A Short Story from Eoc
His testing had started in earnest, even as Shilo and Nathan were commencing the Elven Death Rituals. He would be locked in the Chamber of Trials for the better part of the remaining measure at least as time passed within the chamber. Outside the chamber only about 2 turns would pass.
Mycrim-el sat on a cushion in the center of the bare room. It contained nothing but the cushion and a short, elongated table, colored white and crafted from dead wood. He would be unable to bend the pneuma within the table because it contained none. The ceiling stood as tall as four humans atop one another and as wide as 10 lying head to foot. The walls and floors shone a polished white. The room contained no door or windows; if one looked too long, one lost the perception of dimension and structure. It seemed as if one stood or sat in white nothingness with a table floating in its center.
Mycrim-el meditated. He focused his pneuma, drawing it up his spine, down the center of his stomach, back up his spine, across his back and down the back of his arms. He drew the pneuma up the inside of his arms to his center and led it back down to his groin; over and over again he ran the cycle.
He perceived a change in the room and opened his eyes. A sand-filled container used for marking the passage of time had appeared on the table in front of him, with sand sliding from top to bottom.
Mycrim-el focused on the flowing sand, he slowed his breathing and time slowly bent until he could watch the individual grains of sand fall through the hourglass.
Time bent even more until one grain of sand, for a simple moment, hung suspended in midair like a horse leaping from a cliff after the death of its master. The grain then floated to the bottom of the time-watching piece and the container disappeared.
He closed his eyes and returned to running the cycle of pneuma, only now he also ran the pneuma along the floor, walls, and ceiling of the room, listening to the pneuma of the room; maintaining awareness without judgment.
After a time, an impulse to fly wandered through his mind. Choosing to act on the impulse, he mixed his pneuma with that of the cushion he sat on and propelled himself straight to the ceiling. Upon reaching the ceiling he toured the room with his eyes closed using only the touch of pneuma to guide him. He then raced back to his place in front of the table and landed without a sound.
Rotations turned to cycles and cycles passed into turns and turns became seasons as Mycrim-el continued to sit with his eyes closed running his pneuma through the channels in his body. Liquids appeared from time to time, perhaps every three cycles, and food appeared on the table only rarely.
At the end of the first season, he found his mouth and nose bound and closed. Focusing on points at the bottom of his feet, in the palms of his hands, and at the top of his head he drew in air using his inborn pneuma. He slowed his heart and flow of blood so that his body was able to squeeze out all it needed without being overly taxed. Thus he sat for an entire season, sustaining himself solely on the nutrients contained in the air around him.
Time has stopped and I am a mote suspended in its stream, he thought as a fresh sheet of parchment appeared on the table in front of him and his mouth and nose opened. He breathed in air as before, its stream trickling over his upper lip, not disturbing the hairs in his nose. He examined the fresh paper determining it held no magick; its pneuma that of simple paper and no more. He bent time in a bubble around the parchment and felt it decay. He aged it a thousand measures in a rotation and felt it turn to dust and then nothingness. A voice spoke into his mind, Unravel the magick of the room. Find your way out or you will remain within for eternity.
With the voice also came an awareness of the movement of time. He ran the cycles again, slowing his perceptions until once again all moments were of the present moment.
He focused his pneuma on a portion of the wall behind him where a door would have normally stood. Time sped up in a bubble surrounding the door area and soon mold and decay appeared. Dust and large flakes fell to the floor until a hole appeared in the wall, which over several rotations, enlarged to the size of a door.
Mycrim-el stood, still deep in meditation and attempted to walk through the hole but his abrupt contact with a solid wall, regardless of the seeming reality of a hole, shook him from his focused lack of time awareness. He returned to his cushion to begin again running the cycle of pneuma through his body.
Next he walked to the wall on his left and molded his pneuma so his body turned immaterial – less than the wall. In this state he attempted to pass himself through the minute spaces in the wall but it stood solid and once again jarred him into being aware of the movement of time, leading him back to his cushion to continue his meditations.
He thought, this room is my prison, and I will be one with these walls for eternity. He felt the energy of the walls changing. Something within the surrounding pneuma changed. He continued to meditate, thinking, I will embrace my prison. These walls are me and I am them; all that imprisons me is me and mine – I imprison myself.
A soft breeze blew across his cheek and ruffled his hair. He acknowledged the sensation without judging it, taking the pneuma of the experience into his body and making it his own.
My prison is neither good nor bad, it simply is. It is I. As I act, then so I am freed from good or evil, my prison is not my prison, it is nothing but acceptance.
The pneuma changed again and the sounds of birds flitted through his ears. He acknowledged the sound and maintained his focus. A voice spoke into his mind, I am darkness but I am light, judge me not and do as I/you desire. Ask yourself what you desire and live in freedom.
Mycrim-el paused in his meditation and thought, I desire all and nothing, I will live within both darkness and light for they are nothing and everything.
The breeze faded and stopped moving across his cheeks and he could no longer hear the birds. He perceived the pneuma of the room returning to its original state but only acknowledged the perception instead of judging it. Then he thought, there is no prison, there is nothing but the pneuma within, magick is the magick of nothing; all is energy and nothing is energy.
He felt the pneuma of the walls change and modify to the point that he could no longer sense it and opened his eyes to find himself sitting on the cushion in the hallway outside the testing room. No one arrived to congratulate him; there were no bells ringing or hands being shaken as he thought, apparently I’ve passed and am now of the upper tier.
He stood and opened the door which led to the chamber of trials and behind it there was nothing; the door opened into vastness. Thus I created my own chamber of trials. He closed the door and smiled, laughing to himself, he returned to his living quarters.
When he arrived he found them locked to him, with a note on the door telling him his possessions had been moved to his new quarters in Omniken Hall. The note also instructed him to report to the top floor of the library to begin his new duties.