The excerpt below takes place immediately after my, Another Peek Inside post effectively making it the second segment of Chapter 15: Whispers of Death. It is not the full segment due to the 5,000 word limitation put in place by my publisher. I hope you enjoy it!
When your mind is empty, you will have your answer.
The words slowly drifted away while he recalled them, swallowed by the sandbox of his mind. Molding ones reasoning required tenacity and a level of personal awareness many allowed to slip through their fingers; reality hovering somewhere in-between.
Lourous peered into the reaches of space; the soft glow of lightspeed travel blanketing the Beltan’s cockpit in ghostly white. Norah had retracted the ship’s protective shielding just moments ago at his behest. The Sy’Arrian leader had cited it would help center his mind on what has yet to come. She quickly obliged in a manner to which Lourous had grown accustomed; flirtatious with a smattering of sarcasm.
Norah’s and Satoru’s conversation regarding the application of finely-crafted particle blasters versus hand-to-hand combat when applied to a variety of fighting scenarios flowed evenly behind him. Allowing his senses to reach outward, Lourous used their voices to tether his consciousness to the ship. Doing so would ensure his meditative state would end appropriately in time to reach Lystrom with a clearer perspective.
During these moments his conscious self was able to form a much deeper connection; mind and body were one and the same. Interspersed against the backdrop of lightspeed, the cords of Akasha could be seen twisting amongst streaks of starlight, cruising at a speed unique to itself. Lourous’s trained Sy’Arrian eyes caught every nuance; the pulsating of single to multi-colored hues fading out of visual range, only to reappear in a different location as a contrary shade. This waxing and waning was a difficult sight to express when ones frame of reference was not attuned to its existence. There were a few races who came close to understanding it, while most simply dismissed it, the concept too supernatural for them to comprehend, even when he explained it in a scientific way.
He articulated to those less present in the moment that Akasha was something felt and experienced at a level beyond the perceptual falsehoods of the five senses; they were still important, yes, but left untrained they created realities bordering on the fantastical. Seeing it now, in its pure form, reminded him of just how important it was to develop a mind based on compassion and unconditional love. Liara had reminded him of this sentiment when they spared in the cargo hold.
Why then, not soon after, did his thirst for vengeance come slithering back to coil around his judgment and begin a slow, methodical squeeze? Pondering only created more disharmonies.
Suddenly, the cords began to pulsate rapidly in the purple and red spectrums. Were these new color ranges created in response to his internal musings or simply a coincidence designed to bemuse him further? It was neither and he knew better than to think otherwise.
Where am I? His mind echoed. Why am I not present?
Lourous knew all too well Akasha is a force of both instinct and consciousness. How could one even begin to understand its purpose without first changing the story of their life? It was a humbling thought leaving him less sure of himself now than when first entering his meditative state. His intent was to rid himself of such uncertainty prior to landing on Lystrom. His mentor, Bayne, had an uncanny ability to sniff out doubts and provide a well-deserved lecture for not allowing them to fester; another lecture Lourous was hoping to avoid.
Perhaps interacting with him after all this time will do me some good. Bayne always had a way of putting matters in perspective.
Abruptly, the peaceful mosaic before Lourous exploded in a flash of white light forcing his mind and body to reel; a maelstrom threatening to twist his sanity into knots. He grimaced in an attempt to regain perspective.
You killed them!! An internal voice sounding vaguely similar to Julia Striker’s screamed.
A slide show depicting violent and grotesque images of dead bodies, twisted and mutilated, rushed at him. This was the most explosive meditation the Sy’Arrian leader had ever experienced; consuming every ounce of fortitude he had to remain focused.
Mercilessly, the images became even more detailed, swooping into his psyche, allowing for a thorough analysis of their true meaning. Lourous could sense his attempts to quell the savage nature of the experience were beginning to bear fruit. At the same time, he also knew a cocksure attitude when attempting to interpret meditative imagery could be disastrous if one were not appropriately cautious. These types of experiences were highly metaphoric and should be viewed with skepticism.
The majority were females and younglings! A male voice exclaimed, one he did not immediately recognize.
Get word to the Beltan! Now! Julia’s forceful and exasperated tone stabbed at Lourous, followed soon after by an explosion sending his mind spiraling even further. Dizziness set in, forcing him to reach out to steady himself against the Beltan’s inner hull.
“Lourous!” Liara, who had just entered the cockpits periphery, rushed to her nephew’s side, while the exclamation ripped Norah and Satoru away from their in-depth conversation.
Staggering into Liara’s embrace, Lourous’s eyes sprang open and his chest heaved, allowing the entire event to be expelled out his lungs. Lourous looked around, his meditative state effectively severed; Liara’s grip remained firm.
“What is it?” She asked him purposefully noticing Grayson enter the compartment with an equally concerned expression.
“I saw death,” Lourous gasped. “Distorted figures and burning buildings.”
“Were you connected to Akasha?” Liara’s inquiry was laced with foreboding.
“Yes,” Lourous stood to his full height, one hand massaging his temple. “I was attempting to focus my mind. I felt being fully present would be prudent prior to our meeting with Bayne and Jarus.”
Liara waited for him to wobble over to a seated position next to the ships climate control systems before inquiring further. She knew bombarding him with questions so soon after such an intense experience could only lead to more delirium; she gentled her tone.
“Start slowly. Did anything familiar stand out?”
“It was Julia’s voice plus one other I did not recognize,” Lourous huffed, slowly calming his breathing.
“The bodies were Traxian; contorted and crushed under fallen structures. Some were still on fire but already dead. For them to meet their end in such a way is…” Lourous shook his head, the painful reality hitting him square in the chest.
“No need to explain.” Grayson remarked solemnly, placing a hand on Lourous’ shoulder. “I felt it during my meditative session as well only with less intensity and vivid detail.”
Liara nodded. “Makes sense. Lourous once lived with the Traxians for many years as part of his upper level training.”
“Really?” Norah queried.
“All Sy’Arrians undergo a sojourn once they reach the third phase of their training; it is when they are awarded the title of Sajor. Newfounded and Apprentice are the first and second phases respectively.” Satoru proclaimed in an effort to allow Liara time to calm Lourous.
“The third phase is one of the most critical. Akasha is utilized in extremely focused and creative ways based on individual circumstance; its flow being unique in all living things. Lucas Mirriam, the one who established this system, felt training off world in a foreign environment would challenge us. The idea was designed to remove the comfort and familiarity associated with remaining on Hyprus for the majority of our formative years. The student has the option to pick from a list of races amicable to house a Sy’Arrian for an extended period of time; the average length being roughly five years.”
“Well said, Satoru.” Liara noted eyes still focused on Lourous. “As you can imagine, Norah, a strong bond is developed between the Sy’Arrian and hosting race. This bond is the reason why Lourous experienced such a visceral response during his meditative session, while the rest of us experienced very little.”
“But this connection is something only Sy’Arrians experience. Correct?”
Liara diverted her attention to address the Bounty Hunter directly. “Not necessarily. Akasha responds to all life differently. Awareness of its existence and how it is perceived are what really determine its course in any lifeform. This is why Sy’Arrian culture concentrates on developing the individual mind; we do not tell others how or what they should think. Rather, we remove suffering by eliminating it in ourselves first.”
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