Months went by since we have last seen the man dressed in dark clothing on the deserted plains of the Abyss. Most of his live has been spent in constant solitude, it adds a bit of mystery to his character. He walks with slow and steady paces and you can see by the way he moves he tries to minimize the use of energy. Layers of complicated knowledge and mystery have shrouded the man on the inside, and darkened the man on the outside. He knows it and it pleases him. Only equals will understand, in the hands of others understanding might be dangerous. They are always hungry for power and will use every bit of understanding to control each other through fear and manipulation. Not this guy. The man known to most by the name of Avitas, or the ancestral. Story goes that due to his solitude, he’s mostly raised with the knowledge from within, coming from ancient ancestors. Avitas himself doesn’t speak much about his past. On rare occasions in distant taverns he has mentioned a few times that his companions are the voices of ghosts from the past, since they share a common connection. Both shouldn’t be here anymore. Although mostly seen as his best attempt to show a minor sense of humor, his eyes tell a different story. He stops at a small well and drops his bag next to a dead tree. He must be reaching the border again, where the dead rocky waste of the Abyss ends and the world of the living begins. He didn’t found the answers he was looking for, but the ones he did find will do. It fits his schemes and strategy with a few adjustments. Maybe even a sacrifice. “Give what you desire, take what you need”, he whispers with a deep ghostly voice. “A world for a world, a fair trade”. At least it sounds fair, although he still has second thoughts. How can he sacrifice his entire world with nothing to guarantee his reward than faith. He has never put so much trust into the teachings of the ancients as this time, but he knows what he saw that day when he looked into the mirror; the other side. A man responsible for his creation. He knows the truth, he is nothing more than an imaginary man in a world build with illusions. A matrix build from memories, teachings and predictions. ”As within, so without”, the words of the ancient Egyptian philosopher Trismegistus are echoing through his mind. “If this world is a structure created from information, the other side must be the same as well as the opposite to form a complete paradox”, he whispers. Avitas spend so much time alone it became normal to him to break the silence around him by whispering important things. He believes it improves the memorising process. It makes him feel divine to use his strategy to influence other dimensions. It’s probably as close to being a god as he’ll ever get. But the question is how to get information through to influence his own reflection on the other side? The world responsible for creating his own reality is so much different. There are many laws which he needs to respect; laws of nature which don’t apply to the world he lives. He feels his mind draining all the energy from his body and decides to take a rest. Things are not so complicated when facing a normal enemy. “Maybe the ancients all died from a headache while overthinking life”, he mumbles and a smile covered his pale face. Although he has a sense of humor, it’s a very dark one. The kind only a few people can really appreciate. He grabs a small axe from his bag and starts cutting small pieces of wood from the dead tree. Small parts the size of a pencil at first, then he cuts a few larger pieces as well to make sure the fire will keep burning for a while. He uses the small pieces to build a miniature pyramid from wood and leaves one side open. Then he grabs his hunting knife and uses it to scrape small strokes of bark from the larger pieces to fill up the small pile of wood in front of him. A few well aimed strokes from his flint and the flames spread through the bark rapidly. Creating fire is a vital skill in a hostile environment like this. Although the sun makes it hot during the day, the lack of clouds means the heat will vanish as soon as the sun goes down and turns the nights into the opposite, dark and icey. Only the strongest will survive in a place like this. Not only does it push a man’s mind and body to extreme limits, it also requires knowledge and strategic planning to stay alive here. A threat to normal people, but in the case of Avitas it offers him a safe protection against the legions of his enemies. Armies who dared to set foot in places like this entered with thousands and left with only a few dozen of their best men, beaten by the extreme climate and starvation. A clever general won’t take those risks. There isn’t a place left in this world that knows peace nowadays. Mankind’s hunger for power seems to be so consuming it destroys the world they live in. Now all of them are either enslaved or enslaving. Avitas tried to resist for as long as he remembers, but he always remained an outcast. Neither enslaved or enslaving, but one of the last free men in a world where freedom has been reduced to a fairytale. Freedom means little when constant surrounded with war. The only thing he can do is that what he has never done; leave. This world is so torn up by constant warfare most people are scarred from the outside as well as the inside. There is nothing left to fight for. But crossing a path to another dimension is a whole new kind of plan which has nothing to do with war, this is the work of a scientist. Probably the exact opposite of what he is. There has to be some form of communication between this world and the other side, a bridge which gives the ability to exchange information. Tired of thinking he decides to have a short rest. The soil underneath him offers little comfort. The grey sands are filled with small pebbles sticking into his back. He tries to improvise and spreads a few layers of cloth on the bottom, but those few rags he carries with him don’t make it any softer. At least it will offer a little protection against the cold. While he sits with his back against the dead tree gazing at the dancing shapes of the fire he created he slowly slips into the same dream again.

