2.10: Wanted, 1 Guardian

Posted: February 14, 2011 by MaskedGuardian in Mage: The Awakening, Perrin
Tags: ,

“I’m so sorry for your loss.”

The parade of strangers passed by her slowly.  She stood, uncomfortable in too-tight black patent shoes, itchy black woollen dress and tights, desperate to get away.  Her grandmother hadn’t let her wear black to her parent’s funeral.  She had said that the colour was inappropriate for children.  Children… she had protested that.  She was almost fourteen.  She wasn’t a child anymore.

Her grandmother wasn’t here to complain now.

She had found her in her bed on Tuesday morning.

Still.

Cold.

She shook her head to clear it of the images.  Blinking the tears from her eyes, she straightened up her shoulders and faced the next mourner in the line.  She was the last one of her family left.  She didn’t want to let them see her cry.  She just wasn’t certain if she could keep up the veneer of strength for much longer.

“I was so sorry to hear about what happened…”

The handsome man took her hand in both of his and pressed it firmly, looking straight into her eyes and smiling gently.  His hands were… warm… comforting. He met her reddened eyes without fear of the pain he would find within them and there was sympathy there, but no pity.  His gaze just made her feel… calm… as if she was with a great friend and had nothing to worry about.  She knew him – or at least it certainly felt like that.  Did she?  She tried to think.  Where had she met this man before?

He reminded her, she thought, of a man that James had introduced her to when he had first taken her to services.  What had his name been?  She was sure James had said but she couldn’t recall it now.  That man had been handsome too, as handsome as this man, but when she tried to remember his features it just evoked images of Cary Grant and Clark Gable and Bogart and all the other beautiful movie stars her grandmother had loved.

The handsome stranger… no, she knew him, she was certain… let go of her hand.  The pain came flooding back through her heart so suddenly she thought it might stop.  She gasped, a wall of emotion slamming through the calm that the stranger had evoked, so much, too much, so that she wanted to grasp his hand again.  He turned away just as her fingers flexed, her hand reaching out for nothing.  She winced.  This time she could not stop the hot tears from welling up in her eyes and spilling over.  She had to get away from this, all the spouted platitudes and pitying looks.  The handsome man was talking to the next lady in line, distracting her, and he blocked the path of the others there to offer their condolences.  He turned his head slightly and nodded at her – as if he both knew what she was planning and approved of it – in on the plan and even helping her with it.

She slipped off into the crowd, wandered, until she found herself sitting on the cold marble floor behind her grandmother’s coffin, hot forehead resting against the smooth polished wood.  As the sounds of the mourners in the church started to die down – after all, without the orphan there was nobody to pay respects to – the echo of her huge gulping sobs began to ring around the ornate building.  She tried to stifle them, stuffing her hand against her mouth desperately, but they were free now and pushing them back down was impossible.

When the familiar arm of James slipped around her shoulders, comforting, holding her against him, she could only sob more and cling to him.

“It’ll be okay, Bunny.  I promise.  I’ll be here for you as long as you need it,” he said finally as she managed to get some control of herself, “We can run away.  You and me.  I can take care of you.  I won’t let them take you.”

“Wh… wh… who?”

“The social services people.  They’re waiting for you.  But we can go out the side door now and they’ll never…”

“No.  No, James.  We can’t.  You… you’d better leave.  I have… to do this.”

He nodded and didn’t argue.  He knew her well enough by now to recognise the stubborn set to her jaw that indicated she wouldn’t easily change her mind.  Instead he stood silently, reaching out a hand to help her up before walking down the central aisle of the church and leaving her behind.  She smoothed out the wrinkles in her woollen dress and pulled a crumpled tissue from up her sleeve.  She gave her face a half-hearted wipe.

There were only three people left in the church.  They stood at the entranceway.  One woman, blonde hair pulled in to a neat ponytail, wearing a conservative navy-blue suit and a severe look on her face.  Her companion was a plain looking man with an equally unhappy look upon his face and they were both deep in hushed discussion with the handsome stranger.  She couldn’t hear what they were saying.  The woman looked angrier as the conversation continued, glancing at her from time to time.  But then she nodded, and smiled, and seemed to relax a little, the anger leeching from her face.  The handsome stranger produced a folder of papers and handed them over.  The woman didn’t even look at them but she shook the stranger’s hand before her and her companion left without another glance at the teenager in the aisle.  The handsome stranger waited as she walked down the aisle and came to a stop a few feet away from him.

“Who are you?”

“My name is Edgar Lifton.  I am your court appointed guardian.  I’m here to take you home.”

“You… you’re going to let me go home?”

He shook his head and for a moment she thought she saw the sympathy in his eyes flicker towards pity.  “No.  Your old home is… gone now.  I’m here to take you to your new home.”

“But… I… please…”

“It will be okay.  You’ll be happy there.  I promise.”

She believed him.

His promise was given with simple… honesty.

He took her hand again and he smiled and her heart felt… calm… again and for the first time all day she understood the… peace… in the silence of the church.

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2.09: Ásví’s Letter

Posted: February 12, 2011 by devy in Asvi, Mage: The Awakening
Tags: ,
Hi Bardiel,
I hope this finds you well, so many are not feeling all that good these days, and no surprise with what’s been happening! Makes me wonder what is next on our path!…
Oh but I was meant to come to the consilium meeting on Tuesday, but I did not, I do not know if you were there.
But do let me get straight onto the subject, why, I should not keep you reading and reading, and oh my letter is getting messy! But look at me again, getting distracted!
Something terrible happened, I thought I’d tell you, being my mentor since the beginning, who else am I to say it to. Oh but maybe Bradan, but then he’s busy, with all the things happening!
I had a dream, but what a generic term it is, it was hardly a dream, it was a nightmare, or a vision, or some obfuscated reality masked as a dream, oh I don’t know what the scientific term is!
But it happened on Monday night, I was going to bed, oh but it’s not in my style to be telling all this, but I feel I have to. Look at my hands trembling even now! As I remember that awful night!… You probably wonder if I am OK, but of course I am,  oh I did have a gin or two, but don’t you think I am drunk! It’s not my style at all to be drinking to get drunk! I just took a sip to calm my nerves, and oh to stop the shaking.
But let me just compose myself, I don’t want to be wasting your time, oh look at me again, rambling on like that. But that’s exactly what I am doing!
Oh but here, I will tell you what happened. I was in bed, my eyes were closed. I was thinking about things, you know the usual, what happened to our city and why and John missing, though I didn’t know him, but Perrin, a Guardian being drunk, oh how odd and frightening it is! What drove her to that… Oh but it has nothing to do with what happened. And then, when I thought I was asleep, I had this dream, as if the room went deathly cold, and something stood in front of me. Oh it had a shape of a human, but it was blurry and like a shadow! You must think I am drunk and seeing things, but don’t you think of me like that! And so it stood there, I could feel it’s cold breath on my cheek. And as if it was trying to tell me something. Oh I was scared, I was terrified! And why would I not be! And then, the room was dark, oh the aura has changed, things were not like they were before! It was filled with darkness and rotten smell. Oh I tried to scream, I tried to move, but I could not, as if held down by some invisible force! Oh I was scared, my hands were trembling, my heart was racing! And it walked around the room and then came back to me again, and I swear it looked at me and tried to say something. And then just vanished, as quickly at it appeared!
Oh but then I got off the bed, and I was shaking, just went over to my cupboard and had a gin or two, oh but I was not drunk! It was just to calm my nerves! And then I sat down to compose this to you, to tell you about it at all.
Oh look at me spilling tea on this letter now, how messy of me!
Do you think, Bardiel, do you think someone is trying to get to me? Someone… who may not be here, but is there?… Do you think it’s possible?
I am going to run now, I have taken much of your time already, but do let me finish this, maybe you will get ideas, being more experienced and that!
Ásví

2.08 A Night Off

Posted: February 12, 2011 by neilcamcork in Mage: The Awakening, Michael
Tags: ,

Michael sat down.

He liked his new life. The world was a better, brighter place, now. It was also much darker than he had ever realised. He thought of his old life often, who he had been, the hurt he had caused. He understood now that he had added to that darkness. He had a mission now – to bring the Light of Truth to the world, to make it ready for the time when everyone’s eyes would open.

It had been about six months since the day he had first seen the Truth. The day he had been stabbed. His old life was now behind him, abandoned. Everything about it was gone – shed the way a snake got rid of its skin. He had a new name now, a better name. It fitted in a way the old name never had. He rarely even thought of himself as that person anymore.

