Becoming an Abstractor – Part Four

Dressed in his dusty traveling cloak, Durston made his way towards the front gates of the Cleric’s Temple; the sky beginning to blush from Solvaris’s morning kiss of first light. Dawn had quickly approached since orders were given the day before, permitting Timothy little time to ensure everything required for the journey. It was only due to him recently being relieved of his duties traveling the realm that he still had his personal gear and garments, which would make the trip a bit more comfortable. A brief shiver of empathy for his fellow recruits passed through him at the thought of having standard issue equipment; items so generic to fit just anyone, that the reality ended up having the opposite affect.

Being raised amongst the elite, his father being one of the high ranking lords in the realm, Timothy made it a point to arrive several minutes after the start of dawn. It was important to let Abstractor Kireek know exactly who Timothy Durston was, and that was someone who chose to attend this expedition, and not someone he actually was able to order to do so. And if Abstrator Kireek thought otherwise, well Durston was prepared.

The horses were gathered nearby, and Timothy was pleased to see his sturdy fox-trotter, a gelding he named Trax, saddled and tacked. Giving a glance at his new companions, Durston disappointingly noted Estel Ell and Kireek too occupied arguing to witness his purposeful defiance.

Putting on an air of disinterest, Timothy made his way to Trax, giving the gelding a gentle and comforting pat. Catching Claire’s eye, he nodding toward the commotion. “So what’s the deal with the hold-up?”

“Disagreement on what constitutes as necessities.” With an impartial shrug Claire turned back to her own horse, continuing her task of arrange the contents of her saddle-bags.

“Seems you weren’t the only one that decided that they needed to prove themselves as someone in a position of authority.” The scholar, Reevan, passed a sly look over the younger man. “Cleric Ell has thought to push the need of her parasol and cosmetics.”

Heat crept its way across Durston, both with anger and embarrassment, at the implied demonstration of being from a position of privilege. “A few minutes late is hardly what I’d call being insolence, and unlikely to show someone of Abstractor Kireek that I am anyone of importance. No, I will prove myself in the deeds done while on this mission and dealing with the heretics and not by showing disobedience over my duty to the realm.”

A knowing smirk lifted one corner of Reevan’s lips. “How quickly the lord’s son changes tact. I do applaud your guile.”

Timothy was saved from having to defend himself further, as Kireek dismissed Cleric Ell’s indignation and acknowledged them. “Good, you’re all finally here. I suppose the education received no longer includes the basics of telling time, or the manners in which should be exercised when dealing with those of authority. But enough dawdling, mount up.”

Estel Ell made as if to pick-up her discarded items recently being disputed over when Kireek decided to reminded everyone who was truly in charge. “And if I see, madam, any one of those items I just deemed unfitting, you may consider them your replacement gear. That means instead of a bedroll, you will have that flimsy contraption, and your warmth at night shall be the make-up you insist on having cover you up. Though I personally would recommend pulling the hood of your cloak over your head, for it shall serve every purpose of those items. Hiding your face from the light as well as the wrinkles beneath from being seen.”

An awkward silence settled upon the party as they twisted their way through the capital and into the surrounding countryside; Estel staring venomously at their commander’s back. It wasn’t until lunch time that Abstractor Kireek cleared his throat, breaking the discomforting quiet atmosphere.

“I realize you all may feel slighted by my dismissal of the briefing arranged yesterday with the High Council, and therefore feel the need to acquired a certain ascendancy over me. However, let me inform you now, that the time allocated to prepare for the journey would not have changed. Because of me you were able to manage your personal affairs for your unforeseen absence, and assemble that of which you need. The insight you were neglected to be told by the council is no different than that which I will share with you now. So in postponing that which you do so rightful deserve to know, nothing was lost but much was gained; time, and secrecy from those who may have spied the knowledge shared.

Timothy kept his face hidden behind his mid-day fare, glancing at Kireek and his companions from his peripheral vision. The Abstractor had his complete attention, but his father always cautioned direct eye contact when dealing with the unknown. Cleric Ell waved an impatient hand, encouraging Kireek to continue, as if bored.

“I know none of you have military backgrounds, or even contemplated a career path as an Abstractor, and though not all are psionics, they are the best and most desirable. Hence why you three were chosen. The situation in Cyphorica is one unique to our modern times. Distance from the capital has allowed them to organize and hide a secret gang of magic casters for an extended period of time, granting them the ability to grow in numbers and skill.”

