Sarah Doherty's Secret Stuff
Steve calls John and Sarah into the room. "Hello and thank you for coming. It's been a only few days since I last saw you, I trust things are going well. I'll be brief and you can get back to your life." He slides a piece of paper across the table to each of the agents. "These are the latest findings on Project Lycan. I am sharing this information with you because I am concerned that Bud is too close to Daryl to be objective and Bic's recent communication with high-powered hackers worries me. Read this and tell me if you have any questions."
Life Goes On
Sarah's life resume. The unstoppable flow of work and classes takes her mind off horrific children eviscerating her or Ghouls tearing at her flesh. The weeks fly by. Work invades Sarah's free time, but soon she is caught up and a little ahead. She also asks the department for help with her classes in the future in light of her planned trip to Asia.
A mere day before the e-mail shows up announcing the trip to Kathmandu, the department coordinator leads in a stranger. He's built solidly and he radiates a presence and energy that is almost tangible. He smiles widely and says "Hello, I'm Dr. Gertner, but everyone calls me Jake." The department coordinator smiles and winks at Sarah as she steps out. Sarah looks a little confused as if asking why the man is here and he answers her unspoken question. "I was just brought onto the faculty here, I'm supposed to help you out with your classes. Your going on a trip or something as I understand it?"
Sarah snaps into understanding and replies, "Oh yes, lovely. That's just grand. I had started to wonder if they had selective hearing on that point. I am relieved that you are here and I'm glad to have someone else to share the burden with." Sarah notices the rugged, well worn nature of his clothing and the beaten sport watch "Do a lot of field work?"
"Oh." Jake looks down at his clothes. "Yeah, is it that obvious?"
"Don't be embarrassed, it's nice to have a real anthropologist to talk to. I think the closest the faculty around here have come to a dig is when they walk past the F&E fellas planting a tree." Sarah smiles and Jake laughs while looking around to see if there are eavesdroppers.
"Well, we all have our different ways. If they didn't have the dedication to pore over dusty old tomes, I'd be out of a job. I have no patience for books, and it's a failing of mine. I just love the digs so much. If it's there, I'll find it, but that makes me more of a skilled grave robber than a scholar. Fortunately it's worked out so far." As he talks, Sarah notices details of his appearance. He is well tanned and his faces shows premature weathering of his skin. His dark, sandy blonde hair is medium length and stops just below his collar, being parted off to the side. His eyes are a deep brown with black flecks. At first glance they don't look unusual, but as you look closer . . .
Jake notices you looking into his eyes. "Oh wow, is something on my face?" He starts reflexively rubbing the corners of his eyes.
"Oh, no. I was just looking at your eyes. There's something fascinating about those little flecks."
Jake seems a little surprised by the frankness of Sarah's comment. "Um yeah, my iris's coloration changes as my pupils dilate and contract. It's interesting to look at, but I got used to it after the first ten years or so." Jake laughs to himself.
Sarah laughs as well. "Aye, I do hope you'll forgive me for staring like that. We investigators are a little rude sometimes."
Gun nods and smiles. He launches into questions about your accent, schooling, and so on. The day disappears as you get to know each other well. He's going to need to be prepped very well to challenge your class, but it looks like that's the kind of experience he needs and he knows it.
The week flies by. You put the Kathmandu trip out of your mind after getting the e-mail, but work more intensely to get Jake prepped. The day of the trip rolls around and you are called in to a meeting with Steve and John.
Steve calls Sarah and John into the small meeting room. He makes no introduction nor offers a prelude. He looks tired and concerned, sipping from a cup of coffee as if a junkie in withdrawal. "Because of the timing of things, I don't think your team should address this. We will watch over Daryl until your team returns. He has no record of episodes yet, so perhaps he will be safe. I hate to drop this on you, but I feel it is important to keep the two of you as informed as our operational procedures allow. Let me know if you have any questions."
After a brief discussion with the team, you split off and head to the temple that seemed to feel unusually comfortable to you, the Temple of the Ancestors. When you arrive, you are admitted without comment. You are told of the meditation room. The monk that let you in seems to almost disappear into the shadows when you look away for a moment.