He had spent the time since his eyes had opened to the true world training and learning, wanting to shove everything he could into his thick skull. His teachers had decided had he had been training too hard and needed some time to unwind. They had sent him off for a night of fun on the town.

He sat in the bar, wondering what he should do. It was the type of place he would never have been seen in before – very upmarket, swanky even. It was so long since he had been out that he was nervous.

He looked around the bar. It was filled with twenty somethings enjoying their new affluence. He reached out with his new senses, focusing on his newly acquired skill in Life. He saw a man helping a woman up from where she was sitting. On the surface of it, she was very drunk, but…

He looked closer. She was drugged. That cunt must have slipped something into her drink. As they were passing near his table, he sent out a blast of air at their feet, tripping them up. Michael jumped off his seat and went to help the girl up, focusing his Art as he gripped her arm to clear her system of the drug.

“Are you okay?” he asked the girl. “I think you may have had one too many.”

She stood up, looking confused and a little alarmed. “Uh, thanks, yeah.” She turned to look at the other man, “Pete, I’m not feeling so great; I’m going to head home… Maybe I’ll call you some time…”

She headed towards the door. The man, Pete, was following her, saying that he’d walk her to the taxi rank. Michael stayed close behind them. When they got to the door, Michael used his understanding of Forces to whisper in Pete’s ear: “I know that you drugged her.”

Pete stopped, shocked, allowing the girl to escape. Michael stepped up behind him, grabbing him by the arm. “Hey Pete, maybe we should go somewhere else and talk about your drinking habits”, Michael said, smiling, as he lead Pete through the door. He could see that the girl had gone left, towards the taxi rank, so he went right.

“What the fuck, man”, Pete said as he tried to get away, but he couldn’t shift the mass of muscle that was Michael. Michael dragged him down an alley and shoved him against the wall. “What the fuck”, Pete said again, this time more panicked. Michael shoved him to the ground.

“I saw what you tried to do”, Michael said quietly, “and I’m going to teach you a lesson so that you never try it again.”

He didn’t need magic for this. This piece of shit wasn’t worth it. He didn’t deserve to feel the power of Heaven, even in punishment. This was going to be pure physical punishment. Michael started beating the cretin. He kept an eye on Pete’s vital signs to make sure he didn’t kill the shit. He beat him carefully; causing the most pain he could to enforce the lesson. When Pete faded into unconsciousness, he reached into his pocket and took out his wallet. He read Pete’s address from the magnetic strips of his cards and then healed the bastard back to consciousness by slapping him across the face a few times. He threw the wallet onto Pete’s chest and said, “I know who you are now, Pete. I know where you live. If I ever even think that you are pulling this shit again, I will visit you in the night and murder you as slowly as I can.”

Michael kicked him once more for good measure and then walked out of the alley. He looked around to see if anyone had spotted what had just happened and spotted Onyx leaning against a wall nearby, smoking a cigarette.

Michael walked over to him and said, in a dejected tone, “I am sorry, teacher. Tonight I started a fight with a Sleeper and left him bleeding on the ground”.

Onyx took a long drag on the cigarette. “I saw what happened, kid. You intervened, because you saw something bad was about to happen. You took care of it and you took care not to risk the Veil. You could have ripped that guy apart with magic. Hell, you could have even not gotten involved at all and let them walk out of there. But, you did get involved. You saw that something was not right and you fixed it. You have nothing to be sorry about.”

Michael looked up, meeting Onyx’s eyes for the first time. “You’re not angry?”

“No, kid, I’m proud of you”, Onyx said with a rare smile. “Tell me, what do you think of the Arrows…?”

2.07: Remember?

Posted: February 11, 2011 by devy in Asvi, Mage: The Awakening
Tags: ,

Remember, always remember,
Always remember and never forget.

Snow, white blinding snow. Was it glowing? Why did it seem like there was a green glowing tint to it? It seemed so for only a second, but was as real as you and me. Oh, what an accusation to make! “Real”, what is real and what is not!

Remember, remember that day? Cold was biting passer-by’s cheeks, cars reluctantly warming up their engines… and the fields, white, pure, innocent fields, and foot steps. A trail of lonely foot steps in no direction, just forward till the nearest obstruction and then back. They were forming a maze.

