Dream Magic: Awakenings

Dream Magic: Awakenings by Dawn Harshaw Read Free Book Online

Book: Dream Magic: Awakenings by Dawn Harshaw Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dawn Harshaw
class?"
    Rose and Eric hesitated, and Ohlson continued. "I promise to do my best! If I see some friendly faces maybe I won't get crushed by performance anxiety..."
    Eric exchanged looks with Rose.
    "All right, we'll come to your class, just stop with the puppy eyes," Rose said.
    Ohlson clasped his hands and his smile grew wide. "Great! My first students. Thank you! You won't regret it!"
    Eric nodded, and his attention wandered back to the flames. "Does that fire really not burn?"
    "If you want, you can give it a try. Walk around the outer circles of the fire, and when you feel like you can't take it anymore, just back down. With practice you'll be able to go all the way. This fire burns your mind but not your body."
    They nodded. Eric was getting excited to see for himself.
    "Decide who goes first, and I'll herd the break-dancers out of the fire." Ohlson stood up and walked towards the flames.
    Eric bowed slightly, "Ladies first!"
    "Hahaha, I don't think so. You're the brave one, go ahead," Rose waved him off.
    "That was my plan all along!" Eric strolled after Ohlson.
     
    * * *
     
    Eric stared at the string of white pebbles in front of his feet. The small stones marked the boundary of the pillar of flames, and Eric was reluctant to lift his gaze. The heat from the fire came at him in waves; each demanding his attention and acknowledgement. He knew if he would look up, he might change his mind about doing the fire attunement ritual.
One step at a time.
    The thought of taking the first step itself wasn't so frightening; the short, yellow flames along the outer perimeter were almost imperceptible. In addition to that, Kyle and Lyle's fearless charge into the center of the pillar proved to him it could be done.
If they can do it - I can do it!
Eric didn't think of himself as a quitter, and knew if he took the first step, he would take all the other steps as well until he reached his goal. In his mind, with the first step he would commit to a decision.
    Eric inhaled deeply.
Let's do it!
He felt the hot air fill his lungs, and as the air left his body on the exhale, he stepped inside the circle. The stones and pebbles beneath his bare feet were warm, but not searing. The yellow flames danced over his skin, causing no pain or harm. The heat got upped by a notch and he found breathing a tad more difficult.
    "Good! Don't stop - always keep moving! The yellow pebbles will lead you around in concentric circles, while the red ones spiral into the center. Walk around, take your time, and when you feel ready, move closer and start circling again. Just keep walking and keep breathing!"
    The yellow line was there and Eric began following it. 
One foot after the other - not so difficult.
Just to be careful and make no mistakes, he walked a full circle following the outermost yellow line. He grew accustomed to seeing the dancing flames and feeling the heat, and a pang of boredom tempted him to head straight for the center. Ohlson expressly advised against that route; remarking that it is only for masters and hotheads.
    Eric sought out the red line and decided it's time to ramp up the difficulty. Heading closer to the center of fire made it more difficult to breathe and move, but it was well within his level of tolerance.
    Step after step after step.
    Maybe he got carried away or just plain forgot, but he kept following the red line instead of transitioning to the next yellow line, or the one after that. It wasn't a conscious decision. His eyes might have been looking, but his attention was turned inwards.
    Slowly, the heat around him ceased to be a sensation reported by the nerve endings on his skin, and instead became a presence - a reality which weighed down on him and burned his lungs from within. Soon enough, Eric found out that the secret is not in taking a step closer, but in being able to walk and remain conscious in that particular domain of fire.
    Each step taken became an accomplishment in itself. The heat was no longer outside of

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