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Charge of the Psion

Brett P. S.



Copyright © 2017 Brett P. S.

Smashwords Edition

All rights reserved.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.



Table of Contents



CHAPTER 1

CHAPTER 2

CHAPTER 3



Chapter 1

Mental Training



Sebastian meditated in the solemn halls of the only home he’d ever known. Stone, brick and steel surrounded him, his back to the beams of morning sunlight that crept in through slits in the sandstone. Riga Temple was quiet for the moment, but he’d soon hear the pattering of footsteps as eager would-be Psions began their training.

Sebastian focused, feeling around with the muscles of his own ego, touching the sand and straw covered ground around him. He pushed circles into the rows of dead crop remains to flex his mind. The exercise left him with some beads of sweat trickling down his forehead, but he pushed further.

With ethereal eyes, he projected his perception through the room and out the door, crossing through walls of sandstone. Sebastian frowned. Liam and Hanna hadn’t woken yet. He spotted two staff on their patrols through the Temple barracks but nothing quite interesting enough to warrant his attention. Sebastian moved on. He’d never stretched his perception this far before, but Master Riga’s quarters sat a few meters away. He crept through the still air on wings of mind power and gently glided through the old oak door.

Sebastian gazed upon the room of his Master, taking in the fresh glowing candlelight and ornamental trinkets nestled on each desk and pedestal, but the Master wasn’t in his room. He was a pack rat to say the least, but he wasn’t … a quick whip cracked Sebastian on the back of his neck, and he jerked. His perception rocketed back into his skull with enough force to send him flying onto his back. Sebastian yelped, glancing up at Master Riga. The old man bore a scowl, meeting his eyes.

Riga cracked the whip again, and Sebastian flinched, but Riga sighed instead, folding the piece up around his fingers. Master Riga was a venerable man, probably in his fifties, though he’d aged very little since Sebastian had known him in his first days inside the Temple. It was the mark of a Psion to age well, and Master Riga was, if nothing else, a powerful Psion.

Sebastian and Riga wore brown robes, though the Master kept his hood down, revealing a balding head. He was fond of his hair, what little was left of it. Riga didn’t care much for appearance, hence the lack of grooming and the weak muscles. His robes hid it well, but Sebastian had stolen a glance or two at his Master’s wobbly forearms and weak knees at feasts.

“What am I going to do with you, Sebastian?” Riga said.

“You told me to practice,” Sebastian replied. “Morning exercises, nothing more.”

Riga glanced down at the lines Sebastian had carved into the straw and sand. “Crop circles are dandy, but spying on your fellow students is a bit out of line.”

“They were out and about,” he said. “Besides, it’s not like I would sneak into their rooms. What they do out in the open, however, is fair game.”

Riga sighed. “Is that why you snuck into my quarters?” Sebastian gulped. “You’d love to see what old man Riga does in his spare time, wouldn’t you?”

“No, I didn’t mean it like …” Sebastian started, but Riga cut him off.

“Spare me. I really do believe your intentions, mischievous as they may have been, were rooted in an earnest effort to expand your mind.” Riga turned back to him and sighed. “I can’t really punish you for that, but watch yourself. As your powers grow, so too does your ego. You’ll think you can get away with anything, that you’re above everything. Each time either of those notions crosses your mind, remember the stinging whip I cracked across your neck.”

Sebastian bowed. “Of course.”

“Good man,” Riga said. “Now finish your crop circle exercises. I want to see you straining by noon.”

Sebastian smiled and squinted his eyes. He reached out and began turning waves and wheels into the straw mounds of his chamber. Sunlight crept through sandstone slits and illuminated Master Riga, who smiled back at him. He swept up his robe and strode out with a lanky gait. Riga had been paying him more attention lately, and Sebastian suspected why. His training, whatever it was that a Psion must be, it was almost complete.



Chapter 2

Inner Circle



Riga temple was as intricate as it was vast. The structure sat in the midst of a lonely forest dozens of kilometers from the nearest settlement in a barren land. Life seemed to bloom more vibrantly around the temple, a testament to Riga and the Psions who trained here. Sebastian smiled as he strode down the main hall, which linked the library, barracks and feast hall.

