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 SLEEPER SWORD