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New: a detailed article on the Prophet Krathnami's life and thought

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The Book of Dreams

The average 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 itself.  Indeed 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.

Gudestron 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.

We 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 volumes).The prosperous 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 Ceiolai. The 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.

Canato’s biographer, 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 visiting 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.


Warren 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.

Dean 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 Book.  

But 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.

The Book 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.

After 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. 

In a 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 diminished substantially.  

A 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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