Unnamed Journal Volume 3, Issue 1 - Page 30

The Chamber of Pain on a Legion patrol on Welabar II. There was so much fault, so much foolishness. So much pain. For a moment Gareth thought he might throw up. But Bindu brothers, even new profess ants, had learned the art of gastrointestinal control. It was really a simple trick, once one understood it. Only poison could counteract… Cold sweat broke out over Gareth’s brow. Of course. Of course of course of course. How could he have been so foolish as not to understand. Poison. The air around him was being poisoned. A tiny dose of some toxin - gafluedide, most likely - was clearly being introduced to the chamber. He would not smell it, but it would affect his digestion at the cellular level, leading to emotional distress that would, absent awareness of the cause, find an outlet. All his rage was being induced in him, in his very gut. All his rage was a lie. Gareth forced himself to lie down on the cold floor. He began to attempt true stillness, an almost perfect torpor of being. This was harder than the Ara-Bindu meditation he had earlier, accidentally, achieved. It was, in fact, a desperate move. But he could think of no other. If the enemy was going to increase his suffering, he had to increase his detachment. He had to. He made some headway. The nausea began to chill in his stomach, as the coldness of the smooth floor gave his body something else to respond to. Something unmistakably real, not an illusion and not a obfuscation. He could feel the cold in his skin, and it was welcome. Gradually there came to him, not the peaceful emptiness of before, but a numbness, a flustered break in the nerve-clusters of perception. Gareth did not find victory in this. He ceased to think about it at all. He ceased, in a very real sense, to be there at all. If he had been able to, he would have welcomed the phenomenon, but as it was, it simply happened. And then the lights came on. The whiteness of them all burned into his closed eyes like a lasgun. He cried out from the shock of it. He sat up and shook his head like a dog’s and curled up on the floor and began to groan. This was a new level. This was cruelty. This was a sign that there was yet more to come. He groaned as the lights burned him and the sound screamed inside his head and he thought how starkly he was being made to pay for his arrogance. He begged the living Way for aid, he begged to be released from the pain of his deserved punishment, he begged and he begged and he begged. And just as suddenly as it came on, the lights were gone, and the sound, and the nausea. Just as suddenly, he was back in the same strange silence. Only, as he lay there, he became aware, for the first time, of another presence in the chamber with him. Calmness washed over him like an unseen tide, and he sat up into a warm golden light. There was an orb before him, the size of him, radiating gentle blessedness and soft heat. It made clear all the contours of the Chamber, including its walls, which were vaster than Gareth might have imagined, but still smaller than Lord Avrankes’ audience chamber. Gareth sat in the very middle with the large glowing orb and said nothing and thought nothing. He waited for the orb to speak. “Gareth Gunhuld” it said, in a clear tenor, “I am the Metavox.”