 Mirrors all around him, as far as the eye stretches. “What is this place?”, he asks himself. It reminds him of the stories about the ancient arcane dimensions. He walks to the first mirror and sees a candle burning in front of it, but when he looks into the mirror he sees a river with a strong current ending into a waterfall. It doesn’t make any sense to him. He proceeds to the next mirror and sees a small box laying in front of it with a hole on one side. When he looks through the hole he notices it has been painted on the inside. It’s almost like he’s looking into a different world. He hasn’t seen anything like this before, is this some sort of toy from the other side? He looks at the mirror besides it and the view is overwhelming. A large black void stretches as far as the eye can see with countless illuminated dots in the distance. Up close a giant round object is spinning slowly, surrounded with smoke and small floating machines. This is too much. He takes a few steps back till he hears a man behind him:”Why are you here? You shouldn’t be here!”. He turns around and sees a young man with green eyes and blond hair. His breath freezes. “What is this magic?”, Avitas whispers while his eyes widen. The young man in front of him looks almost the same, but yet so different. He doesn’t even recognize the style of clothing the young man wears, they are all so bright and colorful, a soldier would spot a man like that from miles away. “This is just a dream, i am not here, but where is here?”, he replies. The man who looks the same smiles and replies:”Sure, i know. I am dreaming as well, so that`s a thing we have in common. But when you wake up you will remember all the things i say now, so what is real?”. Avitas doesn’t know what to say, the man is right. Of Course he is right, if he is what he thinks he is he is the same and the opposite. “You are a scientist aren’t you?”, he asks. The other him laughs. “I know it’s not polite to answer with another question but are you a general?”. “No, i don’t command an army”, Avitas replies. “I know, but yet, you fight armies with strategy. I don’t command a team of researchers and i don’t own a lab, but i do study and practice science, so we are more the same than meets the eye”, the other him answers. “Which one of us is the creator?”, Avitas wonders. “I think there should be a balance, there is always a balance”, his reflection replies. “I always knew you were there, although it’s not exactly what you think it is. I created you to destroy a part of me, but now you destroy me and you don’t even know it. I came to make a deal, teach me and i will set you free”. Avitas stares at the man with disbelief. “What the hell are you trying to tell me boy, did you pull a scam on me? I will kill you if you do, make no mistakes”. He feels his rage coming up and his hand is slowly moving towards the handle of his blade. “You couldn’t kill me without killing yourself and you know it, you can fight me till the end of time or we can make a deal and both win something. You’ll get freedom, i'll get power”. Avitas looks at the reflection with anger. “We’ll see, i don’t waste time on normal people. Proof to me that you are truly a reflection of me. I will fight you, better be prepared or i guess we will both face the consequences. Don’t think i care boy, all i had to lose has been lost a while now”. His reflection stays quiet for a few seconds, but then he looks straight at him with confidence and reaches out his hand. “We have a deal, teach me what i need to learn to be ready and i will fight you”. Avitas displays a dark grin and before his reflection can react he gives him a rough push while he says:”Never trust anyone, not even your own reflection”, and while he hears the man he just spoke with screaming in fear while he falls into the darkness beneath them he suddenly wakes up.

Slowly Avitas tries to sit up straight. His back is still sore from all the pebbles he was laying on. A voice next to him:”Done playing around?”. In a quick move he grabs his blade and places it on the throat of the man next to him. “You, how did you came here? No one comes here!”, he screams in rage. “And still, i am here although you know i haven’t been walking a lot lately. Doesn’t it make you kind of curious?”, the young man stares at him with a strange smile. “I’ll tell you what boy, you have one hour to explain everything to me and if i`m not satisfied i will promise you that you won’t be walking a lot ever again. I’ll bury you in this dried up well myself”, he puts his blade down and takes a seat on the dead tree. “It’s not that difficult, you might be awake, i just went back to sleep. After you pushed me down i woke up next to the couch, but i wasn’t done yet so i went back to sleep. And here i am, i am dreaming and you are wide awake. Does that provide you with the information you seek?”, the strange young man replies. “Don’t think i don’t know who or what you are, i’ve read to many books in my life to be fooled by your tactics Avitas, i have created you out of a part of me, i know everything there is to know about you. The only advantage you have against me is the fact you can use a weapon. But don’t confuse me with a weak person, i will break your jaw if i have to. And i know you would never use a sword against an unarmed man”. “Well you’re right about one thing, i will never use a sword against an unarmed man”, he says while he slowly slips his blade back into the scabbard and within a second the hand of Avitas moves from the handle of his blade into the stomach of the young man. He collapses and lies on the ground gasping for air. “You may have read a lot of books, but i’d say you skipped the most important one. The one that says pick the wrong enemy and you will get yourself killed. Don’t threaten me again”, Avitas whispers to his reflection. “You think you can impress me with clever talk? I know a little secret. If you did knew everything about me like you claim, you wouldn’t be asking me to train you. So i guess you are only