Join My Newsletter and get "Ascent of the Demon" for Free! Just Click Here...Click here for a Free Book!

“I Am Brahkis” Episode 39

The Adventures of an Intellectual Barbarian

The way Yorilis just comes out with such a declaration, as if it was the simplest observation one could make, makes me question my company. “Oh, is that all? Just approach as a wolf – I wonder why I didn’t think of that.” I look to the Grackle for commiseration, but his face remains neutral.

Sighing, I address our Spirit Shaman directly, scarcely believing I’m willingly taking the plunge. “And how would you suggest I go about such a feat?”

Yorilis pokes the fire with a long stick. “You have it in you, Brahkis. You must have known for a while now – I know I have.”

“Have what in me? I am not Yorrick Shaddowwolf; I’ve not been bitten by a lycanthrope.”

“Nor have I,” Yorilis contends, “but our bodies are merely vessels for the Spirit World. Brahkis the man is but one Spirit dwelling within you. There is also Brahkis the Wolf. When you suppress your human psyche enough to allow that other Spirit to come forth, your body will change to accommodate it.”

The man must’ve taken some of his special brew. “Let’s say for a moment this notion isn’t complete ox dung – how does one go about facilitating this change? And if I did change into a wolf, would I no longer be myself?”

“It’s not a question of swapping identities. You already are a wolf, Brahkis, you just haven’t let it out enough for most to see.” Yorilis pokes the fire some more. “Most,” he repeats.

“Do you have anything to say about this?” I ask the Grackle, wondering if I’m caught in a conspiracy of madness.

“You realize you’re asking one who also changes shape?” he says. “Of course, I transform by Shaping the arcane energy around us all, but I expect our revered Shaman knows what he’s talking about. I have seen far stranger things, let me tell you.”

I stand and walk a few paces, turning my back to the fire. Shadow is there, lying down. His head perks up to look at me. My mind is off-balance, but what worries me most is that I do see the truth in it. Since I first came to visit Yorilis, wolves have treated me differently. My bond with the black behemoth stretched out on the grass beneath me defies explanation, as does his sudden growth. Something beyond my understanding is at work.

“So I’ll ask again,” I say without turning back to the fire, “how do I go about switching from one form to another?”

“Unfortunately, that cannot be taught,” Yorilis answers. It is as I feared. “But I can offer you something to help you discover it on your own.”

I spin slowly to face him but keep my mouth shut.

“If you are willing to do this, I can brew more of the draught you took the night you found the sword.”

I look up to the stars for comfort, remembering the experience akin to a waking dream. It was confounding, sure, but not ultimately dangerous. I suppose it’s worth a try. I shift my gaze toward the Spirit Shaman and shrug. “Why not?” Of course, I can think of several answers to my own question.

Nearly an hour later, I hold a warm, wooden cup in both hands and raise it to my lips. The Grackle leans forward on his sitting log, watching far too closely. I don’t know what he expects to see. I’m reclining against Shadow’s dozing mass, just outside the fire’s warm glow – both in case being near him makes a difference and so I won’t fall when I slip from consciousness.

I sip slowly at first, then quicker to get through the acrid aftertaste as soon as possible. The beverage seems more potent than the first time, for my head is immediately dizzy. I try my best to locate Yorilis to ask him a question, but my vision is blurry and I can only make out the light of the fire. I’ve forgotten my question anyhow and close my eyes to stop the spinning. My head drops back against Shadow’s soft fur.

With my eyes shut, the symptoms clear in a few moments. I wait, then dare to open them, hoping the dizziness won’t return. It doesn’t, but I’m no longer near the Shaman’s campfire. The sky is darker than before and the stars more clear. Shadow is still with me.

I rise to my feet, which rouses the wolf. Taking in my surroundings, I quickly recognize the barrow hill where I received the Founder’s Blade. A sense of serendipity pervades me, giving me gooseflesh, but I feel inadequate – like the cosmos has laid out a course before me, yet I still don’t know how to take the next step.

Perhaps the cosmos is wiser than my conception, for it is Shadow who leads. He paces silently to the mirrored monolith where I once saw my own reflection as a wolf. Allowing my instincts to dictate, I follow. He sits in front of the tall, smooth stone and looks at me over his shoulder, making sure I’m paying attention. Then, he stands and casually walks into the monolith, vanishing as if absorbed by the pillar of rock!

I know I’m supposed to follow. I know this, but my feet don’t move. I stare at the mirrored surface of the stone, but I’m too far to see more than an indistinct outline of my body. My human body. A wind rises and pushes up the hillside, overtaking me with a chill like the breath of winter. I listen, but the only voice I hear comes from inside me, “Still your heart. Accept yourself.”

I do my best to obey. I slow my breathing and step closer to the monolith, determined not to be shocked by what I might see, whether man or beast. With my nose only a hand-span from the stone, the outline of my reflection changes. My ears grow triangular, my snout long. I take another step forward …

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: