On a cold, misty night outside of a tiny village, a small group of simple townsfolk stood gazing hopefully into the dark looming forest lining the main road. They watched with held breath as the local wizard and his apprentice slid down the overgrown slopes into the foreboding brush. All hearts and eyes were with them, supporting them, carrying them with their dreams of freedom and security.
The wizard stopped, turned and glared over his shoulder at the apprentice who stumbled behind him. "Back straight, one foot at a time. Learn to feel with your feet before completing each step. You will soon be able to achieve this in one fluid motion, and it will seem to any onlooker as instantaneous. TheVillage Mage should always maintain stable composure."
The apprentice listened to his master with an attentive ear, concentrating on each word. He closed his eyes and breathed in through his nose, inhaling the apple scent of crushed chamomile as his teacher skipped gently ahead of him across the blanket of flowers that covered the forest floor. He spread his fingers at his sides and tried to push the tinge of anxiety out of his throat, down through his body and into the ground.
The apprentice attempted to walk with confidence, but was tripped up by the nervousness in his feet. Losing his balance, he wobbled and grabbed for a nearby branch, calling to his master, "Where are we going, my Lord? What do we seek?"
The Great Wizard stopped again, his demeanor rich in patience and love. He blessed the night sky and prayed for Wisdom. "The One is disturbed," he explained. "A terrible force is consuming the minds of humankind. Consciousness has suffered a great loss in the battle against the Self. The Fire of Eliades must be rekindled to burn away the idleness of the fortunate." The apprentice closed his eyes, squeezing the words through a sieve in his mind, filtering the confusion from his thoughts. He opened his eyes wide and peered into the impenetrable darkness, hoping for a light to lead him. Finding none, he swallowed his fear and took a blind step forward into the great woodland abyss.