As you surely know, Zeefarer introduced three new dream qualities:
Betwixt Us and the Sun (North)
Upon a Painted Sea (East)
I Shot the Albatross (South)
Each of the three seems to tell an ongoing story. Of those, the first seems to be the most easily deciphered:
As I read it, the masked nobility; incomprehensible, uncaring and yet entrancing; refer to the Judgements. The POV character would be the Bazaar, as reinforced by the seemingly improper love confession in "A dream of a Mask". In the final chapter, then, the cellars are equivalent to the Neath.
The question then is: how is this connected to the North? The dreams of Eastern and Southern Wind both seem somehow connected to the place of their origin. The places from Painted Sea mirror the ones we read of in the Song of Salt ending of Sunless Sea:
Similarly, the place in Albatross seems to be first the Red River and then explicitly the Mountain-Of-Light.
My (admittedly shaky) theory is that the door the protagonist escapes through in the end
[quote=] Your body smashes into the door – it’s cold and heavy, but it swings open. On the inside, the door is all locks and deadbolts; you slam it shut and start locking each one behind you.[/quote] is the Avid Horizon, through which the Bazaar therefore enterd the Neath, leaving traces of that memory behind.
I would be very much interested in hearing other people’s thoughts both on my observations and the other two Dreams, which i can’t yet make sense of entirely.
I agree that Betwixt Us and the Sun is the most straightforward to understand, and I had also arrived at the same assumption as you regarding the connection with the North wind. Another connection I’ll point out: At the beginning, the door is regular-sized but the POV character is comparatively small; this could indicate a child, but in context possibly harkens to being lower on the Chain.
Regarding I Shot the Albatross, before I get into supposition, I’ll point a connection that I believe is critically relevant: The Dept of Menace Eradication’s prohibition against killing things that fly. There is apparently a connection between them and the Presbatyrate, which is the origin of that superstition.
On to supposition…
Regarding Upon a Painted Sea, my first main question is what manner of being are we experiencing the dreams of? The dream is as if from the perspective of a tree rather than a human. But Betwixt Us and the Sun is from the point of view of the Bazaar, so I suspect all of these dreams are from the view of some other non-human entity. But what tree dreams?
In addition to being plants, there is a definite theme of music, which makes me think of rubberies and the Flukes. I don’t think the Flukes would have such positive associations to the feeling of sunlight; but perhaps this harkens to the Sea of Spines. The dream also plays with time and infinities/infinitesimals. The former could be related to Irem, especially as this dream is from the Eastern wind.
For I Shot the Albatross, I wonder how much we are to believe the reality vs metaphor of the dead bird’s apparent malice and growth. We are, after all, dangerously close to the Mountain of Light, to the point where uncontrolled and unsustainable growth is a hazard. Even going back to the improbably large trail of blood, the albatross overflows with excess vitality. The spearpoint of the Mountain threatens the same; I would expect being impaled upon her to result in eternal life, not death. I guess the impression that the effects of the Mountain are not merely incidental, but that the protagonist has the active attention of the Mountain and she is punishing the protagonist for a grave sin.
For this reason, I wonder if I Shot the Albatross relates to the Thief of Faces. As with the other dreams, I wonder whose perspective the dream is being related from. And in particular who has such guilt about their encounters with the Mountain.