The brief contact with the Jiku sphere of mirrors takes my strength.
I feel the smooth stone under my Jiku body, as my awareness returns to the marketplace, but only for a moment, just before I collapse.
I sleep, but without peace.
A vision comes and takes me.
I fly quickly through endless, empty silver skies — no worlds, no life.
In the vision I have no strength, but something carries me, keep me always in motion.
I see nothing, but I know that I’m not alone.
“Show yourself,” I shout to the empty world.
The world is quiet around me, as I continue my endless movement.
“Help me,” I whisper.
“Why am I here?”
A ribbon of light appears, the Holokai.
Spheres of mirrors pour out of the Holokai, forming a great river.
It grows larger and larger, filling up the space that we fly in.
I feel closed in, suffocated, drowning.
Then the world grows even smaller, as a thousand pebbles appear, each with its own shape.
These are the same pebbles that I saw before in the vision of the Holokai.
They circle around us as we fly.
As I watch, a twin of each pebble appears, and a sphere takes shape between each pair of twins
The spheres are unclear, shadows that disappear in the sun, but I know that they hold time captive within them.
These are the spheres of moments.
They glow bright for a moment, and then explode.
I awake, breathing hard, to find someone standing over me.
“Master, are you all right?”
“You passed out for a few seconds.”
The weakness is gone, and I stand up.
“Thank you for your help,” I tell him, “but I’m fine now.”
I avoid his stare as I fly away, searching for a quiet place to think about the vision.
This vision and the earlier one are born of one message.
Both show the Holokai, the white marble pebbles, and the sphere of moments that lives outside of time.
In the first vision, I transformed myself into an exact copy of a pebble in a field.
In the second vision, every pebble had a perfect twin.
Flow masters never copy an existing stone, plant, or animal exactly.
We use a core pattern, but there are always variations, small changes in size or shape.
The guild says that it’s impossible to make an exact copy of anything, and impossible or not, they forbid it.
The Bizra warned the ancient masters that doing so would twist the balance of the world.
Voice of Time
The Holokai, or something in me, demands that I transform myself into an exact copy of a stone pebble.
I feel reckless, invincible, ready to ignore the guild and the Bizra.
Above all, I trust an inner feeling of purpose, an overwhelming need to make the vision come true, but how?
I’m more Gen than Jiku, and the Gen do what’s impossible for the Jiku.
I turn my awareness, so that I move and think with full Gen speed.
Then I find a field of pebbles, and look with energy eyes at one pebble.
I focus on, and resonate with the object.
With Gen awareness, I see more detail in the pattern then I have ever seen before, and I use all that detail to transform into a pebble.
I feel strange, my awareness jumping back and forth between the original pebble, and the copy I’ve made.
Then, I cover the pebble with my listener, and my awareness is thrown into another place.
There is no sparkling fog here, and no sphere of mirrors, but there is a sphere of images that hold the history of the object.
Each point is a window, an opening into a moment of the object’s history.
History is more than the sun or rain that falls on a rock or plant.
It’s more than what an animal sees or feels.
When I connect with the image of a moment, I see all the energies that moved around or through the object.
I see everything that surrounded the object for miles, in that moment.
How is this possible?
The stone had no physical eyes or energy eyes, but the world is tied together.
Moments alone provide little understanding.
I must see the motion, bind the moments, to bring the moments to life.
I learn to move through the moments in order, so I can see the history come alive.
This is incredible, and I want to see if I can also touch the history of plants and animals.
The listener is still in place, and the sphere of moments visible, when I let go of my pebble shape.
As I dissolve the patterns, the sphere of moments explodes.
My fire body is unharmed, but when my awareness returns to the field, the stone is gone, erased from history.
I return to my Jiku shape and sit among the pebbles, and tremble.
The destruction of that pebble has left the world mostly untouched.
If I had destroyed a critical object, the world would have changed.
I try again with another pebble, becoming its twin.
This time, I let go of the listener, and leave the world of the sphere before I let go of my form.
Thank the creator, the pebble is unharmed, and the world untouched.
I tell myself that it’s foolish to risk so much, but I live to explore, to know, and understand.
I promise myself that I will never forget to remove the listener before I dissolve the patterns.
