into place, but not as I’ve seen it before. Blinding light assaults me, and I slump to the floor, too dizzy now to even raise my head. I let the spinning floor hold my body, and wait for the intense energy to dim. When my energy sight clears, I’m inside a small, round building. A platform stands, fifty feet above the water, covered with a blue crystal half-sphere, surrounded by a hundred miles of ocean. I…

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Exile

  Isolated Awake again, still surrounded by darkness. My physical eyes are sealed and useless. Was the last awakening real, or only a dream? I turn my inner eyes to the energy world. I see myself, a body of fire, on a platform, in the middle of the ocean, surrounded by a crystal sphere, with no land in sight. My energy body is strange. Too small, and the patterns are all wrong. The eyes of an energy body always burn bright, but these eyes are like suns. My room looks exactly like my dream, with walls, floor, and ceiling of blue crystal. Am I alone here? There’s no one with me in the room, but I feel someone’s presence, and look beyond this space. I find a small room with its own crystal walls. There’s a table, chairs, water and food. Nearby are cushions and a sleeping mat. A transport…

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Ghosts of the Future

  Eyes Open I love the feeling of falling free. The air rushes by me as I fall, and the world comes up to greet me. The six hundred feet to the ocean will vanish in seconds. This small body is strong, but I won’t survive the fall. I push aside the thoughts of death, the fear of pain, and the urge to hide from the end. These moments are too precious to waste. I open my energy eyes to see the beauty of the ocean and sky, and taste the world one last time. There’s movement one hundred feet directly below me. Three of the Kishla, the great singing birds, fly in a circle. The energy within their ring weaves itself thicker and thicker, and pulls at me as I approach. Are they waiting for my fall to pierce their circle? The Kishla song grows louder and louder, and…

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Welcome

  Free for a Moment I love flying, being light and strong and free. It brings me joy, even with all the thoughts of loss and doubt that drag me down. Keela is annoyed with me. She tries to hide it, but I feel it. She wants us to fly fast and straight to the cave of the old ones, so she can be done with this errand. I ignore her, and let my joy and love of flying guide us, following twisted curves that ride the energy of my emotions. Is it impatience that drives her, or is it fear? If the armband fails, my eyes will consume everything near me, including her. If the journey is successful, what will happen to her? She takes me to the cave of old ones, where no one has gone for a thousand years! What secrets and danger are buried there? She…

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Forest – A Chief’s Heart

  The Forest: Prologue The fog in my mind lifts slowly, and I find myself in a young boy’s body. I hear Jaina’s thoughts louder than my own, and feel his emotions. His senses are now mine, but he does not hear my thoughts, or feel me. I am a ghost with no power to act. The old ones call this “traveling as a witness.” Will it drive me mad to watch him for a lifetime of years, unable to act? My answer comes in a few days. I get lost in Jaina’s thoughts, emotions, and dreams, and forget myself. His thoughts and actions become mine.

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Forest – Death Climb

  Death, Feelings, and Fire The climb lasts five to ten hours, for those who come out of the hole. We wear strong, thin leather on our hands and feet. We rub our skin with the bark of the felik bush. It toughens the skin for a few days, but we still bleed. Felik also has a good scent which hides the smell of blood. It is forbidden to practice the climb in the hole, but there are other places with sharp rocks to cut us. We climb and crawl through narrow spaces without water or food, and learn to climb, bleeding, and in pain.

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Forest – Hunting Strength

  Five Days Light wind to tame the heat, and a clear sky. A good day. This is the most important hunt of my life. It comes to all boys at the age of fourteen suns. Five of us go to the low country, to hunt Vigla. We must bring home five spears or knives with Vigla blood. Five boys, five days, five strikes of blood. Vigla are strong and wild. They run on four legs, and walk on two. When they stand, they are twice the height of a man. Vigla do not fear us, and have a tough hide. We struggle to get a spear deep enough to do damage. They are fast on four legs, and their claws are long and sharp. A pack of five boys cannot kill one. Rare even for four full-grown warriors to send it to death. Still, we hope to face the…

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Forest – Kindness and Killing

  The Love of Chiefs Our chief is a great man, powerful and smart. He loves children, and fights for his people like each one is his child. I am his nephew, but he treats me like a son. Every chief is commanded to see his people as children, but this chief lives it. Tonight I am fifteen. We feast after a great hunt. I think of another feast to come. In a month, we gather with the people of the low country. I will take Nanik as my first mate. Tonight, I drink too much, and go a short way into the forest to relieve myself. When I finish, I start back, and find myself surrounded by three shape shifters in the form of the great cats.

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Forest – Change

  Shanir Fifty suns gone. The years run quickly, and the village changes. So big, and filled with children. Soon the village will split. Villages must stay small, so everyone is known. This is our way. My sister, Shanir, is in both councils. Like elder mother before her. Elder mother left this world two suns ago, and Shanir is sick. Her days fade. I whisper to Shanir that we must go climbing together, become children, again. She laughs, and then the smile turns sad, and fades. “We lead now, Jaina,” she says. “Our days belong to the village.” “Who is too serious now?” I ask her. “How can we serve the people if there is nothing left of us?” She smiles, takes my hand, and looks me in the eyes. “Now, who sounds like elder mother?” I laugh. “We will climb again, Jaina.” “In this world, or the next.” She…

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The Tower and the Well

  Return My mind slips back from Jaina’s world, falling down an endless hole. Soon the body lands, solid again in my awareness. Warmth surrounds me and supports me. How long have I been in the vat? No way to tell yet. Is this the same world and the same room? The vat is smaller than before, and the room feels different. I slowly stretch my muscles, waiting for them to protest their long sleep. Instead, I find my body relaxed, strong, and well rested, not sore or weak. I look at the liquid with energy eyes. Energy covers the vats and fills the room, shines and streams into my body. The energy strengthens us, as we dream in the vat, and journey far away and within. The old ones told me that the vat accepts us when it’s time to travel, and wakes us when it’s time to end…

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