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Mind of the Man-Child - G. Russell Gaynor

And there he stood, the boy, dressed as a warrior of a time ancient to me and alien to the boy... the battle cloak, the chain armor, arm and leg guards... they all seemed out of sync. With Staffling in hand, he quickly looked to his left, preparing a defense. It was too late! An object struck his jaw, turning it and his limp body soon afterward. I felt his scream and shuddered at the power of it as his body lost its balance and fell backward into a brazier only recently there. Still the images of his dream were too quick in the changing; there was no harmony or flow to them.

Writhing in pain, he lunged through the fire and found himself plummeting from the sky toward a mountain. His body streaked through the thin air too fast to allow for breathing.

[USE THE AIR AROUND YOU, KA-] the voice was too low to be coherent and much too slow to be normal. Some force prevented it. Perhaps this same force was responsible for the dream-state. He fell to the mountaintop, receiving a shield blow to the knee rather than a mountainside to his entire body. The impact of the blow shook his inner-reality, something I was not a part of nor had a strong enough hold to; I was thrown from his mind with the force of a daffodil caught in the gusts of a hurricane.

“Art thou well, Head Master?” I could feel her mind take hold of my body after it had fallen a few inches.

“Such power,” I shook my head to clear the pain of the immediate rejection. I smiled at her using my own power to sustain my position within the tree. “I am well, daughter, thank you. But the boy’s power is unlike anything I have ever experienced.”

“Yet still is he unaware of it.” Chidon’s bow had long since been drawn and the pain I had just experienced gave him enough reason to draw and knock an arrow... one of his best. “Or unable to perceive it.”

“True, he is untrained. But think on it; his power, put to the best of uses. We will not act upon him just yet. We shalt observe him anon and decide his fate later.”

“Thou art the Head Master of the High Council,” he conceded, acknowledging my superiority in the matter. Chidon was a warrior. He was sent to perform a task. Best for him to have it done and ‘be’ done with it. Best for me to be without someone of his perspective. I dispatched both he and Vada to find a place of rest for us away from prying eyes. It would be best for me to continue ‘our’ surveillance alone.

I looked back upon the lad... his condition had worsened; his body tossed and turned in a strained slumber. I again extended my perception but I was interrupted by a strange but familiar sensation; one that prompted guard and preparation for combat.

“Deviants!” It must have been. My power allowed me to sense the presence of those with the power of my people. One of us was near... one who defied my ability to identify... one who hid themselves from what my people considered normal vision.

The door to the boy’s room opened and I released my cloak of invisibility and the form of energy, taking my true form. I drew my Edge, flying from the tree to the window with the speed of thought. Settling just outside the window, I thought it better strategy to compose surprise in this matter. The fabric of shadow became my form as I readied my body to meld through the wall and attack th ... she walked in. My hand was empty, my stance of battle unnecessary and quickly lost. I had seen this woman in many fashions and each was delightful.... this form was no different; once again she defined to my eyes the meaning of beauty; to my mind the meaning of pleasure; and to my heart the meaning of desire. Though my hands had never touched her form in any measure to feel, she was soft... completely glorious in every detail. Her golden hair flowed over her shoulders and framed her fair-skinned face. Her hair was longer than what I had remembered but then there were regulations for those who tended the Council. Her soft blue eyes looked upon the boy with much concern, the look only a mother would have for a son.

“Adrianna,” I thought as I looked on her, playing with a combination of memories and wishes left wanting.
My concentration, drawn to more pleasant places of fantasy, neglected to remember my Edge. Without my hand, the weapon returned to its natural form as it descended, striking the part of the paved road just in front of the house. It sounded the reception of steel and stone.

I looked at the Edge, then at her. She had heard the weapon and walked toward the window. My mind focused on the weapon and it came to stand on its point. A brief moment to focus power, I pushed the weapon through the pavement before she could see the matter. Though her eyes were careful, she saw nothing and therefore gave it no further concern.

She softly turned and stepped toward her son, a twisted look of worry and fear retook her face. Taking a seat on the side of the bed, she took firm hold of the boy’s shoulders. He quivered for a moment... instantly returning to the more turbulent state. “William,” her voice as calm as the gentle spring breeze. I remembered when it once called my name with as much concern... calling to me in her moment of nee …

“William!” I shuddered in disgust. That was not his name! “She changed his given name! Why?!?” No longer was I at ease like the gentle winds... more like the winds of the storm was my position. First we find him too young to be the true child of infamy, though somehow he was. Now, I have found his name was not what it should have been. “My student, what have you done? Have you come to hate your homeland so that you would rob your own child from its riches... his own true heritage?”

“Son, can you hear me?” she called, unaware of my rage. “What’s wrong, dear? What are you fighting?” She leaned forward, using her elbows to pin him to the mattress. Her fingertips rubbed his caramel temples. “Why do these dreams persist?” she asked herself, her fingers moving in a slow, circular pattern. I could feel her mind searching his. Being his mother, his mind did not react to her the way it did to me. She was accepted, welcomed.

“Gently,” she whispered as her son’s murmuring faded to silence. “Gently,” she uttered a second time. His violent movements now gave way to peaceful relaxation. She spoke once more, “Gently,” and her son lay still, as people were meant to rest. Sitting up, she looked down on her son. Her head tilted, caught within the confusion as to the cause of her son’s torturous slumber.

‘These dreams persist’ is what she said, I whispered in thought. This problem was nothing new to her child ‘William’. A problem which was unique even to my experience. And this woman was known throughout New Jerusalem for her level of ability to heal matters of the mind and body. Yet her son was still afflicted. Perhaps what Chidon had spoken was indeed true. Perhaps I was to merely slay the poor child and be on my way. To end his misery and ignorance. He was born to the line of regency; his true people would have regarded him as a prince. But his lodgings in Old Jerusalem embraced him as a commoner. Perhaps the judgment of the King was best. I looked back to the ground and recalled my Edge. Reaching into my ‘pocket’, I produced a small vial of a simple potion that arrests the organs of the body and ceases all functions. He would slowly fall off to a somber, restful, eternal sleep.

I looked at my hand and the vial. My mind raced with too many thoughts, so many memories. I looked again at the boy and shook with fright.

“Something wrong, old friend?” the boy spoke at me. In an instant I hurled myself away from the house. Yet too quick and strong was my retort. My back and head paid a painful price against the strong collective powers of the tree. I quickly took hold of the light around me to enlarge the image of the tree to cover my body. I then took the time to rest and wait, wait for the boy to come to the window and look at me. But he did not, and could not! Though it was his face I saw, it was another’s voice I heard… the voice of my mentor! Dead now, though not long enough to remove the memory of the fact, he was still teaching his ‘old friend’. Still spreading his views throughout my mind. To his teachings, I was wrong in being here for the task assigned me.

Again I looked at my hand and remembered my orders to kill...