Part of the #ELEV8TINDIES team 🙂
Part of the #ELEV8TINDIES team 🙂
Torrullin summons Lucan Dalrish to explain dreams to him and Tristan:
“Dreams, the nocturnal wandering of the mind, and let me qualify by saying that is the accepted view or description. In fact, a dream isn’t bound to the dark hours, but may occur any time a subject reaches a semi-aware or unconscious state. Of course, images come in a heightened state of awareness, but we call those visions or daydreams – they are closely linked, the mind being the factor that binds.
“Now, the wandering of the mind can be wishful thinking, a fantasy conjured, which is either helpful or harmful, because it has effect on wakeful activities. If the subject is unhappy, conjuring a better-life fantasy may provide inner peace and the confidence to achieve it, but it may also spiral the mind into a state of depression when the subjects wakes to find it unreal. In much the same way dreams of the perfect mate has an up and a down side – ask me, I know about that. But … all right.
“Dreams are problem solvers, particularly effective for those niggling matters of daily existence, and are generally direct, the trick being to recall solutions before dreams fade on waking. I’d say those are most frequent, and includes psyche symbolism. For instance, a person feeling smothered by those around him would dream of drowning, so his unconscious is prompting a change, to take control again. Unluckily, they are largely ignored. The mind can also take one into a comfort zone, the place or time one felt most content, like childhood or an enjoyable picnic with loved ones, and on waking one is refreshed. Your mind is thus also your healer.
“In much the same way you may recall a lost loved one and the images of familiarity may aid you in the future, approval given for living on – better than grief and guilt. Often it’s the strength of your mind, and your memories, which determines which road to take – positive or negative.
“Then there is the linked dream. This type is generally related to past incidences, an event, forgotten or relegated to memory as solved, no longer pertinent, then abruptly those results from the past come forward to play a new role, leaving the subject confused. Dreaming the link brings it back into focus. Those are rare, a force only when the past is deliberately locked away.
“Now we come to the opposite – external images, not a result of personal experience or memory. Often these are confused with fantasy, where fantasy isn’t wishful thinking but fairy tale, the latter being unattainable utopia or, horribly, nightmare wanderings of a disturbed psyche. Dreams can be good, comfortable or a nightmare, and everything I said applies to the latter also.”
Lucan paused and noticed Tristan studying his hands with great attention and Torrullin covertly watching the boy. Well, now he knew why they were here. He drew breath and delved into the inexact science of external dreams.
“Those without magic are unaware of the power of the ether and don’t realise all is connected by that invisible force. A dreamer on Pilan, one who believes himself both unique and alone in the universe, may dream one night of, say, a Centuar, and on waking won’t know he made a connection to the encompassing power of the ether. Either he’ll declare he had a godly visitation, an acceptable explanation for him and his people, or he’ll believe it a hallucination, possibly a nightmare, and will shy away.
“In this way, shamans of ancient peoples used hallucinogenic substances to enter the realm of the ether to see visions, and exit without a clear understanding of what was seen, calling it symbolism, unravelling it to fit known reality. External dreams emanate from that place.
“There are three main types. Images from other worlds, images from other times and the symbolism of sorcerers, the latter hard to explain, and a combination of any two is frightening for an untrained or unprepared mind. Again, one isn’t limited to nocturnal hours; one may not even be asleep.”
Lucan paused. “My Lord, you could have told him this.”
“Not when I dream as he does.”
The Shadof of Pendulim
Augin whirled around. Four forest creatures – dark skin tinged green, black eyes slanted downward, noses small but spread – leered at him from crouched positions, two-digit hands lifted into claws, sharp teeth exposed in silent snarls.
The first and second went down via daggers – he always kept a blade in each boot – and the third had his teeth knocked out before he even had opportunity to look down upon his fallen companions. The fourth rushed forward and took a hit in the jaw that laid him out cold.
Swift they were, but small and easily knocked about. He felt bad about killing two of them, but four against one? Even a priest might offer absolution for those odds.
Torrullin whistled. “Palace Guard, indeed.”
Elianas raised his arms high and flung his head back. His dark hair trailed downward and his great Shadow Wings soared out.
They were beautiful.
A Siric held glory in wings, a Centuar arrogant style, and many other races likewise proved their worth in wings, some feathered, others scaled and others more leathery, while a few were mere decoration, a prettiness that was useless.
The avian species, naturally, used their wings as a necessary tool, and beauty and prettiness was immaterial to that, and therefore was their beauty the greater.
Elianas’ wings, as Torrullin’s, were something unique. They were created by personality, by will, by power, by desire and by necessity. They were there to be utilized and were thus beautiful in practicality. They were beautiful too in the power their creation implied. Yet it was in substance where true mastery lay, therefore true beauty.
