It was and it thought it always had been. It knew somehow that it was a distinct entity, it had figured out it was an individual. It recognized it had thoughts and feelings and that other beings did as well. The Place that it dwelled had no other beings not even insects but it knew what those things were. It Knew that the things around it and the place it dwelled should not be but they were.
It swept the lanscape with its opalescent eyes and took in the plantlife, wild and fecund now. Sometimes the plants were pale and wilted or missing altogether leaving only sharp black rocks.
It knew that you had to travel for the landscape to change, but it also knew that where ever this was didn't work that way. It had learned from the things it saw from others, the breif visitors who drifted through here and shaped the land around them without thought into things. It also caught the echoes of their thoughts and learned that they lived in a place of rules and consistent nature.
It knew that place wasn't here. Here changed, here could be molded by the beings that faded in and out of this place. It didn't think they knew what they were doing when they were here. It thought they came here by accident.
Most of the times the other things came here they lay still on the ground or moved only a little. It Liked to watch them and smell their emotions and listen to the distorted echoes of their thoughts. Doing so was how it learned that it was itself. It didn't know what it would be called. It sometimes wondered what the visitor's eyes saw during the rare times that they stired and their presence became louder and clear before they winked out. When they winked out and were suddenly gone it knew they were not ceasing to be, they were just ceasing to be here. They, the small things that were all so different but somehow, or it least it thought, all came from the same place. Sometimes it saw the same ones, many times so they went somewhere and they came back. Sometimes it only saw them once. There was that rare sometimes it saw them and they went away to someplace else, somewhere they didn't normally go. When it witnessed this it felt something, a wiff of what some of the other presences gave off but this came from within itself. When things like that happened it realized it had a self, and it was something. It remembered a before when it never knew it was a self. The changes made it realize that things changed in a sequence that it think the visitors thought of as time.
The Land around it used to mostly be nothing, but as it grew in self, and had internal experiences that were not just imprints from without the land had kept shape even when no visitors were around. It had realized that places usually had shapes. It thought again of something that it had wondered before. The land had shapes and the visitors had shapes. What was its shape. How did it find out what its shape was? It knew it looked out on the world away from itself. Was there a way to turn that around and look toward itself?
It was so busy thinking of how to do this it was startled when the world changed, then it was startled that it was startled because it suddenly knew what that was and was feeling it for the first time. From the concept a cascade of connections and concepts slid into place. Startled was when something happened that was not expected and was a response of a mind preparing to react in a set of ways to the world around it and the things in that world. The Knowledge stopped there though it knew that there was more to the underpinning feeling it just had.
The momentary rush of realization was offset by the need to see the new around it. It Looked around out from it self and saw. It saw lots. It had never seen so much at once. Its Mind began working, connecting the fractured things it had collected. There was one thing and other thing that it could see and it realized that they were why things were different when you traveled. The thing that had to be traveled was distance. These things were not in the same place but they in a place that reachable by travel and accessible by sight. It continued make connections to the scattered things it had picked up from the visitors. Far off ( and it was thrilled to know what near a far were now ) it saw tall mountains with peaks swathed in cloud and dotted with snow and near, or nearer were tall plants, trees i think they had been designated by the visitors, in front of the trees were rolling hills covered in waving grass. Why was the grass moving? Answer popped into its head. Wind. Well what was wind? It wanted to get closer to that waving grass. It had to travel.
Well how do you do that? It thought and recalled, it had to do something call walking. Walking was when you moved something called feet. It needed feet. How did it find out if it had feet? It tried to move. It moved forward only slightly but the ground that it knew was some measure below it was suddenly very close. It was somehow pressed against the ground. With a rush of glee it had realized it had fallen down. That meant it had a body of some sort. Feet were parts of bodies. It thought so anyway. It thought about the forms of the visitors it had glimpsed as they briefly. Was its body like that? It tried to move again but with no clear idea of what that meant it just rocked on the ground.
it Felt the world change again, this time slightly. It looked over to where it thought the changed had occurred. There was a large tree there and a visitor was propped up on the roots. It was like the ones it had seen before but this was a different individual. His thoughts were at first dim like all the others, but they became louder and clearer and the visitor's eyes opened. Instead of flailing and then vanishing the visitor just looked at it. It could tell that the visitor was trying to make sense of what he was seeing. The visitor moved, going from slumped against the roots to upright standing. It needed to learn to do that. It went over in its mind what the visitor had done, how the visitors mind had worked when it had done what he done to come upright. It did the same. Eventually it was raised up off the ground and balanced on the 2 appendages farthest from its head. The Visitor moved again one of the lower appendages lifting off the ground and moving nearer then setting back on the ground. The other appendage followed and this was repeated.