Then I spend hours absorbing the history of simple objects and creatures.
Too much information to put into my active, conscious mind, so I store it in my distant mind.
I see a plant growing on a hillside, a bird flying above me, or a stone lying among ancient ruins.
I become that plant, that bird, or that stone.
I keep my Gen awareness with all my memories, and find the second awareness of the form that I take.
I sense what my twin senses, see what it sees, touch the world that surrounds it.
Finally, I retake to my Jiku shape, and sit quietly in a soft meadow, surrounded by wilu, flowering plants eight feet high.
I send out my listening body, to touch the balance of the energy web and forget myself.
After a half hour I return to myself, with a single, disturbing though.
I’m able to transform into a particular bird and see its life and history.
Can I transform into a particular person, or other thinking being, and see his thoughts, his feelings, his whole history?
Do I have the right to spy on someone’s life like this?
I go to the house, and look at image cubes until I find an old picture of Bisal, Yagrin’s dead brother.
We look nothing alike!
I am Yagrin, and yet I’m not.
I have none of Yagrin’s memories of his brother.
Shazira told me that we didn’t speak for years, and Yagrin stayed far from Berek.
Berek thinks that Bisal was taken over by a traveler when Bisal was a boy, and that’s why I hate my brother.
I can’t remember, but his explanation feels wrong.
Berek is my nephew.
I must know the truth.
If I take on Bisal’s shape, I can see his history, but how will i find his exact energy patterns?
I become a copy of the storage cube, and probe its history.
I find the moment when Bisal stood by the cube, and analyze his energy patterns.
I release the object’s shape, and take on Bisal’s instead.
Then I cover this body with the listener to hear his history.
It unfolds before me.
I focus on my brother’s bonding ceremony, a year after me.
Just before the bonding ceremony, he and I are laughing and smiling, like any brothers.
It’s strange to look at Yagrin through Bisal’s eyes.
The old Yagrin is arrogant, so full of himself, but he loves Shazira, and he loves his brother.
Bisal’s bondmate is visibly nervous around Yagrin, and avoids him at the celebration.
Bisal doesn’t notice, but I can view the scene outside of his eyes.
A month later my brother and I argue, alone in his house.
“She’s pregnant,” says Bisal.
“Blessings,” offers Yagrin.
“She was pregnant before the bonding.”
“It’s your son, Yagrin!”
“You knew she and I would be bonded, and you did this?”
“We were drunk,” I say, “and it was dark.”
“She thought I was you.”
“Who did you think she was?” he yells.
“At first I didn’t know,” I answer.
“By the time I knew who it was, I was too far gone to care.”
“Please,” I beg him, “don’t tell Shazira.”
“I’ll be silent,” Bisal says.
“I ‘ll never tell Shazira, and I’ll never tell the child.”
“He’ll be my son in all ways, but you will never return to this house.”
“You’ll never speak to me or the child again.”
“How can I do that?”
“You’re my only brother.”
“I was drunk.”
“Don’t cut me off like this.”
“Stay away from us!”
“Promise me,” he says, “and leave!”
“I promise,” I say at last.
I return to the present and let go of Bisal’s shape, returning to my own.
The unborn child is Berek, my son.
Sleep comes slowly tonight.
I have betrayed Shazira, and lost brother and son.
It was long ago, but it’s as real to me as today.
Yes, it’s the old Yagrin who twisted his world like this, but whether I like it or not, his life and mine are one.
I cry when I think how this will hurt Shazira.
How will I hide my thoughts and feelings from her?
The bond will reveal my emotions, and I’m a terrible liar.
I come to Chiwan’s house after greeting the sun.
I tell him of taking the shapes of plants, and animals, and stone.
I speak of the Sphere of Mirrors, exact shapes, the Sphere of Moments, and the destruction that it can bring.
I tell him of taking my dead brother’s shape, and living Bisal’s memories.
I don’t tell him what the memories were.
He sees that I’m troubled by the memories, and doesn’t ask.
“Show me what you can do, Yagrin,” he says.
“Copy my shape, but stay out of my thoughts, and don’t use the listener.”
I make the change so quickly, that he doesn’t see it happen.
Chiwan walks around me, examining me in detail.
