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The Dream City

The Dream City published on

Every once in a while I’ll have a dream of a type I think of as an Ur-Dream. These are dreams that have a moderately coherent story, are aware that they’re dreams, comment on something I’ve been thinking about or reading, seep into/out of whatever I’ve been writing recently, and about which my lighter-weight dreams will henceforth write lots of fanfiction. The Two-and-a-Half Apocalypses Dream was one of these – it contains a lot of complaints about stuff I was working on at the time, and some of the characters and settings have shown up in another dreams since.

(They have titles. Some of them have credits and dedications. The Lightning Key Dream was scored by Bjorn Lynne, with character design by Himekawa Akira and environmental design by Abe Yoshitoshi and CLAMP. The Memory Witch Dream was dedicated to Jim Henson and Tanith Lee, and included appearances by Getting Lost In The Back Yard, Accidentally Sleeping Through Most Of Autumn, and The Confused Sick Person Whose Jacket Is Getting Thin At The Elbows, regular presences in my dreams since grade school.)

This is one from high school. I’m pretty sure I had it around the time I first read Kaori Yuki, because the Count Cain read-through made me think of it and dig my write-up out of the hard drive.

A certain wizard has many towers, can make another by blinking, and each comes out slightly different from the other, but he cannot make a perfect one. Once he has thrown away into a sun enough to fill a small city, he stops making them, because they come from nowhere and he feels the universe will collapse if too much matter unaccounted for comes into it. He keeps seven, in a t-shape, and lives in the center one, which has a library on the bottom floor out of which he has moved all the books, then sat down in and grown depressed.

The wizard and Bianca love unwisely; or rather, those who love Bianca believe that she is unwise to love him, young and powerful as she is, because he is a doddering old fool who can only make towers. Later, Bianca becomes older and sadder, and he can no longer keep her attention.

There are holes in the city that let the forest in, and this is an enchanted forest, where heroes and monsters battle and create legends forever. The heroes love their gods or one woman or one man. (Great books are written about them, which change forever the lives of those who read them, though here in the dream city, only wizards can read; a normal person would not be able to fit the words together, or would find that they had stopped and gone someplace out without meaning to.) The monsters love themselves or no one or one twisted person a greater monster than they are. (Books are written about them, too, books with titles like, “The Unattractive And Bad Tale Of The Golem,” and wizards would never read books like these. Sometimes, though, a normal person who is very depressed and perhaps about to wake up is allowed to.) (I spoke to a crying monster, who was sad that his book had such an awful title and that being a monster he could never be worth a good book. Monsters are outside the rules, and who knows whether they can read.)

In the city lives a great lady, a retired hero (who of course is not old, as heroes never grow old) who slayed vampires. She is doubtless pure of heart, as all heroes are. She is Bianca’s enemy, and most of the city would support the vampire slayer because Bianca may not be pure of heart, and in any case wears too much make-up and expensive clothes like she isn’t. She may be sad without an obvious reason, too, as a hero never is. (But as the dreamer roots for the underdog, it is Bianca we see.)

Bianca has many loyal servants, and one is jaded and knows much, and one is innocent and distinctive-looking and has powers she cannot yet understand – she will be a hero one day, but she will never stop loving Bianca, because Bianca will not betray her and she will not be fooled into distrust by others. But for today she is ignorant, and uses her powers to move things through the house easily. Bianca keeps her powers a secret, and the servant doesn’t mind, because she doesn’t see why they are so important anyway and besides, a secret is power, and the servant does not begrudge power to Bianca.

In Bianca’s house lives a pretty little girl, who Bianca cannot love and most of the servants are brief with. The little girl cannot talk, because no one has taught her or because she is younger than she looks, as sometimes happens. The innocent servant asks the jaded one what it is about this child, and the jaded one is shocked that the innocent does not know. The jaded confides in a hushed whisper that the little girl is the child of the vampire slayer, the vampire slayer and a horrible vampire with a long, twisted name. The vampire has no mind or heart at all, but sometimes grows hungry, and stalks the forest for blood when this happens. (No one is quite sure how it came to like blood, or whether it once had a mind or heart.) The innocent is bewildered that this should happen, the jaded one dismissive and patronizing, as if she knows a way it could have happened, but the innocent is too young to hear. The innocent suspends judgment on this, but is indignant that Bianca should keep the child yet not love her.

One day, all of the wizard’s towers disappear – disappear completely, not thrown away into a sun – except for the one with the empty library, which he sits quietly in. They all know that he is dying, and Bianca comes to him, having neglected him recently. She says, “I’m sorry. I loved you.” And he says, “I loved you, too.” And is gone.