WaylandCybersmith's home in Grimney

Some time before I was born, my mother was carrying twins. She lost both of them, 1 mid term, the other soon after he was born. The physician told my parents to try for another child, and I was the result.

Even as a small child I was self-centred. I did not start walking until my younger brother was born almost 2 years after me. I saw him as a rival for my parent's affections, and remember deciding to be his opposite, forcing my parents to choose between us.  My parents did not choose, at least overtly, although it was obvious to others that my younger brother was the favoured son.

I was subject to temper tantrums and outburst of rage every time I could not get my own way. This eased, somewhat, when I went to school. I was part of a class, away from my younger brother. Of course, now I had many children to compete with. On the whole, though, my early school life was good.

When I was 7 I had a nervous condition. My head shook, my muscles clenched. It was variously described as a tic, St Vitus' Dance, or Chorea. I was put on powerful drugs and sent to an infirmary for examination, where I stayed for 3 months. The infirmary was not a good place. On one ocasion, I was in the woods with a nurse and other children, and I was stood against a tree while the children threw things at me.

Some time after I came home, my parents and the physician saw an improvement in my condition, and I was taken off the drugs. Now, my parents had been told that I would have to have them all my life. There were no signs of withdrawal, and no signs of the illness. This amazed the physician and my parents. It was some days later that they got the explanation.

A sister of my father had dealings with a spirit talker, and had asked him to ask the spirits to heal me. Apparently, this is what happened. So, my family was happy. I was better, and all seemed well.

One night, he came to me. The being I called Zarko. He promised knowledge and power. I was a boy of 7, who wanted to get the better of his younger brother. Of course I accepted him. I didn't know the consequences.

I began getting flashes of knowledge - I knew things I hadn't learned. I knew people's thoughts. I had images of the future that flashed over my vision. I learned to travel the astral planes. I grew interested in the things of sky and stars, of folklore and magic. I collected arcane books. None of this helped me.

Zarko had left his mark on me. At school, I was an outcast. A victim. I was bullied and friendless, but Zarko convinced me it was because I was better, more intelligent, more powerful. My behaviour was odd, because I did not have the social skills others had, all thanks to Zarko.

School was hell, I was picked on every day, but did not tell teachers or my parents (I don't know why). On one occasion, after a bully kept moving my desk, I stabbed him in the arm with a screwdriver. It hardly pierced the skin because of the thickness of his jacket. I managed to escape punishment for this.

Work was not much better. I remained an outcast. I desperately wanted to be part of the life I saw around me, but unable to do anything about it. I was envious of people that had made relationships. I got my own back on one woman (I say got my own back, any offence she caused me was purely in my own mind) by spreading a rumour that she was pregnant. I was not a nice person.

I made magic mirrors and dark sigils, and focussed all my rage into them, without respite.

When I was 21, I feared for my sanity. As well as giving me some abilities, Zarko tried to convince me I had others - absurd ones like drawing energy from the Sun and bursting clouds with my mind. I descended into madness - nothing obvious, but I was caught in the trap Zarko had built in my mind, and could not get out.

At this point, I was studying with Cybersmiths at the Great College. Two of them were servants of a King and recognised my plight, telling me to come to their temple the following weekend.

Zarko revolted. He had been a bully all these years, now he threatened to kill me. Twice I stepped out in front of oncoming carriages and narrowly avoided being trampled.

The following weekend, I was taken to a priest who introduced me to the King. The King commanded Zarko to leave me, and touched my head. My mind was free of him for the first time, and I felt as if I had been drinking the finest brews of Holmes' Tavern, without the slurring and staggering. The King touched my heart, and the parts that had been corrupted by Zarko withered and died. The King then reached into his own heart and placed apiece of it in me. It was as if everything was new, fresh. As if I had started living all over again, having just woken from a nightmare.

The King also gave me an Instructor - not like Zarko, but infinitely more powerful However, I found it difficult to trust him, because of my experiences with Zarko.

I was welcome into a group that studied the King's lore. Friends at last. One woman said how safe she felt with me. I was truly a different person.

All was well for many years. I practised Cybercraft, even becoming a craftsman in my own right. Then, after 20 years, the King came to me and told me that everything I had done was worthless, but that his Instructor had been working in me all that time.  

He told me I had to deal with my attitudes to people, to love even those that hated me. He told me that I had to hold my money and possessions lightly, and take joy in giving them away.

Whereas Zarko could only affect me through my mind, the Instructor seemed to cause things to happen around me. Coincidences and happenstances occurred with amazing regularity. If I needed something, even something trivial, I was always able to get it. Of course, if the Instructor felt I didn't need something, I never got it, no matter how hard I tried.

I had to close my business due to lack of work, and for over a year I sought employment but could not find it. Then I took a job as a lowly worker, cleaning and maintaining machinery. And discovered a secret.

I enjoyed it!

Over the years that followed, I learned not to trust my knowledge, wisdom and strength. I learned that it was OK to accept my limitations. I learned that the King would provide me with everything I needed. 

I no longer needed to be important, or have any status at all. I no longer needed ambition, or plans. I went through life as the Instructor led me.

Now, Zarko gave me abilities, but the Instructor gave me better ones. On occasions, I would be in situations I was not wise enough to deal with, and the Instructor would give me the words to say. For instance, on one occasion, I was with a band of people, just singing and talking to passers by. A gang of youths, intoxicated with who knew what, took objection to what was going on. 

Despite the fact we had elderly people amongst us, the youths atacked, injuring one of the party. Under the direction of the Instructor, I raised my hands and said "Peace, peace. We are not violent people." The attackers stopped, I was able to reason with them, and our party was allowed to leave with no further harm.

I could tell you much, much more, and, over time, I probably will.

I am now a relatively care-free person with many friends, doing a job I enjoy (menial though it is). I no longer need to be important or ambitious. I am content to be what I am. I have learned to be me. To even laugh at myself. I live for each moment. I try not to think too much about myself - the King and the Instructor have ensured I have no outstanding needs. I now have time to think about those around me, which gives me greater delight, and concern, than thinking of myself.

I am a free man. Happy and content. It is my mission to spread this word as far as I am able. I do not condemn anyone that has chosen another path, but only say that what I have found, for me, is like a treasure that is worth my whole life and everything I have to obtain and keep.

My King and my Instructor have told me that they want me to have a totally fulfilling life, with unfathomable peace, and inexpressible joy, free from worries and fears. All I have to do is to totally surrender my life to them.

A small thing to ask for such a prize.