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‘Yes, and the dreams were strange. They were unprecedented, unstoppable, recurring. They happened with a vividness that was a shock to consciousness. The light in them was phenomenally sharp, the clarity of every detail super-defined, colours rich, shadows etched, the whole beyond nature. Their content was gruesome, and yet fascinating. They were disturbing! Night after night, as the summer wore on, I dreamed these dreams. And slowly, I realised two things that made them so perplexing. The first, and lesser thing, was that the same dream appeared to happen each night. The same events occurred: the same conclusion. And so eventually it seemed to me that I was dreaming the same dream. Not, you understand, different versions of the same dream, but the same dream. It was as if the dream went on, and I revisited it. The dream was like a river: it flowed on, and I visited its banks nightly. I came and went, but not the dream. The dream was real and permanent, but I was unreal, and temporary…

This was troubling enough. But then the second and most disturbing thing about these dreams suddenly struck me – and once it had, I could not shake my mind free of the sense of the truth of it. It was not that the dreams themselves were so disturbing – although they were – it was that they were not my dreams. Ugh! Even now, I shake a little at it – I, Igangsogun dex:rikoji, prince of this world! – I do admit, though no longer do I suffer from them… I was dreaming someone else’s dreams


from The Governor of the Desolate Cantons | Dustless | Volume 14

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Now they entered a different kind of world. And the ride entered a new phase. For so long, they had struggled to complete their journey, and their world had shrunk, more or less, to the size of a journey. The places they passed through were just places they left behind. Akzasosan had once quoted a philosopher to Zy: The journey forgets its maker, that old Master had said. The journey forgets its maker. Yet, to Zy, it seemed for a long time the complete opposite: the makers forgot the journey. That was how it was, wasn’t it?

How many villages had they passed through or passed by now? A hundred? Yes, easily. How many of them lingered in his mind? Only a handful. Which was the most important one? Well, not any of those Zy had already seen – no. The most important village was the next one – the village Zy hadn’t seen. Why? Because that was the next step on the way.


Excerpt from Dustless, Volume 14 | The Governor of the
Desolate Cantons