“Do you feel it when it happens? What does it feel like?”
The lights in the parlor were dim, a single lantern flickered with the draft flowing under the old wooden door, making the shadows dance.
“It is like I fade out, then fade in again. I really don’t feel much, it is like waking up from a dreamless sleep.”
“And you are suddenly aware again? Are you immediately aware of the fact that you are in another body not your own?”
“Not immediately, no. I can feel the presence of another consciousness, but it is as though it is inside a box, hidden from me.”
“Are you able to access the memories of the new host?”
“Not exactly, no. At times I can sense the other consciousness imposing upon my own thought process. It is not available to me as I need it. As though I can attain a certain state in which I am able to access the memories and thoughts of the host, but they are not active, if that makes sense. They are secondary to my own thoughts and feelings.”
“Have you been able to identify anything else regarding this special state you occasionally access? I am interested in knowing more about that – do you feel different? Is it like a meditative state in which your mind is relaxed? Is it triggered by anything?”
“I have long sought to discover the trigger, what causes me to slip into these states where I can access it, but when I am not in that state I cannot remember much about being in that state or how I arrived there. It is not something I seem to be able to exercise any control over. It is as though a lantern is lit, suddenly flooding a large room with a bright light. The room is filled with all these objects which are suddenly illuminated, and I can see again. Not just the memories and thoughts of the current host, but the memories and thoughts of all previous hosts. But they are not scattered, they are focused as though they flow through a prism which combines them all into one. One thought, floating like a weightless object in the room which I am able to examine in detail. Much like reading a scroll where all the words are combined into a single word which represents the meaning of them all.”
“Would you describe it as omniscience? An all-knowing state?”
“Not exactly. It is more like gazing at a very large and complex spider web. I can see how things connect to each other. How everything is connected and one string begets the other. Time ceases to be linear, no longer flowing in a single direction. It is as though time itself becomes a stationary object which I can see all at once. It is incredibly detailed and nuanced. More than I can fit into my mind at once, not sure that makes sense. It is very difficult to describe, especially when I am not in that state. As I said, I am not able to recall much about being in that state except very general things about it. The memory of it is smudged in my mind, out of focus if you will. Blurred.”
“But you can remember who your previous host was? Things about your life lived in their form?”
“Yes, and very general details regarding my position in life while I inhabited them. There is no break in the continuum for me, I go to the dreamless sleep from one body, and wake from it in another. I am the same person still, and my own memories are intact.”
“How many previous hosts are you able to retain the memories of?”
“All of them, though the more distant they are in the past, the less detail I am able to recall. It is much like the amorphous memories from when you were very young. They become more like feelings than memories. There is no detail, just a cloud of fleeting images which invoke feelings.”
“I would like to know more about this illuminated state you speak of. I wonder if you would be willing to allow myself and my group to conduct a series of experiments to try to induce this state, or to discover any clues regarding the trigger which allows you to slip into it. Would you be willing?”
“Yes, I would be willing.”
“Good, we would begin by stimulating your subconscious mind in various ways. I will need to conduct many interviews with a scribe present to record as many memories as you are able to divulge. Specifically, I am interested in finding out more about the times and places when it has occurred. The lifetimes in which you experienced this state. Perhaps there is something connecting the trigger to the consciousness of the host rather than to your own. Perhaps not something activated directly by you. Instead it may be something unique to the host instead, which allows the trigger to be switched.”
“I will need to gather as much information as possible in order to devise a series of experiments designed to uncover what facts we can regarding this illuminated state of yours. There will be many interviews such as this one, in which we will investigate your earliest memories to your most recent. Your every need will be facilitated by my humble servants and companions, you will be provided comfortable, secure lodging and anything else you should need. In the meantime, you may also access our private library. We have collected many tomes containing the knowledge of the ancients as well as more contemporary scholars of mysticism and the mind. I feel there is much you can learn from us, and us from you. Please feel free to move about the compound freely, but we ask that you do not travel outside the walls alone. We understand that we cannot control everything you do, and if you wish to leave there is little we can do to stop you. We have searched a long time for you, enduring many great losses and setbacks along the way. Now that we have you in our midst, we’d prefer not to lose you. So, if there is anything you need, any needs you have, at any time, which are not being met, I hope that you will come to me. We have vast resources available to us and can procure virtually anything you can imagine.”
“Yes, this sounds agreeable. Thank you for your extended and gracious welcome, I am thankful for our continued acquaintance and I promise to cooperate in any way possible. I understand that we all gain from this association, and it is with great anticipation I look forward to continuing our talks and experiments.”
“We have many preparations to make for our next session, in the meantime please make yourself at home here, as I said. There are a great many relics and artifacts of history here which we have collected in our travels. I have no doubt you will find ways to keep yourself busy and stimulated. As far as your more base, earthly desires, if it is women you want, we can bring them to you as needed, but we ask that you not confide anything to those who enter from outside the compound, those who do not bear the mark.”
With this, Cosimo rose from his chair and picked up a silver bell inscribed with many detailed runes and symbols from the shelf beneath the lantern.
“If you need anything, simply ring this bell and one of our servants or members is always within earshot and can attend to your every need,” Cosimo smiled and handed the bell to Micaloz clasping his hands together and bowing his head as he turned and exited the room.