Healing of Derry
woke with a start. Predawn light shone in the crack in the shutter as he
fumbled for the slate next to his bed, trying to keep the images of his
dream solid enough to get down. Most of the dream had faded already, but
the one image that remained in his mind was that of a sinister face with
red hair. “Wencit!’ he whispered to himself. “When will you cease
plaguing me!” He threw the slate on the table next to his bed and
rolled up to a sitting position.
He had vague recollections of his betrayal, but they were real nonetheless. He shook his head to clear it, and realized that it was not even dawn, but he knew that sleep had done with him for the night. He didn’t want to sleep again with the residue of his last foray into his dreams, so he stood up and went about his morning absolutions. He strapped on his belt and dagger, slipped shoes on his bare feet and slipped out the door.
Walking quietly along the corridor and down the stairs, he did not expect to run into anyone this early, and was not disappointed. He grabbed something from the kitchens to nibble on and decided that he would go to check on Spirit, the colt that had been born the morning before. He was walking across the front courtyard on his way to the stables and thinking about San Te and his meeting with the Duchess the day before. As he proceded around towards the stables, he spied a strange sight.
Out on the patio in the garden was a small figure that seemed to be doing a slow dance of some sort. Not recognizing the figure, Derry checked the dagger at his belt and crept silently across the grounds to the gardens to see what was about. As he drew nearer, the red rim of the rising sun shone briefly on the figure. He recognized the gardener San Te, dressed in lightweight brown trousers and a thin shirt. The man's eyes were closed, as he seemed to flow from one stance to another. Derry hadn’t realized just how close he had gotten, when the man stopped, opened his eyes, and spoke.
“Good morning young master. You must forgive me. I am not used to anyone else being awake quite so early.” The man said as he stood straight, and bowed in the direction of the rising sun. He turned towards Derry with a smile. “Is there anything amiss?” he asked in the soft calm voice that seemed so soothing to Derry’s nerves.
“No, nothing is amiss. I just couldn’t sleep, and I thought to check on the colt. I didn’t expect anyone to be awake this early myself” Derry added the last with a lopsided grin. “If I may ask, what was it that you were doing?” he inquired, moving fully onto the porch. The man slipped his shoes on, and stood with his hands folded in front of him.
“It is called the Lotus form, my lord. It helps center and calm the mind. I find it helps one stay focused and clear away that which is troubling,” he said raising an eyebrow. He continued, “I would be happy to teach it to you my lord. If you may forgive me, but you seem to have a lot on your mind.”
Derry thought for a moment, remembering his dream. “Yes, thank you, I would like that very much. When could we start?” he finished eagerly.
The man smiled and removed his shoes. “We could begin right now if you like.” Derry nodded and began stripping off his shoes as the man looked on smiling. He finished by removing his belt until he stood in just breeches and the light undershirt. The man nodded and walked over close to Derry.
“Close your eyes and let me instruct you. Most of what the forms are about is what is happening inside, not the outward movements. Clear your mind of everything except my voice” he intoned softly. Derry took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “The first thing we will do, is to work on breathing. This is the most important thing that you will learn, and it will lend itself to all that you learn.” Derry could hear the man moving around him slowly, reminding him of some of the techniques his arms teachers had used. He focused on what the man was saying and slowly became aware of the other sounds emanating from the gardens and from the slowly waking house behind him.
“Begin by breathing in through your nose, and out through your mouth. Regulating your breathing will help you relax your body and focus your mind” the voice intoned. “As you breathe, imagine a light is centered in your heart. As you relax, feel that light start to spread from out of your chest up towards your shoulders, and up your neck. Wherever the light passes, the muscles will begin to relax. All you can hear is the sound of my voice, and all you can feel is that light which is slowly spreading up to envelop your head, and move slowly down through your hips and down y our legs. When it reaches your feet, you will be completely relaxed.” Derry realized as the man continued that his voice was soothing not only to the muscles in his body, but that his mind seemed to still.
“Now that you are relaxed, open your eyes” the voice continued. Derry opened his eyes to see the sun rising higher in the sky than he had thought. He blinked and spied San Te seated off to one side, smiling at him. His body felt relaxed and his mind calm. He turned towards the man, with a wide smile on his face. “That was wonderful, I felt like I could feel every muscle in my body relaxing. How long have I been standing here?”
He jumped slightly as a voice behind him startled him saying “Quite a while I would think” Derry whirled around to see the Duchess standing there with Rothana smiling up at him. Rothana continued by saying, “You seem to have found more than a gardener, Derry.”
Derry nodded in agreement.
~ Finis ~