Calendril had just ground his latest find into a powder. It was zein flower, a species rarely found in the Airyelian Valley. The flower had a blue blossom on top of its ruddy little stalk, and Calendril had only found ever found this one of them in a whole lifetime spent collecting and cataloging the flora that filled his valley. After he had carefully drawn the flower in his book, and recorded all of its important characteristics, the next step was for him to ingest the plant orally, which he already had. Just a bit of the bitter flower told him that it was not poisonous. The next step, always Calendril's favorite when he discovered a new species, was to test various methods of consumption and record the effects. Swallowing the plant straight had done nothing, but Calendril's research into the rare plant had told him that smoking it might provide different effects. He always had his pipe at his side, and so he sat down in the sunny meadow he had procured the flower from to see if inhaling the plant might illicit some different sort of reaction from his body or mind.
He poured the powdery substance from his pestle into his pipe, and added a pinch of fralic root to help it burn more evenly. Calendril then struck a match and put it to the flower, and drew in a deep breath. He struggled to hold the burning smoke in his lungs for as long as possible, before finally exploding in a fit of coughs that turned his face red and starved his brain of oxygen. He felt differently now, sure: light-headed and nauseous. Calendril sat in the sunny field for a while, awaiting the zein flower's effects to take hold. After many clouds had passed by overhead, he decided that the plant didn't have any effect when smoked. He would have to make a tincture of it at home, to see if that made any difference.
Strolling back down through the reedy trees surrounding the field, Calendril was thinking about the old records he had read pertaining to zein flower, about how it had supposedly been used ritually by medicine men in South Airyel for hundreds of years. Maybe he had smoked too much Balantyne, or maybe what he had found wasn't a zein flower at all, because the flower had absolutely no effect on him whatsoever. At least, not at the beginning.
As Calendril continued to wind through the trail that would take him back home, his vision started to blur. He wiped his eyes, but it didn't seem to help. Through all the little holes in the forest canopy, the sunlight began to prism and flow like rainbows. As the gentle breeze rushed through the leaves, the rainbows would scatter and spread. Soon, the whole forest was awash in vivid reds and purples. It was some time before it occurred to Calendril that this was not normal.
He sat down on a stump to try and center himself, but being still only seemed to worsen his condition. Now, the whole world seemed to hiccup and swirl before his eyes. He saw strange shadow creatures moving through his vision. And then Calendril's senses all pulled off towards a point in the distance, somewhere infinitely far away. The colors and sounds and smells of the many-colored forest all stretched out both from and towards him at the pin of light that he could not help but begin falling towards. His whole body lifted up off the forest floor and began floating towards the music emanating from the convergence in the distance.
Calendril was worried now. He saw the ground moving beneath him, and felt the cool air flowing through his hair and robe. The sunlight felt like a warm hand on his exposed skin, tickling it and caressing it. But what was he going to do if he never stopped floating? What of his friends, his fish at home in their bowl? Calendril worried that he was leaving the reality he had known forever. And while the future was brilliant and wonderful, he couldn't help but thinking how much he'd miss all that he had come to know.
But these worries and all other thoughts faded away, until he couldn't differentiate between the forest and the shining illusion before him. He understood the trees without communicating with them, sympathized with the wind and the dirt. There was nothing he could not understand now. He became one with everything, and existed at all points in time. Calendril seemed very far away from what he had been now, that old form so very rudimentary and unformed.
And then in a flash the world was restored. Calendril felt himself fall, not far but enough to feel the impact on his bottom when he came back to the stump he had sat to rest upon. He gasped and looked around, wiping his eyes and making sure his senses had been fully restored. When it seemed like all was right again, Calendril dug into the pouch on his waist to retrieve his plant journal. He opened it up to the most recent entry, the zein flower, and added to the description an asterisk: The zein flower is intensely psychoactive. Would recommend classifying it as poisonous. After all, thought Calendril, though he could certainly handle even the trickiest of substances, the trip the zein flower sent him on was probably much more than a recreational herbalist could handle. Good then that it was rare. And good too that Calendril had finally been able to find one!