Dreams? Zee-dreams?

So these dreams we all have. What do they all mean? What do they connect to, exactly?

Let’s see how much of this I have right. Thunder dreams are old Storm’s dreams. There’s dreams about Parabolan watchers behind mirrors. The chess-dreams seem to describe events to do with the Parabolan chessboard and the cosmic Great Game in general. The water dreams, something to do with Mr Eaten? His dreams of water in the well? The dreams of drowned Seekers? Then there’s what, the dreams of tomb-colonists? And the fire dreams? What are those about?

And the dreams we find at Zee. Before the Clearing-Out we dreamt the dreams of the buried Stone Pigs. Betwixt Us and the Sun rather seems like the dreams of the Bazaar, first delivering the Sun’s message, then hiding down in the Neath with Storm nipping at her heels. I haven’t finished the albatross dream yet, but clearly it’s somehow tied to the Mountain, and the prohibition of killing flying things, though the exact meaning eludes me. Not quite clear on what to think about Upon a Painted Sea. What’s all this suspension business?

Anything to add? Explanations? Thoughts?
edited by Tsar Koschei on 10/25/2021

I haven’t encountered Upon a Painted Sea yet. How did you start it?
And i finished the Albatross, but have no new insights to add, except maybe Shapeling arts were hinted at.

To start “Painted sea” dreams you need to meet Eastern Wind. It can be done while zailing through Salt Steppes (Khanate), Sea of Voices and Pillared Sea.

Painted Sea for me is all about good ol’ Salt - and this means “strange” even by FL standards. I was always quite sure, that Seekers of the question of Salt are considered weirdos even by other Seekers - I mean, self-destruction for sake of person who not even properly dead can be understood, but those guys are just loonies.
Next part is just my understanding, which can be … well, murky. Still, when it comes to Salt, two main things arise. First of all - East, “place that happens next and probably even stranger”. Which for Zee, that defines strangeness itself, says a lot. Place for new start, place for new stories, place for those, who just can’t be satisfied and want to have more. Second thing - which, as I understood just now, sounds pretty like Discordance law - Salt stories tend to end with two parties being one since the beginning. One who seeks Salt can understand, that he was Salt all along; story of White and Salt mirrors story of old man and you/Salt. At the same time, Salt is sun under the sea (which happens to be some line of coconut powder, who would guess), which make Salt partially the East itself. If you are the Salt and Salt is the East and East is “thing, that will happen next”, all this can be understood as journey into yourself as best way to see something completely new. Notice how Painted Sea dreams are all about mundane things and mundane feelings, being seen in quite new light.
Yeah, probably reading to much into it. One can easily see quite opposite interpretation - East as place where tired things are going to finally find rest. Still, I like my theory more.
Also, while “New Game+” is cancelled, I am still wondering why in Neath “going East” was never an option. It just fits so well…

The main thing about the Painted Sea dreams seemed to be the weird sense that time had stopped and nothing was really happening. There was only an illusion of action or motion, but everything was standing still. What do you make of that? I tried finding the final dream in my journal to see if it offered any more clues but I couldn’t be bothered to keep looking for it after a while, it’s buried somewhere deep in there.

This seems to be echo of last part

Yeah, stillness is the reason I mentioned “opposite interpetation”. But even in it there is some “temporarity” - this is a pause, but pause that will for sure end. Snow falling, avalanche incoming. Salt-wise, it is like traveller came to new place and new stuff is just about to happen. Last seconds in main menu, before you press “Start”.

While the Zee-dreams don’t seem to be strictly related, they have some structural similarities, so I think there are benefits to analyzing them in parallel.

I hope it’s fairly uncontroversial that the Zee-dreams originate with other entities, not the player. (This is why they create Oneiric Pearls–remember that real pearls form around a foreign contaminant.) So it’s natural to ask: Whose dream is this? That seems pretty core to answering the dream.

In at least two dreams, the dreamer seems to be pretty far from humanity on the Great Chain. Probably why their dreams are so strong. So a lot of what we see is filtered into human terms, but it’s important to remember it’s symbolic. Moreso than regular dreams.

By contrast, I don’t think the regular London dreams entirely belong to someone else. They’re obviously affected by outside influence, but I don’t think they’re wholesale someone else’s experience. It seems to me more like your character’s own experience of seeing through someone else’s eyes.

Betwixt Us and the Sun (Northern Wind)

I start with this one because it’s the easiest.

