Anyone who's read any of my stuff knows that I often bring a different take to the stories I write fan fiction on. This is no different. It's probably going to have an AU feel because most of it has to do with dream which we don't hear much about so I'm going to be making a lot of things up. But don't worry it'll fit in with our characters just fine.
I'm not Tammy, cuz if I was, heck knows I'd be publishing my stuff and you'd have to pay for reading this, unless you had a Barnes&Nobles nearby, then you could just spam it by reading the books in your free time on their comfy couches.
Remember people, you have to review for me! I always want to know what you think, and for my first time readers, I post your name and a response to your review on the next chapter I post!
Part I: The Visitor from Elsewhere
Gainel surveyed his territory, Dream, an area that existed simultaneously within Chaos and the Divine Realms, which mortals only touched upon in their sleep.
He remembered it at the beginning of Ages when Mother Flame presented it to him as his domain. It had seemed to him as if he'd gotten the best share of the divine realms, he felt the luckiest of them all, while the others just took theirs as if it was their due. He'd known then that he was different from the others; they didn't feel the same way he did.
Perhaps it was the part of him that was sired of Chaos that allowed him to have such powerful emotions, where his brothers and sisters hardly seemed to care. One could hardly coax a frown or a smile for any reason at all. The trickster gods showed the most emotion of all his kin, they found amusement in life, but even that display didn't have the passion that those of the living realms held in every fiber of their being.
Perhaps Mother Flame had known what she was doing, was trying to protect him from anguish, when she forbade him entrance to the Living Realms. He would grow attached to his charges in a way that, once they'd died or passed on, could challenge his mental and emotional stability, and one can't have an insane god maintaining the Living Realms equilibrium.
But knowing something and liking something were too different things.
And even so, he wished he at least had a consort that shared his capacity for feeling. It seemed he had been alone here forever in his beautiful domain with no one to share his whimsy, but he was alone. No consort had been born for him from Mother Flame, and no demi-god or goddess could be his match; not in power, not in emotion, not in imagination. Nor was any immortal satisfactory, for all immortals had been born of the dreams of mortals, and so one would always feel inferior to him.
He often felt more akin to the humans who shared his bent for chaos, but his very essence prevented him from taking a consort from their breed. Humans couldn't live forever as immortals and gods could. And although recently the minor god Weiryn had managed to convince the Great gods to divinify his beloved Sarra into the minor goddess The Green Lady, that wasn't an option for Gainel.
Gainel was a Great god and the prospect of him taking a mortal, even a former mortal as a consort would be a cosmic scandal as far as Mithros and the others were concerned. And besides, he wasn't aloud to enter the Living realms, how could he meet a mortal in the first place? And everyone knew that mortals could not hear the voice of the Dream king except in Dream.
He sighed in torment as he watched the goings-on of his territory. At the surface it seemed like a perfectly ordinary, if extremely beautiful, country estate with the most gorgeous and luscious gardens the mortal or divine eye had even seen, however for those who had the power to look beyond, it had many dimensions that existed in many places all at once, and dimensions that overlapped and folded on-top of and within others.
These were Dreamscapes and anyone with the power, could enter in and manipulate the dream polls however they desired. It was his job to make sure that didn't happen, as well as deciding which gods could have access to which mortal's dreams at which times, keeping an eye out for new kinds of Immortals, and maintaining the imaginations of humans to continue pushing them to new heights.
At least, the last one he assumed himself, however Mother Flame had approved, so he had continued, and though he couldn't see the results for himself, he had gotten reports from his dream constructs and messengers that he was having a positive influence on the population.
Being the patron of no country, city, or priest-hood meant he could take all of humanity into consideration, not just his chosen few as most of the other greater gods did. He wanted to look out for all of the mortals; however he wished he could do so in a more direct fashion.
Looking across the emerald green grass he saw, with his inner eye, those dimensions that were the dream pools and his constructs as working tirelessly maintaining the structure that was dream.
Stepping into those dimensions, which were, for the most part, incorporeal, he bypassed the walls of his home, leaving the physical aspect of his realm behind.