Shadow Wings were exactly that, shadow. They were not tangible, yet could be seen. They were not real, yet could beat the air and be felt in the movement of disturbed currents. They were because they had been made in the imagination.
Wings of power.
Elianas flapped his wings out, held them wide, and for a brief time the whole of all universes held a collective breath. In his hands then lay great power, the clay to shape every future … and he turned his back on it.
“Between planes, parallels and realms are spaces filled with energy and they attract and repel each other simultaneously. Every spark is awareness. Spark is light in dark and awareness is the energy created by that light. It is never random and it learns moment by moment until it becomes, and once it has become, it is. All it needs then is a vessel to open its eyes and see.”
“Beacon was settled around thirty-five thousand years ago. We were spacefarers already, thus the building of a new world presented little problem. If Beacon did not have the required material, we found it on a neighbour world. Fuel was soon an issue, but geologists and engineers swiftly discovered reserves in the sea. Of course, we knew what happened when one tampered with continental plates’ lubrication, so we were careful, and found other reserves on other worlds as soon as we were able to.
“Beacon’s exploitative nature began in the beginning. Clear oceans, wide rivers, flora and fauna, everything a new world had to offer, and now this. We spread out, settling all continents simultaneously – with travel and communication it made sense – and trade flourished. This region had something special, however, and it led to strife.”
He leaned forward.
“We came to grief over diamonds, when we should’ve learned our lesson on other worlds.” He leaned back again. “They were alluvial and the river nearby held those riches, enough for anyone to dip a pan into, but ownership of the water became a debated topic. The settlers on one side claimed it belonged to them, while those opposite claimed likewise. Villages up and down the river were of similar belief. A new world, and within a year we were at war. Other continents, towns and regions weighed in and took sides, and the war spread. On a particularly hellish day the river ran red, and it finally brought the settlers back to their senses.
“They began to talk again, and it was decided a bridge of stone would be built across the river, one that would stand the test of time, and upon this bridge would be a diamond house. All stones would be brought there, sorted and valued, and every prospector allocated hereditary land as payment. The diamonds were for trade with other worlds and goods would be equally shared between regions. The diamonds therefore belonged to all and the water was for crops and drink, not for pollution with human lives.
“There were problems, such as who would run the facility, and the design of the bridge almost sparked another war, but it was built. It virtually crippled us, for manpower was taken from other survival pursuits, and folk concentrated more on finding the stones to claim land for perpetuity than on growing food and building homes. An economic disaster, a political lesson. All said and done, it worked – for five years.”
Weth paused and then laughed. “The diamonds dried up.” He cleared his throat and went on. “The building on the bridge was demolished and the materials used for other purposes. Some wanted to dismantle the bridge itself, but that was stupidity. A bridge, after all, is a safe way across a river. The Bridge of Foolish Dreams – idiots. That is the known tale, on record in the economic section of any library. Its erection gets brief mention in the history books.”
“There is another tale,” Elianas murmured.
“The reason for the Brothers of the Bridge.” Weth pointed a finger at Torrullin. “You seek the past of others, those less connected to the Valleur. I’m sorry to disappoint you, for that is a Valleur bridge.”
Of course it was. Torrullin sighed. “How?”
Weth smiled, looking from one to the other, and then he was markedly intent.
“I told you the design nearly sparked another war, and it was so. We had drawings of beam bridges, truss, cantilever, even suspension, and all were lovely. Most were impractical and meant too much resource. The beam bridge was sound, but how long would it last? The river could flood and did. A two hundred foot span is not that great, so why suspend and cantilever? The practical solution was an arch bridge with foundations of rock and stone; done properly, no flood would damage it, and it could also be raised above potential flood level. Thus it was decided.
“Quarrying for suitable rock commenced, pink stone the choice. Then we ran into a snare. Spacefarers had no idea how to tool rock into precise shape. We were not yet at the point of concrete and steel. Much stone was destroyed in attempting to learn ancient lessons fast, and the project almost came to a halt. Folk began looking at discarded designs again. Then two strangers came – stone masons.
“They apparently heard of our dilemma and decided to offer their services. They were feted and feasted, believe me, such was the relief, but nobody thought to ask exactly where they came from or why a pilot and a team of engineers would bother to relate the tale of a simple bridge abroad. They tooled, instructed, laboured and created, and finally the bridge was finished and it was lovely. The two stayed on to affect repairs should it be necessary and later were asked to maintain the bridge.”
Torrullin leaned forward. “This part of the tale should be transparent also.”
Weth leaned closer. “One would think so. Beacon forgot their contribution.”
Elianas said, “They were made to forget.”
Weth smiled. “Yes.”
Torrullin pinched the bridge of his nose. “They stayed to protect the bridge and their descendants became the Brothers, right down to you.”
Weth leaned back. “I am part Valleur, yes.”
