OSSAM’S TRAVELING MENAGERIE AND SOARING CIRCUS
I’ve been accompanying Ossam’s Traveling Menagerie and Soaring Circus for a couple of weeks now. While it is affording me time to learn how to control my jaunting I’m told it might be a couple more weeks at the very least before we near Orrila. Patience has never been one of my virtues, so I need to take this as a blessing in disguise.
Jaunting itself is beginning to feel more natural, less daunting, but my mind still isn’t disciplined enough to achieve it without the help of the ganch. I put my best effort forward in learning to still the mind as I know I have a limited time in which to practice doing so with the conditions provided me. In some ways this seems to be more challenging than even the situations the jaunts have placed me in.
Heth Narhaa has been helping me to hone my fighting skills, which has come in handy during these practice jaunts. In nearly every situation I have encountered some wild and strange creatures against which I’ve had to defend myself. One jaunt took me into a flock of ground birds half my height that had serrated blade edges on their wings. Another jaunt gave me over to a pack of broken hounds, of which I was able to defeat thanks to Heth Narhaa’s training, but not without receiving my fair share of wounds.
Her training has not afforded me easy defense against all the creatures I have encountered. I once found myself in a woods in the path of a travonis ul, a ravenous, multitendrilled creature roughly five meters across and nearly just as tall, with a toothy maw on the thickest tentacle surrounded by several mandibles. I managed to outrun this creature for awhile, but the surprising speed it demonstrated closed our gap. As luck would have it, enough time had lapsed to where I had returned to the safety of the quiet wagon before the beast could set upon me.
Not all the places I have jaunted to thus far have contained threatening creatures, though they have certainly had challenges of their own. One such place felt like the inside of a ruin of sorts. I found myself struggling to maintain my footing as I was standing on a floor covered with tiny metal bearings, as far as I could see until the distance became hazy. I could feel them rolling beneath my feet, but eventually I was able to stand on them steadily. Before long I had lost my footing again and I slipped and fell repeatedly as if in some sort of absurd slapstick show. Upon righting myself I realized the bearings were bigger in size than they were when I had first arrived. I was able to briefly maintain my balance once again until their increasing size loosened my stability and down I went. This ridiculous struggle continued until the bearings had grown large enough to where I could keep both feet on one bearing and maintain my balance while walking on top of it. This was not an easy feat as these balls were constantly changing direction. I focused as hard as I could on remaining on top of this bearing, realizing if I fell down and dropped between the metal balls a collision could crush my arm or torso, and they would eventually get large enough to completely crush me if it rolled over me.
I focused on staying as steady and upright as possible. I knew if I waited it out long enough the sphere would grow large enough to allow me to stand on it more easily. The bearings grew to nearly two meters in diameter before I felt myself jaunting, getting pulled back into the quiet car.
I had encountered several creatures, some quite deadly, others merely a nuisance like the itchy spraying creatures, and I had found myself in a couple of ruins or machines of sorts such as the bearings realm that challenged my wits. But in the dozen or so jaunt I have experienced I have yet to find myself in a city or a town, much less an aldeia, or at least outside of one, as has been the case when I jaunted into populated areas. My most recent jaunt had me hoping my luck had changed. I had jaunted into a marshy area and was assessing my surroundings when I heard several voices nearby. I followed the sound of the voices to see three or four people having a conversation, standing mostly submerged in a pond. I called out to them in greeting but they seemed to pay me no mind. I pulled up the edges of my robe and approached the water, dipping a foot to wade in, hoping to draw near enough for them to hear me. Just before my second foot had stepped into the pond I noticed the people were accompanied by two abhumans as well who seemed to be grunting along with them as if attempting to join their conversation. Something was very out of place. I only realized what it was when I felt something grab my ankle. The heads of the conversing group were just that… heads. I could then see they were attached to translucent tendrils that extended beneath the surface of the water. As the creature that had my ankle in its pincer rose above the surface, I could see the tendrils attached to the back of its shell. This was a lure that was part of the creature I now recognized from studies… a mesomeme!
How could I have been so foolish? I cursed myself as I could feel the creature pulling me down, watching it extend the other pincer to decapitate me and add my head to its array of lures as it fed on my mental energy. I should have recognized what this creature was. I should have known it the minute I saw the nonsequitur collection of creatures in the pond.
I stood staring at the heads seeing the lifelessness in their eyes, knowing that the creature was merely waiting below the surface to pull me in if I dared go into the water…
Wait… something strange had just happened. I swear I was just in the grip of the mesomeme. I was about to become its next victim. Now here I am standing where I was when I first came upon the pond, before my poor decision to wade in. What had just happened? Did I have a premonition? If so, it was vivid enough to seem real, as if I had actually experienced it. I was sure I was about to die.
Soon after I had returned to the wagon. I immediately went to see Heth Narhaa and explained to her what had transpired.
You believe you had a… premonition? Is this some ability you’re learning from Yeri?
No, no. It seemed like a premonition, but it felt very real, I assure you.
Hmm… lift your robe. Let me see your ankles.
Well, I see no evidence of its grasp, no pincer marks…
But I can still feel the pain from where it had clamped into my leg.
But then you found yourself back where you were before, moments earlier?
Yes. It felt like I had come upon the site of the pond like before, but with a vivid memory of what was to come if I stepped forward into the water.
Clearly it was more than just a memory.
I should have known when I first saw those heads. Humans and abhumans standing in a pond conversing? The absurdity of it should have tipped me off right away. I should have known it was a mesomeme’s lure.
You did know.
I believe you have discovered an esotery.
An esotery? How’s that?
I believe you were able to return to a previous point in time, a few seconds prior. I once knew a jack who was able to do something like this. If this is indeed a burgeoning ability of yours it would be quite handy to employ in combat situations. Like any esotery there’s a limit to how often you can use it before it taps you of your energy but it can save your life in the future, just as it did today.
I… I had no idea…
You were never taught to develop your skills as the true nano that you are. While I am not a nano I can train you to hone the skills you do discover, such as this one. This, coupled with well developed combat skills, can certainly be most advantageous to your survival.
I would very much like to learn to tap into this esotery. I will say, it has left me rather drained, as you said. I think I will retire for the night. Let’s hope Yeri isn’t in the mood to demand payment for this session tonight. I am far too exhausted.
I’m afraid that is one think I cannot help you with. Good luck, my friend.