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BOOK OF DREAMS
Book of Dreams
Bergonian before 1890 had never heard of the Book of Dreams, although religious
scholars recognized it as a reputedly “lost” book of Miradi scripture.
But when the next year industrialist Wallace Dean bought the
genuine Book of Dreams at the controversial auction for an appalling high
105,100,000 thumin (about $3,400,000 US), millions of average Bergonians
reacted with outrage. The
commoditization of the Book of Dreams so quickly after its discovery
demonstrated to the nation just how much power the new industrial
capitalists had accumulated.
Many of the popular
biographies of the Prophet
Krathnami published in the 1800s claimed that for a time
during his latter years he made it a practice of describing his dreams to
one of the few intimates he allowed to stay with him in his hut. Dream-reading was a common form of magic, embraced and
sanctified by the Hiestat, but condemned
by the Shufrantei. Krathnami certainly knew of dream-reading, since his wife was
a Hiestat witch, but in the scriptural canon (which includes all documents
authored by Krathnami himself) he only once wrote of dreams and never
mentioned dream-reading. Moreover
we can see from the contemporaneous journals and letters of the first
generations of disciples that they did not practice dream-reading, though
they tolerated it. For these
reasons, serious Miradi scholars and theologians thoroughly dismissed the
possibility that Krathnami told his dreams to anyone.
However, three non-canonical
sources written within ten years of Krathnami’s death each state that a
priest wrote down the Prophet’s dreams. The most singular
of these is an obituary of the priest, Abul Karanec, famous for having
been one of Krathnami’s few intimates in his most serene latter years.
This appears in a collection of priestly obituaries written in 1045
at Chambolet, the center of the new Miradi priesthood. The obituary
mentions that Abul Karanec “listened and attended when Krathnami
described his dreams.” (In this
context the word "attend" usually refers to secretarial duties,
including dictation.) Then
two devotional biographies of Krathnami’s life each state in passing, in
almost identify language, that one of
his intimates wrote the dreams down
as Krathnami described them. One
of the two identifies the intimate as Abul.
These three fragments did not together animate the legend of the
Book of Dreams, though in later years they were repeatedly cited by those
who pushed it. What actually germinated
the legend was the highly controversial letter written in 1182 AD, 183
years after Krathnami’s death, (supposedly!) by the Abbot of the
Gudastron Monastery of the White Flag Order (located 60 miles southwest of
Chambolet in what is now extreme eastern
Sefaieri) to several other abbots.
The letter sensationally describes the murders of two of his
priests and the subsequent panic that afflicted the remainder.
His flock became convinced that one among their numbers was a tluca, causing mayhem.
The letter goes on to tell how one night a visitor appeared, a
traveling priest from another order, seeking a place for the night.
Once the abbot explained the prevailing distress to him, the
visitor surprised his hosts with a strange offer of assistance.
“I knew not what to make of his offer to exorcise
the place of tluca, or of his
price for the service, no less than possession of the Book of Dreams
we were all astounded that an outsider had any knowledge of our most valued
treasure, and I regarded this as proof enough of his danger to us, and I
would have sent him away.
Unfortunately my fellows would not accept such reasoning, and
instead fended off my entreaties with shouts, and after uproarious
tribulation in which my fellows berated me and at length even threatened
to burn down the monastery and all the books within, I became weak with fright and relented so
that they got their way. Our visitor forthwith conducted a peculiar rite in the central hall, rather
than in the sanctuary, with which none of us were familiar, and appealed
to the Goddess Tocathe with a
passionate chant. I divined
that our visitor was in truth a sorcerer or an apostate of a dreadful
sort unknown to me, but after he completed this rite he made away with
the Book of Dreams, handed to him by my brethren despite my
protestations and cries, and he made away into the night with such
supernatural speed and quiet that I was sure he was born to it. Dear
friends, I cannot remain confined with men and women who would commit
such waste, and I wish to turn my back on them and vacate this place.I am humbly pleased to report that a respectable minority of the
priests and priestesses agree with me and steadfastly supported me
throughout the tribulation on the night in question, and they also would
gladly quit this place, except that they've resolved to remain behind
to protect the other valuable works within our library stores from
further pilfering. I will
herewith record the loyal ones' names….”
From this letter sprung forth the legend of the Book of Dreams.
The legend of course claimed that the Prophet’s dreams
contained truly heavenly images, so that the Book’s descriptions
themselves would have magical force and divinatory value.
The legend though interesting was weak; it never gained popular
currency (at least not before 1890), rather it sputtered around among
generations of priests, scholars and those non-conforming intelligent
men and women attracted to the esoteric side of religion.
Though oft repeated, it was rarely taken seriously.