Estel Ell folded her arms defensively, interrupting with a humph of annoyance. “I am a caster of charms and illusions. There is no way my smoke and mirrors will subdue your rebels. Especially if they are trained casters.”

Nodding in agreeance, Claire faced Kireerk. “My specialties lay in hypnosis, and though I can understand how both Cleric Ell’s and my craft may seem worthy in taking control of a rogue group of casters, I fear our skills are limited to only potentially affecting a few at any given time.”

“Yes, I understand the confusion. Though psionics don’t delve in the physical magic, such as those of a pyromancer or electromancer, our talent is especially powerful because it effects the direct source of all casters. The mind. Abstractors are trained casters with the ability to follow the residual streams of casted magic to its origin. All clerics can be trained in this, though as with any ability, some are more sensitive than others and therefore better suited. However, only psionics can excavate the taint within those unfit to control such a gift.”

Timothy felt a jolt of power pulse across his nerves; the knowledge of what an Abstractor could do terrifying and pleasant. Only giving a brief peek at Kireek, not wanting to show how much the thought excited him, Durston pressed the most obvious question they all had.”So, anyone that’s a psionic could potentially disarm someone from using magic?”

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Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry Three

When my brother passed away my world seemed to come to a complete stand still. For those six months I couldn’t tell you exactly what went on in my life besides the typical going to work and coming home. I gave up on maintaining the front yard, back yard, pets, and the house. I didn’t cook one single meal the whole time. I suppose I should consider it lucky I managed to wash my clothes.

Christmas was a depressing matter. My younger brother and I discussed it and were very adamant on not continuing the stereotypical family get together and over the top gifts. We considered it a time that was our older brother’s. After all, he was in the Navy, and on the other side of the country. For the past ten plus years if we didn’t see him at Christmas, we wouldn’t have seen him at all. Every single year I fought tooth-and-nail working my schedule around so I was able to have a week with him and my parents. It was our time to be with him, and the holiday was really mainly about that.

But, in typical parent fashion, we were over ruled and convinced that it was something my older brother would have wanted. He loved the holiday, and it was special for him, so we should celebrate it. I tried so hard to make up for his loss, after all he was a brother that just seemed to take after my dad and go all out on gifts. I didn’t want my parents or anyone to feel his loss more than we all already were, so I tried going over the top like him. I don’t know if that succeeded.

Anyway, so Christmas, it came and it went. It was filled with a lot of heartache and regrets, and was quickly replaced with the New Year. However, since I lost the battle against Christmas, I suppose I decided to wage another one over the New Year. My new battle was basically a big screw you to those I dared to call friends in my life.

At this stage after my brother’s death I felt abandoned. My friends were great being there that first week after learning about the suicide, but it seemed radio silence followed that. For six long months, up until my dad’s death I didn’t receive one phone call, one card, one visit. I did receive one text, though roughly four to five months later, but the bitterness already settled, and it was just a message saying hi, so I didn’t follow up with it.

Now I figure I have a small group of friends, but they are life time friends. However it wasn’t until my dad passed that things changed…though that is kind of obvious. With my dad’s passing I became a busy body. I needed to clean, work on the yard, and just get things done again. I also read like crazy…still am reading like crazy but that’s to be expected since it’s only been a little over a month since. In some ways I am still a recluse, but a bit more functional.

Since my dad’s passing I did reach out to my closest friends to let them know. I even forced a heart-to-heart about feeling abandoned from their lack of communication since my brother’s passing. For those that are facing the same situation and turmoil as me, or perhaps know someone who is, please…the feel of being abandoned is high up there. I just lost my brother, and my father, and now my friends are at a loss of what to say to me, so instead said nothing.

Bad choice.

It was a bad choice on my end, but I just didn’t care to try. But I will argue, who could blame me? Looking at it all, I understand the situation it places people. It’s uncomfortable and daunting, trying to be there for someone that is faced with suicide. People ask me how I am doing, how is my family, and the standard small talk greetings when being friendly, but the truth is no one wants to hear you say what’s on your mind. That life just keeps kicking you when you’re down and half of your family just became ashes in the wind all in a year. So yeah…

Not exactly sure what this whole entry is about, other than I took each death completely different, and the ever present feeling of abandonment from those here, and those now gone. Sad thing is, one of my dad’s reasoning for taking his life was for that same feeling.

