‘Don’t focus on any one thing. Let the sounds wash over you. Listen to it all, accept it all.’
The sapling under her hands seemed completely immersed, lost in the sounds of the forest. He knelt trustingly at her feet as she rested her hands over his red leaves. Hands that were glowing with denial magic. He hardly knew her, yet had accepted her harsh assessment of him and seemed so lost after.
Even she could be altruistic at times it seemed. Perhaps her own sapling self was not as crushed as she liked to admit. She dipped her voice to a low, lilting tone. Almost a whisper.
‘Now… I will guide you. Follow if that is your desire, if it is not… simply open your eyes and the trance will break.’
Thekrins eye’s remained shut “…Lead me….”
Stupid… she could have shoved any nightmare into his mind. He really trusted her… she felt the burden of responsibility settle onto her shoulders and repressed a sigh. She knew better than this. Being relied upon would chain her down. That was not something she could allow. Still, Anwesu was as good as her word. He wanted direction. She would point the way.
The dusk bloom gave a small nod, though Thekrin could not see her do so with his eyes closed.
‘Everything is darkness. Listen to the earth… it pulses beneath your hands, vibrant and alive. Your sap rises in time with this rhythm. You are part of it. Not a separate creature but part of the whole. Accept this.’
Thekrin seemed to take some time before answering.
“I accept this..”
A good start or this would not work at all. The mind was open but if he was not willing then she could do nothing.
‘Take a moment to feel it. Being told this is not enough. Reach out. Feel the life around you reaching back.’
Thekrin’s arms reached outward, fingers running along the dirt, digging his hands into the saturated soil before putting them back to his knees. Typical noon born response. She had meant mentally not physically. Still the action seemed to have deepened the trance he was in, so she refrained from a biting comment.
‘You are sylvari. The earth cherishes our kind. Feel secure in that when all around you fail or betray you. The mother will always love you; the earth will always accept you. Plant your roots deep. Visualise yourself drawing strength from the ground below.’
He moved deeper as he listened to her, now aware of very little but her quiet voice. Her tones whispering in the comforting blackness in his mind that smothered his other senses like a fur blanket.
“…I am Sylvari…I am not alone…” he whispered.
That was the sense of abandonment taken care of. He needed to rely on himself, not others. Now, to tackle something a little more entrenched and stubborn in his psyche.
‘Knowing yourself. This worries you deeply. You dislike some of what you have discovered and have acted in a way you find to be lacking. This means you wish to improve whom you are… but you need to do so for yourself. Other’s opinions do not matter. Confidence in you and your abilities will sweep all that away. Knowing whom you are overrides any misunderstandings or misconceptions. You will prove them all wrong and you will do so with quiet dignity and positive actions. You will feel better about yourself and ignore what others may think or feel. You will know your own quality.’
Thekrin’s hands dug into the ground again, he was having problems with this concept.
“I….must cast aside my fears and doubts…ignore those who doubt me…embrace who I am become…something better”
His struggles concerned her. That face was never meant to hold such a frown; new strategy. She quickly took a different approach, less direct.
‘Try reflecting upon your values. What is the most important to you in life? What do you value? Where does your sense of right and wrong come from?’
He seemed to contemplate this. The mind under her hands glancing back over months and bringing up the ideals he had awoken with.
“Truth, honesty and loyalty…I loathe evil, the cruel and any who exploit others…my right and wrong come from no one but myself.”
Progress! She was thrilled. She found herself smoothing her hands over the leaves on his head. Anwesu spoke with warmth now, rather than cool detachment.
‘The values you have been thinking of are part of the core of who you are. If you are being true to your values, these core beliefs will drive your behaviour.
It feels good to behave in ways that are consistent with your values. Think about how your values can be a part of your day-to-day life. If you can embody everything you hold to be good and true, you will be just that.’
He smiled, still within the trance. Yes this one was always meant to smile.
“I will try with all my being to make sure of this.”
Anwesu nodded and stilled herself again. She had carried him so far but now he had to take a leap. The next exercise may be hard on him but his smile encouraged her to push the boundaries. Noon’s appreciated bold action did they not?
