Download Game! Currently 181 players and visitors. Last logged in:SarmaDerklareBlaxMerc

Library: The Dream, A Lost Times Tale.

Books

Author: Yari
Date:Nov 2 1995

  As usual, it had been a full day.  Adventuring, after a time, 
becomes almost routine.  You know what to pack, how to escape 
certain situations, and many other, easily combated problems that go 
with the work.  But nothing, nothing ever prepares you for the 
exhaustion.
  Mind-numbing, at times, it overwhelms you in a way that few other 
things can.  Love, perhaps.  Desire, at times.  But this type of 
exhaustion, after hours of life-or-death struggle, it comes for you.  
And on one particular instance, it came with a vengeance...
  I had been in an old mansion.  Curious place, as neat as if it had 
never actually been lived in.  Things were in order, guards were in 
place, but no master had been at home.  I spent time in the library, 
leafing through the tomes, presuming the place to be fairly normal.
  It was not to be so.  The physical adventures I had in this place 
were nothing short of hellish.  This is not the place to describe 
them, for as much as the corporeal world was hellish, the non-
corporeal was... nightmarish.
  I located the master bedroom, and proceeded to take advantage of 
the bed.  A fine pallet, it was filled with the softest feathers, 
far superior to where I normally sleep, which is just about anywhere 
I can find level ground upon which to lay my bedroll.  I reasoned 
that I deserved a night of comfort, after all, I was no longer so 
young as I once was, and hard adventuring was getting more difficult 
by the day.  Sleep descended upon me like a hawk upon its prey.
  It was not a normal sleep, but in my state, I was not able to 
discern this at the time.  It seemed natural to be here, in this 
strange room, with garish colors upon the walls, and strange 
patterns on the floor.  This particular room was checkerboarded on 
the floor in a glaring black-and-white pattern.  The walls, too, had 
the same pattern.  The overall effect was that it was hard to tell 
where the walls ended and the floor began.  A strange effect, but 
all seemed very natural.
  A glowing archway led out of the room, through which I could see a 
hallway, and I willed myself through it, not so much as walked 
through it  The hallway greeted me with scarlet walls, with diagonal 
lines crossing the floor.  I paused a moment, wondering why anyone 
would choose such a strange pattern, but after a moment, ignored the 
oddity, and went on.  The hallway led me to my right(directions were 
so absolute, but had no reference, it was disconcerting, but 
strangely comforting), and I traveled down its length, noting that 
after every few steps, the walls or floor would change to an ever-
more strange and eye-popping pattern.
  A doorway loomed to my left, it seemed menacing and dark, and I 
chose to pass it by.  Soon, the hallway ended, in a splash of green 
and blue.  A single doorway led straight ahead, it was well-lit with 
a pearly glow, and I proceeded through it without a second thought.
  Upon entry, I immediately noticed that the room was dominated by a 
large mirrored surface.  I was horrified, for my image in the mirror 
was constantly changing!  My image, my horrible image, it was the 
visages of all the foes I had brought to death!  Dragons, trolls, 
wolves and even, yes, men, they all glared at me accusingly.  I 
tried to flee, but could not move, the images' hatred pinned me in 
place!  I was powerless against them, I moved forward, to embrace 
them, take them within me, kill them, anything!  As I approached the 
silvery surface, a button appeared, it pulsed a dull blue glow.  In 
desperation, I pushed it!  The mirror warped...twisted, fell back 
into the wall, and then exploded outward in a bright flash of purple 
light, the needle-like shards piercing my flesh, but leaving no 
marks!
  My vision cleared, and I was greeted by the strangest sight!  A 
large, red sphere, it was unmarked by any blemish save for a gaping 
maw, filled with dagger like teeth!  It charged me, I fell back, 
wishing I had my weapons, anything at all to defend myself with!  I 
looked at my hands... and found them full, full of steel!  My Torso 
Makers, they were with me!  I fought savagely, my battle sense 
seemed to be at an all-time peak, my abilities soared higher than 
ever before, and I quickly brought an end to the sphere, cutting it 
to ribbons before it could get within reach with its fangs!