<<Entry Two       Entry Four>>

Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry Two

The last year has been one of the most difficult ones for me, and for my remaining family. In the past six months alone we have lost my oldest brother and father to suicide, followed by my grandfather due to age. And it was almost a year exactly, of this downward spiral, that my grandmother died. I’m not sure the month of April will ever be a good month for me, seems it has a lot of terrible events and history, just sad I was born in the month.

I can only guess why my dad decided to follow after my brother’s example and end his own life six months later, and like most people in similar positions, my thoughts aren’t ones that leave a positive impression. For the most part my dad’s passing has been dealt with by anger, at least on my end. I am just so mad at the choice he made.

A week after they found him I learned he started writing a farewell note in the car, but I haven’t bothered reading it. When I told my manager how my dad wrote a note while slowly suffocating in his own vehicle, I jokingly expressed what a load of horseshit it was because all he had to do was open the damn door. I’m not sure that sentence articulated the feelings I have about the whole situation, but I hope it came off angry, because that was its intention.

And nevermind the whole note, it could be filled with all the heartfelt crap he wanted to put in it and I’m not sure if at this juncture I would feel anything but anger if I read it. The fact is he made a choice, and it wasn’t even a quick one like my brother’s, but one that took time. Lots of time. Enough time that if there was any doubt whatsoever it wouldn’t have happened, because he went by asphyxiation and all he had to do was crack a window.

What really hurts is believing that one of the key causes of him deciding to end everything was because of my brother’s passing. I know he lived vicariously through him, but it makes me feel like such a failure as a child to think I wasn’t good enough for him to stick around for. That my younger brother and sister weren’t good enough for him. It isn’t a surprise that my older brother was highly favored, he was very successful, smart, caring, and devoted. As a middle child, and someone that doesn’t feel successful in life, my self-esteem was already low before all of this drama. The passing of my dad just helped show even further just how little I meant to him.

I realize that’s a poor look to have, especially after the passing of two very important people in my life, but if I’m being honest with myself, I just feel a huge burden of inadequacy.

My step-mother tried telling me my dad wasn’t doing well, so I attempted to reach out. I called him the weekend before everything happened to go over our Easter plans and to confirm I had the time off to be with him. I made it a point to be with my grandparents, his parents, every Easter for the past many years. I’m not sure if my dad ever realized every single vacation day I ever, ever took from work since getting a job was spent with my parents. Well, except for one; last year I did use one for my birthday. But that is a work history of over thirteen years where I constantly had my family in my heart when taking time off.

I am so happy I didn’t distance myself from my family as I got older, but at the same time I am resentful because I feel it slightly thrown in my face. With my older brother I felt a distance from him after he got married. We use to be so close growing up, but with the military and later on a family that bond became more of a memory. The biggest regret I have with his passing is thinking if I only reached out maybe he wouldn’t have made that choice. With my dad, well, that regret isn’t there because I can honestly say I tried. And so I’m a bit resentful, because it just wasn’t enough. I just wasn’t enough.

<<Entry One       Entry Three>>

Left Behind: Surviving Suicide – Entry One

Never having read Frankenstein and only knowing a basic premise of it, the story and idea weighed on my mind the other day. Someone had contacted my (previous) sister-in-law, informing her they were the recipient of my brother’s corneas, and are now able to see. Two things entered my mind upon hearing the news.

First was I was pissed off, not because of them but because she was contacted and thanked. Little does that person know how the very next day after his death she was already talking about moving on. How three months after his funeral she remarried. How six months after his passing, her and the new husband, both unemployed, spent his life insurance on a trip to New York. Or how her personality caused the downfall of my family.

And then there was the second thought; Frankenstein. It occurred to me that by people donating their organs and body parts for others to use once they have died, essentially they are all helping to create the creature in the book. The donation program may be better known if it was referred to as something to help make scientific achievements by merging parts from those no longer living onto people with dead parts. Call it the Frankenstein Project.

Entry Two >>

Becoming an Abstractor – Part Three

Timothy Durston found himself pacing anxiously in a stereotypical study often found with the elite. The room was filled with the used smell of fine paper, treasured leather, expensive cigars, and spiced spirits. Before him sat an older version of himself, though it was with high hopes Duston’s own age would be graced with more laugh-lines and less of a stern gaze.

