I floated, all alone. Suspended in an ocean of nothingness. Black, all black and only blackness all around, up, down, left, right, front, rear, nothing. not even an horizon on this sea of darkness.
Not even the feeling of gravity to offer a minor directional compass. It was all empty, an enormous big empty ebon void. No light nor any beacon in the distance. Not even air to fill the space...
"AIR!" I gasped, throwing the last bit I had in me out as I realized that last fact.
My lungs burned horribly as they screamed for air, for oxygen to fill me and keep my body alive. It was all futile, the big empty nothing was around me, no air in sight... or feeling range. Whatever!
"Breathe" Came the grimoire's voice in my head, slow, monotonous, like it was oblivious to the danger.
The hell was that... voice or whatever thinking? That I just didn't feel like it?
"Breathe the Aether"
How in god's holy name was I supposed to do that???
A part of the book, it's Sumerian helpfully translated to English came to mind; read in the voice's voice, without any emphasis or urgency in it's tone.
"To breathe the in the Aether, you must know you can, you must dare to do it, if need be, sacrificing it all including your last breath, then you must will it to happen. It is the same for all magic.
To know to dare to will to be silent.
Understand your power, dare to call upon it regardless of what shall happen, then do not wish it, commands it to be done, and when it is done, remain silent, discreet, nothing god come from shredding the veil of disbelief but mental backlashes. "
I took a second to calm down, as best as I could in this situation.
"I can breathe, I will breathe and I will LIVE!" I yelled to myself mentally.
The Aether filled my lungs whom accepted it gratefully. It was... Different... Unlike normal air, the aether did more than let me live, I could feel my brain and my nerves getting fueled with new found energy. Like I had just drank a 6-pack of energy drinks, did a line of powder and was in the middle of the greatest adrenaline rush. All at the same time.
I looked around at the surrounding abyssal void "So this is death?" I asked out loud. Sound somehow still carrying out into the nothingness that surrounded me.
"Yes and No" Answered the voice in my head. Just as I opened my mouth to speak it cut me off. "This is in fact part of the ghost lands, the periphery. It takes the form of the recent dead's memories to help them acclimate. Before you ask, you are indeed alive.
But you separated from your body. Your memories are safely guarded in your body hence the void around us. You are here because your soul is out of touch with your body. You would call this state a coma."
I nodded absorbing the information he was giving me. "So… uh... Who are you exactly?" I asked reluctantly.
"You. The part of you that read and remember the book. A piece of you mind and soul that isolated itself to protect you from the trauma the book would have caused upon your psyche. How big do you remember it was?" He revealed and then asked.
"I don't know... A hundred pages?" Taking a second to think before answering.
"Wrong! It was over eight thousands dictionary pages worth of information, all written in the Ether. The book was just an anchor for the knowledge. A binding to keep Eldritch knowledge safe and portable. So long as you live, none other may do so."
"Who made this thing?"
"I do not know. The book did not present an author. But it is a rebinding of the spell, which was previously engraved onto stone tablets in one of summer's many temple..."
The book, voice, bizzaro me or whatever continued speaking to me, his voice slowly fading out into the background until all that was left was pure undiluted silence...
All of a sudden I once again I began choking as the last of the aether left my lung.
"Is this going to be a routinely thing?" I asked myself, filled exasperation and annoyance rather than fear at a very inappropriate time.