WALKING! It realized that is how you walk! It did this and kept doing it, absorbed in the novelty of this action that it previously had no concept of. The notion of drawing closer to the distant moving grass to see why it did so was not forgotten but left to drift into the back of its attention and it continued to explore this new action and the understanding of it.
Stuart Phip had come awake or at least into full awareness under the tree he had been reading about yesterday. It was a tree that grew deep in the forest outside the city and was considered sacred by his mother's tribe but they had refused to go near it out of respect or tradition. He had gone to see it, get close and take pictures and make sketches of its leaves and bark. The tribe had no objections to him studying it on, the fact that he was half Kirfernav had nothing to do with their willingness to let him study it, the Kirfernav just never went near the tree growing atop the pile of stone rubble that had been there since before the tribe could remember. The major problem that presented itself now was that he was among the tree's roots but wasn't on top of a pile of stone rubble. He seemed to be on a hillock in a sunlit meadow that was rather different then the series of ruined stone buildings that should have surrounded the tree. The other more minor but no less puzzling problem was that he was completely naked. All of this was on top of the fact that he was now standing in the shade of the tree watching what looked to be a 8 foot tall androgynous looking person walking around aimlessly in small circles and smiling as if the very notion of bipedal locomotion was the most new and wonderful thing in the world.
Stuart took swift stock of his surroundings. Far off he saw a mountain range but his immediate surroundings seemed to be a pleasantly sunlit series of hills and meadows and the rather odd creature that was walking in various ways in apparent amusement. It was obviously some sort of magical creature, its head didn't stay the same shape from moment to moment, one instant appearing feline the next vulpine only for it to look ursine for a second then become draconic. It was tall and slender but its height and build seemed to vary slightly like its head, and its legs would shift from planargrade to digitagrade in an instant. The one feature that stayed consistent was its fur, which could only be described as being made of diamond, the hairs were lustrous and prismatic as if each hair was a tiny prism. This cause the creature to sparkle as it moved around in the aimless little circles and little reflections of rainbow scattered light danced on the ground around it.
Without thinking Stuart reached for the camera that should have been hanging from his neck to snap a photo he could take back to the wizard's tower downtown. it was only after making the attempt did he remember he was naked. He looked down at his empty hands, at the bare swell of his ample tummy. He wiggled his bare toes into the ground. he had been wearing boots before. He took another look at his hands. They were as bare as the rest of him, he should have had a copper pinky ring on his left hand that bore the clan mark of his mother. He only wore it in Kirfernav territory. But it should have been there and it wasn't. Nor were his jeans, jacket, underwear or the heavy caliber ballistic revolver he sometimes carried when he went into the woods. Mechanical weapons were more reliable then electronic or particle when high amounts of magic are involved. he reached back and felt his hair, it was hanging loose and not bound into a ponytail by the little The fact that he was expecting magic was the entire reason he was remaining so calm at these weird circumstances. Though standing naked in front of an 8 foot unidentified creature would be concerning to most people Stuart was just not upset. It all felt a little unreal. He decided to test reality a bit.
Stuart again looked down at his large midsection and concentrated, his stomach shrank from the sizable belly it was to just a bit of paunch. He stopped concentrating and it returned to its normal size. Then he gripped his left index finger with his right hand and pulled. The finger stretched and remained that way when he let go of it until he stopped paying attention to it. He concentrtated on sensations, he could feel the grass on his toes and smell the scents blown on the wind. His body felt somewhat solid but moldable and not fully real. It felt... that was it, dreamlike.
Ok so he was in a dreamscape of some kind. But one that seemed to have a semblance of coherence and rules. That didn't explain how he got there though or what the creature pacing round was.