“I already accepted this assignment father, there is no reason for you to interfere.”

“You told me yourself that Abstractor Kireek held off giving any information about this mission. As a lord I can tell you this, the situation is extreme and requires military action. How the High Council was convinced untrained Clerics could handle a small stealth operation is beyond comprehension.”

Frustration caused the young man to rake his fingers through his hair, disturbing the carefully placed locks. “Listen, father, I know you mean well but this is a golden opportunity to -”

“To see my youngest son killed because of some fool’s negligence in understanding the current situation and wanting to advance their career. And yes, son, I know you hope to have it do the same for you.”

Timothy flexed his hands in a burst of irritation. For his father, no age, no experience, no accomplishment was going to make him an adult. But still, Durston forced his position, desire to be heard, understood, and supported coating each word. “I didn’t come here to argue this father.”

Raising a single brow in skepticism, his father leaned forward with clasped palms. “Then why are you here, son, if it isn’t for the usual help and advice?”

“It is for help, just not the kind you currently have offered.” Timothy gave a heavy sigh, letting it release the tension in his shoulders as the conversation headed in his intended direction. “I need my casting circles renewed. I was hoping you could get Alchemist Truvile to do it before I leave.”

“Let me see your hands, son.” Timothy turned towards his father for the first time, meeting his eyes. Hesitatingly, he made the short trip to the front the man’s desk and held out his hands to be inspected.

Cursive writing and odd symbols marked the tip of Durston’s index finger, across his purlicue, and reached the end of the thumb. Tapping the tattoo, his father caused a light blue flash to cross from end-to-end. “Hmm…what is it you are wanting Truvile for, son?”

“You know what I need him for father. The marking is only half charged.” Timothy withdrew a few steps, feeling the small distance hid his vulnerability. “I want the brand to be fully charged for this. As you said yourself, this is an extreme situation. It would be best if I were able to perform to the best of my ability.”

Several moments passed between the two with ticking of a clock the only sound. A slow, authoritative tone lined his father’s voice. “You are asking for me to obtain Truvile’s assistance to renew your Cleric’s Circle instead of going through the temple’s services?”

“Yes, as I said, I would like to have my mark at full charge before we leave in the morning. The temple always has a delay and they don’t give full charges to Clerics of my rank.”

“So you’re wanting your father to use his connections to go over the temple’s rules and arrange a full charge?”

An amused smirk crossed Timothy’s face. “Oh, come now father, rules? Besides, there is nothing that denies me from having a fully laden brand, it’s just not something the temple does. You gave an invitation of help when I first arrived.”

“As with any offer, Timothy, what’s in it for me?”

Anger flashed in Durston’s eyes as his back went rigged over his father turning the conversation into a business exchange. “Either you are able and wanting to help your son, or you’re not. The benefit would be knowing you prepared me for this dangerous mission and realizing that if successful, you will have a son in higher standing with the council and our family would gain additional political pull.”

Soft knocking reached their ears just as the door opened to the study. A man gave an easy bow and apologized for the interruption. “Alchemist Truvile is here as requested my lord.”

“It is good to see you my good friend.” An older man with a thinning crown of gray hair, maroon robes, and standing a few inches under Timothy made way into the study before the servant closed the door once more.

Standing to greet the older man, Timothy’s father made his way around the large desk and gave a two-hand embrace. “Thank you for coming on short notice. It has been too long since we have last seen each other and I feared you may not find the time for my invitation. My son has foolishly accepted to go with Abstractor Kireek and his mad brain of a plan in dealing with those unsanctioned casters. It wont do for him to have any disadvantage that we can help avoid.”

“Um…Hello Alchemist Truvile. It’s a real honor to have you here.” Timothy overcame his moment of surprise and confusion, giving a formal bow to the older man. “I should have known my father would have the foresight petitioning for you.”

The three gentlemen set up the equipment Truvile brought with him, and began the work of renewing Durston’s tattoos he used to cast quickly through. All Clerics from the realm carried similar markings, so that when the index finger touched the thumb, they could immediately activate a caster’s circle to perform their work. Though the small markings allowed the Clerics to cast in a moment’s notice, they weren’t ideal since they required an alchemist to charge them. Charging the tattoos negated the staleness a permanent casting circle, and lack of energy usually gathered into such a small area.

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