Sometimes. It’s not always voluntary, you know; the foresight activates itself wil or nil. Those who have never had such dreams imagine it to be an amazing power, to see the future — yet to know what is to come and be powerless to change it can be nothing more than the cruelest of God’s pranks.
That being said, yes, I can choose to enter the dreams of others if I really make the effort. For a while some years ago I used my dreamwalking powers to visit other realms, and to see the lives of those worlds’ inhabitants through their eyes. It was something of an indulgence, I admit, an excuse to escape from the visions of horror and murder that plagued my daily life and inflict visions of horror and murder on someone else for a change of pace.
I did find that children were usually the easiest to visit in dreams; they have wider, more active imaginations and less of the mental discipline it would take to exclude me. There was one particular world I found very intriguing, and visited many times over the course of a month or so. I built up enough of a presence that the children there even began to become aware of me. What was the place’s name? It had something to do with trees. Beech street? Elm street? Something like that.
The king had seen your future, and searched endlessly for a path in which you could be saved. Even as he was driven to insanity…
It was difficult. I can admit that now. We were estranged for much of my life, and never even reconciled upon the old man’s death, although I suppose the fact that I killed him didn’t help with that.
Even in my childhood, though, there was always a certain chilliness there. I had a younger brother, on whom my father doted… He never showed such open affection to me, was always closed and wary.
My own father thought I was a monster.
He was right, of course. But it still hurt!
I could, but I really shouldn’t! Once I got started, where would I stop?
All right, all right, here’s one I just have to share. Fai was about seventeen or so at the time, and just entering his first growth spurt. He had his eye on one of the court pages — nothing serious, just a crush, although I kept an eye on the situation just in case it became necessary for me to brick up the would-be suitor and all his family in the bottom level of a tower somewhere.
He was going through his musical phase at the time — he would do this regularly, where he decided he wanted to become a master at a certain art like painting or music or cooking, and throw himself into it for a month or so before he deciding that it was too hard, he’d never be good at anything, and the world was a cold and cruel wasteland which he must traverse in lonely solitude (he was right about that, but that’s not the point.)
The point is that he took to dawdling outside the page’s window at all hours of the morning, strumming his lute and crooning badly broken renditions of the latest popular ballads. Let me see if I have pictures. Do I have pictures? Alas, they seem to have gotten lost with my other paperwork when the world was ripped into magical confetti and wadded into a pocket of space the size of a basketball, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.
Probably not very many. The mongols were a nomadic, steppes-going people, which meant that they had neither access to nor interest in extensive lumber cultivation. Their dwellings, for example, were based around the structure of the ger, a tent of bone poles and woolen felt covers that could be collapsed, packed on horseback and reassembled quickly at the end of a day’s march.
Really, even if they were bored of murder and pillage (and they never got bored of murder and pillage,) I can’t imagine the Mongols choosing to invest in lumber over smaller, more portable forms of riches and plunder. They were less with the construction of infrastructure and more with the invasion and slaughter, salting of the earth, more slaughter, tearing the temples and government buildings of the conquered peoples apart stone by stone, and slaughter. Did I mention the slaughter? It’s my favorite part.
I would say so! Most of the time, the nobility of Ceres is exquisitely polite — to my face, at any rate. Behind my back, anything goes. But I recall one particularly pesky baron, a few years ago, who made a point of making himself a thorn in my side at every state dinner he managed to invite himself to. Nag, nag, nag, all of the time. “Ashura, you can’t just adopt some ragged guttersnipe from another world and name him your heir.” “Ashura, enough with the slaughtering peasants already.” “Ashura, you’re insane.” “Ashura, this madness will end when I mount your head on a pike on the castle gates.” Oh, the inanity!
Fortunately, we managed to resolve it in a civil and mannerly fashion when I invited him to a private dinner, prepared by my most highly esteemed and trusted private chef. Stuffed aubergine, Maltese aujotta served along Provence ratatouille, and you should have seen the look on his face when I told him he was eating his own intestines!
I kid, I kid, of course. As if I could have managed to remove and serve up his own intestines without him noticing! They were his family’s.
Heavens Coming Down, by ~ECK
Family Portrait, by Erulisse2
TRC’s Ashura-ou, by ~Eirlys-Tylluan