  Hardly a moment passed, and a bright light flashed, all traces of 
my enemy were erased.  I glanced at my hands.  Empty.  Strange, 
indeed, but stranger still, that I did not even consider it odd in 
the least.  I found nothing else of interest in the room, so I 
backtracked  back through the hallway, through the vibrant rainbow 
of walls.
  I found the dark doorway that I had passed, and with little other 
recourse, I entered it.  A gloom awaited. The room I entered was not 
garishly colored, not at all.  Shades of gray, all shades, awaited 
me here.  I saw, at first in the corner of my eye, but then filling 
my entire field of vision, what appeared to be a patch of smoke.  
The smoke itself was odd, in that it did not move randomly, in fact, 
it formed shapes at will, geometric patterns, three-dimensional 
shapes, all manner of objects, even that of my Torso Makers.  I 
reached out to touch it, and it *moved* away from my grasp!  I 
observed it a bit longer, and then decided to speak.
  "Hello?"
  =Hello?=  It repeated back at me.  Perfectly.  Every pitch, every 
tone of my voice, it came back to me.  The voice seemed to come from 
the air around me, it wa everywhere.  Like an echo, but far clearer, 
more like as if I had been speaking to myself.  I asked again.
  "Hello?  What are you?"
  =What are I?=
  "Yes, what are you."
  =I forget verbal speech, forgive.=
  "I understand you.  What are you?"
  =I am he.=
  "He?"
  =Yes, He.  Shall I show you he?=
  "Please."  The smoke coalesced into a form, humanoid but not human 
by any means.  It was as if you took a human and...blurred it, is 
the best way to describe it.
  =He.=
  "He?  Hmm, yes, He.  Tell me, do others call you by any other 
names than 'He'?"
  =Yes.=
  "What are they?  I must know, for I am unable to call you 'He', it 
does not work with verbal communication."
  =I am called The King of Dreams.  I am called Morpheus.=
  I knew the name, Morpheus, the god of sleep, the King of Dreams.  
A true god, this was impossible.
  =I am He, do not Doubt me, for you are within my realm, and I may 
do as I please with you.=
  "You knew my thoughts..."
  =Of course.=
  "Morpheus.  I have heard of you, though not many believe that you 
exist any longer."
  Silence greeted me.  I continued.  "I, for one, was always told 
that you were a destroyer, not one to be trusted.  Is this so?"
  =You live, do you not?=
  "Yes, I suppose I do.  Why have you not destroyed me, then?"
  =You are the first to come to me in this manner in a long time.  I 
am as curious about you as you are about me.=
  His form wavered.  'Frayed', so to speak.  "Is it difficult for 
you to maintain that form?"
  =No.  I am simply out of practice.  Tell me, Mortal, what do you 
know of me?=
  "Can't you simply read it out of my head?"
  =Yes, I could, but I prefer to re familiarize myself with 
vocalization.=
  I recited the section from my textbooks that I was made to 
memorize so long ago.  "Morpheus, god of Dreams, the Deceiver.  
Morpheus attempts to lure the faithful from the true path, the path 
of righteous consciousness, into the realm of the unconscious.  If 
visited by a vision of Morpheus, one will go mad."
  =That is all?=
  "Yes, it is.  Morpheus is no longer believed to exist, as I said, 
and therefore, is absent, in the main, from our teachings."
  A long pause.  "Am I now mad?"
  =You tell me.=
  "Then no.  I am not."
  =That is not the only untruth.=
  "Tell me then, the truth, so that I may right what was wronged."
  =You will squander it, as so many have before you.=
  "I will not.  I am an educator, a leader of mortals.  Search my 
soul, find if this is true.  I am not a holy man, I am an 
adventurer.  I will not corrupt the truth because of legend.  Tell 
me."
