of the Psion
© 2017 Brett P. S.
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
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.
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
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
“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
“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.”
“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
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
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
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
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.”
“You’re old, Master, but not that old.”
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.”
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
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.”
Hanna said. “Your secret does not leave this room.”
take it anymore. He threw off his hood and glared at Riga’s sad
“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.”
Liam shouted. “Show some respect.”
“Is this what’s
been eating the life out of you, Master?” Sebastian asked. “Well?
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.
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.
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.
isn’t it?” Riga said, smiling. “How much do you know about the
lands beyond this Temple?”
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
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.
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.
Sebastian asked. He noted a few pieces chipped off.
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?”
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.”
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.
forward. “Take this sliver and press it to your heart. The rest
will come quickly.”
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
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
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.
Master. I can’t …” his words trailed off.
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.