The plain stretched forever in all directions - the kind of forever that wasn’t merely a figure of speech. The sky that seemed to be a dull mirror of the emptiness beneath it was the color of the sea. There was nothing anywhere that broke the monotony. Nothing. Except from the Signpost at the Crossroads. It wasn’t the kind of signpost that actually helped to figure out where he was, as the signs were all blank. The four empty signs pointed down the four roads that met (or started, he wasn’t sure) at the Crossroads. The roads looked identical, and he’d turned around a few times and no longer knew which one he had come down. He was lost.
Ylvin had been here before. In fact he came here every night, and he was no longer afraid of the Signpost or the Crossroads. Why should he? Every night since he turned twelve he’d dreamt this place. It was his place, he knew. Actually, he’d started to think that it wasn’t him, rather he was it. He still remembered when he’d thought of himself as a boy approaching manhood, looking at girls, dreaming of becoming a soldier (but knowing he’d end up a mason like his father). He still pretended to look at girls when he wasn’t dreaming, but he longed to return to himself, to become the dream that was him.
He apprenticed with his father on the construction site in Volvona, but he knew that he would never become a mason. He simply did not care about the secrets of the trade. He was absentminded, and he never seemed to be able to keep his mind on the trivial tasks he was assigned. His mind was somewhere else, and he was always tired.
As soon as he closed his eyes he was there – no, as soon as he closed his eyes, he became There.
There were travelers on the roads, some nights more than others. He knew that one road led to the Dreamshell. Each night nightmares marched down that road to fight and die, in endless columns. Each night they killed until they were killed themselves, only to return the next night. That was their dream. The Crossroads was his. There were other travelers as well: dark riders and gruesome creatures, stalking the Dreaming, or doing their masters bidding. He never actually saw any of them, but they were in his memories when he woke up, like fading dreams. They didn’t concern him. He was the Crossroads. He was the Signpost.
Ylvin wanted to go back to sleep. Gods, he was tired. Always tired.
The Dreaming is very important in the world of Argos, as it is the domain of Morfeus, the Dreamlord. Of the Younger Gods, he is the oldest, and the most powerful. His last act was to forge the Dreamshell to guard Argos against the Olympos. Since then, he has not been seen. The vast throne room in the Castle of a Thousand Doors is empty and deserted, and Morfeus has lost himself in Quietus. The greatest of the Younger Gods has become a mad wanderer, and his servants no longer have a master.
The three most powerful of the Named Lords of the Dreaming are:
- Lord Gilgul, the fear or righteous retribution. He appears as a tall shadow in a gleaming white suit of armor. He is the general of the armies of Nightmare, and the commander of the Dreamshell.
- The Corinthian, the nightmare of the Awakened. Beneath the Corinthian's cloak there is nothing but a book-pyre and the witch's stake.
- N'Garthl, the Beast of Thorns. N'Garthl is made of flesh, blood and steel, and is nothing but hunger. He was granted the right of Three Souls by Morfeus, and while he is the easiest of the Named Lords to summon, he will exact his prize.