Then he laughs.
“Yagrin, this is wonderful.”
I return to my own shape.
Above us, I hear the song of Kishla birds.
Three of them land between Chiwan and I, looking at us intently.
“Friends of yours, Yagrin?” he asks.
The Kishla look at us in a way that I’ve never seen before.
Their gaze makes me uneasy.
“I’ve met Kishla before,” I tell Chiwan, “but I understand little about them.”
“I don’t know why, but I’m afraid of these.”
“Our listening,” he says, “does not work on Kishla.”
“Try it and tell me what you see.”
I cast my listening body upon one of them, and feel a dark fog.
I can’t read the Kishla’s balance.
“I feel nothing, and see nothing,” I tell him.
“You once said, master, that some truths can’t be understand from outside.”
I flow my body into the Kishla shape, and spread my listening body again.
Now, the balance of the Kishla is clear.
I change my shape to become an exact double of one of them.
Then I touch his memories.
He was once a man!
His thoughts seem to push at me, and he backs away.
It’s the first time that I’ve ever heard an angry song from the Kishla.
In the Kishla form, I understand it perfectly.
“Young fool, who invades my thoughts to make me his slave.”
“Perverse beyond reason, I will drive you from the world.”
Great blasts of energy fly at me, and fill me with extraordinary pain.
A moment later, my Kishla body is gone, and my pattern body with it.
Chiwan, standing behind me, is struck by one of the blasts.
I can see his pattern body weakening.
Storms and Balance
I raise up a powerful Gen energy shield.
Then, I rebuild the Kishla pattern body, and take the Kishla shape again.
I speak to the Kishla who attacked me, and it comes out as song.
“I mean you no harm, yet you killed me, and the master will die soon.”
“Your spirit will fly with him to the next world.”
“Wait,” he says.
“I was only defending myself.”
“You were in my thoughts.”
“I assumed it was the beginning of a mental attack.”
“Stay out of my thoughts, and we have no quarrel.”
Another one of the Kishla interrupts, and sings to his friend.
“Fool, don’t you see what happened?”
“He rises from the dead!”
The first Kishla moves behind his friends, suddenly afraid of me.
“How is this possible?” the second Kishla asks me.
“I learned it on another world,” I say, “when I was an old one.”
The third one sings happily, pleased with himself.
“I told you,” he says to the others, excited.
“I told you that this one is the old one that we saw a year ago.”
“He lives without form, and returns from the dead.”
I change back to the shape of a Jiku.
Chiwan still lives, though his moments are few.
His physical body is damaged beyond healing, but he is still conscious.
At Gen speed, I create a new body for him, fifty years younger than his current body.
He looks in wonder at the lifeless body resting on the ground.
I break the bond between his energy bodies and the dying physical body.
At the same moment, I bind his energy bodies to the new physical body.
A brief blast of energy to start the heart, and he breathes.
“Are you all right, master?” I ask.
“Are your memories intact?”
He looks at me.
“I remember everything,” he says.
The Kishla stand quietly, watching Chiwan take a few steps in his new body.
“The three Kishla were once men,” I tell him.
“They must be the ones that the legends call guardians.”
The Kishla sing for a few minutes.
I take their form again, so I can understand the song.
It’s a song of long years, of waiting for something that one hopes will never come.
Of storms that shatter beauty, and returning light.
It’s a great, sad song.
After twenty minutes the song is done, and the Kishla fly away.
“I’ll contact the guild, Yagrin,” says Master Chiwan.
“You’re a healer now.”
“I put the world at risk,” I tell him, “and I almost killed you.”
“I don’t deserve the master’s band.”
“You do what needs to be done,” he answers.
“Look at your robes.”
My robes now show the solid red band of a healing master.
There are two symbols within the band.
One is the healer’s symbol of peace.
The other I don’t recognize.
“Master, what’s the second symbol?”
“An ancient symbol for storm,” he answers.
“Someone must see a path to balance, even when the storms of change come.”
“Most of us are frightened of change and chaos, but not you.”
“Thank you for the band, master.”
“The guardians gave you the band and put the symbols on your robes.”
“They believe that your presence is a sign that the storms are coming soon, and that you are the one who will heal the world, when it’s dying.”