The moment his attention returned fully to the creature it stopped its toddeling walk and stared directly at Stuart with a suddenness that made the husky brace for an attack. Instead of springing at him though it opened its mouth and vomited forth an inarticulate set of sounds that could only vaguely could be considered an attempt at speech. It was like something that knew that speaking was a thing but no more details than that and was attempting to perform an action it didn't fully understand. Stuart had an odd feeling that is exactly what was happening and that something else was confirming his impression. The thing with the gleaming fur that danced with luster and shimmered with vivid hues of refracted light that was perhaps the most lovely thing Stuart Phip had seen in a long time opened its mouth again and made another inelegant torrent of sound. Again Stuart got the impression it was trying to figure out what speaking was.
Looking down only slightly from where he stood on the mound of tangled roots of the tree he was under Stuart Phip did something that any experienced Dream walking mage would have scolded him for and he responded to the attention of an unknown entity.
" Are you trying to talk?" He said in a calm deep masculine voice.
The reaction from the creature was instant, its face took on the aspect of deep thought and examination. It couldn't have been reacting to the content of the words could it? If he was right and it didn't fully understand speech as a concept it wouldn't understand his particular language and derive meaning from them. The thing made another sound, this one more speech like but had a character more like that of a cough. But Stuart had another odd sensation that told him the thing was affirming his question. Stuart had another thought. Telepathy. Maybe this thing was a Telepath and thus never evolved to speak. Stuart had never had shown a knack for Telepathy so he surmised the odd feelings he had that were either directing his impressions or affirming his suspicions was this thing attempting to communicate. Not being experienced with telepathy he was reluctant to reach out with his as he had heard some of the telepathically inclined describe.
A series babble like that of baby talk issued from the creature's mouth but this time Stuart had a very clear sense that it was asking about a cascading set of concepts connected to what he had been thinking. It would be articulated as " What is evovled and telepathy, and language and affinity and content and...." in a curious childlike manner. He also felt as if each of these concepts was trying to me brought into his mind and examined like someone rummaging through a Drawer. It was fumbling and almost forceful. Stuart did the one thing he seemed to have a talent for when it came to telepathy. He Closed off his mind and protected it with a shell of his will.
The Creature blinked and let off an aire of confusion. It was as if what ever this thing was had experienced that before, being shut out. Instead of being angry it was Curious. Stuart also realized he was reading its mental state just as well now as he had been before putting up his defenses. He Didn't think he should have been able to. He Tried something else. some thing he was not sure would work. He Formed simple Sentences with the meaning of Concepts embedded in them into a string then let them flow out of his mind in a single burst as he spoke the sentence. Maybe it could start learning what words were more completely. Hopefully it would then be content with what wanted to be said and not try digging through people's minds.
" That isn't nice, People value their privacy. Invading people's minds is not good" Stuart thought he sounded like patronizing, like he was talking to a child, but also considered this thing may be a child.
The thing just sat there and examined him with a look akin to a scientist observing a specimen in a petri dish. The thing's head had stabilized in appearance into the likeness of a wolf or a husky. In fact it looked very much like Stuart's own face minus the roundness his extra weight added. Stuart got another one of those impressions that what he thought was exactly the case. It was mimicking what his face would be like if he were thin. Then it morphed into his face with the extra weight. Then it went farther past the current plumpness of his cheeks. Then it suddenly became completely spherical with flat images of his nose and eyes. Well it seemed the creature was mentally mature enough/ or immature enough to undertake mockery.
Deciding he had had enough of this. Stuart walked sideways down the roots and clumps of grass the mysterious tree was resting on, remaining facing the creature as he descended the hill sideways. He didn't want to turn his back on it. As he descended the hill he noticed that it was floaty like his muscles were barley working to accomplish movement. Being a hefty individual he was usually rather aware of the effort his muscles put in to moving him. Even if he was considered pretty fast and graceful for his size movement should have felt this effortless. He felt almost weightless but it was a feeling rather unlike the few times he had experienced micro-gravity. No wait, that was it. He wasn't weightless. He was Massless.