And that explained that.
It is a known truth that people vary in appearance, personality, goals, ambitions, character, desires, culture, creed, religion, temperament, intelligence, acceptance of system, government, others, in prejudice and fairness.
Passion set people apart. Every sentient had a passion, even the lazy man; his passion was doing as little as possible. The mean-spirited, his passion was hurting others; the charitable soul loved helping those less fortunate. The academic, knowledge; a writer, words; a mother, her children; the scientist, order; the priest, love of his deity; a road builder, satisfaction of a job well done; a gardener, nature; the poor man, security; the rich man, more wealth; a beggar, change … and so forth.
* A snippet from The Echolone Mine *
Part of a conversation between Torrullin and Lian in The Sleeper Sword:
“What is reality? The tangible, the controllable? Fate, death? The three dimensions your senses deal in? What, then, is a sunset? Nature’s spectacle, the reality of scientific factors colliding, yes, but what does it invoke in those who stop to experience? Do they merely accept the scientific reality or are they moved, awed, uplifted, romanced?
“Not one of the five senses there; no touch, no taste, no hearing, no smell, no sight – no sight, for even in blindness can it be, and cause emotion. That is magic. Why does a man stand in the first rains after a dry spell? Is he checking that it is real, is he giving thanks to his deity – which is magical also – or is he out there to glory in the wonder of the water that is life? He cries, he revels, he dances, he kneels. As long as there is emotion, there is magic, for neither emotion nor imagination belong to the world of three dimensions. Magic will not die while one sentient lives.”
“What you have described is natural …”
“Then all would experience it as part of genetic makeup. I have known men and women who have never looked at a sunset and not because they were unable to or there was no sun, but because they looked and did not see. They were unaffected. A sunset is natural, but how one reacts is the magic.”
“Granted, but it is natural magic, if you will. There is nothing supernatural in feeling uplifted after seeing something beautiful.”
“You become aware of your insignificance and you are aware what is happening around you is bigger than you, more powerful, it is beyond your ability to control, touch or change. It happens despite you. That is why you are moved, and say what you will, that is more magical than anything I can do.”
She did not answer.
Relentless, he continued. “Consider Breem, the linguist. He has never left the caverns and had never seen the view from the windows. If you were he, why do you have a likeness of a forest on your wall or a picture of an ocean from whence dolphins leap out into the sun? How do you know what it is and understand? Race memories? Perhaps, but is that not supernatural? All of it is bigger than you and is part of your soul and would be even in the darkest pit. It is inexplicable, complicated and magical.”
“I hear you and your words begin to change me. I am intrigued by your need to say it, however.”
He rested his forehead briefly upon his arms and drew breath. “I see the magic even in my sleep. It will not die and therefore some of us have reached for rebirth. A magic that gifts us the magic longer. Unfortunately the pain and loss eventually overcomes the selfishness, but that too I consider part of the magic. In all things there is two, equal and opposite. Thus, we reach for death, the final magic where loss and love go hand in hand, and in that understanding comes peace. I have died, and now I can no longer do so. Magic and magic. And nobody knows how fantastical that is.”
She moved on. “Looking at that painting I can feel the cool, the slight breeze, and I can hear the birds, the rustling in the undergrowth. God, I miss it!”
He rose and fetched his pack. He withdrew a slim book. Handing it to her, he said, “My son put this in. It is my favourite book; I want you to have it.”
Surprised, she opened the unassuming volume and read a while, and lifted a smiling face. “Poetry.”
“Descriptions of the imagination, about my world, its people and places. If you cannot come with me, then allow your imagination to take you there – the magic is in words also.”
She closed her eyes and clasped the book to her. “Thank you.”
Quilla stood, clasped his hands into a cradle.
“How old do you think we are, my friends? I attempted to calculate the vast period and am defeated in the task. We are ancient, prehistoric, pre-everything in this universe, and as such have learned to take the long view. We regard time as something invented by those who cannot grasp its true nature. They think linear, therefore they tally linear, their lives too short to take note of the curve. We see it as an element that has no beginning or end, for it is an eternal circle, tiny and gigantic simultaneously. It is, was, will be, and then beyond, and we ride the curve. How do you put a number to that? An instant is forever and forever is an instant. Time can be distorted, stilled, hastened ahead, and change nothing or change everything. It is its own master.”
Beacon was ordered, clean, and populous. It was a giant city world or a world city, depending on your view. Platforms, highways and bridges laced the oceans. Every few blocks a public area was given over to grass and trees, meticulously cared for, a concrete jungle’s redeeming feature, and likewise space was allocated on the oceans, the breathing room like dark swimming pools. Beacon was regimented, formal and strictly governed, and births were by dispensation of the state. The planet had the largest law-enforcement agency in the universe and the most expert and specialised waste-disposal systems.
