My peaceful death sleep was rudely interrupted when a momentary flash of light as bright as a thousand suns lit up the entire forest. After a deafening thunder clap shook the ground, the rain and darkness closed in once again.

I wasn’t sure whether I was conscious or in a dream state but there seemed to be a small light flickering through the blackness. I strained with all the remaining strength I had to watch the faint green glow with my good eye until it disappeared. A moment later a blue-green radiance danced not ten feet away from me.

“Wake up little king?” smiled Ariya.

You called that pretty close!” I replied.
“Well, maybe close in your time, not mine,” Ariya replied. “I had to wait until you were convinced in your own mind you were dying with no chance for survival. You see, a warrior like you has to lose it all before any kind of a transformation takes place. Being a breath away from death has opened your mind a little as a preparation for training in the Three Great Weapons of the spirit.”

I felt a mounting strength filling every fiber of my body. The fever was gone and my shaking stopped, and although the deluge continued, not a drop of rain fell on me. She was transferring her great power into my body; I could feel it. She was saving my life.

“Ariya, I have to confess, for a moment I thought in my mind that you had forsaken me but only for a moment. My heart never did. You promised that if I followed my heart I would find my key. And after following it for five lonely years, believing in you, I have come to a realization that until I find my key, I will always be lost, even with your help.”

“Well said, King! You are making progress! When we think we know, we never do! Knowing comes from a lower level of mind and is never in the here and now, always in the past. True wisdom comes from seeing this moment as it is, but never knowing it. By the time you know it, it has passed you by and the time spent remembering that moment gets in the way of seeing the next. Then you live life in symbols instead of reality.”

“My vision has cleared in many ways,” I replied, “but not completely. Although I trust you, I must tell you that I do not trust the sorcerer. He lied to me. He claimed his gold would give me power that would lead to lasting happiness, but all it led to was suffering and death.”

“Oh, the sorcerer!” Ariya exclaimed. “Please, don’t judge him too harshly. Someday you will see him in a different light. The sorcerer is a master of masters and will always do what is in your best interest even though you won’t understand things at the time. He knew you had an iron-fisted will, which is initially required to find the key, of course, but he knew as well that you would only believe what you discover for yourself, never believing what you are told.

“Would you have believed that all the gold and power in the world would not make a king happy? Of course not, so he let you see for yourself. Your nature was to grasp power, even when it meant killing, and you believed that killing had no severe repercussions - that repercussions could never ever touch the greatest warrior in the land. The sorcerer could not alter your nature, only you can change that through something much stronger than the sorcerer, but he could open your eyes to the consequences of your nature. He knew that you would lose an eye because of it all, but considered it a small price to pay if it led you to a quest for the key.”

She was right, as usual, and as I looked back I could see the sorcerer’s clever manipulations. This sorcerer was a very tricky individual indeed.