The whole time he had been moving the thing had been following with its eyes. It watched then it attempted to take a sidestep as Stuart had done. It toppled over sideways and hit the ground in a gentle almost soundless fwump. It didn't let out any cry or indication of pain it just landed in a boneless heap then was suddenly upright again. It repeated this until the creature got the idea of side stepping. It did this and seemed to forget about Stuart again. Stuart seized on this moment to move away from the tree but kept it in mind when he looked around. He had this sense of Deja vu. Like he had seen this place before. He also had a sense that the source of this place was further along toward the mountains. Once he had rounded a hill that blocked his veiw of the glittery Creature he turned and jogged toward the feeling he had picked up when he had put some distance between him and the tree. Jogging was an odd experience here as his strides seemed to carry him farther then they should have, adding to his feel of masslessness but oddly his belly still jiggled with each stride and he felt it but it was more like a memory of a feeling or that he felt it because he expected to. He Stopped jogging and took stock of where he was. There in the distance back the way he came was the tree, it looked to be nearly a mile away.
"Whoa... that was WHOA" he began to consider how far he had gone then cried out in surprise as he suddenly felt hands caress his body. With a suddeness that was somehow swift and fluid there was a woman pressing up against his body.
Stuart pushed away and jumped back as she seemed to do the same. She was a muscular lioness in her mid twenties and was wearing a dress made out of documents.
" WHO ARE YOU AND WHY WAS I GROPING YOU!" she cries out in surprised confusion. She seems to realize what she just said scratches he head. " Um what the fuck is going on?" She asks.
" I am not sure, but i think this is a magic based dreamscape. But as to the other thing i am unable to answer why you were grabbing my ass." Stuart says as he crosses his arms in annoyance.
" Fair enough." The lioness admits. " My apologies" she continues " but my follow up question is why am i dressed in someone's taxes?"
" I don't know the answer to that either." Stuart responds but she doesn't seem to be listening.
" See naked is fine, naked is normal, people are kinda naked by default. but what does being dressed in tax documents mean?" the lioness talks mostly to herself. She Stops and looks over stuart's shoulder
"What is that!" she cries out startled
Stuart turns around to see what she is pointing toward and there speeding their way is a glittering shape. It didn't seem to be running just walking in but growing nearer much more rapidly then the stride would indicate. There was also a sense of intense almost hungry curiosity. Before either knew it the glittering creature was there mere feet away looking down at them curiously. The lioness, her dress of documents crinkling as she backpedals. The Glittering thing Advances toward her.
" Stop" Stuart says gently and puts himself in between it and her.
" It is beautiful, it is like it is made of diamonds it's IT'S TOO CLOSE!" The lioness says as the glittering thing is suddenly right in front of her somehow bypassing the portly husky to stand less than 6 inches from her.. " WAKEUPWAKEUPWAKEUP" she pants out in a squeaky paniced mantra. She suddenly fades away leaving no traces.
Unexpectedly the glittering thing flops to the ground and looks dejected. A powerful wave of feeling pulses out from it that could only be articulated as a mixture of " I did something and now feel bad but don't know what i did" and "why are they always leaving."
" You Scared her." Stuart not bothering to shield his mind and practically heaping the cognitive underpinnings of the words in the creature's direction. The husky sits there and looks at the glimmering creature laying on the ground that despite it's rainbow shrouded prismatic fur looks the farthest thing from cheery as it could it like it would be weeping if it knew how. As unknown and possible dangerous as this thing could be it was confused and distressed and didn't understand what was happening. Stuart made a Decision. He Sat on the ground and looked at the creature. The creature looked back at him expectantly. Stuart Started explaining.
" What you are feeling is called guilt, it is what people feel when they accidentally hurt or frighten someone even if they don't mean to. Fear is a reaction people feel when they at risk of being harmed or killed, death is what happens when biological begins cease living and are instinctively driven to preserve their life. In this instance the lady thought you were going to attack her so she woke up..." This continued for quite sometime, Stuart talking and letting the meanings and connections of what he was saying be absorbed by the creature. Eventually he just stopped talking running out of energy to explain things.
In the Stuart had been talking the creature had sat up and assumed a sitting posture that was identical to Stuart's. After Stuart had stopped talking the creature got to its feet and walked away with a sense that it had been given a lot to think about and was going off to do that. In mere moment the glimmering creature was gone.