in a state of denial. You think you know everything about me, but you know nothing. Only equals share understanding, and since we are both the same as well as the opposite i’d say you understand about half of me, the other half is what you want me to learn you. Don’t you think i have already analysed you’re physical skills in the first few seconds we met? I know you are not in shape, so don’t try to impress me”. For a moment neither of them says a word until finally the young man regains his breath. “Ok, you made your point. Then teach me how to become the same so there will be understanding”. Avitas sits down again and calmly replies:”Let me sum a few things up for you. I have been alone in this remote area for almost eight months now. Last night, i fell asleep, had a very strange dream about mirrors and i wake up with my reflection standing beside me alive and well telling me i am living in his dreams and he wants my teachings. Do you mind if i need a few minutes to comprehend this? My world has just been turned upside down and i am filled with questions”.”Then ask me and i`ll answer”, the young man replies,”Teach me and i`ll teach you, there will be balance”. “If these are your dreams, then what kind of an idiot are you?”, Avitas asks with an arrogant voice, “Everyone dreams of nice things and you dream of a world in constant war? You have a very sick mind, why should i teach you anything?”. The young man doesn’t know what to say and stares with a sad look. “So what now? You expect me to call you my creator? That`s a joke in case you haven’t noticed my sarcasm. No wonder this world is such a mess, it looks like you”. “So what are you? Perfect? If you where you would have created peace in this world, but you failed as well so don’t tell me i make mistakes. What does a man like you know about peace? All you know is war, so that is all you can create isn’t it? Don’t think you can’t learn anything from me, i know what i am doing just as well as you do”, the young man replies agitated. “Besides, exchange of information is all you can offer me. This is still a dream for me and all i can take with me to reality is the experience and the information it provides me with. That is the answer you wanted from me right?”. “To some degree”, Avitas confirms, “Now i know the rules of the game i can create a plan. I bet you won’t like it, but i will be pulling your strings from now on. Your mission will be to do what you do best. Provide me with all the information you can find on how you’re world is build, from the smallest particle to the largest astronomical object, i want to know everything there is to know. You think your brains are your strongest weapon don’t you? Then show me what you’ve got creator. You bring me a sword and i will show you how to wield it. I will even teach your weak mind how to use knowledge as a power. Consider it a gift as well as a curse. I bet i can do better with your mind, i’ve seen how well you have used it so far. Not everyone is clever enough to create a miserable world in which they get punched in the stomach by their own creations to prove their weakness. I bet you’re parents are real proud of you”. No one replies, the young man is gone. Maybe for the best. Avitas needs time to think about the information he received. If there are so many different dimensions all divided through mirrors and reflections, how much does it matter if one of those worlds will be destroyed? Probably not much, but this is his world. That`s what it feels like, but technically it is just a dream and he is just a part of a bigger picture. He suddenly feels very insignificant, like a grain of sand on the beach. Does it matter? He has always been a lost grain of sand on a beach filled with victims spreading waves of destruction. The only one able to change the pattern. The war never changed, only the battleground evolved. Perhaps this will be the last war he so desperately longs for. If the man he just spoke with is right then there must be a way to get through. A wise man knows that in his mind he is nothing more than a stream of information gained through experiences and teachings, the biggest challenge will be to transfer that exact experience and teach what needs to be learned before it is too late. He has seen a bit of the other side, visions in dreams. A world filled with materialism and strategies. It is only one step away from the world he lives in. The only difference is on the other side people still believe in peace, in this world they have lost their understanding of peace and the word is nothing more than a reminder of an ancient fairytale from a world where people did not even knew what war meant; the garden of Eden. But who will defend the people on the other side? The man he just met? He probably has the greatest trouble defending himself in the first place. Lots of thoughts go through his mind and it’s a good thing there is nothing to distract him here. He needs time and rest to form a plan which he has never made before. Avitas knows how he became who he is, experiences in life shape us. The constant experience of war and the constant need for defence is what made him. Great power always comes to the call of a need, not a desire. His reflection has probably never felt the need, or forgot how it feels. Perhaps the trick is to create an illusion of constant threat to change that need. But then again, a wise man wouldn’t fall for the illusion that easy, so the threat has to be real. “Maybe that is the price i should pay”, he says to himself, “To be to myself what i have been to my enemies and they have been to me so far, a constant threat. To close a chain of mirrors and keep the reflections flowing and influencing. Eternal waves of creation”. While he says those last four words a feeling of greatness empowers him. Avitas the ancestral, divine weaver of patterns, creator of worlds. “Sounds more than royal”, he whispers with a deep voice. For the first time in many years he actually feels the thing he always believed in; freedom.