Nyssa lit the sandalwood incense and bowed her head forward, taking a moment to focus on her breath as the conduit for clearing away her wayward thoughts. The earthy odor reached her nose and filled her head with an almost dizzying sensation, a flooding of energy that pooled in the lymph nodes in her throat and pulsed into her jaw. She whispered the prayer, words dancing with the wisps of smoke.
Minutes later, she picked up the sack she had laid out the night before and exited her bed chamber. It seemed that Sara had already made her way down to the courtyard. The usually busy halls were quite empty this morning and the silence juxtaposed too starkly with Nyssa's echoing steps.
As customary, she saw the golden sheen of Sara's hair before taking sight of the woman herself.
"Are you prepared?" she asked Sara, who stood a bit clumsily, as if she needed to lean on something concrete for support.
Sara nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, lead the way! To, wherever it is we are going..." With each passing moment, it became quite clear that Sara needed to understand what their day would look like, so Nyssa indulged her.
"There is a beautiful area we are going to just a short hike from here. I think you will enjoy the surroundings." Sara's expression changed to reflect only minor bafflement, and Nyssa's eyes softened. "Just follow me."
After making their way out of the fortress, Nyssa bent down to take off her shoes. She stowed them away in her pack and flexed her feet against the feel of the dusty earth, her toes embracing the patches of grass. For their session to work well today, Nyssa's body had to be fully in tune with her surroundings; that process began with being completed rooted--grounded, confident and powerfully connected to everything below her and around her.
She visualized a garnet orb firmly holding the base of her spine, tethering her corporeal form to the wider energy of the earth-- entwining with the plants around her, nourished with the dirt. The red grew brighter as she traipsed, barefoot, across the plateau, Sara trodding along behind her. The woman was quite oblivious to the internal process Nyssa was steadily opening herself to. Sara mostly gazed at the path in front of her, peering downward as if a sizable weight pressed upon her shoulders.
Her harmful thoughts must be expunged for this to all work... I hope she has the ability to subdue whatever it is that ails her. Nyssa motioned for Sara to follow at a quicker pace, as the sun assumed its noontime sentry overhead.
They walked for another half an hour until the sound of flowing water filtered in-- a gushing, frolicking rapture. Nyssa motioned for Sara to sit down close to the bank. She drew a match and incense out of her pack and lit the dainty stick. A thin line of scented smoke rose into the air, coating the area with the patchouli and basil.
"As I mentioned this morning, today is a recovery day full of exploring our potential. Such potentials can be realized individually, as well as together as a unit. Within the League, we learn time and again how to act swiftly with a partner. On missions, it proves paramount to intuit and intercept the needs of your associate... as if their actions were a direct extension of your own."
Nyssa curled her toes toward her inner thighs, assuming a grounded position. Sara imitated her seated positioning.
"As you undergo this process, strong emotions and physical memories will surface that need to be resolved and accepted. If you are up for this task, the cleansing will be ample reward for your efforts. You must hold each cycle in your mind with a sense of purpose and clarity... do you think you can do this?"
Sara considered Nyssa's words and gave a firm nod. "Are you doing it as well?" she asked, a tinge of wariness framing her question.
"Yes," Nyssa replied, "and I intend to facilitate this process for you since this is your first time. It will be taxing on you."
"I can handle it."
There. That was the Ta-er Al Sa-fer that Nyssa had come to know.
"Good," Nyssa's eyes fell upon the simmering incense and she inhaled deeply. "Let's begin."
"The base of your energy is what connects you to this earth, to all living beings here. This center of energy houses your most instinctual needs, your primal desire to survive. If blocked, you can experience a lack of confidence, anxiety, even perhaps feelings of being unloved. Yet, when fiery energy flows through your base, your life will be full of vibrancy and freedom. I want you to look inside and feel the hum of red energy pulsing at the base of your spine. Let whatever surfaces-- emotionally-- come to the forefront and share it to me." Nyssa's eyes remained closed, serene, as she spoke.
Sara felt a stirring at the base of her spine as two bright memories played in her mind.
The first was of playing baseball with her father. He had shown her how to swing the bat numerous times, but once her younger self stepped up to the plate, she always invented new ways to use the bat as an instrument for play. Dimpled cheeks aglow, Sara would hold the bat in the middle and use either end to hit the ball. "Sara, sweetie," Quentin would call, "that's not how you do it." He strode over to her from the pitcher's mound, dumping his glove on the dirt, his eyes sincere but determined. "Come now, this is how you hold this." Sara would smile and snatch her father's Starling City baseball cap, placing the large black cap over her small head and running around the bases. Her father would give her the absolute best hugs, chuckling as he held his youngest daughter in his arms.
"I love you, dad," Sara muttered aloud, her eyes shut tight as to hold onto the quickly fading scene of her childhood. She felt a deep shift in the energy in her body, as if something was releasing gradually within her. Perhaps it was the fear of losing him, or maybe it was the fear of already being lost to him... to all of them.
"Mine is always the same..." Nyssa remarked, her usual sharp eyes somewhat glossed by the fog of recollection.
"How?" Sara asked.
"My mother." Nyssa spoke evenly as if her emotions lapped up behind her words and threatened to spill over. "I always see what I remembered to be my mother. I was so young... she was killed." Sara couldn't even imagine what sort of grief she would experience if her mother had been taken from her...
"I'm sorry Nyssa."
"I came to peace with it long ago, Ta-er Al Sa-fer, but I have not overlooked the kindness in your words. My freedom rests in knowing that I do what I must to ensure justice for women like her. Perhaps then, their sons, their daughters will not share my burden of fate. Perhaps they will not grow up like I did."
Whenever Nyssa offered glimpses of her past and her philosophy on how the world worked, Sara found herself listening intently. It was if Nyssa's speech unraveled and belied her calm exterior, and Sara could experience the woman's sorrow, the tinge of grief that echoed in her voice.