Still feeling the pull of the something that was shaping this world lay closer to the mountains Stuart stood up and strode forward toward it while keeping in mind the tree and where it was. A few Strides later he came to a small lake. Across it's still surface lay a wonderful view. The Remainder of the rolling hills gave way to a dense forest and the forest climbed the mountain sides. On the far shore of the lake a small cabin sat, built partially into the side of a hill. The cabin's door was open and a dim light came from inside. But next to the cabin was a stump of a wide tree that had been neatly fell long ago, leaving the smooth stump as a seat. Sitting on that stump was a figure. It was luminous and translucent like the reverse of a shadow. On the ground sitting and staring up at the figure was a more solid form of a man. He was old and skeletally thin. He was gazing up at the luminous form of the woman.
From across the small lake Stuart could hear her singing. She was singing a haunting song in a lovely but somber sounding language. The Song seemed to echo around the world and run through the soil and water. The world seemed to be singing with her.
Without thinking Stuart stepped closer and with that strange floaty feeling was suddenly right behind to the sitting figure. The figure up close seemed to be that of a grey fox who's prime was long behind him he was dressed only in a hospital gown that hung from his thin frame like a limp sail. He sat staring up in rapture at the translucent shimmering figure as she sang. He sat and basked in the wonder of the song. The figure sitting on the ground spoke without turning away from the singer.
" Enchanting isn't she?" he asks in a reedy but clear voice.
"yes" Stuart responds simply not wanting to spoil the moment.
" She used to sing this song all the time, never learned what the words meant." he said still looking at the Singer. " She is almost done then it will all melt away again... memories are the hardest thing to loose. I only remember here out there it is.... nothing." Just After he finished speaking the song ended.
"nothing..." the old man said again then the world shimmered and melted. It soon molded itself to a vague notion of a snowy field. Not far away, or it could have been miles, sat the glimmering creature looking at were the old man had been sitting. It didn't turn its attention to Stuart. Feeling like he had somehow finished here Stuart turned around and walked toward the tree of in the distance, he seemed to reach it in a few steps. He Claimed the roots and stood staring at the trunk.
Stuart Came awake, really awake with his forehead leaning against the trunk of the Tree. He looked around and it was in the midst of ruined stone walls atop a pile of rubble as it should have been. He patted himself down, he was wearing the camera around his neck and was dressed in jeans, a light jacket and hiking boots. His pinky bore the copper clan ring he had put on before visiting Kirfernav lands. He felt his substantial weight pressing onto solid earth. He was awake but he had the feeling he wasn't finished.
" well there may be no game around but i think i found something better." A flirtatious female voice came from behind him. He turned and saw a pair of hunters, one a doe and the other a husky, both female. The Husky woman was giving him a good look up and down.
Stuart turned away and ignored her as he walked down the rubble and stood looking up at a single flower that had blossomed on the tree. It was glowing a faint blue.
" Oh come on, what do i have to do to get a man too...." the Husky woman trailed off as she noticed the glowing flower.
In a smooth progression the flower opened, then withered and became a fruit, that fruit promptly dropped and Stuart caught it. The Glowing blue fruit peeled and the flesh evaporated away into a shining luminous seed. Stuart Closed his hand around the seed and then promptly walked off toward the exit of the ruins.
" I told you we shouldn't have come to this part of the forest, there is magic shit everywhere here." The Doe hunter scolded her companion as she clutched here shotgun. The Hunters followed Stuart to the exit of the ruins then hurried back from where ever they came. They didn't try to talk to Stuart again. Stuart walked back toward the Tribal center and his body language kept anyone from addressing him. He walked into the main building and then followed the path to the little green house. Inside was a woman tending the plants and an old old woman who was said to be his great great grandmother. She turned her old face to regard him and his faintly glowing palm.
" Give him a pot" The ancient woman commanded the lady gardener In the Kirfernav language. The Gardener rolled her eyes but gave Stuart a pot and some soil. Stuart nodded his thanks as he placed the glowing seed into the soil. It began to slowly but noticeably open and take root. Stuart Picked up the pot and walked out.
" He is usually more cheery and talkative, he must have been through something out there" The Lady gardener says.
When the old woman said nothing but just looked at the door one of her many great great grand kids had walked through.
