LotSF: Finding the Root

291

CHAPTER 1

PREVIOUS CHAPTER

The seeress had me sit on my knees, toes crossed, arms raised at my sides, as she began her examination. She circled me slowly, drawing invisible rings around my head and shoulders with her silver wand. At least a dozen times, she walked around, drawing those rings, before she ordered me to close my eyes. I silently obliged, though my arms were starting to ache from holding them out for so long.

I couldn’t see what the seeress was doing, but I could certainly feel it. A gentle, trailing touch ran from my shoulder to my fingertips. Once, then twice, both on my left arm. There was a pause, and then she repeated it on my right arm. It tickled more on the right, and my fingers twitched impulsively as she stroked the back of my hand. When she saw me twitch, she hummed to herself, but I had no idea whether it was a good hum or a bad one.

“Open your eyes,” she ordered briskly, and I did as she asked, blinking a couple times to readjust to the dimness. She was kneeling in front of me, her face level with mine, and once my eyes were open, she reached out and put her hands on my face, thumbs resting on my cheekbones.

I immediately flinched, squinting my eyes defensively. She maintained gentle pressure till I’d gotten used to her touch and could keep my eyes open, and then she began to mutter. My skin prickled under her cold hands and I wanted desperately to pull away. This examination was awkward and uncomfortable. And I didn’t even know if it was going to work.

Apparently having gained enough information from my cheekbones, she let go of my face and got to her feet, again pulling out her wand. She walked behind me and told me to stand, and when I turned my head to look at her she barked harshly, “Don’t look!” Frowning, I put my back to her and stood impatiently as some of her soft grey feathers floated past me towards the mossy ground.

I stared at a couple of the feathers just as I was jabbed hard in the lower back, near my spine. I started, reflexively twisting around to face her, but she pushed my shoulder to keep me straight. The next time she jabbed me, a little higher up, I was ready and didn’t react as strongly, but I was still unhappy to have to endure such a ridiculous process. I didn’t understand what she was doing or how it was helping me.

She poked me with her wand until she reached the back of my neck, and then began to circle me–yet again. She went around once, then stood in front of me. “Can you see me?” she asked.

I responded without thinking. “Of course.”

She nodded, then went around again. She stopped in front of me, paused, and asked again, “Can you see me?” I nodded right away, but now I was doubtful. Was there some reason why I wouldn’t see her? She went around once more, and this time when she asked, “Can you see me?” I hesitated before answering.

I stared at her, eyes narrowed. I could see her, couldn’t I? Her gold-yellow eyes fixed me with a fierce stare and my gaze darted uncertainly over her form. Her grey feathers fluttered, my vision twisted, and suddenly I was no longer looking at a gypsy sprite–I was looking at a grey dove, and as I watched, it swooped around behind me and circled back.

“I-I can’t see you anymore,” I said, confused, and the dove that was the seeress swept in another circle before landing on the ground in front of me.

Can you see me?

As I watched, the dove stretched and grew, feathers fluffing outwards, until I was again looking at the old seeress. Baffled, I answered, “Now I can.”

She nodded, looking like she expected my answer, and then gestured for me to turn around. I did so slowly, and my gaze dropped to the moss. There, lying discarded, was the seeress’s three-stone necklace. I stared at it for a moment, not understanding what it meant, until the seeress explained it to me.

“That is a charm that lets you see me,” she said, confirming what I had guessed when I first saw her. “When I was behind you, prodding your spine, I took it off and put it on the ground. I then began to circle you. You didn’t notice that I had taken the charm off, and so you continued to see me in my true form.” She paused, putting her hands on my shoulders from behind. “But when I gave you doubt,” she continued, “you no longer could see me. Your blindness, as well as your deafness–it is all psychological.

“This problem is all in your head.”

***

More LotSF! 

Not too much to say about this one, except that it would drive me crazy to have to go through an examination like that. I hate when people touch my face, or jab my back, for that matter.

Anyways, it’s bedtime for me. Have a great night, and a semi-decent Monday ;)

Have you ever had a problem that was all in your head?

May all your examinations end well, no matter the nature.

-Alex

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