Cerin "Spring," Cerin says quietly after ascertaining he is alone in the dojo. "Did your research into the manner of dreams come to any conclusions?"
Spring speaks equally quietly, though he does not stop balancing on one finger. "Unfortunately, the primary information I gathered was that we would need more dramatic methods of research to uncover the information we sought."
Spring "Perhaps there is someone I could speak with on the subject...?"
Cerin "It occurs to me that there are a great many gods, now under my juristiction, who might be knowledgable of such things. Dream gods, for example."
Spring "Members of the Bureaucracy?"
Spring "That might do very well."
Cerin "Yes," he nods. "There are very few Terrestrial Gods who are not."
Spring "Shall we, then?" Spring flips to his feet.
Not too long afterwards, Cerin and Spring find themselves at the doorway of the Sanctum of Ja'el, Southeastern Goddess of the Midnight Walk --
by which one might mean, they stand in an entirely unpopulated portion of the Summer Mountains, before a particularly large rocky outcropping that matches Cerin's records, and is decorated nicely with several species of brush growing at its feet, but which otherwise seems utterly unremarkable.
Cerin opens his eyes to carefully investigate the area, certain that the area must indeed be the correct place, but at first it does not seem to match -- there is no visible doorway, no essence locus to mark the transition from reality to the sanctum of the God who dwells here. (...)
But then, further, more careful investigation reveals something more: some sort of unusual tinge to the Essence of the area as a whole, of a vibration distinct from that of surrounding areas -- as if the Sanctum's entrancce is in some way spread out over the entire area.
Cerin "Ja'el, Southeastern Goddess of the Midnight Walk, I, Cerin the Wolf, Most Glorious Archon of the Terrestrial Bureaucracy, would have words with you."
Spring eats some brush.
There is a long pause of complete and utter silence, in which there is no response of any kind. (...)
Finally, however, the (remaining) brush surrounding the rock blows and moves on a sudden breeze, as if curious about why someone so important has gone all this way out of their way to come here on a visit.
Spring burps, with a slightly embarrassed air.
Cerin "I would converse with you on a matter of some importance concerning your domain in the wider sense, not your portion in specific." There was a hint though, perhaps, that if he had to stay around he might get more interested.
The wind kicks up again, blowing over a nearby rock and revealing, beneath it, what appear to be two "beds," each rendered of stone with a thick mossy coating.
Spring glances at Cerin, eyebrow raised.
Cerin "It appears we must sleep," he says, lying on the bed. ::And I will have to ask Zahara about a spell she mentioned once::
Spring nods, and lies down himself.
Sleep comes quickly for the two Solars as they lay down on the -- surprisingly comfortable -- rocky beds, and soon after that they find themselves drifting into the dreamscape -- standing in a place much like where they lay down, but... different. (...)
The dusty yellow rock is drawn here in bright turquoise, and an orange-purple sky shines brilliantly; brush of black and white grows from the ground, and strange melodies float by on the air. Cerin even notices what looks like a school of fish, swimming langorously through the air in the distance.
Spring "How recherche." Spring eats some monochrome brush.
Cerin Cerin gets up from the bed, and looks around for the goddess. "Quite."
After a moment, a localized duststorm kicks up, and in its wake is left the individual to whom Cerin and Spring have chosen to pay their visit: Ja'el, a short being clad in -- or perhaps, rendered entirely out of -- the flowing, many-layered garb of a desert dervish, tinted in green and yellow.
Spring "Good evening."
Jael "Greetings, Archon and... honored guest," she says, making some sort of bowing-like gesture.
Cerin "This is Long-Awaited Spring, Twilight of my Circle."
Spring "I have some questions that I would like to ask you, Ja'el of the Midnight Walk."
Jael turns in the air and looks over Spring with the cloth-cut holes that seem to be her eyes. "Yes, of course," she says. "Whatever the Archon needs, whatever would be... most helpful." She casts a sidelong glance at Cerin and waves one arm to summon an oddly-angled table and chairs out of the void.
Spring sits down politely.
Cerin too takes a seat.
Cerin "The answers to his questions are ones that I am interested in too."
Spring "It has come to our attention that certain citizens of the Sunlands are being periodically visited by unnatural dreams, sent by an outside source."
Spring "It would be most useful if we were able to become aware of these dreams, view them in their entirety, and send dreams of our own."
Spring "How may this be accomplished?"
Jael considers the topic. "Do you know much of dreaming?"
Spring "Assume that I know little, but can learn much."
Jael "Dreaming is the substrate of all reality," she says, careful to do as much as possible to play up the importance of her own dominion while the boss is here. (...)
Jael "The waking live their lives day to day in the physical world," she says, and pulls apart a portion of the air like an unravelling scarf, to reveal the normally-tinted world beyond. (...)
Jael "Though a solid Creation was crafted to stand as a solid edifice, it was built upon the tapestry -- what you call the Wyld," she says, and tears at the air in another spot, revealing unshaped chaos roiling beyond. (...)
Jael "Dreams are the mind's faint echo of the roiling chaos that underlies all the world, the intersection between reality and unreality."
Cerin nods, as he considers the implications of this.
Cerin "Please, continue," he says, his voice conveying interest.
Jael "The trick for interacting with dreams -- if you are not naturally gifted with the most carefully tuned abilities to do so, as I am -- is to insert yourself into that intersection."
Spring "How may we do so?"
Jael "Those who wish to do so in an.... unsubtle method might turn to Wyld travel, or lost sorcerous incantations -- or yoke one of the Fair Ones to heel, for I have seen that some of them may journey into dreams." (...)
Jael "But the best fashion is to step out of the world entirely, to detach oneself from the restraints of physical existence and walk directly in the breech; to touch dreams not through distant action, but through the motive force of one's own hands..." Ja'el shakes her head; she's getting a bit carried away.
Spring "A pleasant image."
Spring "Is there a specific manner in which leaving this world might be usefully accomplished, that you have not already elucidated?"
Jael "Oh," she says, as if a little surprised and disappointed that Spring did not jut step sideways out of the world at her slightest suggestion. "Some of your... well, not your people. Some of the other ones can do it. Or, I suppose, there is always some manner of sorcery nonsense."
Cerin "Some of the other ones? The so called 'Chosen of the Gods'? Or other, older, Exalted lines?"
Jael "I think some of the starry ones can do it. And I'm sure there must be minor Exalts out there, as well... not here, of course." She huffs slightly. "I would never have been involved with any of that nonsense."
Spring "Of course not."
Spring glances at Cerin again. "I believe that answers most of my concerns."
Cerin nods. "I believe it satisfied my curiousity too."
Spring "Thank you for your time, Ja'el. You have been surprisingly helpful."
Jael nods. "Good, good, I'm glad," she says, looking curiously under her elaborate headflaps, as if to be certain that Cerin is indeed satisfied with his visit and doesn't perhaps want to dig into any other sort of unimportant and certainly not worthy of his time matters while he's here.
Cerin "This conversation, of course, did not happen. Since I was not here. Which would make it quite hard for me to have any knowledge of the workings of your domain, no?"
Spring ::Does she actually believe that we were not here, or are you intimidating her? It is not clear to me.::
Cerin ::I must confess to a certain uncertainty about just how a Goddess' mind works. She may well forget this now. It is not my intention to intimidate, merely to point out that I wish this conversation to be private, as she has things that she wishes to remain so.::
Jael winks one of her strange split eyes at Cerin, and smiles.