Sorry for the late post, but better late than never. I caught a cold virus over the weekend during military training. I’ve been catching up on my backlogged stuff. So here’s my late release.
Chapter 6.: Memory Dive
-Old Man Healer’s PoV-
And so SHE returns with two children; the boy, Arend was carrying a fainted girl on his back. I greeted them with pleasantries for appearances sake. And treated the matter of this Nun causing me problems, as if it never existed.
Guiding them to the back of my shop, I directed Arend set the girl down and sat him across from her.
I chanted a mild recovery spell, to wake the girl and remove minor ailments. Once awake, the girl was perturbed, but after glancing towards Lia her complexion froze.
Lia in her sweet gentle tone questioned the girl. After confirming her health, she chose to have a small talk with the little girl back at their orphanage. Having journeyed with this woman, I could only secretly pray for the little girl.
Turning towards me, Lia’s eyes hint to Arend.
~”Mr. Healer, just as I’ve explained to you before, I’d like you to do THAT.”
With her nod, I erected a stronger barrier than last time. I already informed my assistant beforehand, that I would become very busy once the Reckless Nun returned.
Preparations aside, I placed the palm of my hand onto Arend’s forehead and used my ability Memoriae. Diving into Arend’s mind and I prepared myself, expecting to travel the mind’s labyrinth.
My ability allows me to traverse a person’s memories, but depending on the person themselves, their memories can form a labyrinth of varying complexity.
The mind of a child will not be as complex like that of an aged man, but you can compare a child’s mind to a little house and the aged man’s mind would be close to a palace of almost infinite size.
Traversing memories can be a boon, but there are risks that can cripple me. For one, my mental strength and capacity need to be greater than the person I’m using my ability on otherwise I can receive a mental rebound.
Also, what is seen cannot be unseen. The memories I come into contact with, become a part of me, and they are not pieces I can remove or cast away. Whether I like it or not, I will remember a person’s experience as if it was my own.
Using my ability can become troublesome as acquiring more memories of another individual can erode the original memory. A form of manipulation, that can benefit the Memoriae traverser and wouldn’t be seen as harm for the one, whose mind is being read.
But again, if my mental strength to retain my identity is weak or if my mental capacity cannot hold the memory, I will receive a rebound that can cripple me. In the worst state, I would be nothing more than a lifeless vegetable, a broken man or an insane criminal.
This wouldn’t be the first time I’ve used my ability on Arend, but upon entering his mind, I felt no resistance. The last time I entered there was an immediate wall of mental energy and at that time, it was to seal his traumatic memories, in order for him to live a regular life.
without any mental resistance, I came to an empty space. Everything was white, clean, there were no foundations for a labyrinth, nor anything for a small house. I was shocked by the endless clearing of white.
Unlike the past, Arend’s mind had built a mid-sized house with several rooms for his memories, but now there appeared to be nothing at all. This is not possible, but before I could think of what may have happened, the space around me changed.
The white space changed, a large wall emerged and suddenly a memory began playing on the surface of the wall. My reaction was full of shock and confusion, as I continued to watch this wall before me. Why are the memories in this state?
Calming myself, I begin to remember my purpose, I cannot lose my mind. I must retain my being otherwise, I might be consumed by these events.
Unlike before where I experience a memory, I stood before the wall playing scenes from when Arend was saved from the river. With pristine clarity, the memories are played with exact detail. I could see the surroundings as if I was physically there.
The pace of these memories played at the will of its owner. Staring at the wall, my eyes were glued to each scene, engraving each piece into my mind. With no sense of time, I was stuck like a statue, unable to move, or rather I may have lost control of my ability.
Within moments the wall which played memories collapsed, and I realized something had gripped my body. Unable to move freely my surroundings morphed into a passageway, doors began sliding by me, the passageway extending without end.
Within this infinite passage of closed doors, the intervals for each door passing began to drop, slowing with my breath. Though I felt a grip of some kind clutching my back, I was unable to move to view my surroundings.
“Sir, where are we?”
Struck by the feeling of lightning, the realization that I was ill prepared from entering Arend’s mind, bothered my mental state. Deducing who it was that gripped me, I managed to regain slight mobility. Twisting my head to my side, I found Arend clasping the side of my robe. Forcing my lips to move, I answer with a cramped expression, deciding to explain just a little.
“We are currently within a Mind Labyrinth. As for whose mind we are in, we can determine that by passing through one of these doors.”
I didn’t want to mention it to Arend, but this Labyrinth belongs to me. My carelessness has caused me to experience a rebound and currently, we are traversing my own memories.
While being stuck in this situation did not happen to me before, I have been taught how to reclaim myself in the case of a mental rebound. If all goes well, I will not suffer much, hopefully.
“Arend, once the doors passing us come to a stop, grab my hand and follow me otherwise you may become lost here.”
Concentrating my thoughts on where I wished to be, the doors came to a halt. Having Arend grab a hold of my hand, I opened a door before us and led him through.
