The Unseen Realm
There are an endless number of wonders seldom seen yet generously, and variably described. No histories tell of their conceptions; nor would even the most fanciful storyteller think to draw maps of their locations. Yet these wonders fill the hearts of those who still allow themselves to dream, inspiring and emboldening them to reach up and seize the stars. Such things are the fixtures of an unknown place, an unseen realm that churns with forces like unto raging tempests. Forces which, in their unfathomable and terrible beauty, thunder through this Unseen Realm, crafting wonders as glorious and varied as the fancies of Man.
If one was to ever venture into the Unseen Realm, they would first be greeted by a vast meadow blanketed by flowers arrayed in many colors—some known to men and others never before encountered. While a newcomer may pass through the meadow ignorantly, partaking blissfully of the many colors and shapes of the flowers, they would miss what truly makes it wonderful. For as night approaches, the flowers, already beautiful, take on an indescribable charm. They sway rhythmically, seeming to dance in the gentle winds of evening as the Sun moves ever downward. With every inch of the Sun’s descent, the flowers’ colors shift and deepen until they exude harsh, dark hues. In moments, the entire meadow is flooded with reds, oranges, yellows—each echoing the multicolored majesty of the Sun. And once night finally comes upon the Meadow of Solar Lilies, the flowers glow and shine luminously, lighting up the sky as if in place of the Sun.
If one were to venture past the Meadow of Solar Lilies, they would find themselves lost in a deep and inscrutable wood. The trees’ strong, deep green and intoxicating mist confuses the mind, and makes it seem larger and deeper than it truly is. Whilst traipsing about the wood, one might notice a strange cacophony riding the wind as with the leaves. It is said the trees, though faceless and inert, mutter and cry inconsolably—nonetheless weathering the strong gales that try in vain to test the deepness of their roots. It may be that these mutterings have their source in the countless broken hearts and failing minds of those men and women who have given up on their deepest, most personal ambitions. And that is just as well, for The Forest of Forgotten Dreams is among the darkest and most melancholy places in all the Unseen Realm.
Beyond the Meadow of Solar Lilies, through The Forest of Forgotten Dreams, lies a quiet, reserved lake. This lake, though surrounded by an arboreal phalanx, is beautifully empty; naught but a shining pool of serene, crystalline waters scarcely stirring but for the seldom ripples of life beneath the surface. Yet, so luminous are these waters that even on the night of a Full Moon they stand out, such that one cannot but wonder if they reflect the moonlight at all. Perhaps the waters shine of their own accord, while the Moon reflects their glorious glow.
If one were tempted to peer below the scarcely-disturbed surface of the lake, they may perchance meet a denizen of its glamorous waters: perhaps a small snail with a brown shell, chugging along in a curiously dull fashion. Mayhap he hangs his head low, and moves slowly even for a snail. As if he hadn’t much time left. One wonders how long he has been there; is he a visitor, or has he called this lake home for the entire length of his life? If the latter, his would be a fitting end, to pass peacefully in the place of his birth. Had this been any other lake, on any other night that is.
The Moon looms over the lake on this tranquil night, and the waters take a new form. They begin to glow, and to churn oddly. Suddenly a vortex of sapphire shoots forth, first swirling powerfully, then cascading upon the poor snail. The waters pulse rhythmically, before the vortex launches itself into the air with surprising force. The snail, enveloped in the glowing coils of water, seems to dissolve until naught but a mass of pulsating flesh remains. Yet the flesh swirls as with the water itself, growing and churning madly with each second that passes. And as a particularly bright beam of moonlight shines down on the lake, one can see that a new form occupies the vortex: a serpentine body, coiled on itself yet continuing to twirl wildly.
In one, mad motion the new body bursts from the watery maelstrom, landing on the bank of the lake. The body lay motionless for what seems like several moments, before its leathery skin inflates and recedes in a haggard first breath. Another moment passes in silence, before the new creature’s breathing grows even and calm. Soon it rises from its earthen cradle, and raises its newly crested head to the moonlit sky. It stares up at the sky with its new eyes; eyes that burn a bright color that at once seems orange, crimson, and deep purple; eyes that widen at the spectacle of the Moon and the stars. As if second nature, the newborn dragon flexes its wings, shaking off what remains of the water that birthed it. It braces its new legs against the soft earth, and leaps into the air with all of its now considerable strength, and thunders through the sky to the great expanse that lay beyond.
Such beauty, such glorious rebirth is only possible at this Lake of New Beginnings—a hallowed place scarcely touched by Man, and where marvelous wonders are born out of the mundane.
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