ExcerptJaamil has been here too long.
"Just keep your mind open. Relax. Breathe. Open yourself to possibilities--this is a form of meditation; you are a vessel through which the truth reveals itself!"
If only things were that easy, Jaamil thinks. She has been patient, has been breathing, has kept an open mind, but despite everything no prophecy has allowed itself to be Received by her at all. Now, oh now she has exactly three days in which to Receive something--anything--before... well. In a place as overpopulated and underfunded as the Prophecy Compound, the solution was only too obvious.
"You will feel it coming, I can assure you. You will know that it is not any thought of yours."
She would have prayed for the miracle of prophecy, if there would be any real faith in it, but she is unfortunately not one of those who can boast an inclination towards such faiths. She has never felt the call to priesthood, as some of her former classmates have. Besides, she has heard that the Gods do not take the time to assist orphans who have been at the same task for six cycles now.
If that isn't a sign of genuine incompetence, Jaamil doesn't know what is.
She wrinkles her nose as it itches, but does not raise her hand to scratch at it. Stillness, serenity, even breathing—if she ignores the itch, it will go away. That is probably why she has yet to Receive a prophecy of any sort, because she is always so self-absorbed, always tending to her own bodily discomforts before accepting the truth that is simply waiting to express itself through a patient human vessel.
"The prophecies are always there. Always. It is not the prophecy's fault if you are imbecilic and cannot hear it."
Jaamil feels her left hand twitch involuntarily. It is resting on the thigh of her good leg, the one that isn't atrophied and perpetually numb to all feeling. Initially, when the nerves in her RIGHT leg started dying, it had been a disturbing sensation to rest her right forearm on her thigh and feel the warmth of a limb, but never feel the way something was resting on it. Now, so many cycles later—how many has it been now, six? Eight? Maybe nine. She doesn't remember—Jaamil is as accustomed to it as any person can be. Still, she can't help thinking that she should have allowed it to be amputated when she had the chance. At least then she wouldn't be hauling around dead weight. She hears that balancing on one leg, without another to use as a tripod of sorts, is not very easy either.
Jaamil straightens her back and tries not to wriggle her butt into a more comfortable position on her seat cushion. Focus, focus, she was letting her mind wander. This wasn't being open, this was being narcissistic.
"You will know when it is waiting for you. Receiving prophecies is the most natural thing you will ever experience."
Is it her imagination, or does she feel that now? It is like a niggling sensation at the back of her mind, a dream she can only barely remember the existence of. And, indeed, it is waiting for her. Jaamil inhales and lets out the slowest breath she has ever taken, pushing the out long after she feels there isn't any left. There is something rising in her chest—excitement, maybe; euphoria at perhaps not being a complete dunce after all—but she forces herself to pretend like its the itch on her nose, and she doesn't notice at all. Breathe, that's it. Just keep breathing. She tries to focus on the darkness of her eyelids, on the quiet, even breaths of the people that surround her. Other students, just like her, even if Jaamil is the one who has been here the longest. Even if there is a very real possibility that she will die knowing nothing more than this room, and they will all Receive prophecies and move on to the next Skill; even if she will probably be unimportant and forgotten regardless of whether this is real or not.
"Don’t let your thoughts take advantage of your openness. If you feel the prophecy waiting for you, hold on to it. Do not let the notion pass you by."
Focus! Jaamil wrinkles her nose again for a whole new reason. She makes herself breathe in, breathe out. Mentally, she stretches her hand towards the elusive truth. It feels so inevitable, she thinks, entirely all too plausible (as a prophecy should be). And yet, she thinks, it is also so beautifully out of her grasp, flitting away like a moth, right through her trembling fingers. Focus, focus, focus.
"Come to me, please," she begs the notion, her arm still stretched helplessly in its general direction. "Don't tease me. Please don't let me die here. Come to me."
"If you allow it of yourself, you will discover that a prophecy wants to be captured just as much as you hope to Receive it."
It is tentative at first, playful and painfully shy as it brushes the tips of her mentally outstretched fingers. Jaamil allows it to do this to her patiently, hoping against hope that this is the proper thing to be doing. She hopes that she isn't actually supposed to lurch forward and capture it. Their lessons, prior to being locked in this room and tended to by slaves for the better part of six cycles, always illustrated this as something slow and sweet.
"I have no desire to bastardize you," Jaamil assures it, her thoughts soft and hopefully soothing. "If you allow it of me, I will translate you to the absolute best of my ability." Except her abilities were not particularly the best. Jaamil can admit to this, but she does not acknowledge this to the notion. It would scare it away, wouldn't it? She has never been this close before, and she doesn't want to fail. Not now.
Then the thought is in her palm, melting into her metaphorical skin and overtaking her bloodstream like the warmest and most soothing teas. Jaamili hears herself sigh, content because nothing has happened to her that has ever felt so right in her entire short life. She wants to savor this, like the tea, She never wants this notion to fade from her.
But that is the precise moment that it does, and just as suddenly as it accepted her Jaamil feels the prophecy she is channeling bursting from her very being. Jaamil's eyes snap open, and her hand leaves her leg to snatch up the lap desk and writing supplies that have been waiting in front of her seat cushion for the last six cycles. She isn't really seeing what she is scribbling onto the textured brown paper with the runny black ink, all she knows is that she simply cannot survive this prophecy inhabiting her any longer. It is fire in her blood now, instead of tea. It is lethal and demanding and painful, and she wants it out with more urgency than she has ever felt before.
In hindsight, Jaamil will think that this is because the human body was not created to know the happenings of the future, but in this moment she knows nothing but the swipe of the ink soaked feather on the tip of her pen, and the paper that is suddenly too small to contain all of the words she is never going to remember writing. She throws it to the side without a care, and quickly snatches up a second.
As soon as the last word has left her, a cavern opens up in her stomach and Jaamil only just manages to twist herself around in time to avoid heartily vomiting on her first prophecy. She then keels over, and there is no telling when she will wake again.