I was dangerously tired again this morning. I thought about skipping the ritual entirely, but I knew my guilt would not leave me alone if I did. Fine, then. The physical actions will help me wake up if nothing else.
I still have not settled on what to say to clear the room prior to setting up the ritual gear. To be honest, I still haven’t settled on even how to clear the room as a rule. It has been the Law of Might in this house, physically and spiritually for as long as I have lived here. I have worked not to keep spirits out as I have to surround myself with spirits that would help me and my daughter. Sweeping the room absolutely clear would put those agreements at risk.
All felt well until I began reciting the conjuration most necessary. The words dragged out of my mouth and I struggled for consistency. My tongue felt lethargic, as if speech was an athletic competition that I had failed to even qualify for. When I finally reached the end of the passage, I had to fight to read, and speak, each word clearly.
I formally called for [Patient Caller] to appear at the end of it, folded my hands in my lap, and waited with my eyes open. The scent of the mahogany and cedar scented candle covered me as usual, and I had a feel of warmth from the untouched candle as if it had been lit. I meant to close my eyes so that I would see him in my mind’s eye.
«Don’t close your eyes. You are a blink away from falling asleep again.»
I meant to verbally agree. I nodded mutely instead.
«You have completed today’s obligation. There is no need for you to remain here further, unless you wish to continue to brag of the depths of your doubt again.»
His baiting was obvious. Normally, I would have taken it and dared him to prove himself immediately. I said nothing. I made no gestures. I did not respond or even note that I was not responding.
I had fallen into a stupor again with my eyes wide open so fast I was not even aware of the shift.
He then spoke without words, without images, without symbols or the conscious understanding of symbols. My head felt like an empty bowl, existing only to receive, and he was filling it in ways that I could not consciously comprehend.
After what I was sure was hours, I realized I was sitting in absolute stillness and that he had ended some time prior to this realization. At this point there was only one consciousness at the table, and then somehow mine reasserted itself to join him.
His amusement at my first aware thought, though irritating, was comforting. To feel it meant I was back to myself. I did not wait for something else to happen but spoke the Apophenia Invitation and recited the License to Depart as clearly and as quickly as my lethargic body could manage.
I was sure I was late for work, and that the expected early morning clouds were hiding the sun from my window until I completed putting all the gear away, removed the amulet, and checked the clock.
Total ritual time: 31 time-warped minutes.
All day I have tried to recall what was poured into my head during the depths of the stupor. It feels like I have been given a secured box with two locks. No matter how often I open the lock I have a personal key for, until the second lock is opened by whoever, or whatever, holds that key, I will not access what is inside.
I want to say this is further bait to grant him a non-ritual hook. But even that is pure conjecture. I have no idea what I am being herded to.