He pushed open the door with a flutter of his hand and a mental budge. Sebastian enjoyed using his powers for mundane tasks from time to time. Riga warned against overexertion, but Sebastian hardly strained to accomplish the task, and he enjoyed the way other students gawked at him. He was the pride of Riga Temple, a title that one did not dole out callously. Even Master Riga saw something in him, which was why he expected more than the usual banter would occur at this particular feast.

Sebastian stepped through the Temple’s feast hall door and bright candlelight hit his face. Master Riga sat in lotus beside a low table, nestled centimeters from the base of the hard wood floor, students to his left and right. Riga looked up and smiled at Sebastian, gesturing to an empty seat beside him. He didn’t say a word, though he didn’t need to.

As Sebastian walked over, murmurs between the top students appointed to this feast let loose. He couldn’t just hear their words. He could pick away layers at their thoughts. Sebastian stopped a step away from the empty pillow and quieted his mind, remembering the red mark on his neck. Best not to pry. He sat down, cross-legged in lotus next to his master.

Riga cleared his throat. “Liam, would you lead us in prayer?”

Liam was a hulking goliath, more muscle than thought, but he happened to be second to Sebastian in Psionic power. A close third and arguably better at certain tasks was Hanna, who sat beside him. The two had grown close over the years and if not for Sebastian, would probably be sitting where he was now, one of them at least.

Liam closed his eyes. “May starlight protect us. May sunlight invigorate us. May a new dawn sustain us.”

Sebastian bowed his head along with the other students and began to pick some meat from the roasted fowl by his feet. Students passed along ceramic plates, and Sebastian plucked his fill from squash to slices of meat from a number of creatures, one of the benefits of being in Riga’s inner circle. After an hour, Sebastian had taken his fill, sitting back on the cushion that had worn down so much that he could feel the ground firmly beneath his thighs.

“I have an announcement to make,” Riga said. Sebastian ears perked up. “It isn’t easy for me to say this, but my time as your teacher is coming to an end.”

Hanna smirked. “You’re old, Master, but not that old.”

“Age is irrelevant,” Riga said, shaking his head. “I can no longer carry out my charge, so I need to pass it on to one of you.”

“Well, obviously, that man is Sebastian,” Liam said. “He’s the best and brightest among us. As much as I hate to admit it, I can’t even compare.”

“Maybe,” Riga said. “I’ll need to think on this for a day or so, but let’s keep this a secret. I don’t want word rattling through the halls that Master Riga is resigning. Moreover, this should be a good test of your wits.”

“We understand,” Hanna said. “Your secret does not leave this room.”

Sebastian couldn’t take it anymore. He threw off his hood and glared at Riga’s sad expression.

“I think we’re all forgetting the most important point here,” he said. “I’ve never heard of this charge Master Riga’s talking about.”

“Sebastian!” Liam shouted. “Show some respect.”

“Is this what’s been eating the life out of you, Master?” Sebastian asked. “Well? Is it?”

He stared down the venerable man and met his gaze. Sebastian searched for an answer. He even sought to probe his mind, but he couldn’t even scratch the surface. Master Riga sat in silence, a warm expression on his face.



Chapter 3

Last Wish



Sebastian slept lightly through the following night and hardly the one afterward. Master Riga avoided his company, a notion that didn’t sit well with him. Sebastian’s gut boiled, and his head throbbed at the idea that his Master could be dying … or worse. Sebastian meditated throughout his morning with a waking mind and conflicted innards, but he trudged through nonetheless, and when it came time to speak with his Master, he did so eagerly.

Sebastian followed Riga past the barracks and into a greenhouse nestled deep in the center of the temple. A sunroof, open to a midday light casted a radiant glow onto the potted plants and herbs that students would someday grind into medicines and tasteful teas. Riga lifted the sleeve on his robe and stroked the leaves of one plant.