Millennia back Beacon laid claim to a sister world in its solar system, a world that became a hungry nation’s breadbasket. Known as Beacon Farm, it was sparsely populated, as available land was relinquished to farming. Farmers rotated through the system and permitted no casual emigration from Beacon to Farm. Still, produce from Farm was insufficient and imports were of paramount importance.
It seemed to work; Beacon was a clean, well-governed world with no poor and hungry. But there was a dark side.
Manufacturing was done under license on other, less congested worlds, with no qualms about pollutants and no compassion for those exploited. Beacon’s powerful business cartels strip-mined, denuded forests, and quarried with no thought for the future. They paid high prices, yes, but left nothing but sterility and poverty behind, and moved on to the next proposition. Beacon was hated by other worlds.
Spacefaring for eons, they were also arrogant and superior. What was once regarded as a survival necessity, those pathfinders to other worlds, transformed into greedy business practice. The might of the cartels respected only two other human worlds; Valaris, for limiting Beacon to normal, healthy trade, and Xen III, for denying them access to long dormant minerals and ores after the domes were brought down.
Despite the alien aspect of billions of closely packed buildings, some towering fearsomely into the sky, Beacon was still beautiful. It was not the grey, sooty, dirty and polluted horror one would expect from a crowded city, but colourful, lyrical in cleanliness, and the crowds were ordered, polite, if distant and distrustful of strangers.
Transport over greater distances was via air-shuttle, while a network of sky-trains serviced shorter hops. Goods great and small were ferried along subterraneous routes. Beacon worked for Beaconites, a gigantic metropolis once foreseen by antiquated science fiction writers.
Naturally there was internal dissent, for without it a world was stagnant, declining by degrees often so infinitesimal that the crunch came when it was already too late to alter the momentum.
Dissenters kept a government alert, and free thought was the backbone of a healthy civilisation.
In The Sleeper Sword a curious place is unveiled, a Flatland with seasons, and first amongst the territories is the Falcon Isles:
The Falcon Isles were a glory to behold. In full colourful spring bloom the fertile land was alive and awake. Farmland sprouted green and herds of cattle, sheep and goats fed off lush new growth. Little cottages nestled in folds, stood prettily beside clear streams and rivers, and lovely hamlets dotted the meandering landscape.
Further afield large tracts were forested, evergreen pines for the most part, but also stately oaks, elms and chestnuts. Plantations of wattle, sugar cane and tea flew past beneath the belly of the swift flyer.
Still further, large herds of wild buffalo and antelope roamed newly greened plains, and eagles, herons, vultures, hawks, wild geese and other smaller waterfowl vied for space along the shores of natural emerald lakes. Small mountains were draped in the lace of countless waterfalls and in their privacy wolves played in abandon and great cats climbed the heights with majestic solemnity.
They came to the ocean and it was a frightening thing. Gunmetal grey, movement that knew no tides, it clashed constant, contrary breakers and was soundless. That was the scariest, the lack of sound when there was so much action. It was sobering, entirely alien, and Tial turned the craft to hug the coast.
Both averted gazes from the water to look upon the land.
Long stretches of brown beach were followed by immense cliffs. In some areas the land wound down green and smooth to meet the water and sometimes the cliffs were black, then white. Gulls flew noisily and swooped into the sea, but did not dwell there. Other than birds nobody fished these waters and no one lived close to it. The first signs of habitation began inland.
Tial shrugged at Torrullin’s raised eyebrows, and headed inland.
Peace returned and it was appreciated more after the strangeness of the ocean. They over-flew the once doomed lands of the Enforcer enclave, now more wholesome and glorious than its neighbours, and entered the flower counties. Bluebell, Primrose, Daffodil, Violet, Petunia and Rose, more, and from their bird’s eye view it was clear why the counties were named thus. In the few days since Torrullin’s arrival the bulbs and bushes transformed from dormant into vibrant showmanship and the counties were awash in colour.
Tial then took them to the other side of the isles, east, west, depending on your view, and slowed over what was once a broad swath of land connecting the severed land to the gigantic landmasses in the distance.
Here they did pause to study the forbidding ocean, but when Torrullin asked whether they wanted the submerged land bridge restored, Tial shook his head in definitive denial. The Falcon Isles were self-sufficient, he said, and inhabited by peace-loving peoples – not so elsewhere.
Tial turned the craft, leaving without a backward glance.
What is this Medaillon?
Our tales, especially the epic kind, require tools of magic, and the Lore series do have a few. The Maghdim Medaillon, though, is number one!
In another post the mighty medal will be further unveiled; here I’m explaining why there is a Pinterest board known as Worlds of the Medaillon. Because the Medaillon is imperative to all the tales in Lore, I created a board to encompass all worlds. Do have a look!