You step into the main room and see the patterns that seem to be of various ancestors providing counsel and protection to their descendants. At the end of the room is a small, simple shrine that consists of a daisho on a short stone slab which is flanked by two braziers. The basins of the braziers seem to float in mid air, but closer inspection reveals that they are supported by short pillars that have a texture like stone, but they seem to absorb all light that shines upon them.
You head up to the library and find a collection of shamanistic items scattered about the rooms. The items include many beliefs systems and a little less than a fourth of them suggest a Native American influence. A large portion of what you do see seems to be totems and other religious icons. Shelves along one wall contain various scrolls and texts. Those that you can read seem to concern spirituality, astral projection, channeling, and the like. You grab a book on seances and turn to investigate the room further. The last thing you discover is a stockpile of incense, hallucinogenics, body hooks, and similar items related to trances and meditation. You recognize a piece of peyote, the naturally occurring hallucinogenic commonly used by the Amerindians and take a piece as you head over to the only table in the room. There is another person sitting there, quietly reading a book. You inquire about the pillar downstairs and the monk acts as though you should already understand it. You slump into your incorporeal form and glide down. You can see patterns that were invisible to your corporeal body. They do not make complete sense, but you are sure of how to open the secret door that leads down to the basement. You return to your body and sit upright again.
You ask, "How can I open the door without leaving my body."
He answers, "Simple, you must look into the realm of spirit without leaving your body."
Surprised that such a thing is even possible, you ask him to show you. He leads you down to the pillar. You gather from the way that he walks that he is probably blind. He reaches forward and touches a few protrusions on the pillar and it opens. He leads you down the narrow stairs. At the bottom, he moves into the pitch black room and lights the braziers. The walls, floor and ceiling of this room are disorienting. They are covered completely with images of black rolling clouds, accented by some bas relief carvings that accentuate the crests of the clouds. As the flames flicker, their light seems to animate the clouds. The slab of stone is also black and covered with similar images. You actually can't make it out clearly until you are closer. There is a small black pillow on the slab. The monk gestures for you to lay on the slab. You hesitate for a few seconds before laying down.
The slab is surprisingly comfortable. You stare up at the ceiling and surprisingly quickly, you fall into a meditative state. With quiet, laconic, commands from the monk, you are taken through a series of exercises, slipping in and out of your incorporeal state. You focus on the transition. The day slips by and you feel you have learned little. The monk says only, "Such things do not come quickly."
Over the next few days, you continue the exercises. In conversation over breakfast, you mention your desire to speak Chinese and the monk begins speaking in Chinese exclusively. He occasionally speaks English in order to translate when you are having an unusually difficult time. However, there is some strange, otherworldly connection that helps you understand the essence of his meaning even when the words seem confusing. By the end of the second day, you are able to slow the transition of various parts of your body into your incorporeal form. By the third day, you are able to keep a single part of your body trapped in corporeal form while the rest of your form floats like an incorporeal anchored boat. The fourth day is when it finally happens. For a brief moment, you manage to make your eyes shift into an incorporeal state while keeping the rest of your body corporeal. You perfect this on the fifth day.
"You have done well, and while you were mastering that, you have become more in touch with the spirit realm. Your gift for Seance will benefit from this. Now use your eyes." You step off the slab and look at the monk, his features still obscured beneath his robe. The room appears brightly lit although the braziers have burned out. You can only guess that spiritual energy must provide the illumination you now see. The monk walks out of the room and up the stairs. You follow him. Moving your physical body at the same time is a little difficult, but you manage. The monk continues up the stairs and you follow him. He leads you to the main room and, like the basement, although it seemed so very shadowy before, it now appears to be brightly lit with spiritual energy. The images on the ceiling and walls glow brightly. The longer blade of the daisho, a katana, has a bright undulating glow about it and you sense a life of sorts in the the blade.
The monk gives you a few minutes to walk about and take in your new sense, then speaks, "Your spirit eyes will allow you to see the aura of beings. This will allow you to penetrate the veil of all but the most powerful deceptions. Your physical eyes are a weakness, they hinder your true sight. In time you will come to accept that." At that point, you notice that all of the monks have assembled in the entrance of the room. They have pulled back their hoods and all of them stare at you with sightless eyes. Some have white on white eyes, some have no eyes at all, and some wear glasses so dark that the wearer must be blind. After a few moments, they raise their hoods back over their heads and leave the room.
The monk finishes by saying, "You have much to consider. I leave you now with your thoughts."