He can save me…
“I can see that your mind is elsewhere. Shall we continue the lesson?” Vridich says with an ounce of irritation in his voice.
“No! I mean yes! Sorry…” I say.
“Wonderful.” After a slight pause and raised eyebrow, indicating that he’s making sure I’m paying attention, I give a nod.
“As I was saying, magic is NOT everywhere. Astral Space is, however, all around us. An opposite reflection of life, if you will, and it is from Astral Space that we Magicians and Adepts draw and shape astral energy to our will. As a Nethermancer, we understand better than any other Discipline what Astral Space really represents: Death.” He says with a small amount of emphasis.
He then stands up and walks over to me, offering out both hands, palms up. Not really wanting to touch him, I remind myself that I trust Vridich, that I am not afraid, and put one hand on top of each of his. His long elven fingers completely engulf mine as he gently takes each hand. They are surprisingly warm.
“THIS is life Hannah. Here and now.” Indicating with his head as he looks around our ship quarters, then back at us and the open space between our outstretched arms.
“A circle.” I say to him. I was beginning to understand where he was going with this line of thought. It’s funny, that I was starting to draw correlations now with Vridich that I had always thought were just his “weirdness”. The more time I spent around him, the more apparent it was that he was very, very smart. He speaks like six languages or something. Kinda intimidating now that I think about it.
“Yes. Exactly.” He says with a small smile.
“A circle is the greatest iconic representation to a Nethermancer. Take for instance astral space. It’s merely a spiritual reflection of our own world. Without this world, there would be no astral space. The two are directly interconnected, yet they are also separate and independent of each other.”
Continuing to hold my hands outstretched, “Envisioning our circle again, if I am the mundane world and you represent astral space, I must move myself to your side of the circle in order to see astral space.”
With that, he twirls us around a few times, I can’t help but laugh out loud as he twirls us. When we finally stop, we are on opposite sides of where we started. “BUT, for this exercise we don’t need to physically cross over into astral space, we just need to step up close enough to the edge of astral space and push our eyes though, extending our vision into astral space. So let’s pretend that our circle has a line dividing it in half; one side physical, the other astral.”
And with that he takes a single step to his right, essentially moving us 90 degrees back on the circle. “Now tell me why we would not want to fully cross over into astral space.”
I recite from memory, and in my best imitation of Vridich’s voice, “During the Scourge, the Horrors came from the depths of the farthest Netherealms to the astral and physical realms. They destroyed anything and everything in their path. The physical destruction they caused also reverberated in astral space as well, corrupting much of the astral energies. These corrupt horror energies, if focused through a magician or an adept, could draw the attention of any horrors that still linger nearby. Not to mention the physical corruption that drawing these energies into oneself can cause as well.” I finish with a half curtsies and smile.
The sour look on his face makes me giggle. “I don’t talk that way.” I try not to snicker some more.
“Tele’mah qua?” he says in exasperation. Which, he says so often these days, I know it happens to mean “Why me?” I giggle a bit more.
“I think you have progressed far enough in your studies to be a Nethermancer, it’s time to pull back the curtain and for you to see astral space with your own eyes.” he says with a serious look on his face.
My heart immediately begins racing. Involuntarily I try to pull my hands out of Vridich’s grasp, but he continues to hold them firmly as they begin to sweat. But I’m not ready I think to myself. What if a horror is nearby?!?!? Or some crazed elemental bent on revenge that likes to eat little girls for breakfast??? A hundred scenarios pass through my head as I stood there mute and paralyzed.
Vridich squeezes my hands, “No. Fear.” He says slowly. After a moment of composing myself, pushing out my doubts, I lock gazes with him and give a nod. Maybe it was because my adrenalin was pumping, but in that moment, he had the biggest blue eyes I’d ever seen. How had I not noticed that before. “I will make sure astral space is safe here first.” he says.
Closing his eyes, he takes a deep breath and lets it out calmly. Goose bumps travel up my arms as I can see the tattoos on his head and hands flare up blue for just a moment. When he opens his eyes again, his pupils are huge and out of focus, as if he appears to be staring far far away. He slowly scans his head about, looking at what, well…. I guess I’ll know soon enough.
“The astral space here is quite clean.” he proclaims to me. Blinking, his eyes return to their regular blue hue and size. “Now, it’s your turn Hannah. Remember, astral space is just behind a curtain. We only want to move that curtain out of the way, not step beyond it. Just a peek will suffice. And I’ll be here the whole time.” He gives my hands a reassuring shake. I nod again.
Closing my eyes, I envision that my eye lids are the curtain that Vridich mentioned earlier. Breathing in a full breath, I hold it for as long as I can before letting it out controlled. I picture that my breath is an astral wind, blowing spirits around the netherealms. When I slowly lift my eye lids, what I see next is the most amazing thing I have ever seen in my short life.
Vridich is standing in front of me, but yet not Vridich. He’s bathed in a blue light that emanates from his entire body. His body is corded and very well muscled, much like a troll’s body. Waves of this blue light roll off of him and run into my arms where we are touching. It’s there in my arms that I notice I have a light as well, a deep purplish color. As I look at the rest of my body, this purple light seems to be traveling throughout my entire body. As if my skin was nonexistent, or maybe even see though. There are even small swirls and eddies of the purple light about my feet, like a purple fog rolling off of me.
“Now tell me what you see Hannah.” I hear Vridich’s voice say. I start to explain as much as I can in detail, until I see something literally walk through the wall behind Vridich.
“Vridich! A dwarf with a really big hammer just walked through a wall into your room!” I say with a bit of panic to him.