Remember tension? Clutching fists until the knuckles matched snow: white, pure and cold. Swollen eyes and frozen bright red cheeks? It was just a dream, nothing more, nothing less. And yet, the effect was unlike any other. It was always there. Aren’t people meant to forget their dreams? Dreams are not meant to lurk around, feed into thoughts, reflect in bowls of soup, follow up and down the stairs and worst of all – hide. Dreams are not meant to be so realistic. Dreams are meant to be just fiction, a summary of day’s work.

She slowly opened the door to veranda. He was sitting in the rocking chair, as usual, reading the latest issue of his favorite Australian Literature Journal, also as usual. One hand holding a cup of dark, like Malevich’s famous square, coffee. It was probably too cold to drink without disgust. But he still sipped at it, as if it was burning his lips.

She sat in the wicker chair, shaking snow off her shoes and watching it form puddles on the oak floor. Silence. Smell of cinnamon buns crawling around the corner from the kitchen and cautiously lurking in the room. Just another February day. As she reached to get Kafka (she decided to read his work ever since her dad briefly mentioned him, she was told she’s too young to understand or follow, that was enough to spark stubbornness and spite to prove everyone wrong). He said, without lifting his head away from the journal or looking at her over his reading glasses as he usually would,

“Could you pass me the phone just for a moment, I need to make a phone call?”

She did. She also left the room. It felt like her presence would be a burden, unlike the usual when he’d chatter on to the college professors about everything form literature to “what a high price we’re paying for fruit and veg these days!”. It felt cold. Much colder than a few seconds ago.

She went to her room, aimlessly lifted and placed back several containers with pencils, shuffled around sheets of paper. Her mind was wondering what kind of phone call did he have to make that her presence was so unwanted. Her parents always included her into any business, be it family or work.

Remember how silence was growing, it’s fat fluffy hands shutting your ears and awkwardly pressing on your head? Remember, it was still bright, the snow was melting. Remember?

As if shaken by some invisible hand, she opened her eyes. All this time she was standing in the center of the room.

Remember the darkness? How it spread everywhere and the bright flash.. and then nothing? Remember how Something tried to speak… Something almost human-shaped? And silence. And loud shriek. And silence again.

She ran downstairs,

“Daddy!”, whispering at first, and then, shrieking (Remember?…),

“DADDY!!!”, as she threw the veranda doors open, banging them against the walls.

He was sitting in the rocking chair, as usual. The latest issue of his favorite Australian Literature Journal was on the floor, underneath his hand… that was hanging as a wet towel off a hook. The other hand on his chest. The black goo that was meant to be coffee spilt on the floor, merging with the water from her shoes, osmosis…

Remember, always remember,
Always remember and never forget.

2.06: Peer Review

Posted: February 10, 2011 by lambentanodyne in Bardiel, Mage: The Awakening
Tags: ,

 

Published In: The Tellurian, November 2010

Title: The Alternative Atlantean Generator: The Ars Nova Challenge to the Edicts

Author: Bardiel

Abstract: The basic function of a Generator is the conversion of: Ley (Prime) Energy -> Standard (Forces) Energies; Chemical, Electrical, Thermal, Radiation. Generators can be built and run upon Nodes. Nodes are the intersection between two or more Ley Lines. Theory postulates that Generator functions analogous to a Heat Sink Engine. That is, the difference or potential between the Ley Lines that is driving force of the Generator. It is either the potential in the Resonances and/or the potential in the Flux of the Ley Lines. As Generators do not function on an individual Ley Line itself, it is not the singular Flux that is responsible; or that the potential with the environment is simply too low for practical use. This would also be the case if the Resonant Potential is not significant enough. If an analogy is to be drawn to Osmosis, then it may be the rate of Flux that is crucial.

By the creation of Energetic Tass, via conjunction use of the Arcana of Prime and Forces, in a form which allows for the interaction with pragmatic energy conversion systems, such as photovoltaic cell or heat sink engines, it may be possible to generate further electrical energy. This electrical current can be applied in an inversion of the Atlantean Generator’s original function, the so-called “Reverse Polarity Hypothesis”. As a result, it may be possible to influence Flux or Resonant Potential at the Node. This allows for a system that may be an adjunct to the rare Geomantic Keystones in the practice of Geomancy.

