Part 13: Epileptic Trees
Act Two Chapter Five - The Old Man And The Boy
We haven't left the Wells of Lurue yet. There's one more thing we need to see.
: Opening oneself to another touched by the spirits, however, can have other effects. It can open one's inner sight - the eye that one uses while dreaming, the "Dreamer's Eye" in the Rashemi tongue.
: What does this Dreamer's Eye do?
: You will notice you see many things... clearer than before. You may find yourself finishing others' sentences or shaping their incomplete thoughts.
: I also suspect this sight will allow you to see the spirits of others easier, should you use your powers on them... and possibly quench your hunger more fully. But that is just speculation.
This is Gann's Loyalty conversation. It's not really needed for anything, but it's a nice little intro to what we're about to experience. Mechanically we get +1 Charisma and 5% extra energy from Devour Spirit.
: Your Dreamer's Eye is open now, whether you realize it or not. Even should we be apart or I should fall in battle, it will remain open.
Our Dreamer's Eye is just a name for Gann's Loyalty feat (the next step is Dreamer's Voice) but the name references the Third Eye of Hindu/Buddhist/New Age mysticism. You may recognise it in the form of those dots (tilaks) some Hindus wear between their eyebrows. It's a symbol of enlightenment and inner knowledge - of visions and astral voyages. To see with the Third Eye is to see beyond the veils of the physical world, to see the truths of inner consciousness and true reality. It's an ability possessed by a few... the gods and the chosen enlightened, perhaps.
Anyway, Gann has one, and now we have one too. And we're about to put it to good use.
* * *
: They are gone now, but their spirits and memories remain. These memories, these fragments of their waking dreams can still be seen, like ripples on the surface of the water... while others swim deep in the undertow of the pools here.
: What kind of memories?
: Battle, blood, death... sleep, comfort, life... mating. Their dreams were not different from yours or mine, though some of their senses were keener.
: Not with the eyes with which you see the world - but the Dreamer's Eye, perhaps. You would have to drink from the pools, however.
: And they will not show you only the memories of beasts - it may cut into your subconscious as well, though that may serve as an improvement...
Time for some non-conventional story-telling.
* * *
Dreamscape - Wells of Lurue
Do not adjust your sets, people. This is a Dream.
Just watch out for red-headed sister-figures transforming into murderous satanic killing machines. Or mysterious black-robed villains that turn out to be the player character.
Barely ten steps in we find this guy.
: I've found something... kept it safe for many long years. But the Faceless Man may be close on your heels. We need to make haste.
: Should I know you, old one?
: Surely not. I died before you first drew breath. I fear that I am little more than an echo... a memory of what was.
Well, why not?
There's a little side-chamber, all nice and made up. Oddly familiar...
No, it can't be...
We're in Okku's barrow. But why?
: He created all you see here - or it formed about him like an island, a hidden fortress in a limbo of dream. I only drifted here by chance.
: These caverns came later, after I arrived. This sanctuary... somehow reshaped itself for me. What little remains of me, that is.
: Who is in the cavern?
: A remnant, perhaps. A piece of a larger whole. There were many such remnants once, but the hunger has gradually devoured them all.
This child - a spirit-eater?
: Nor do I know it myself. I think... that my name is not important. Not for you. And you are why I am still here.
: All that really matters is this - I know something about your path because I once walked it myself.
: Are you saying that you were a spirit-eater?
: In life, yes. In death, I am little more than a memory, though I'm not certain whose.
: We are discarded, we who bear the hunger. One after another, we are used up, burned out. But the hunger lives on, and passes to another.
The old man is the previous spirit-eater, the one before us. The one who chained his hunger and locked it away in a tomb.
The one whose life work we screwed up. Sorry, it wasn't our fault! Blame those stupid gargoyles!
: This cavern is where I died. Lord Okku swore an oath when I spared his life, on the shifting floes of Tirulag... swore it in that hell of cracking ice and screaming, drowning beasts.
: He would help me end my curse, whatever the cost to himself or his tribe. His barrow would become my tomb, and he my guardian, that no mortal should go near my corpse.
: And when the hunger fled my remains, it would find no new face... no new mask... to hide behind.
: So the hunger passes to a new 'mask' upon the death of the previous spirit-eater?
: Not directly, perhaps. But he may help reveal its nature... and from such knowledge might come mastery.
: In the meantime, you must forgive an old fool. I set wards to guard the chamber, when I was far stronger than I am now.
How bad can it be?
It turns out a shadow reaver is pretty bad.
We just about manage to beat him though (goddamn Horned Devils).
I think it's too early in the day to be talking about Freudian subtext.
: The priests call him Akachi. He says it's an eastern name - we all get them, when we're given to the church.
: I'm called Eveshi. But when the priests aren't listening, my brother calls me Ahrraman.
: "Ahrraman"... the word for "laughter" in the old Mulan tongue.
Indeed, Araman is the name of the Red Wizard of Thay who overthrew Safiya's mother as head of the Academy. But Akachi lived and died decades ago, in Rashemen, and the same applies to this little fellow.
: No. But I must. The town gave us to Myrkul's church, to be his wards, and to make him smile on our people. My brother... I know he'll make a better priest than me.
: A piece of mask... he never offered this to me...
: I do not know what to make of this - but that mask fragment, if it can exist outside the dream, it is a powerful thing indeed.
: Thank you... but how do I use it?
Wait! I still had