Book I Chapter XX: Field Notes
The Faerie Circle
Dreamsong Veil, The Reverie
The copper dragon soared over the transformed and crystalline landscape once known as Darkling Wood, his wings throwing a wide shadow over the stirring canopies below.
Elliot watched with wide-eyed wonder from the cockpit nestled within Vigil's breast, scanning the area for unusual sights. Axl still loomed in the distance, as faint and ephemeral as a mirage.
Concerned, Elliot bit her lip. “Vigil, how much longer do you think it'll take us to get there? We've been flying for a while already.”
“As long as you believe it will,” the dragon said. “Time, space, and location are relative to the individual here.”
“...oh. Oh, I wish I had said something sooner! I've wasted a great deal of time, if that's...” Her words died in her throat as she considered them.
Vigil tucked his neck down to survey the area, swooping in to land in a grassy clearing below. He stretched his wings and folded them against his sides. “There's no need to worry. Time is a concept I have little need for, having been born here. I go where and do what I need as I think to. When other events are taking place around me, I make my use of it, and otherwise it's no trouble.” He gave a little laugh, dropping down on all fours and making his way on foot towards the city.
“Things only happen as people expect them to here, I suppose,” Elliot considered. “So no sunrise and sunset, or growth and decay without them being prompted by someone somehow. But how can such an arrangement function-- and what happens when two people expect two different things?”
Vigil grinned. “What, indeed! More formidable and wishful minds bend the Reverie to their will; a person used to the laws and rules of the material plane will swiftly get too caught up in the details and impossibilities they knew and heeded there to be of much effect for long.The Revere have similar troubles getting by in the waking world. It can be very dangerous to apply our way of life there, even with the use of capable psionics, but a dreamer in the land of dreams has no time for Valenthian concepts such as 'cannot'. This is a world based not in matter, but potential.”
Elliot shook her head. “That's fascinating. Perhaps it's best if I leave the travel to you, and consider other things in the meantime. Vige, how much do you know about the Veil?”
Striding into a hillside covered in fragrant rosebushes,Vigil paused to admire them; he was only temporarily surprised when they began to shuffle away from his feet in a loose group.
Several spun around to watch him with wooden faces as they waddled backwards, their noises pointed upward. Others scattered, hurrying into the cover of the trees and curling into little balls, tucking their paws over their heads. Elliot stifled a giggle, watching with curiosity.
Stepping carefully over the upset pricklepigs, Vigil continued on his way. “The Veil... well, I know some of the backstory and theory behind it; just bits and pieces I've picked up in my travels. To understand what it is and why it functions the way it does, you'll need to know about the Reverie and Valenth, and their natural relation to one another.
“Valenth and the Reverie are two worlds, parallel and connected to each other, but on separate planes of existence. Passing between them physically is a bit difficult to accomplish in most cirumstances-- a hole must be torn through the space seperating the two in order to walk from Valenth into the Reverie, and vice versa. That would normally be an impossible task-- but raw miracrystal can tear and erode the fabric between worlds; aetherholes are the result.
“Most aetherholes that existed in Valenth prior to the opening of the Veil were formed in boralion lairs and other areas of high mirajin concentration, with the Cathedral of a Thousand Roses in Chimre being the largest. That particular pocket of dreamspace was found to lead to the very edge of the Reverie's static lands, and so it's been used as a point of reference for travelers ever since.
“Beyond the border lies the swirling vortex where dreams form, called Entropia; it's considered a no-man's land, and wandering in there is functional suicide for people from the waking world. Surreal as Stasia may be, it's navigable and largely inhabited by creatures that might interpret a traveler as a sentient being.”
“So this is Stasia we're in, then?” Elliot asked, watching the last of the pricklepigs disappear into the brush. “I'll assume that Entropia is the place people tend to go while they're dreaming, but I didn't realize there were seperate regions in the Reverie at all.”
“Most Valenthians don't,” Vigil reassured her. “Many Revere peoples have settlements and territories here, just like people from the waking world do. But most of that's done in Stasia, in part because it's not much use to build a house on a grassy knoll just to turn around and find an erupting volcano in its place. Some natives enter Entropia on various business, but it's generally a playground for the subconscious mind, and considered best left that way.”
Considering the coherency and stability of the sorts of dreams Elliot was prone to having, she could easily see the logic behind such a decision. “I suppose the material plane has its charms, after all. Please, do continue.”
Vigil nodded.“Yes, where was I? Ah! The Cathedral of a Thousand Roses exists in both planes at once, thanks to the influence of the Fatis Mirajin. On Valenth, it's within the city of Laps-du-Ment, while its Revere counterpart is surrounded by the mirror city of Laps-Lucienne. It's considered the southern end of Stasia, while on the opposite end of the region to the north lies the leupak city of Borealis, also just within the border.
“In the past, if you were to enter the Reverie from the Cathedral, you'd arrive in Laps-Lucienne without question. Aetherholes found elsewhere throughout Valenth would deposit you somewhere in Stasia between Laps-Lucienne and Borealis-- and those two points on opposite sides of a given portal would never change.
“Now is where the Veil comes in. In the past, every aetherhole that has been opened between Valenth and the Reverie was a simple doorway; you'd step through from a given point on one side, and step out into a corresponding point on the other. Neither realm gained or lost anything beyond the creatures that were moving between them and any objects they carried with them.
“But the Veil is not a traditional aetherhole or portal,” Vigil stressed. “It may have begun as one, opened from the very heart of the Cathedral, but a spell was cast that caused the initial portal to expand exponentially... as well as generating a force that started to tear Valenth itself into the Reverie.”
“...That's... that's possible?” Elliot squeaked, feeling suddenly dizzy.
“That's the catch,” Vigil replied. “In the material world? Absolutely not. In the Reverie? Possibility is simply a measure of your own subconscious and strength of will against any potential opposition.
“The Dreamwaker stood on the line between dreams and reality and used the Reverie's nature against Valenth's. No one was there to counter the effort with one of their own, or convince him that it was an impossible feat and interrupt the ritual, and so the two worlds began to merge, starting with Chimre and Mimore and spreading outwards. Had everything gone as planned, there would have been no Veil at all in the end, merely a single planet and plane... a marriage of dreams and reality. But something on Valenth-- something with enormous presence and an unprecedented amount of energy-- halted the process before it finished.
“Now, the material plane has decreased in size while the Reverie has inherited the pieces of Valenth that were pulled into the Veil during its expansion. The regions which were swallowed by the Veil are now part of the land of dreams, and have sprung into being around Stasia's perimeter. That's where we are now-- a place that was once South Dreamsong, but is part of the region now known as the Faerie Circle by the inhabitants of the Reverie.”
Elliot pulled up her knees, resting her arms and head atop them with wide eyes; her mind reeled with the enormity of what her dragon had just explained to her.
It was a lot-- far too much-- to take in at once, and she'd need to have a better understanding before she could write proper notes and archive the information for the Somnambulist Project, and...
A sudden, startling realization sent a chill down her spine. “...Vigil, this is incredible, but how do you know so much about it? I know you were born here, and you've been here for months, but this sounds an awful lot like insider information. Were you there when the Veil was first opened? Do you know someone who was?”
“Elliot,” Vigil said softly, gesturing to the city of Axl standing before them, a mess of snaking vines, crashed ships, and creaking docks surrounded by a black and foaming sea.
Next Chapter: Volume II - Book I Chapter XXI
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