Synthesis

Spirit and Dream

Spirit and magic are alive and real for the citizens of Vimary. They live with a constant and complete awareness that the physical world that surrounds them is just one half - if that - of reality. For every cold slab of stone, there is a spirit of the ages crying for freedom. For every quiet forest clearing, there is a night of visions and omens. For everything there is a spirit. Whether magic is “real” or whether dreams have meaning are non-issues in Vimary. There mere presence of the Fatimas and Z´bri puts the issue to rest.

Spiritual truth is not just a passive reality in Vimary, however; it is an active part of personal and social existence. Everyone in the region knows that priests and shamans, Fatimas and Z´bri horrors can wield spiritual power to create spectacular and terrifying effects. Everyone knows that dreams are a direct connection to the spirit world and that they must be taken seriously. Everyone knows that strange events can be omens of things to come. They do not believe these things because they are simple or misguided people; they believe them because they are true.

The Nature of Reality

The specifics of reality are - as always - a matter of great debate among mystics, priests and scholars in Vimary. Exactly what occurs after death, how the universe was created and countless other questions have no completely firm answers. Nevertheless, with a few exceptions, people accept a central paradigm based around a universal symmetry between spirit and matter.

The universe is commonly perceived as two equal spheres that almost touch. One sphere is the spiritual world and the other is the physical world. Each is essentially a reflection of the other, although they both have unique properties. The spiritual world is ephemeral, a world of emotion and ever-changing landscapes. The physical world is carnal, a world of blood and pain. The space between these worlds is known as the River of Dream, and it forms both a barrier and an interface between these two worlds. It is in this interface that power and vitality spring from. All that lives interacts with the River in one way or another, and some people can learn to tap into with greater skill. This wellspring of power is dangerous and chaotic, however, and souls can get lost when plunging into it. At the very center of the River lies the Fold that separates the material and the spiritual worlds. Crossing the Fold is thought to be possible only for the spirits of the dead.

Manifestations

The powerful interface between spirit and matter manifests itself in many ways. The most common are dreams. Every living creature dreams, and in doing so opens itself to the River. Plants seem to be in a constant state of dream, connected to the River at all times. Evan Shamans claim that plants form a communal consciousness - a blade of grass has no self-awareness, but it is possible to interact with the spirit of an entire forest. These spirits are very hard to use, however, and usually pay no heed to small-scale disturbances - like humanity.

Animals interact with Dream both individually and collectively. Each creature will dream when asleep, and so opens itself up to the River. They seem unable, however, to manipulate Dream to create effects or travel about the River as individuals. There exist, however, totemic spirits that are manifestations of whole species of animals, and these spirits are active and powerful. They are generally more concerned with humanity and will visit people´s dreams and attack interlopers. They are also closer to the great plant spirits and can communicate with them more easily than humans.

Humans enter Dream naturally when they sleep and they let go of the physical concerns of survival. Most people, however, cannot control their interaction with the River and dream passively, receiving visions as they come. Occasionally, animal totems or other spirits will visit dreams to carry messages and warn of dangers. These dreams are considered vital clues and will often be interpreted by a priest or shaman. These omens are used to guide one´s existence; ignoring them is a sure way to end up in trouble.

Some eople can learn to better control their dreams, not so much traveling through the River, but at least controlling its flow through them. This is a use of the Dreaming Skill. Powerful entities like the Fatimas, and rare individuals like priests and Fallen can more directly wield the power of Dream. They can, in effect, channel spirit into matter and create spectacular effects. This process is known as Synthesis.