  A long pause, I feared I would get no response this time.  =Very 
well.=
  =Long ago, the pantheon was not so full as you know it to be.  The 
realm of the gods was filled by one, by me.  I had visions of 
uniting the world of mortals with my own, that I would have 
companions, ones with whom to share my existence in a manner that 
would foster the creation of new ideas, of higher thought.  To that 
end, I created the Dream.  Mortals who were of a particular sort, 
intelligent and wise, they could visit the Dream in their sleep.  To 
visit the Dream was ecstasy to them, a place of unimaginable  
pleasure.  I designed it this way, with every convenience, so that 
the enlightened would attempt to return.  It was my hope that those 
few that proved themselves to be the most gifted, the most 
intelligent and wise, that they would wish to stay forever, and with 
my power, I could bring them into my realm, eternally.
  =This indeed came to pass.  Three vibrant, diverse souls were 
among the first to come to the Dream, and are still, to this day, a 
part of it.  The first was a simple man, of purity unimaginable.  
His strength was his complete lack of treachery, and was also his 
greatest weakness.
  =The second was a woman with the ability to evaluate everything 
with a completely unbiased eye.  It is possible that I fell in love 
with her, so pure was this ability, that I admired it to no end.
  =The third was a man, one of complete darkness.  His soul was 
filled with nothing but self-preservation.  He saw everything with 
an eye toward utility, in terms of how anything, be it living or 
inanimate could benefit him and him alone.
  =I suppose it was the purity of these three that allowed them 
access to the Dream so strongly.  They could focus their minds to 
the point where to penetrate the Dream was a simple task.  Everyone 
can enter the Dream, of course, but very few have the ability to 
control it.  You do realize, of course, that you are in a part of 
the Dream now, do you not?  Of course you do, I can tell that from 
your mind.=
  I nodded.
  =Yes.  These three were the first, and the best.  They knew how to 
use the Dream to achieve pleasure, and to further their own needs.
  =Hael-Cholaer used it to learn more about himself, and by doing 
so, other men.  He took this knowledge to the world, and gained a 
following of men who were avid students of his philosophy.
  =Heraena used it in a similar fashion, but learned about the world 
at large, eschewing the study of men, in favor of study of how the 
world affected men, so as to judge more fairly.  She too gained a 
following of mortals, mostly female, who embraced her pure 
neutrality toward all things, pure observation without becoming 
involved.
  =Draen-Dalar... he used the Dream in a way I never quite intended.  
Personal gain was all for which he cared, and his use of the dream 
was to further his mortal needs.  He gained followers, but, of 
course, did not care about them in the least.  His empire grew 
vastly due to the immense knowledge he was able to accrue through 
the Dream, and of course, as his wealth grew, so did his hangers-on.
  =The Dream went on, and, in time, Draen-Dalar, due to his 
exploratory and capitalistic nature, gained knowledge of the others, 
and myself. He discovered that we were all in the Dream, and due to 
its nature, was able to divine much about us.  This link went both 
ways, though, and through his link, we became connected in a way 
that was never before conceived.  We became part of the same being 
at that moment, kindred souls, in a way.  So diverse, but sharing 
something undefinable.
  =I decided immediately that I would accept them to the dream, now 
and forever, so strong was this bond.  I brought them to me, we 
melted together, a grand consciousness, a meeting of four souls, it 
was pure joy!  Our similarities and differences mixed, almost as if 
in a dance, our minds locked and exchanged, we were helpless against 
the ecstasy!  Exhaustion loomed, we were all worn from this, but we 
went on, dancing and intermingling, separating, then rejoining, in a 
frenzy of life and energy until we all had to retreat before we lost 
ourselves in one another!
  =In our separation, we all interpreted what we had learned.  It 
was like this, joining, exhaustion, collapse, joining, exhaustion, 
collapse for ages.  To mortals, a millennia or more, to us, a 
heartbeat!  We came together to join once more, but Draen-Dalar was 
not among us!  Heraena paused a moment, and was gone.  Hael-Cholaer 
looked at me, with perfect sympathy, and he, too, was gone.  I knew, 
of course, we all knew, for we knew each other so well.  It was time 
for them, my children, to grow up.