" Not even our shaman's go near those ancient buildings, your great whatever grandson has some guts, and that ain't a crack at his weight." the Gardener Puts to words what the old woman was thinking. The old woman just scowls toothlessly at the gardener.
3 Days later:
The Muscular lioness accompanied a group of 5 grey foxes 3 men one woman and a young girl, to a hospital room. Today was the day they were disconnected the life support of the very old and very wealthy man who had laid withering away in a hospital bed while the inheritances were taken worked out and squabbled over.
"Finally he will be at peace" one of the number said, but didn't sound like he meant it.
" Finally we will get our money" another said and meant it. The Gathered in the room where a priest was waiting somberly. The Priest had heard the last comment and kept the scowl off his face. He hated when the departed wasn't cared for.
" He wasn't religious so you aren't needed." One of the grey foxes said with a sneer.
" Um yes it was requested that no prayers be spoken on his passing" the lioness put in politely. " You don't have to leave but please remain silent as per the client's wishes."
The family arranged themselves against the back wall. A nod was given and the Doctor, a slender Raccoon female. Disconnected the power to the life support.
The old grey fox in the bed began to breath heavily and heart weaken.
" come on and kick it you old fuck" one of the male foxes said.
Before the priest or doctor could chastise the speaker the door opened abruptly and in Walked a large figure of a Husky wearing a very expensive suit and his long hair pulled back into a ponytail. In one of his meaty hand he held a potted plant.
" Who are...?" the Grown Female fox starts.
" You!" the lioness says recognizing the plump cheeked face of the guy she drempt about accidentally groping before a glittering creature run up to her and frightened her awake a few nights ago. Here was the guy, clothed this time and bearing a rather odd but compelling potted plant.
" I am sorry sir i think you have the wrong room," the Doctor begins to speak and move to show him out.
Ignoring everyone the large figure strides purposefully to the bed and places the potted plant on the chest of the old fox in the bed, he takes the frail hands and wraps them around the plant.
" What are you...?" one of the family begins but a sharp gasp draws their attention The frail figure in the bed has opened his eyes for the first time in months and is staring up at the potted plant and the man holding his hands onto it.
The Large Husky his back to the family and oblivious to their protests begins to sing. His song is deep and clear in a lovely language. The Song was not the one he had heard at the end, but it was the one being sung through him at the beginning. For this was the beginning of the set of songs the old fox remembered when he dreamed.
The Family, the lioness lawyer the doctor and the priest all shrank back, all except the little girl, who was no older than 9. She stepped forward and began to sing along. The large Husky and the little grey fox sang as the old man's eyes began to close gently and a smile lit his face for the first time in a decade. He began to breath deep and easily but his breath grew more shallow as the song progress. As the duet finished and fell silent. The heart monitor let out a solid high tone.
" Now he is at peace" the little grey fox says. They all stand silent amazed at what just happened. The large husky turns and without saying anything left the room.
" The tree is mine" The little girl says confidently. She walks over to the remains of a man she never really knew and picks up the potted plant. " it will be planted where the old apple tree was" She says in a commanding voice. No one attempts to countermand her. They can only stare at her confidently holding a small potted tree that seems to be faintly glowing. She is the first to leave the room. The last is the priest. He is holding back a smile. It seemed someone cared for this one after all.
It was and it thought it always had been. But now it knew it was more then it ever had been. The Brief visitors that came through here were part of a larger different world, and now when they drifted though here it learned more from them, it understood them more and in doing so knew how little it really knew. It would have time to learn, it did not have to draw close and try and drink in all it could, it waited it watched and it grew. It also knew now it was not alone. The landscape that had always been brief and small was now again the rolling hills and meadows. The Vivid dreamer was back, but he seemed here to stay. He was not the frail pitiable thing he had been when large one had come. He was not slender and lithe with youth, but experienced. He sat with it, unafraid and freely told the creature of life. Sometimes the little Grey one that hadn't known the other came to visit.
" You need a name. " the now youthful grey fox told the creature. " A name is what people call themselves to identify themselves to others. "
" What does the little one that visit call me in her mind?" the creature asks.
" I think she calls you Mr. Prism." the Grey visitor to stay says.
" Than that is what i shall be" it says.