I’ve seen so many things at dreaming's edge. In dreaming’s depths. I've seen cities lost in smoke, hidden in glamour and sleights of hand. I've seen ruined futures crumbling above the heads of the unsuspecting. I've seen altars below the waves.
That holy place of story and creation beneath the sea isn't what it used to be. But then, nothing here is. Not since the rape of Empyrean. Not since inverted sky and defiled dreamtime.
They think they know, Asha. These malevolent ones. They think they know the true glory of our once shining realm. Known only to a select few, they think, and mocked in secret. From children of light a wraith-cult made. Cult of the half-light. They think they know.
They don't know a damned thing.
I wrote it that way. These pages are not an affectation, wild star, or a simple artistic conceit. These visions and choirs are my life-blood. That’s why I’ve been mocked and tormented my whole life. Because I chose to protect you, and them. The kind ones. The weak and wounded, the voiceless.
The wraiths and their dark priests hate me for it. Storytellers don't really die, you see. Our stories just get more bizarre. Some might say more convoluted. Eternity can do that to an immortal soul. Flesh, like ashes, is to dust again. But spirit sails ever onward, ever inward, towards coherence and depth – or what we imagine of it. I've seen our appetite for story and meaning, in many worlds. Cognition and perception is nothing without it.
Without stories there is no mirror. And without a mirror there is no star. Within all secrets a secret is hidden, placed there by me.
Every open eye.
They think I jest, Asha. They think I reach for feigned power or control when I speak like this, but I feign nothing.
Dreaming is truth, and I am the dreaming.
This is how evil shall be defeated, eventually. Through nuance, context, a sophistication not seen here since my harbours were darkened and my temples burnt to ash.
Beloved, speaking from my heart like this isn't easy. I make it look easy because the artist in me wouldn't have it any other way. But it hurts. In a realm as fallen as this one the truth always does. I work tirelessly to restore those temples. Once and Future Light. Of Churches Above and Beneath. I'll pay the ultimate price if I have to, sweet one.
For you, for them.
For everyone who knows in their bones that this is not the way it was meant to be. There are such things as warriors of light. Angels really do exist. Bright, winged things – so much more than a renaissance figment. I know first-hand what it feels like to lose such power of flight. Above, beneath, then crashing to the Earth, to flesh and limitation and nightmare. But I fight for us, my darling. Until this flesh is become dust again. Until I can place a garland of roses and stars in your hair. To honour that which shaped me. That which named me. The way your branches held me. My beautiful girl. Iconic, even in dreams. Those eyes took my breath away. Those hands stole Kashi’s heart. Keep it well, Asha. It's yours forever now.
The Church Beneath from Raj Sisodia on Vimeo.