Berwyn Berwyn leads the group off to one of the side chambers, and quickly arranges for them to have a sit-down with Dabaizhe, a rather severe-looking southern woman in a wrap-around olive-green uniform.
Spring nods politely. "You must be Dabaizhe. I am Spring, and this is Cerin."
Dabaizhe "Yup." Dabaizhe nods curtly. "Well, we've met now."
Cerin "Greetings, Dabaizhe."
Spring "We have a problem of security." Spring floods her mind with the details.
Dabaizhe "Dream poachers," she says, still curt.
Cerin "As I am sure Spring just explained, we intend to stop them."
Cerin "To do that, it would be helpful to know how to evesdrop on their dreams so that we can learn something of their plans."
Dabaizhe "Well," she says, "it's a whole process." She takes out a piece of paper, in interests of explaining more effectively.
Dabaizhe "Dreams originate in the intersection between reality and illusion," she says, drawing neat diagrammatical boxes to assist her explanation.
Dabaizhe "Normally they represent a minor bubble at that intersection," she says, drawing a small bubble, "so they are very difficult to manipulate without physical proximity -- someone's dreams aren't generally so much their own as the dreams that happen to overlap with them."
Dabaizhe "Sometimes, someone can make a bigger dream," she says, and draws a larger bubble, "in order to overlap several people in the same dream. Given that your quarry is sending identical dreams to mortals, that's probably what's happening here."
Spring shifts impatiently.
Cerin "What, though, if the dreams are not identical in all particulars?"
Dabaizhe "Your target might be beginning the dreams in a common shape and seeding individual results for each recipient, so things end up differently despite a common beginning. That's if you're lucky," she says, deadpan.
Dabaizhe "If you're not lucky, your target is spending hours every night sending unique dreams one by one, and you'll need to be able to know who the recipients or the sender are in order to hear what they're dreaming. Which," she adds, "is probably not helpful to you."
Cerin "How much effort would that take, beyond the time involved?"
Dabaizhe "A significant reserve of Essence, or the use of an artifact or dream-amplification device better than anything I'm familiar with," she says. "Probably not a job for one person."
Cerin nods "The technique itself, who would likely be capable of performing it? A mortal? An Exalt? A sorceror?"
Dabaizhe "There are methods of dream manipulation via sorcery," she says. "Otherwise, I am familiar with only two who can accomplish it: a faerie who slips outside the edges of the world through the medium of the Wyld... and a Sidereal who Walks Outside the World and sends their visions with an ancient technique we long ago devised."
Spring "How difficult is this for a Sidereal?"
Dabaizhe "One who knows the technique? Not deeply difficult at all, though many distinct dreams would be, as I said, tiring."
Spring "No, no. How difficult is it to learn the technique? How many of the Sidereal alive in this age might be expected to know it?"
Dabaizhe "Of those alive, today?" She glances towards the upward door, where those others alive are largely gathered. "Only I know it."
Dabaizhe (And Cerin can tell that she's telling the truth: she tracked who used it when the Chrysanthemum still functioned, and none of the others who learned the technique still live.)
Spring ::I assume the message we should take from this is that one of the Five are involved, if indeed a Sidereal is responsible, and not that we should restrain Dabaizhe immediately.::
Cerin ::It does seem likely that it is one of the Five, yes. It is not, to the best of her knowledge, anyone here who used or knows such a charm.::
Spring "Let us assume that there is only one dream. What is the easiest way for us to eavesdrop on it, and then send counterfeit dreams?"
Dabaizhe "The easiest way would be for me to do it," she says.
Dabaizhe "But that has its own problems." Spring can tell from looking at her that she's never been in a decent fight since her training, for one thing. "Beyond that," she says, "you could eavesdrop by determining the location of, at minimum, three recipients of the dream, which would enable you to locate a subject in the right place in Creation to be encompassed in the dreamstate."
Dabaizhe "As for sending false dreams... I would point you towards sorcery for that," she says. "The work of dream-forgery is challenging enough without another trained dream-master seeking to catch you in the act; I doubt you would be able to be suitably convincing without a... shortcut of that kind."
Cerin "What of teaching through dreams, or reporting back even?2
Dabaizhe "Difficult," she says. "If you mean mutual communication in the dream state, it might be someething you could set up, with quite a bit of effort."
Cerin "But it is possible, you think?"
Dabaizhe "Possible, yes."
Spring "This seems like a useful investigation for the future, but for now I fear we must fall on old standards."
Spring "The Deliberative requests your assistance in eavesdropping on these dreams and sending out false dreams."
Spring "Your protection will be provided for."
"I'm... not much for fieldwork," she says. "But if one of you is going to keep after me, then..." She looks... not exactly pleased, but at least less gruff to be doing something related to her purview. "I accept."
Spring "Tea, then?"