This dream is from the Bazaar, about falling in love with the Sun. The first few scenes, about being small and dressed in rags, is the Bazaar’s insecurity about being lower on the Chain than the Judgements, and feeling out-of-place when interacting with them (and being well-traveled from the High Wilderness). The floor is patterned like a chessboard, because the Judgements move in the Great Game.

I don’t entirely understand the significance of the masks, and there’s a whole action just about looking at a chandelier, which goes over my head. Perhaps the White? It’s odd to me that in a room full of suns, the candles are blindingly bright.

The dance accelerates because of the Bazaar’s presence. This could be something about gravity and orbits and the motion of heavenly bodies. It could also be the messages delivered by the Bazaar, and how that makes the Great Game proceed. The ending, of course, is the Bazaar’s shameful declaration of love and subsequent flight into the Neath. It’s a little strange how far the Neath is, but maybe that’s just regular dream logic.

Upon a Painted Sea (Eastern Wind)

I know very little of Salt, so I can’t comment on Alpha900i’s explanation.

I can’t get a reading on whose dream this is, or even where on the Chain they are. It sounds like a dream from a tree. The protagonist greets trees and interacts with them, and puts down roots. There are instances where they are perceived to be swimming or digging, but I suspect this might be the dream being filtered into human terms.

This dream plays with infinities in time, but in A Dream of Sand it also plays with infinities of space. And there is another constant theme: Music, and vibration. The connection between these these is motion: that’s the relationship between time and space, and also what vibration is. I know &quotthe song of Salt&quot is a thing, but the relationship to music also calls to mind the Rubberies for me. I think it’s significant the trees are treated as peers to the protagonist, who is an individual joining a large community of them.

The final dream is named &quotGreen and Gold,&quot which is reminiscent of Parabola. There’s also a parallel in consecutive sentences between sunlight and leaves, and octaves and tones. If one wants to be all literary about it, this is saying the trees are musical elements. This… actually makes sense to me. The whole dream is a musical movement, from the point of view of a part of the music. Everything is building up, and then holding steady in a harmony, awaiting the crescendo which is the avalanche. That still doesn’t pinpoint exactly who the dreamer is, but it’s something.

I Shot the Albatross (Southern Wind)

The presence of the actual, literal Mountain of Light is notable. Not a metaphor that represents the Mountain, but actually the Mountain. Hopefully the Mountain also represents the Mountain, and not some other thing.

Whoever the dreamer is, they must have a strong connection to the Mountain of Light. One thought is the Thief of Faces. Another idea, and this one is a bit odd, is that the dream actually belongs to the Mountain of Light, despite us experiencing it from a different perspective. Perhaps it’s a wish or fantasy of the Mountain of Light, enacting vengeance upon one who deserves it. Another thought is that it’s a dream from the Presbyter, related to their commandment about flying things.

I believe the Mountain is present in the second dream, and maybe even the first, even though she is not named until the third. The first two dreams involve hunger, which of course has the obvious connection, but appetites are many and varied in the Neath. The river in the first dream is iron-tinged, which makes me think it’s actually one of the rivers that flows from the Mountain, but the absence of other living things is strange. Doesn’t the Mountain give life? It’s odd.

Most of the dream, beginning even with the bird falling through the air leaving a trail of blood, repeats an expansion of the bird’s corpse. The dead bird, of course, is a sin. Is it the guilt felt by the dreamer which continues to magnify, or perhaps the consequences of a mistake made in desperation? The Mountain also gets steeper and steeper, making the trek harder and harder. The perspective of the dream is a pilgrimage towards penitence, which gets more difficult as it goes on, until reaching the ultimate punishment at the peak. The Mountain can’t reach out to punish those who offend her, so they must come to her instead. Also, again, odd: The presence of the mountain gives unnatural vitality, even moreso when directly implanted into someone; so does impaling someone on the peak of the Mountain kill them or not?

What strikes me in this dream is the malice of the Mountain’s gaze. I mean yes, the protagonist sinned. But the Mountain’s light is actually harsh and uncaring even from the second dream before the dreamer has begun. This is another thing which inclines me towards the Thief of Faces. Or perhaps this sin is actually a plan to convince the Mountain to let you approach, that you might achieve immortality.

A masked ball is a place where no one is who they seem, and with certain code and convention foreign to an outsider. It also evokes wealth and nobility, contrasted with the person living in the cold at the beginning of the dream. I think that’s what it represent, it’s a metaphor for the state of the stellar politic or stellar etiquette the Courier had to deal with. I don’t think each element map one to one to an aspect of the Courier’s journey, rather it’s the feeling, the vibe, that is being described.