As soon as that new scene came into being on the canvass of reality, thought and memory and consciousness funneled back into place at alarming speed. Sifani caught her breath – at least, she would have, if she had had anything but an imagined body in that otherworldly place – and gazed about the familiar smooth, white-floored hallway. On either side of her soared what appeared to be glass walls. They were even taller than she remembered, flying upward into the sky beyond sight, and made her feel like she had stepped into a dream she hadn’t been sure had really happened until she found herself dreaming it again.
She glanced to her left, and saw a bird’s-eye view of her room, Lorin sitting on a chair in the corner and watching over her motionless body. The sudden reconnection to reality made her stomach lurch, and she quickly turned her head to the right, where she was met instead with a mirror image of what she had just seen, except all awash with blue. The epheria.
It would’ve been easy to stand and stare, and the wild blood in her – the same blood that had always drawn her to the epheria despite all reason and risk of danger – longed to test her power here, to see how she could affect reality as she looked down on the world like a goddess. And yet, if she was going to try to find a Deity, it would be well to get started. It wasn’t as if she had ever done this before.
To be honest, her only clue as to how to go about this was tenuous, derived from that disastrous encounter with Nume a month before. At that time, she had been able to track her mother because she had sensed her presence. Though at the time her frantic mind had registered the sense completely abstract, Sifani’s memory now attested that it had been more substantial – an actual smell, a true feeling of movement and disturbance.
Sifani figured if that if Nume had left behind that kind of trail, she must be leaving a trail of her own, as well.
Her first attempts to detect her own trail were fruitless, as she expected, much like trying to describe the scent of one’s own room, where the smells are so familiar one can no longer detect them. But she certainly wasn’t going to go through the trouble of entering flux without exhausting her resources.
That, of course, involved a good amount of pacing and thinking. Time seemed nonexistent, or at the very least, warped and less urgent here than in the real world, so Sifani did not know how long she spent in this state, though she occasionally reminded herself that Lorin was watching and waiting for her. If she stayed too long, she wouldn’t put it past him to come charging in here after her, provided he survived the transition. Not that Lorin worried about that sort of thing.
She finally paused in her pacing and sighed, imaginary shoulders heaving with the motion. “The last the Deities could do is provide some seating in this world of theirs,” she commented.
A chair appeared.
Sifani blinked. There had been no preamble to the object’s appearance, and no smoke or blinking lights to highlight the magical nature of it. It had simply not been, and then it simply was.
It occurred to her so abruptly that she had to laugh. If she could imagine a body for herself in this place, one that could interact with things around it, then why couldn’t she imagine the things to interact with, as well? Grinning, Sifani spoke aloud that it might be nice to put her feet up, and a matching footstool appeared in front of the chair. She hastened to it and sat down, feeling giddy at the discovery, and a bit foolish for it.
She propped her feet on the stool. Yet another mystery of flux. As much as that state of being depended on what was going on in a person’s mind, flux had to be composed of something. Of this, Sifani was certain. If she wasn’t using that something to create imaginary chairs, she was certainly disturbing it with her actions.
And then she began to wonder, as she had in the days between her visits here, if she might be able to train her mind to “see” differently within flux, just as she did when entering the daydream state used to transition into either flux or the epheria.
Drawing an anticipatory breath, Sifani let her mind go free – it did not drift, but settled back into an inward-looking state that yet maintained its view out into the landscape around her. Truly, she expected to see nothing, and that was the first thing she saw. All was the same, with nothing new to detect. And yet, she could not help but keep trying, on a hunch. Both she and Lorin had learned to trust their hunches, particularly when they related to the epheria.
She honed her mental “vision” tighter, and something came into view.
It was a trailing line – sort of a smudge or cloud, really – of blue, the kind of glowing, ephemeral blue that characterized vision within the epheria. It hovered thickly around Sifani’s body, but just barely washed the spot where she had created her imaginary chair and footrest, almost fading altogether. Intrigued, Sifani turned toward the spot where the chair had been, and then saw the blue flair up anew around her, echoing her motion.
Sifani experimentally swiped her hand before her. Bright blue trailed after her hand like a flame, marking her presence and motion. Though her body was only imaginary, the pieces of herself that floated about in flux were apparently real enough to leave these marks.
The satisfaction of discovery made Sifani’s head buzz. Wait until the band hears about this. Continuing to watch the blue glow swish after her moving limbs with childlike pleasure, she mused about the encounter with her mother. If she had tracked Nume by both sense of movement and scent, why couldn’t she see any scent trail here?
After a moment, she tried to adjust her vision, but to no avail. The amount of unknowns here in flux…maddening. She could spend the rest of her life standing in this same spot and not learn all there was to know about it.
The novelty of her discovery wore off enough for Sifani to remember what she was doing there in the first place, but she was the better for it. Now, finding her Deity would be nearly as easy as tracing a line.
Sifani wandered about for awhile, admiring the strange and stark world around her as much as looking for a sign of another presence nearby. “Wandering” wasn’t even the word, she knew, for space was as odd and bent as time, here. Though she maintained constant motion as she moved forward, it was difficult to say how far she had gone. Sometimes, it seemed as if she hadn’t moved at all.
Yet, eventually, Sifani saw a hue of ultramarine in the distance, and having a definite mark to move toward, she used the “blowing” motion that was particular to flux to approach.
The trail was fresh! Pulse rising, Sifani followed the smudged blue line even as it began to dissipate before her eyes, her muscles tensing for the possible confrontation that a meeting with a Deity might easily bring about. She prayed – to whom, she had no idea – that Nume didn’t show her face around here these days…
And then, she started. Without warning, a figure came into view from around an unseen bend – a man, short, yet compact and powerful, the thin wisps of grey hair on his head and above his lip blowing slightly with some undetectable breeze. His tasseled robe, green trimmed with gold, brought to mind those grave, ghostly figures that had stood by to witness the last battle between Sifani and her mother, and she trembled inside at the realization that she had found her Deity at last.