‘Now consider what else makes you who you are. Finding your authentic self involves learning who you truly are. The real you, the person you are meant to be. Your genuine self is the person you are at the core, the person you can be if nothing holds you back.’
She paused for a moment, trying to phrase carefully what she needed him to do. Best to visualise in the end perhaps. Give him a solid goal.
‘Imagine the person you believe yourself to be right now. Just picture yourself going about the things you usually do. Imagine that you are watching yourself…observing, going about your usual activities. What do you see?’
“I am walking along…the beach there is…a seagull attacking a crab. I run in trying to pry it away, but then I realise…if I don’t let the seagull eat it will starve, it’s just trying to survive. I just want to solve the problem, make it so no one has to suffer”
His voice had a chill in it now. This was something that troubled him and she would need to deal with it before moving on that goal she wanted to build for him. She would be honest; he needed to face the harsh reality not be sheltered.
‘There is no solving this problem. Sometimes the world is cruel. Very often there is no ‘good’ side. There is simply survival. You need to accept that you can only do so much. That you cannot solve all the world’s difficulties. You can simply do your best and that is all. If you are true to yourself and your values then this will be something you will be able to understand. You are a good person, take comfort in that. Do what you can, when you can.’
“I understand but…must it be so harsh?”
She almost slapped him. How could he be so ridiculously naive? Was his dream all nectar and rainbows? Anwesu forced calm upon herself, lest her emotion be felt by him and the trance break. Time to form that goal and be done. She pulled nervously at a bloom on her head and winced as a petal came out. She really needed to stop that habit. The dusk bloom placed her hand back upon his head to join the other. No magic needed now. Thekrin was going to do this all on his own.
‘Life is harsh, but that does not mean you have to be. Whom you are is still very much in formation. Picture yourself again. Imagine watching…observe…now imagine you could strip away all the things that hold you back from your full potential. Imagine self-doubt dissolving…being replaced with confidence and quiet self-assurance. Picture this person before you, and imagine all the things that get in the way of success…such as circumstances, lack of understanding, lack of forgiveness, issues from the past…anything that is holding you back in any way at all.
See these problems dissolving…disappearing…going away…Now see yourself again. What is left? Who is this person when all those barriers are stripped away?’
This should be difficult but to her surprise he answered almost immediately. The noonborn knew who he wanted to be, he had known all along. He simply needed to be prompted to remember.
“I see…a brave, strong dependable person, someone who will bend but not break…he has fought hundreds of battles but he still remains light hearted and caring, loving to his allies but deadly to his enemies. He will fight for his beliefs and convictions and will ponder the consequences…that is who I see.”
She almost laughed. It was such a noonish response it could not be quantified. The mother was really enforcing the stereotype when she made this one. Still, he wished to be strong and happy. She could understand that much at least. Anwesu gave a smile she rarely showed anyone and closed her own eyes. Speaking without moving her lips, directly to the young, bright mind under her hands.
‘This person is you. The pure character that is left when there is nothing to get in the way of complete self-expression. Work towards him. Be him. Focus. This is where you want to be. The only one holding you back… is you.’
The mesmer blinked… and was gone. She did not go far. A small bush a few paces away hid her and she clamped down on her aura.
“I am such a dick…to myself…” he let out a rather weak chuckle as he said this. When there was no response he frowned then the bright blue eyes opened. Thekrin spent a moment looking at where she had stood. He reached forward and picked up the petal that had fallen from her head.
“Thanks Anwesu…” he said to himself as he stood.
From her hiding place Anwesu smiled and her orange eyes glowed.
‘Thank me later,’ she whispered to the leaves. ‘I just repaired your self-image.’
She watched him walk away.
‘You owe me… more than anyone. One day, you shall repay me.’
Now alone the dusk bloom steped out of the slimy leaves, giving the plant that sheltered her an affectionate pat.
‘Perhaps I will ask for his soul,’ she laughed to herself, not all that serious.
Souls were overrated and heavy things anyway.