Even though I know it is an illusion, and mostly one of my own making, it is still a pleasure and a thrill to watch the device’s glass fronted chamber deepen and darken as I speak the first three words of the actual summoning phrase.
“Rede, rede, rede…”
Perhaps it is the indwelling of the spirit that expands the interior of the chamber. Perhaps it is my focused attention being rewarded by an imaginative mind. Perhaps it is my desire for results. Perhaps all three.
The illusion may be no more than a trick of the light. “… in pace”. The sudden pressure on my face forcing me to close my eyes is not. The sudden compulsion to close my eyes does not wait for me to decide if to comply. The pressure washes down my face and my eyes involuntarily close.
I immediately perform the gesture as challenge and greeting. On the other side of the table, a hooded figure is partially obscured by the smoke coming from a small and shallow cedar bowl between us. The gesture is returned and [Patient Caller] moves the bowl to his right.
«Still you have trouble with the wording of your prayers. Listen. Prayer is not about words, wording, or proper pronunciation. Spells are written with attention to these trivialities. Prayer is about faith. Speak, or not, on what you have faith in, even if your faith is as substantial and as measurable»—he moved the cedar bowl to sit between us—«as dust.»
He clasped his hands behind the bowl. «Now, be still.»
I was going to ask further about prayer and the act of prayer. As I took a breath in preparation for speech, he quickly took the cedar bowl and tapped it once lightly against the table. The sharp and clear sound chased away further thought on the matter and seized my attention.
I shook my head, realized I was staring at the bowl, and moved my sight up to his partially obscured face while I pulled together enough thought to ask him just what the fuck he thought he was doing.
He tapped the bowl again. The sound moved through me and swept my nascent fury out of reach.
«Be. Still. I shall assist you.»
With a steady hand he continued to lightly tap the bowl on the table at a rate of slightly less than once per second. The sound filled my mind and I could do nothing else but listen to it echo in ways that my physical location could not sustain. As the sound began to fold in on itself I felt the edges of my mind ripple to a stillness. I realized I was falling into a stupor but was unable to defend myself or pull myself away from the steady tapping.
It felt like I had sat there for only a few seconds. It felt like I had been sitting there for the entire day. Each tap was a pulse that soothed and smoothed me.
Without warning the tapping ceased. The rush of reason and thought back to consciousness felt like a surging of flood water across a dry plain.
The cedar bowl was back to the side of the table. His ringed hands were clasped and resting on the table. His hood was pulled completely forward, obscuring his face. I remembered that I had meant to ask him about the change in his presentation.
«Release me. You have tasks to complete and I have no further words.»
I considered drawing the line in the sand right then and challenging him and his methods of “instruction”. But I knew from the start that my mastery over him was not complete and that before I start that pissing contest, I should petition Saint Cyprian for assistance and guidance.
And he was unfortunately very correct regarding the tasks I still have to complete.
I spoke the license to depart and ended the ritual.
questioning time: 15 minutes.