Tags: Archaeoastronomy, Atlantean Generator, Dragon Lines, Geoglyph, Geomancy, Hypergraphy, Ley Lines, Petroglyph, Petrosomatoglyph, Psychogeography

 

Recent Searches:

  1. Resonance: The Solvent of Emotions “…in criticism of the Free Councillor’s arrogance to readily classify…”-Bardiel; The Libertine, January 2010
  2. Cry Me A River: Use of Techné in the Analysis of Ley Line Flux”…the frequent response in the “Solvation” debate from the Libertine’s…” -Bardiel; The Libertine, April 2010
  3. Kumalak: Why “qırıq bir qumalaq” is still important in Kazakhstan.”…Aleksandar Janicijevic’s study of the forty-one dried…”-Tavkul, Ufuk; The Tellurian, November 2010
  4. The 25 Principles of “Baubiologie” and Resonance”…as refered to by Nathan Babylon’s blog interview with Geomancer…”-Darko; Fallen Gazette, June 2010
  5. Dividing the Age: One Acanthus’ Journey from the H5 to the H8″…it was only after realising Harrison’s implication that sympathy…”-Bartholomew; Akashic Records Publishing, 1988
  6. “The Vulgarity of Sound: how to get the most from your amp””…remember, the red wire first and then the black one!…”-Aphex; Magosphere, June 2009

2.05: The Cult of the Bus Stop

Posted: February 10, 2011 by MaskedGuardian in Mage: The Awakening, Perrin
Tags: ,

She waited.  As usual, the bus was very far from keeping to its supposed schedule.  It was always like this but especially on rainy days.  Last week she had been waiting for nearly an hour.  It was almost enough to make her wish that her grandmother would just collect her.  Almost.  All she could do was try to wait with patience.  She sat, perched on the edge of the narrow red plastic bench, the hood of her raincoat pulled low over her face.  It wasn’t enough protection to stop her glasses filming over with droplets of water but she didn’t notice.  She didn’t notice anything much these days.

Her back ached with the residual tension of group therapy.  She wanted desperately to relax but somebody had smashed in the glass panel at the back of the bus stop.  Her feet dangled over the carpet of little glass cubes.  They had been part of each other once, connected, and now they were each alone in the world.  She knew how that felt.  Washes of that misty rain that was impossible to protect against floated through the empty frame, soaking through the cheap material of her raincoat, until she was shivering, cold, so uncomfortable…

Where was the bus already?  She checked her watch for the fifth time in as many minutes and glared at the empty road, willing the bus to come around the corner, then sighed with frustration.

Come on already.

“You’re not crazy, you know.”

The voice was gentle, sad but kind.  It came from behind her.  It was the first voice she had heard in six months that her brain actually wanted to pay attention to.  Maybe it was just because he was saying something that she really needed to hear.

The boy from therapy stepped through the open frame at the back of the bus stop and sat down on the bench next to her.  His eyes were of the deepest blue, almost violet sometimes when he tilted his head a certain direction, and his gaze was piercing.  He really saw her.  He was handsome, in a way, or at least you could tell that he would be handsome, some day, when he was older.  Not that people in mourning really noticed such things but later she would recall those details.

She didn’t say anything for a minute.  There was a moment of almost awkward silence.  She could tell that he wanted to say more but he seemed to be waiting for her to indicate that would be okay.

“I… I’m not?”

“The way you feel… disconnected, you said.  You’re not crazy.  The shrinks will tell you that you’re suffering from depersonalisation but they’re wrong.  You feel disconnected because you are.”

“I don’t… I don’t understand.”

“Do you know how the world was created?”

She sighed and shook her head, her heart sinking.  “Oh.  You’re one of them.  Religious-y type.  I don’t do religion.  God and I… we’re not on speaking terms these days.”

“That’s because you’re not talking to the right God.  There are two.  There is the true God, He who is of light and love and peace, pure of spirit and untainted by matter.  He wants us to transcend, to connect with him, to let our souls find the light.  And then there is the false god, who made the matter of the world to trap our souls within it, the god of chaos and power.  He cannot understand love.  He restricts our souls.  He does not want us to find the light.  Before he created the world, we were all connected with each other, with the light.  But he cut us off from that.  He disconnected us.  So we must strive to overcome and reject that which he rules, that we might once more find our souls connected with heaven.”

She stared ahead at the water streaming down the drain in the road in front of her.  Where was the bus?  Why did the crazy ones always want to talk to her?  Did she have something tattooed on her forehead?  But still…

“My mother talked to God.  It didn’t do her any good,” she responded finally.

