I appeared in front of an oak tree. A massive one, at that. The trunk was at least fifteen feet in width. I could not guess how tall the tree was, but it was easily capable of shading the entirety of a small house. There was a round door in front of me, the wood of which swirled in an intriguing fashion. I found the handle and turned it with some effort. The door was thick and heavy, and it swung open reluctantly on several sturdy iron hinges.
I stepped into the tree, pulling the door shut behind me. The entire tree was hollowed out, it seemed. Everything inside was made of wood (presumeably the same wood that was hollowed out from the tree). There was a grandfather clock to my left, and numerous potraits hung on the walls around me. On the far side of the room, there was an enormous window which let in light and overlooked a serene landscape (which looked akin to my Domain).
The window stood above a staircase that lead downward. I stepped lightly over to the staircase and looked down. It spiraled out of view, wrapping around a thick wooden beam. I descended slowly, still marveling at the interior of the tree. I came down to a study of sorts. It smelled of old parchment and candle wax. The walls were turned into bookshelves which housed many thick and intimidating editions. I could almost see the room in sepia tone through my own eyes. The study wrapped itself around the wooden beam. I did not yet see a desk.
"Come around just a bit more, if you would," came a voice from around the beam. I followed it's directions and walked around to my right. A desk covered in srolls came into the view. Above the desk was a small window which cast a yellow glow upon the scene. An old, bearded man sat at the desk, smoking a pipe and reading through a scroll. He beckoned to me and indicated a chair without looking up. I did as he wished and sat. After a few long puffs on his pipe, he finally turned to me.
"You often mistake my voice for that of God's, my boy. The truth is, God doesn't speak to you the way I do. He does not communicate directly with your thought process."
I was at a loss for words.
"I am the Senex, mentor of your thoughts, emotions, actions and perceptions. I speak to you the truth, unadulturated and pure. I have no bias and no motive; my purpose is to give you wisdom and proper guidance. Some of which you take, some of which you don't."
I let this sink in a bit before saying something. "Where were you when I was struggling the most, during that summer three years ago?"
"I had not yet developed. In fact, many of your current dimensions were barely present at that point in time. I would even venture to say that I am one of the more recent dimensions that have come into being, though I may not look so convincing in that regard."
The old man grinned. His voice was wise and carried a subtle hint of authority. He was no weakling.
"I have gained in power and strength over the past two years, and I have found myself a decent foothold on your Domain and Self. I am the reason you evaded the clutches of darkness earlier this year, as I'm sure you're extremely thankful for."
I nodded, "I am still very thankful. But I have so many questions... I am often confused. I am often filled with bitterness towards people who don't deserve it. Sometimes I feel overwhelming hatred for them."
The Senex puffed on his pipe, "Hatred is a result of fear and misunderstanding. The truth is, you do not hate anyone. You are anxious for change, and you are afraid of things not changing. I've noticed that your anger is commonly targeted at the Amina."
"The Anima- she is the embodiment of your feminine self as well as your perception of women. You will speak to her later."
This made some sense, but it made me feel a bit nauseous. The thought of speaking to the Anima made me uneasy. It was true that my hatred had been directed mostly at women.
"What if things don't change?" I inquired with some urgency.
The old man shook his head in a mixture of amusement and aggitation, "If you have learned anything at all over the past several years, it should be that things are always changing. Whether they will change for better or for worse, I cannot tell, but things will indeed change. Quite drastically, if my fore sight serves me."
My brow was furrowed in thought. I shook my head, "I still have my reasons for my resentment."
The Senex studied me for a few moments, "How justified are those reasons? Think about it."
I was silent. I felt I was fairly justified, but I was unsure how far this stretched. How far could I take it before my resentment became blind?
You aren't blind. You should just hate them all.
Even in another dimension inside myself, I could hear voices in my head. How ironic and strange. The Senex spoke.
"I'm afraid I can only help you so much. You must visit each dimension and gather what knowledge you can."
I began to rise; he grasped my hand firmly.
The Senex pierced me with a meaningful stare, "You must beware of these dimensions. Not all of them wish you good."
He pointed behind him and indicated a small wooden door, "That is the portal back to the Sanctuary. Good luck."