Lost in the world of dreams
As a child I would often reach strange realms and seek strange vistas that revealed themselves only to me. I was told that such were the fancies of the young and inexperienced and that age and the world would teach me about reality. And I laughed for who can say if one is dreaming whilst asleep? And who can say that the grey and monotonous world of reality was more important than the vibrant and blazing world of my dreams? I knew what I wanted to believe and thus, as men often do, believed it.
Sometimes I played with the wild horses of the endless plains of Rongolia. We would gallop as swiftly as the wind that followed us but never did we see an end to the boundless steppe that nurtured us. The grass was always plenty and sweet, and the water cool and refreshing. After a while – after we had explored every hill and every water hole – our tribe would continue on on its endless migration for the whole world was our home. Only the sun and moon stayed the same wherever we were, and they alternately watched over us and gave us light. Unbound by time and space my life was with the wild horses of the endless plains of Rongolia.
At other times, I flew with my friends the birds over the jungles of Azilia that were only cleaved in parts by rushing rivers. Then I always tried to reach the sun or the moon to thank them for watching over me and also to learn the stories they could tell me; they who saw everything. But always my wings tired before my will did and I cursed them. However, they were a part of myself and cursing them only hurt more until I gave up and joined my friends the birds who were wiser and older than me and told me that no bird in all the time of the world had ever reached the sun or the moon to thank them for their light. They told me rumours that the rivers that bisected the jungle - that gleamed like emeralds in the light of the sun and like diamonds in the light of the moon - would lead to the place where all rivers flow. And there all the rivers would meet and mingle and, this the birds told me rumours of, sometimes the sun or the moon would leave their place high above us to meet with the rivers and exchange stories. And the mingling rivers would take the colour of the sun and become red and orange like fire, or they would take the colour of the moon and become silver and white. Thus, I followed the rivers who bisected the jungles like gleaming bands of emerald but never found the place where all the rivers meet and mingle and talk to the sun and the moon. No bird could tell from whence these rumours had come and who had told of them first. And I thought that this place where rivers meet must be worlds away for was not the jungle that was only parted by rivers as endless as the sky that harboured the sun and the moon? And so I kept flying with my friends the birds over the emerald jungles of Azilia that were only cleaved in parts by rushing rivers and looked up to the dwellers in the sky and prayed to them from afar as no bird could reach them and thank them for watching over us.
Many times, too, I was a young man wandering the world and travelling from wonder to wonder. Then, I saw a city with walls tall and white and with myriads of different kinds of people that spoke myriads of different tongues and bartered silk and spices and stones and purple robes and golden jewellery and as many things of wonder that there were people. And this city's name was Sur and it was very mighty and old. A powerful king watched over it and all-knowing gods watched over the king, so that no harm may befall Sur, the very mighty and old city with the tall and white walls.
Both the king and the gods lived in palaces greater than most cities in the core of Sur and were protected by even higher walls. But those were black and while during the day everyone could enter the outer city through the white walls, nobody was allowed into the inner city, be it day or night. Sometimes foreigners new to Sur asked who served the king and who prayed to the gods if no man was allowed into the inner city but the people of Sur answered that the king prayed to the gods and what need does a king have for human servants that is protected by the gods?
And the city was rich and beautiful and, although there are always those that are jealous or those that see only opportunity in beauty, never has an army gathered to storm the white wall for what can an army do before a city that is protected by all-knowing gods? Therefore, the people of Sur were happy and carefree and left their city's gates open unguarded by night. Everyone knew of the prophecy that told that Sur would stand unblemished as long as no man entered the inner city that was protected by the black wall. Only then the gods would leave the city and Sur would fall to ruin as all things of man do. But the people knew that no man was allowed to enter the inner city that was protected by black walls, be it day or night, and so, the gods would stay in Sur for all of eternity.
When I tired of the people and the cities, I would wander to volcanoes where the gods of the earth show their displeasure at man stealing their treasures and where the ground takes the colour of the sea at sunset. There, I would pray to the gods of the earth for what else can a man do in front of an angry god? But soon, I would wander again and see strange ruins, half buried by the desert, or icy wastes where nothing lives but the North Winds. Never did I tire of seeing the wonders of the worlds ad never did my wonder weaken.
But as I grew older, my body grew, yet my soul shrank. My eyes saw less and less, and my soul could not wonder as easily as it did before. Diamonds turned to coal, gold rusted, cities became hellish and soulless places were all people were enslaved and knelt before cruel gods and the worlds turned darker and darker. This continued until one day I could no longer bear this descent into hell silently and sought help from the two trusted people that had always waited for my return from my strange and wondrous travels. And they joined me in my quest for a cure.
One day an evil sorcerer came before me, clad wholly in white as if to spit on all that is good and holy, and gave me a curse. For some people were scared of what my eyes could see and what it meant for their own eyes, and after their attempts at persuading me to stop seeing failed, they brought this ancient and evil sorcerer from a neighbouring city that much dwarfed our own. And he told me my eyes would stop seeing all those beautiful and terrifying vistas and that eternal, moonless night shall be my fate; that all diamonds should stop glimmering, flowers stop blooming and even the sun and moon fall silent in my presence. And I remembered all the cities and plains, all the rivers and seas and all the birds and wild horses and deserts and icy wastes I had visited and knew fear. For this ancient and evil sorcerer spoke with the surety of a god declaring the universal truth of time and the people around who had brought him here from a neighbouring city that much dwarfed our own broke out in tears as if their eyes had become scared, too. I was young then but still I knew that only the end of the sorcerer himself could break such a powerful and terrible curse. And so, after my frozen blood had thawed and my body been unfrozen from fear, I grabbed whatever sharp utensil or tool my hands found and sprung upon the ancient and evil sorcerer like a lion springs upon a cornered prey. There I hacked and stabbed in desperate abandon fuelled by my all-consuming fear to never see again the wonders of the worlds. I screamed and shouted to ward off the panic that threatened to paralyse me. Much shouting also arose around me and before I could break the curse I was wrenched away and constrained with wires of cold metal. And more sorcerers spoke their curses upon me to take away even more of what is beautiful and astonishing in the world and for what my eyes and my mind hungered desperately.
Today, I live in a world with neither sun nor moon where night reigns eternally and even the stars have long been chased away. There are neither hills nor mountains nor the sea or a river. And nothing lives there except me and nothing disturbs its silence. This world is small, and its ground is cold and unfriendly to my feet and its walls are soft like silk yet never yield. So, whenever my thoughts wander to my childhood when I danced among the green hills and lived among the wild horses and wandered through deserts and icy wastes of magnificent and terrifying beauty, I cry hot and bitter tears that I feel flowing down my face. But even though I search and stare into the dark, never do they sparkle like diamonds in the pale moon light as I they had when I was young. Then, I curse impotently at the ancient and evil sorcerer and await wistfully the day when I shall be freed of this prison and my soul wander again through the world and my eyes see vistas unnameable.