Our surroundings changed and instead of a room, a blue lit sky, and a swaying breeze flowed on the trees at the bottom of a hill.We were standing next to a small log cottage on top of the hill.
Leading Arend to the cottage, I felt resistance from his hand, he pulled himself away from me.
“Who are you? Where are you taking me?”
After traversing this boy’s current mind, the Arend before me did not have memories of his past. Although I couldn’t fathom how his mind came to be like this, my purpose is to help Arend and that is something I will see through.
“You may not trust me, and I may be a stranger to you. But am a friend of that Sister of yours Lia, my role is to guide you, for now, we must leave this space, or we may be lost here forever.”
Staring into this youth’s eyes, I conveyed my earnest thoughts. Though it was only on the surface, the longer we stayed in my mind’s labyrinth, the rebound will only become worse and there is a possibility of affecting Arend as well.
“We must hurry before this space collapses. You have no reason to trust me, but trust those who are waiting for you.”
The time within my labyrinth did not wait for our decision as the blue sky started to change color, darkness was approaching a lot faster than I anticipated. Arend’s expression became serious and his eyes held a sense of doubt towards me, but with our changing surroundings he ultimately followed.
“I know you have a lot of questions, I will answer them, but we must leave immediately. After entering the log cabin we may need to traverse through a couple more doors, once we reach the final room we will need to re-enter our bodies.”
Arends expression darkened, but he did not resist my hand as I pulled him into the cottage. Our surroundings changed as I narrowed the timeline of my experiences. We currently are in a time before Arend’s birth, his parents and our group of adventures are laughing off to the side of a tavern atmosphere.
“Do not worry about our surroundings, they are just memories, although they won’t respond to us, if we come into contact with them, we may alter the original course of this memory. Come this way.”
Along with Arend, I pulled him to the nearest door opposite of where we entered. He remained silent by my side but gazed curiously at my memories. Entering the door, our scenery changed once again, the time jumped to when Arend’s mother was nearing the end of her pregnancy. We were at the guild located within the Royal Capital city, Arend’s father was beside his mother rubbing her belly, both of them had finished their last commission and had planned on living a humble life with their earnings.
I dodged past several adventures and made my way to the second-floor staircase, where the next door would be. Entering through the door we came upon a horrible scene, it was a memory I did not want Arend to see. We were within a torn down building, battle cries roared outside the walls and I dashed while picking up Arend. The next door wasn’t in sight as other rooms within the building lay open. A memory I tried to suppress, came to light at a bad time.
-“Search the buildings, find the first borns!”[Knight Captain]
-“By order of the Emperor, surrender your children to slavery, any who resist shall fall” [Knight Lieutenant]
“DEFEND THE MANSION, DO NOT ALLOW THEM TO BREAK THROUGH.” [Villager]
In the rooms we passed, lay some of the fallen villagers, some were burned and other mutilated, it was not a sight a child should recall.
I traversed the large hallway, in search of another unopened door, hoping to cut short this memory of mine. All the while Arend watched silently in my arms, not turning away from the scenes before him. His breathing was calm, his expression carried a stern appearance, unbefitting a child of his age.
Unable to find a door within the hallway, I recalled the different levels of the building interior. We were in the Village Governers mansion, with the villagers outside guarding the walls and gate. The village was under siege, because of a damn prophecy. The Emperor ordered the 1st & 2nd Knight Regiment to subdue many villages for their children.
Making my way to the mansion staircase, I covered Arend’s eyes from several rooms as wails of agony exited from them. I rushed down from the third floor straight to the first, I imagined the only door remaining unopened was the library.
“THE GATE, HOLD THE GATES”[Villager]
-“Do not relent, ram forward and enforce order”[Knight Lieutenant]
-“Useless, do not waste any more time, send the forth Robus Squad to break the gates, they are allowed to use enchantments, now go.” [Knight Captain]
Running out of time, I ran toward the library with Arend. The knights would be breaching the gate soon, and the massacre will begin. At the libraries entrance, the door remained intact, I sighed in relief as, this memory can now be laid to rest.
“THE GATES HAVE FALLEN, RETREAT TO THE MANSION, THE GATES HAVE FALLEN, RETREA–“[Villager]
“Onward men, enforce the Emperor’s Judgement, capture the young, no leniency to those who resist.”[Knight Captain]
Pushing forth the library doors I pulled Arend, as sounds of the battle dulled behind us. The room before lit up as chandeliers of magic crystals adorned the ceiling. We stood in the hall of a Nobles’ house, recalling who was the Owner, I could only shake my head. The time was a few years after the Oracles prophecy. I looked around as the Hall was packed with aristocrats and servants. I surveyed for the nearest door to use.
“My Esteemed followers, I am honored by your presence. Let us begin the festivities, a toast to our Emperor’s success in subjugating the rebels.”
Applause from the attendees followed as food was beginning to be served. I pulled Arend along towards the Servants service door. Inferring the chain of memories that followed, I believed we should be entering our current timeline soon.