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    Outlanders, off-worlders, distant places and isolated islands

    by , 01-04-2014 at 12:18 AM (581 Views)
    I'm reading a book. In it, the main character is looking at a river and thinking "The mare of time." The river surface usually looks calm, but it's been disturbed due to the ongoing combat. There's a thought that it's only humanocentrism that makes him see the 'calm' river as better/more natural than the 'disturbed' river. There's a reference to a distant place he's been searching for, or came from, or that otherwise has been referenced frequently in the story before now; from this point in the story onward, that place will no longer be a major part of the story. There will be a few minor finds, items from that place, fruits, henna - accompanied by the line "It was a good henna, but not enough to sit in front of the Skillet-mirror" - but the place itself will never appear in the story again, which gives the story as a whole a sort of surreal feeling, with storylines that go nowhere and scenes that don't quite match up, aside from always containing the same main character; a focus on imagery rather than plot. It reminds me of a less surreal Maldoror, or a more surreal Gormenghast, and I start thinking about the surreal in my own writing.

    There's a Lost Boys tv show, currently showing the Boys versus some vampire skinheads.

    A doctor who is giving up his practice and moving to an isolated island, moving in with the couple he loves. He's talking to his mother (a relatively young woman who insists he refers to her as his sister in public) about his intent to stop practicing medicine. They're standing on a small wooden hanging bridge high over a river, surrounded by tropical plants with broad leaves and looking out over the sea; it's very beautiful.

    I'm in a marketplace filled with angry people. They don't like being guarded by off-worlders like us, and we're trying to arrange things so we can get at least half the guard duty covered by their own people. One of our guys in uniform is saying something about how surveys indicate the majority of locals don't mind having some off-worlder presence, and we're trying to find the best solution for everyone here, and more research is going to have to be done. I'm not joining in the discussion, I'm sitting in the dirt at the edge of the marketplace, out of uniform, just listening and watching. There'd been a chance of a riot here, but the danger seems to have passed. Now that things seem to have calmed down, the kid who alerted me to the situation and led me here reaches out and picks up the chips - money - that I left beside me on the ground. I put it there for him, but he seemed unsure if it was really okay for him to take it. When he sees me looking at him, he looks scared and smiles at me; I nod, and he grabs the money and runs off.

    Someone with a different face than usual is explaining to a horrified listener that he's learned to shapeshift. The listener asks who he can shapeshift into; the answer is something along the lines of "oh, people I've eaten, people I've physically bonded with, anyone really." The listener wonders, but doesn't ask out loud, what physically bonded means exactly; he's wondering if just seeing someone is enough. "Objects, even." The listener, horrified by all this, asks, "What happens to your personhood?" The shapeshifter says he's removed a piece of himself and keeps it separate in this box, which he's now asking the listener to deliver to his aunt for him for safekeeping. It looks ordinary, and the listener asks if this shouldn't be labeled in some way. The shifter mocks the idea. It's not necessary to know something's significance to keep it safe; often it's the opposite, it's simpler and safer if they don't know.

    A pair of time-travelers who've recently reunited are stopping by a football game they've been to before. They kept meaning to get around to changing this one little moment in time, and now they've got the chance. There's a guy who's been meaning to propose to his girlfriend, and they're about to be featured on the big screen; the first time around, neither of them had noticed they were on camera, and something unfortunate happened afterward. This time around, the time-travelers are sitting just behind the couple, and they poke them and draw their attention to the camera. The guy takes the moment to propose, the girl accepts - but they both seem rather awkward and uncomfortable with all the attention.

    I've been living in a foreign country, working as a live-in tutor, but this is the end of my last day and I'm about to leave. I'm packing up the last of my things and then head downstairs. Downstairs appears to be the house I grew up in, but I'm thinking to myself that this stuff isn't really here, I'm dreaming, and this is only being used as a convenient background, so there's no need to pack it all. Despite this thought, I don't become very lucid; I just focus on sorting out which things only seem to be here because it's a dream, and which things I actually need to pack.

    Julie's patting a big, shaggy old dog, in a room with four guys behind her, talking to her, though I can't make out what's being said. I'm using magic to check in on her from a distance and I don't have a very good connection in this room. She gets up and goes into the corridor, where I can't see her at all, but I recognize the sound of her sister's voice. I realize they're heading outside, which is convenient, there's tons of running water out there I can use. I switch the spell to a bit of water running down the side of the wall, and see that they've gone out into the courtyard and are sitting down on the benches around the fountain - even better. As I move the spell, I remember seeing a post here on DV with a title about learning to control the elements in dreams, which I hadn't read, since thinking of the elements as something you have to learn to use sounded counterproductive. I'm thinking about how helpful water spirits have always been. Again, I don't go lucid; the spell's POV has been moved, and I go back to focusing on the view. They're in the courtyard of a building made of large sand-colored stones, surrounded by potted and hanging plants, and from the fountain I'm looking up at Julie's sister, a woman with long black hair, wearing a black dress. She's saying something about "outlanders."

    I'm with a group of people crossing a desert, when a girl - Julia - arrives in our camp on foot. She'd been following us after we left town, refusing to take her with us. She's an English woman, dressed in Victorian clothing; she looks as if she must be very hot in those clothes, but she's kept struggling along. Then a scene change, just a quick image: Julia walking in the desert on foot, while I and a woman sitting behind me are riding a horse, far ahead of her.

    A fragment: an image of cities and towers in domes surrounded by wilderness, one of which has been heavily decayed, but which appears to rebuild itself as I'm watching; it's related to the breaking of a Sleeping Beauty-style curse.

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