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Will and Imagination

 
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Joined: 01 Oct 2007
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Location: Cardiff, UK

PostPosted: Sat May 20, 2017 9:38 pm    Post subject: Will and Imagination Reply with quote

Once upon a time, there was a traveller caught in a terrible storm. Tired, injured and confused, he found a shelter in a cave, a thin but dry crack in a stone cliff. He hauled himself in, curled up in a dark corner out of reach of the rain and wind, and fell at once into a much-needed sleep.

***

As the aftermath of the whole Golden King business started to wind down, Janus slipped away to continue his journey alone. It would take a while to reach his next destination, and he allowed his thoughts to settle on the land he walked in now, and what place he might have in it.

"Champion of the Story," he said out loud. "Another title? Not one I'd have thought I'd go by, but there are worse."

***

But this was not just some random cave, a mere mundane fracture or simple glacial carve. There are places in the world that are thin, where the boundaries of one world or another touch and power, knowledge or things far more glorious or terrible can be found if you know how to look. But though each of these places is very different to any of the others, all have a few things in common. And one of these things is that they are very rarely unguarded. This cave, on the edge of the waking world and the world of slumber was no exception.

***

The land of Faerie that he travelled through was, in some ways, the opposite of the lands of Frontier to which he headed. One was light and beautiful on the surface, concealing many terrible things that would reach out for you if you were careless or unlucky. The other was a place of terrible danger and hardship, but also one that hid reward and delight in the dark forests and paths if you chose to walk them - carefully.

***

The powers that dwelt here, that saw this otherworldly hole as their charge and territory noted the presence of the traveller. Noted it, worried about it, and grew intolerant of it. With power granted by the Slumbering World, they invaded the traveller's exhausted mind and shaped his dreams. And the traveller dreamed he was a ragged man on the streets of city slums, weak of body and damaged of mind. He dreamed that he was a bloodthirsty killer, the lives of innocents staining his soul. He dreamed that he was an angel, sweeping through the clouds on wings of feathers and light. He dreamed he was a rabid dog, tied to a tree and abandoned to die. He dreamed he was a spider, still on his web and feeding off the victims that he ensnared. He dreamed he was a butterfly, sitting on a tree branch unknowing and uncaring.

***

Something back there worried him. There was a hidden and growing problem there, but Janus had a creeping feeling that there was another more subtle issue that the more obvious one might be concealing. Something that was slightly out of place, someone the tiniest bit not quite right.

***

Each dream sang to his mind. Each dream called to his spirit, whispered claims of truth and fact. Each dream seemed more real than the others, more real than life itself. And then, the traveller suddenly found himself in a dark cavern deep underground, hot and lit red by streams of magma. A single point of light glimmered above, the only possible escape. And the powers surrounded him, threatening and mocking. The rebuked him for trespassing on their territory, and declared their punishment for the interloper.

"Which of these dreams is the real you, little man?" they asked. "Only by accepting that dream which is true can you leave this place. But that one true dream will become all you will ever know. So which one do you see as the true dream, little being? Which dream will be the only life you have in your world?"


***

Sighing a little, and pulling slightly at his eye-patch, Janus considered himself. Down an eye, recovering from total blindness and partial amnesia, though both were now overcome, Janus felt like he was heading to something big and potentially terminal. He was being called on to do something important, but it was something he couldn't do. Not yet. Maybe not ever. He whispered to himself.

"Guardian of Destiny."

***

And in reply, the traveller shook his head and laughed. He pulled his shape into a butterfly and darted forward, staining the cavern in his bloodthirsty flutter. And then he was a rabid dog, feeding on the powers as he ensnared them. And as they reeled back, the ragged man raised himself into the air on his lightborn wings. He looked down at the powers with a mix of disdain and pity, powers suddenly as tired, injured and confused as any traveller lost in a storm. And as he drifted upwards out of the cave, he left them with his answer.

***

He was a pendulum swinging in a grandfather clock. He'd swung back and forth wildly, never in the same position, always in change. The swing had slowed, but not quite stopped . On one side, something demanded that he swing to a particular pattern as demanded. On the other, something reached out to grab him and stop him swinging ever again. One side demanding the clock tick on, the other that it stop, neither side caring what the clock might want. But Janus had made up his mind what the clock would do.

It would chime.

***

"My answer then - all of them. All these dreams and countless more. Each one comes from the depths of my soul, each one is the truth of me, and I can be all or none of them as I desire. Because I am no mere immortal being or towering deity. I am something far more ptent and powerful, more glorious or terrible if I so desire. I am something that can be anything or nothing, as small or as great as I choose myself to be, the only being of truly limitless potential.

The will and imagination of an unbound mortal is the most powerful thing in all reality."

_________________
OOC: Gareth W

IC: Janus, Caraway, Beam of the Sun and the Moon

"When Destiny interferes with Reality, the only appropriate response is Insanity"
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