I don't remember much from the first time I Dream-Walked. They say you never forget your first time, but I was too little.
I was only three.
Three years old and some change, perhaps?
I remember it being dark and I was alone. It was so simple when I was younger - before my abilities grew more powerful than I could manage.
Everyone tells me I have a gift - that I can recreate the world so perfectly in the Dream Realm; that my powers extend well into the "real" world; that I could physically move between the two.
It feels more like a curse to me as now I'm stuck halfway between the two.
No real home. No real family. No real anything.
What is real?
The old shack groaned in the sticky heat of summer; the wood saturated with the humidity of the swamp. Insects and frogs chattered in the sludge-filled puddles that pooled in the basins familiar to the northern towns of Twinbrook.
It was here Noelle Silverman had come to mourn.
Mourn her job, mourn her life. If her son didn't develop her abilities she wouldn't be able to see her livelihood for another fifteen years at least.
"At least" because his blood was dirtied with the blood of his father; the blood of nymphs aged slower. She had no time to waste on that. She found an old hormonal remedy by calling on some old contacts she had in Moonlight Falls shortly after her son was born in the hopes his aging would more closely resemble that of humans.
She was too restless. She needed to return to work.
She needed to walk the Dream Realm again.
She needed to bring her life back to normal.
People used Divination in the Circles to help predict the future, but no matter how many times she went into the blank deck she couldn't see if her son would ever take after her.
The Priests of the Goddess of Dreams were strongly encouraged to avoid the Dream Realm if at all possible after having children. This was to put the focus on raising their families and not being lost into work, yet here she was.
The only exception to this rule was if their child developed Dream Walking themselves.
So Noelle carved out a piece of the swamp, content to hole herself in until something changed.
Here she sat and here she stayed, finding it hard to resist the pull between the two worlds.
So she didn't.
Did she ever love me? I guess so. She never said it though.
No one has.
Not to me, anyways.
I was fine with it. I didn't need to hear it to know someone cared.
She was my mother, and she was all I had.
So I learned how to be on my own.
I told myself I liked it that way.
It was my path. My independence. My...
I could make my own rules this way. I could make the world how I wanted it to be.
The path I traveled was lonely and seemingly endless.
It was all defined for me from the moment I was three years old and I stumbled on The Butterfly.
The Calling. The First Walk.
I'd never be the same again.
At least it's peaceful here.
Is this real?
Perhaps I'll never know.
"...finally. Welcome to the real world, Oliver."
"Please... I don't know what's real anymore."
"This is real, Oliver."
"This is real."
My name is Oliver Silverman - a Priest of the great Goddess of Dreams - and this is my story.
Chapter One >