Those supportive of the legend point to a second document for
corroboration. A terse note in the institutional diary of the library of Fashar,
thirty miles away, routinely notes that in June 1183 a caravan of porters
delivered 3,487 books ("many concerning dubious Oracular
techniques") and portfolios from the monastery at Gudestron,
perhaps indicating that the priests & priestesses there decided they
could no longer responsibly protect the books in their charge.
remained a small monastery, and in time its residents acquired a
reputation for piety and suffered many visiting devotees seeking
instruction into the disciplines of meditation and prayer. Sadly, like so many other small institutions, Gudestron did not
survive the plagues of the late 1500s. The
stone buildings fell into ruins. History
tells us little about the place over the next three hundred years until
1890. Traceable title to the land
however extends back to 1691, when the French Crown Governor issued the
standard grant confirming the occupying iregemi’s occupancy, but since
this was a grant of over 28,000 hectares, we can imply very little
about the monastery site itself.
know that by the 1860s a large sheep farm had been established on the
land. When history's light illuminates the place in 1890, and we
find that the ruins had remained securely fastened by a dense grove of tamile
trees (with brilliant orange blooms in May that looked like ridiculous
whisk brooms, like the ones used in libraries to keep dust off the
owner of the sheep farm, a native man named Canato Dajor, wanted to
clear the ruins and use the stone for walls. He hired the usual locals and sent them with axes to clear the
ancient trees and thick brush to expose the crumbing walls. As the crews cleared the stone they discovered under the
foundation a masonry vault of considerable size, with a doorway sealed
with rock and fill dirt. Hearing
of this, Canato came to supervise the opening. He sat on horseback (in European dress of course) and smoked a cheroot as
his men (in native tunics and pajamas) attacked the fill, stone and
mortar combination with sledgehammers and shovels. He hoped to find gold, and expected to find bones.
Instead he found manuscripts, carefully wrapped in scented cloths
and placed in two clay jars sealed with cork and wax.
Canato did not know what he had, but resolved to find out. So he traveled sixty miles on horseback to the esteemed
College of Chambolet, a Miradi institution, walked into the office of a professor of Religious
History, and pulled the manuscripts out of a satchel. The professor read the faded brush strokes: “The Teacher awoke
and said with delight, “I had a dream,” and he then related it
to me….” The
professor summoned all his colleagues, as well as the archeologists and
antiquarians, and in no time at
all, the faculty was abuzz with the possibility that someone had
actually found the Book of Dreams.
But Canato had used the faculty to learn the value of
his find, and promptly left the college with his treasure. “Let us study it,” the entire faculty pleaded to Canato
in a letter, “and then let us take it to the Temple and share it with
all the world.”
Canato took the manuscripts to
the most esteemed auction house in Bergonia, D’Aubrey’s of
invitations were engraved in gold-- those that survived are now
themselves extremely valuable collectables-- and sent to the richest
collectors in the country, a class dominated by new industrial moguls. It was then that every
newspaper in Bergonia carried the story of the discovery of the Book of
Dreams. News of the Book of dreams and the auction lit up the
entire nation during the summer of 1890.
Georges Arnee, who also became Canato's favorite drinking partner, wrote
that his decision to sell the Book of Dreams to
the highest bidder was motivated by love for a local beauty.he was a demanding beauty, and he
was left with the conclusion that he could buy her love with riches. The actual return by far exceeded his wildest expectation,
and after he collected Warren Dean’s money he pointedly spurned the
woman and bragged that he could now afford the prettiest lady in the
world. Canato indeed bought
many women. His adventures
in the Ceiolai salons and saloons set new marks for extravagance and
waste. But having sold a significant religious artifact he was
detested by millions of atrei. So
he traveled to Paris where he expected better treatment, where he met
Arnee, a Bergonian émigré.
But he was summarily ejected from many hotels for his dramatic,
sometimes unbalanced, behavior, and likely because of his race as well.
Nevertheless he attracted a following of flamboyant characters, many of
whom followed him on his travels through Europe and accompanied him back
to Ceiolai. In 1901, while
the rambunctious city of Cationi,
he was badly beaten by some young toughs in a hotel lobby, before forty
or fifty witnesses. He lived the
rest of his life isolated on his sheep ranch, suffering from his wounds.
Arnee came to visit him for prolonged periods of drinking. He died
in 1911, likely from alcohol-inflicted illnesses, having never married.
Douglas Dean was very likely the richest man in all Bergonian history.