“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” Riga said, smiling. “How much do you know about the lands beyond this Temple?”

“Not much,” Sebastian said, folding his arms. “I do know that there isn’t much to look at. The closest settlement is White Rock, a barren village clad in sandstone.”

“The God of this world did not construct it for human life to flourish,” Riga said. He continued stroking the plant. “We’ve had to learn a few tricks in the process, but we’re still here.”

“What kind of tricks, Master?”

Riga smiled and gestured ahead. Sebastian followed him through a private chamber and a hidden door within said chamber. Rock and brick surrounded them as Riga led him down a circular staircase. Iridescent hues shone from blue and green flame candles nestled inside nooks in the walls to his left and right.

Sebastian exited the staircase and stepped into a chamber twice the size of his own quarters, barely big enough to house three men with elbowroom to spare. Tubes ran around the room that looked like irrigation distributers, channeling currents of water or something beneficial into the groundwater outside. While the tubes ran across the chamber in all directions, they converged into a mantle that rested at the far end, into a pedestal covered by a metallic shield.

Riga walked over to it and placed his hand on the shield, gripping a piece of it with his bony fingers. Had he aged so much in the last few days? Sebastian could barely look at his Master, let alone with pride. Something or someone had done this to him, a despicable act, but he held his breath, lest speak out of place.

“Ease your tension,” Riga said. “This is a place of reverence.”

Sebastian tried to ease his pain, but he managed little more than quieting his nerves. His heart continued to beat violently as he watched Riga lift the casing, revealing glowing crystalline structure resting on a base that appeared like a golden crown.

“An egg?” Sebastian asked. He noted a few pieces chipped off.

“An incubator,” Riga said. “It lives off of Psionic power. Through me, it is the reason greenery grows at all in these lands. White Rock would be a cropless pile of rubble without the runoff from my life-force.”

Sebastian took a step back. “I don’t understand, Master. It feeds off of you?”

“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Riga said. “I give it my mind and spirit, and it lengthens my life in return. I’ve spent the last fifty years hoping to find a suitable candidate to replace me, as my Master did and his Master before him.”

“I’m …,” Sebastian said with a pause. “I’m flattered, but I don’t think I’m ready for something like …”

Riga cut him off. “No, you’re not ready. You’re a headstrong, brash young man with a life of glory churning around in that tiny skull, but I’ve been a poor teacher, and I’m out of time.”

Riga struck the egg with the knife-edge of his hand. In one swift stroke, he broke off a sliver and clasped it in his hand. He held it up for Sebastian to see, the glow penetrating his mind and seething of his darkest fears.

Riga stepped forward. “Take this sliver and press it to your heart. The rest will come quickly.”

Sebastian lurched back. “What will happen to me? How much time will I have left after it takes me?”

“A good century, at least,” Riga said. “You’ll find it difficult to summon up the strength you have now. It will take time to press further into your Psionic powers than the incubator will skim from you. What required weeks for you to learn will take years. What required years will take decades, but you will gain all of it back and more.” Riga sighed. “Just take it before I collapse. I don’t have time, boy!”

Sebastian reached for the gemstone and plucked the piece from his Master’s dying hands. He held the piece firmly as Riga began to clutch his heart. Sebastian felt a pulsing aura overtake him, the beat of a drum, something greater and louder than he could ever match with his own mind. The pulse shook him to his core, and Sebastian knelt down, his strength slipping.

For the first time in a decade, he remembered weakness, those days of training when he yearned for the eyes of his Master. Now, he had all the attention he could ever want, but the consequences drove him to sickness. Sebastian refused weakness. He was strong, unassailable, and unbeatable. He … with a heavy heart, he spoke the last words Riga would ever hear.

“I’m sorry, Master. I can’t …” his words trailed off.

Sebastian dropped the slivered shard and bolted up the stairway as Riga died alone. He cursed himself with every step. He listened to the pulses through his newly attuned senses. They dimmed with each passing breath he took, and once he reached the greenhouse, he could no longer hear it.


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