  =It did not surprise me that Draen-Dalar was the first to realize 
it.  They were not me, I was not them, we just played at it being 
so.  They had every bit of will in them that they ever had, and the 
will needed to be expressed, or they would indeed go mad.  I sunk 
down in sadness, knowing what was next.  I felt, rather than heard 
it.  A rip, a pull, of some sort, on my essence.  Draen-Dalar had 
left the Dream, or had at least created more outside of it.  This 
was followed by two similar sensations as the others departed.
  =I was left in my realm, my children's essences all but gone from 
it, but never quite totally removed.  They had left the Dream, to 
pursue the realm beyond, that of consciousness.  From the Dream, I 
was able to learn of the world beyond, of consciousness.  I found 
that the Trinity's followers were more or less intact, even after so 
long.  My children's mysterious disappearances from the mortal realm 
was the stuff of legends now, their followers worshipped them as 
though they were gods, and, I suppose, as my children, they were.
  =In time, As their influence grew, mine waned, for I never 
cultivated the Dream as a method of control, more as a way for 
mortals to join me, even if only partially.  Mortals knew of the 
Dream, and of course, still do, but they think of it as a strange 
creation of their own minds, not as the realm that it is.  The Dream 
is what you make it, but it is also the true connection to the Holy.  
My children, they learned new and different ways to influence 
mortals, and even to create their own children.  The result of their 
work is the pantheon that you now know.
  =After all this, and the eventual direct subversion of my 
influence (they try to dissuade their faithful from exploring the 
Dream, in fact, you yourself believe me to be a Deceiver, because of 
their teachings)  Even after all this, I am proud of what they have 
become.  They, too, have their dream, and I am not the one to tell 
them to change it.  I watch and I listen, and in the end, I learn 
from them.  That is the truth that has eluded you for so long.=
  I attempted to absorb this.  "A tale, without peer."
  =A truth, without equal.= 
 "Yes.  But, to me you are, and have been, all my life, a Deceiver.  
How do I know that this is not a untruth?"
  =You do not.  But I ask you, exactly how do you think you were 
transported here, you, who never before has ever had the mental 
capacity to explore the Dream?=
  I started to answer, but the smoke drifted to me, enveloping me, 
all went black for a moment, and when I opened my eyes, I was lying, 
naked, on the bedchamber floor.  "Is this the Dream," I asked aloud, 
"or is this real?" but, I already knew the answer.  The floor was 
hard and cold, the colors drab, not vibrant at all.  I laid there, 
feeling the chill seep into my body, realizing the pure joy of the 
Dream for the first time.
  While I was there I experienced ultimate victory against the 
sphere.  I experienced ultimate comfort, never felt a twinge of any 
negativity.  I thought with a clarity that I have never before or 
since experienced.  All of this, gone.  I looked around at my 
surroundings.  A master bedroom, opulent, the home of a rich man.  
Empty.  I gathered my things, taking care not to disturb anything, 
especially the bed.
  I started to leave, and realized that I was missing my ring, my 
Nazgauga.  I searched my pouches, feeling for the orc-head crest of 
the ring, to no avail.  Scanning the room, I saw the golden gleam 
near the cursed bed.  I approached, not wanting to touch the bed, 
but needing my precious artifact.  As I bent to retrieve the ring, I 
noticed a plaque on the headboard that I had not seen before.  A 
simple plaque, made of Mithril, and inscribed in flowery script, the 
kind it takes a moment to decipher.
  It said, simply, ">-- @ D D @ --<"  I leapt back, as if I had been 
bitten, nearly tripping in the process.  Draen-Dalar, this was his 
home!  I was in the seat of evil!  I needed to escape before other 
artifacts of his power would affect me!
  From everywhere a voice rumbled... = Yes. =
  I fled the mansion, and resolved never to return without serious 
preparation.  The ancient home of Draen-Dalar, it exists.  The world 
of the Immortals, it is real, and it is around us.  We need only 
look, or, in certain cases, _not_ to look.  It may well find US.


Books