Into the Astral
Xenograg returns to Nom’s tower and prepares himself for the task ahead of him. He sits cross-legged inside the room’s magic circle. For a quarter hour, Xenograg simply meditates. Now calm and focused, Xenograg infuses the mantra with psychic energy. He turns his mind inward….
As usual, Xenograg “awakens” to find himself armed, armored, and astride a steppe horse. In the astral planes, the unconscious mind can have great influence. Xenograg’s self-identity is rooted in his life as a horseman, and thus his astral image manifests so. This mode of transport is no slower here than if he were flying, and it is familiar and comforting.
The planescape around him is vaguely Eldicor. Xenograg slowly looks around in a complete circle, seeking with his third eye. Finally, a glimmer is detected over the eastern horizon. Xenograg puts his spurs to the horse and is off.
Here in the astral planes, the mind is everything. A traveller moves through thinking so. He must concentrate to stay on course. He can get mentally tired. The path is never straight.
Xenograg uses an open-eyes meditation to stay focused on locating Alatar. His mind cannot help but slip occasionally, of course. Thinking about finding Alatar leads to remembering him, which can lead to other memories. These slow Xenograg’s speed or divert him from the path. The worst of Xenograg’s mental driftings gives him a true scare. His mind wanders from Alatar to Eönwë to the rescue of Gwindor. The memory manifests an unconscious change in Xenograg’s self-image—his left arm is missing above the elbow! Xenograg is shocked out of the memory, overflowing with the anxiety of what-might-have-been that he carries deep inside. He bears many wounds upon his body, but the near-amputation outweighs even the torture of his legs.
Xenograg changes his focus to a calming meditation, eyes closed. His original self-image returns, and he continues on his search for the Istar.
( Originally posted in the Rings of Honor web community forum. )