Here, everything was subject to your mind. Things were as real or unreal as one could dream up. It was possible to walk through walls, and be stopped by seemingly thin-air. Such power was indescribably, to control the flow and tangibility of the universe, even if it was a very small universe that disappeared even as a mortal woke to do the morning chores.
This was what he'd been entrusted with at the dawn of ages; it was his purpose, and everything he could ever want… And yet he found himself feeling dejected, and he couldn't find a way to fill the void that marred his very soul…
"Milord." said the echoing voice of one of his dream constructs as it reported to him. This one had the form of a many eyed black bird that had been dreamed up by some fellow quite a time ago, but Gainel had taken such a fancy to it that he created a construct in a similar form, with a few improvements; it's not being evil for one, and it's sentience for another.
"Milord, there is a visitor," continued the construct.
A visitor? But who would visit him? And how could he not have sensed their arrival into his realm? No being, be they divine, mortal or immortal could mask their foreign presence from him, especially not in his territory.
Perhaps it was another construct? But even so, he would have felt another god's energies amongst his own. Maybe this construct had gone bad? It had never happened before, but maybe someone tampered with it?
But no, even as he checked, he found no magic but his own; no one had touched this construct. Hmmm…
"What sort of visitor?" he asked it.
"The visitor isn't one of us, it wasn't here before," was the ambiguous answer.
Oh yes, well, that was absolutely the response I'd been aiming for! Although constructs were very good at what they were created for, actually getting them to use some independent, creative thought was next to impossible. They weren't "alive" in the sense that gods, mortals and immortals were, they were only slightly sentient, and created for specific purposes. Some could develop personalities over time; however this still didn't help them describe things that were beyond their pre-programmed understanding.
"And you don't know what it is?" he shook it's bird-like head, "Where did it come from?" he asked the construct.
"Elsewhere." was all it said.
At this point, Gainel decided that he would have to risk the "visitor" being extremely dangerous even to a god or it being a completely mediocre anomaly that wasn't worth his attention. What he was asking of the construct was clearly beyond its abilities.
"Show me this visitor." he said. The construct led him through the shifting dream pool to an area quite outside any place that a human or immortal might be as it dream, and no where near an immortal or god might find themselves should they wish a visit. Needless to say, the master of dream was very curious as to who or what this "visitor from elsewhere" was, and why it was in his domain.
And all at once, they stepped into an area that seemed as if it couldn't decide whether it was physical or incorporeal. It didn't shift in and out but had the same features whether one looked at it with their 'eyes' or their 'inner eyes'. It hung that way as if deciding, then swung into a physical state, revealing a cobblestone path, marble bench a trellis-arch covered in ivy, and a small girl sitting under the trellis, looking very bewildered.
"Wasn't here before, here now, stays here." the construct replied cryptically, landing on the shoulder of the girl, who didn't even flinch but petted it with a slight smile. Gainel searched her essence thoroughly, trying to judge whether she was mortal, divine or otherwise. But every time he made a deduction, he second-guessed himself. She seemed to be a little of both, but how could that be?
"How did you get here?" He said without bothering to wonder if she would understand; being part mortal.
The girl existed on more than one plain, like one of divine origin, however she mostly existed in the physical plane, like a mortal; gods either existed on many planes equally or sometimes mostly in non-corporeal planes.
"I dunno." She responded, however that didn't necessarily mean anything.
She was fairish with wild black curls and grey eyes. He estimated she was about eleven mortal years old, but he hadn't had much experience with mortals. He could already see she was going to be tall; she was lanky and mostly leg. Her manner seemed itchy, as if she wasn't quite comfortable in her skin. Like someone who was used to going barefoot, but was often made to wear shoes.
"What's your name?" he asked her, might as well figure out where she came from.
"My Ma says I shouldn't talk to strangers." she said defensively.
"I just want to help you get back to your Ma, and if you don't know how, I have to try and figure out myself." he told her calmly.
She seemed to think a moment, as if deciding whether he was trustworthy. "Sarralyn, but I liked to be called Lynn."
"Alright Lynn, do you know where you are?"
"And you don't know what you did to get here?"