Railroads, mines, steel mills, banks, newspapers all bore his
name. The thoroughly European Dean family were nominally Anglicans, but it was
probably more accurate to say that Warren Dean worshiped at the alter of
power, particularly the power that money could buy. It was a signet of his power that he could buy and possess this
rare religious artifact, a sure sign of cultural domination. How
great was his power that he could deny access to the artifact for
the millions of pagan believers, despite the fury of their public outcry. He
never felt compelled to explain his reasons. He
was, after all, rich enough that he could ignore everyone.
had built a vast estate he called Singing Creek in the Kilcor region of
Halemarec, about seventy miles from the big port city of Glen. He
lodged the Book of Dreams in the vault there,
where he kept his greatest treasures. He took his most
valued guests from among the mogul class to the vault to show off the
Book of Dreams. It
was said that he invited the President of the Republic to spend two nights at Singing Creek just so he could refuse to show him the
after damming the demand, Dean in 1902 hired a few Miradi scholars
and gave them access to the book. He
copyrighted their authorized text of the book and published an edition, with
translations in the modern tongues.
To sensationalize the Book and thus make more money from it, Dean
allowed the book to be publicly displayed at the Glen International
Exhibition in 1903. The
Dean Railroads built a wondrous glass pavilion (like the Crystal Palace
at London's Great Exhibition of 1851) and filled it with exotica and
hundreds of potted tropical plants.
Hundreds of thousands suffered standing in long lines to catch a
glimpse of the book. Afterward.
Warren Douglas Dean never allowed another public display of the book
again. From time to time he allowed Miradi scholars to inspect it.
of Dreams became something of a cult among some Miradi believers.
Hundreds of unauthorized editions of the book were published, and there
was no way for Dean to stamp out the copyright violations. In the
1920s cheap paperback editions were printed and on sale
everywhere. In no time some atrei applied the technique of the
Oracle-- the tossing of wooden dice-- to the Book of Dreams and turned
it into an instrument of divination.
April 1934 the mogul class fled Bergonia en masse as the workers rose up
in an angry wave. Warren
Dean was by now an old man. He
had already sent most of his family to New York City and stayed behind
in a last desperate attempt to control events.
But on 13 July 1934 he gave up and left the port of Glen on his
family’s fabulous yacht. The
word was out that Dean was taking the Book of Dreams and many other
venerable artifacts with him. Revolutionary
units in Glen attempted to stop him at the harbor, but failed.
A navy frigate pursued the yacht.
The captain radioed the yacht and then called out to it on a
loudspeaker, demanding a surrender.
There was no response. Instead,
after Dean and his sons departed the yacht in a lifeboat, an explosion
blew a hole in the side of the yacht and sent it and most of its crew to
the bottom of the sea.
more orderly time the navy would have taken Warren Douglas Dean and his sons
into custody, conducted a proper investigation and referred the matter
for judicial proceedings. But
revolution and rage prescribed an expedited process.
The captain set Dean and his sons adrift in the lifeboat
without food or water. The
captain never filed a report. His superiors quickly called him to
account, but he died later in the year when the one battleship pirated
by the Kilitan landed a shell on the bridge of his frigate. His
officers however did in time give statements.
They told how the captain demanded to know of Warren Dean if the
Book of Dreams was on the boat. They
told how Dean replied with a leering laugh.
They told how the captain shouted out his order to deposit Dean
and his sons back into their boat.
Although they told how Dean’s heartless murder of his own crew
enraged the captain, no one doubted that the captain was affronted by
Dean’s willingness to destroy the priceless holy book. It was
the mad act of defeated hubris-- a last act of hatred for the people of
his own country.
But it was never clearly established that the Book
of Dreams was really on board. Granted,
Warren Dean’s cryptic responses to the captain's interrogation
suggested that it was, and granted it was clearly established that many
of the Dean family’s other priceless treasures disappeared into the
ocean that day, but rumors have persisted to the present day that Warren
Dean sent the Book of Dreams out of the country earlier, and that his
surviving family members retained possession of it.
They settled in the United States after the Revolution and, in a
manner of speaking, lived happily ever after, though their vast fortune
grandson, Morris Dean, whose father perished at sea with Warren, returned to Bergonia in
1958 and became a Miradi
monk. This of course created quite a stir, but Morris submitted to
monastic reclusion and refused to talk to anyone outside his religious
order. His sister, Alexandra Dean, in a provocative 1955 Vanity
Fair interview, refused to acknowledge that the Book of Dreams was gone.
She said, “The Bergonians think they know the whole story, and
I can tell you that they don’t. The Book was hidden for several centuries and it wouldn’t
hurt anyone if it is hidden for several more.”
Alexandra Dean was then a fashion model in high demand. Some said
that she had her grandfather's sadistic streak. Three years later
she was savagely stabbed to death in her Park Avenue flat. Her
expatriate Bergonian lover, a sherei (half atrei & half white), was
arrested, tried and sensationally acquitted. Besides Morris, no
Dean ever again returned to Bergonia.
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