“What happened to her?”

“She… died.  My father too.  There was… an accident.”

“I am sorry.”

“Me too.”

She fell into silence, again, but suddenly she found herself wanting to say more.  She was tired of being lonely and angry and she just wanted to… connect.

“They told me it was an accident.  They didn’t give me any of the details.  I guess they were trying to protect me.  But I know anyway.  They said my father was drinking.  My grandmother… she talks to her friends on the phone and she does it quietly and she thinks I can’t hear her.  She gets angry and she talks about how my father killed her daughter and when she hangs up she sneaks off to her bedroom and I can hear her crying.  She can’t stop crying.  And sometimes… I don’t think she can really look at me.  She sees my father… and she thinks he killed my mother… and I… I can’t believe it.  My dad wouldn’t… wouldn’t…”

“What would your father say if he was here, to make it better?”

“He’d say… He’d say, ‘Little Bunny, it’s okay to be sad’ and he would hold me for hours, if I wanted, until I wasn’t sad anymore.”

“I think you should come with me to a service.  Seriously.  I think it would help.  You could come next week after group.  It might help you understand.”

The bus pulled up in front of the stop and she stood.  She was so tired.  Maybe what he offered was just an illusion but would there really be any harm in trying?

“Ok, I’ll come, if I can.”

The bus doors opened and she stepped on.

“Oh, hey!  Bunny!”

Her head whipped around to stare at him.  She hadn’t told him her name and she wasn’t sure if she liked him calling her that.  She wasn’t sure how to respond.  The doors closed before she had a chance to say anything more, but not before she caught the rest of his words through the mist and the howl of the wind.

“My name is James…”

2.04: The End

Posted: February 10, 2011 by neilcamcork in Mage: The Awakening, Michael
Tags: ,

The knife slid easily between his ribs.

The fight was still going on. His boys had spotted Dicko’s gang coming into the estate and had jumped into action. The boys had been rounded up and it was time to smash some heads.

The feud had been going on for a while. No one could remember how it had started – drugs or women seemed the most likely cause. There had been casualties on both sides – he had killed Dicko’s cousin a few months ago and Dicko had retaliated by killing Davey.

The sound of sirens interrupted the fight. The cops rarely came here, they were too afraid, but this was all out war.

He staggered away, clutching his side where the knife was still protruding from him. He needed to get to a doctor – he wasn’t going to let those bastards kill him.

He started to feel light headed. Strange visions swam past the edge of his vision. Blood bubbled at the corners of his mouth when he coughed. He stumbled and almost fell.

I must go on.

There was a safe house not too far away. If he could get there, they would call the doctor and he would be okay.

He staggered forward and realised that he did not know where he was. He was on a broad avenue; ahead of him was a mountain. The buildings on either side burned with a strange blue and green light, yet they were not consumed.

Where am I?

The doctor… was on the mountain?

I must get to the mountain.

He knew death was close, dogging at his heels. No, he thought, I won’t die. I won’t allow it! He thought of Cathy and his unborn child. Of all his plans, his ambitions. He was moving up in the world. He was a street boss now; it wouldn’t be long until he had a bigger voice in the organisation.

Not going to DIE!

He was climbing the mountain. The flames were coursing over him, into the wound, within him. He climbed the mountain with renewed vigour.

I will NOT die!

His mind began to slip away; all that was left was the goal, the top. He would get there, he would not fail. It was almost within his grasp.

Nothing will stop me.

He could see the top. Golden light streamed out, burning away everything that he was, leaving only a husk of pure will. Determination and belief were all that he had left. Before him stood the Tower, behind him, the Lie that was the world he had once inhabited. He understood it all and wept tears of fire for what had been done to the world. He came to the Golden Tower and saw the Names of the Righteous, the Chosen Few written there, dancing before him. With a cry, he reached inside his wound and drew forth his blood. He carved his name into the Tower and sank to his knees. He fell back, onto the ground, his eyes fixed upon the Sun.

Where he saw the Face of God.

__________________________________________________________________________________

He woke up. The world was different now. Or he was. His eyes were open – he could see all the details he had never noticed. Who he was, what he had been, was gone. That shadow of a life was over. The past was a dream from which he had now awakened.

A man stood over him, power emanating from him.

“Relax. We have you now.”