"Well, can you tell me where you're from?"
"Tortall." Well, that figured, and at least he knew she was mortal or mortal-raised at least.
"So your name is Sarralyn, although you liked to be called Lynn, and you are from Tortall."
"That's right." She said, and abruptly he realized she was still sitting awkwardly on the hard cobblestones.
"Oh, please, here," he said as he held out his hand for hers, she accepted it and he helped her to her feet, she dusted her clothes off a little and checked herself but didn't seem any worse for whatever wear she had incurred while coming there. "Would you like to come in, while we try to figure out how to send you home?"
"Well, uh…I…I guess so." was her hesitant answer, she stopped petting the construct and it jumped off her should and flew away, shifting planes as it did so.
"It disappeared!" she gasped, it was such an unusual reaction that he burst out laughing.
Or perhaps it was because it was a 'usual' reaction; the few visitors her had, or people he bothered to visit, were all gods, and didn't often display such powerful expressions, and the fact that it was perfectly reasonable for her, a mortal, to react exactly the manner she had, just seemed utterly hilarious to him.
"It surprised me!" she retorted, probably to appease his laughter, but it only made him laugh harder, "It's not funny!" she said testily, but the fact that she was about five feet six inches, and his image was over six feet tall, not to mention the assumed age difference made her anger seem ridiculous; which made him laugh harder still.
She growled slightly then seemed to grow dejected, "I guess if all you're going to do is laugh at me then I…" and she sniffled slightly.
His laughing died down, and when he saw that she wasn't faking her emotions, as he'd thought she might be, he gave her a small smile of his own. "I'm sorry, Lynn, I'm not very used to people." He said honestly, he wasn't sure if she bought it, but it was the best he had by way of an explanation, that she might possibly understand.
"Yeah, if you laugh at everyone you meet, I can't imagine you'd get many guests." She replied angrily.
"No, I don't get many guests; no one ever comes to see me." He tried to say the words calmly, but she must have detected his sorrow at the thought.
"Oh, it must be lonely."
"Sometimes." He agreed. Yeah, sometimes…most of the time…nearly all the time, "would you like to come to my chateau?" he asked her. She nodded, and he held his hand for her and she giggled.
"I feel like the ladies in the palace." She explained happily.
"You are most certainly the finest lady to ever grace the halls of my home, of that you can be sure." They ambled along the cobblestone path to chateau in silence except for the sounds of wind over the grass and their feet on the cobbles.
"What's your name?" she asked suddenly, he told her.
"Gainel, you say? Like the dream god?" she said, surprised.
"The very same." They were nearly upon the entrance now, and they were passing through some gardens when Lynn spoke again.
"This is the Divine realms isn't it, and you're the real Gainel, aren't you." It wasn't a question.
"You are quite correct."
"But how did I get here? How do I get back?" she was the image of suppressed panic.
"I'm not entirely sure, but I'm going to do all I can to help you." He said as the wooden door was only a foot away. It took her a moment to think over what he'd said, and he thought to himself, that other gods didn't do this sort of thing.
But when had cared about them? When had he ever been like them?
His siblings could go shove it, this was what he wanted to do.
Besides, he was responsible for her. He was a god, and the humans were the charges of the gods, even if his kin often forgot, and became caught up in their own games.
And he had a strange feeling, although he was not quite sure what it was, the best way he could describe it, would have been as if their souls were harmonized.
"Thank you." was all she said, but it seemed profound. He couldn't say why, he had a vision of The Balance, the great scales that governed the universe taking count of all debts and deeds, shifting in his, and oddly enough her, favor. But he didn't see what was balanced against them.
But it couldn't be for no reason she was here, he could feel it, this was right.
"But in the mean time, there's no reason you can't enjoy a cup of tea with me, is there? I don't get many guests, as I've already told you." He said in a slightly teasing tone, he realized, as he flashed her a smile.
He could tell something had happened, the world just looked different, much brighter, and more colorful.
"I suppose not." She smiled back.
"Then do come in, Milady Lynn." He opened the door.
"Don't mind if I do, Milord!" She stepped in.
And that Ether-being known as Providence smiled.