Deryl was committed to an exclusive sanitarium years ago by his family when he became irrational and suicidal. He’s still there, and what his family doesn’t know is that his symptoms are caused by his psychic and telepathic abilities: he not only can read the thoughts of others, but he feels their emotions – a problem that, of course, has become even more difficult now that he is surrounded by the mentally unstable and even the elderly Holocaust survivor down the hall, stricken with Alzheimer’s, whose memories about his terrible ordeal are a misery that Deryl has finally learned to manage. Somewhat.
Oh, and then there’s the Miscria, the mysterious being that summons him from time to time to demand that he learn about all sorts of arcane subjects, from medieval weaponcraft to triage to military strategy to space reconnaissance. Then he must report to the Miscria on all he knows. To the Miscria, he is known as Ydrel – the Oracle – for the knowledge he imparts.
And there’s also the Master, who appears in his dreams and teaches him to fight. But the bruises are there when he wakes up.
Because it’s real. (more…)