Black Flame: The Rise of Udakrus the Shadow King
An essay on the nature of the mental and spiritual realms of reality
By: Krazak the Wise
This brief work attempts to sketch out a descriptive theory of realms of being that we humanoid races cannot fully see or comprehend, yet all around us there is evidence for. It is based on years of research, by a review and interrogation of great scholars and elders from various races and from many lands.
It is my conclusion that there exists two realms that sit adjacent to another, the first is the realm of the spirit, it is what gives life to us all, and is where souls reside. It is connected to our realm like a shadow connected to whom or whatever casts that shadow. Each culture worships one or many Gods, and proof of their existence is all around is, in the powers that they grant their most devout followers. Miracles of healing and even resurrection that go far beyond any powers a wizard or sorcerer could ever possess. That is because the power of the Gods goes beyond our realm, and when clerics channel the power of their deity, they are given a door or bridge to the spiritual realm.
The second realm we cannot see yet we are connected to unknowingly is the realm of the mind, which I believe has multiple layers to it. The immediate realm is the one closest to our thoughts and is much more fixed and concrete. This is where the powers of the illithids and other psionics creatures lie. They are somehow more intune with this realm and can navigate and manipulate things in it to their own ends. Beyond this immediate realm is the place of dreams, which many cultures call the Dreamlands. The dreamlands is a vast, possibly infinite place that is ever changing and is where our consciousness travels when we sleep.
I believe that our limited connection to these realms are what makes us the intelligent creatures that we are. Inanimate objects have no soul, and therefore cannot have a mind. It seems that having a soul is a requirement to a mind, so therefore there must be some connection between these two realms. But not everything with a soul has a mind. A blade of grass does not have a mind. A potato does not have a mind. More advanced creatures, like animals and humanoids, have consciousness and intelligence and therefore must be in some way connected to the immediate sphere of the realm of the mind. But even the most intelligent dog or spider doesn’t posses the fantastic powers of creativity we see in the humanoid races and some others. These races also seem to have the strongest connection to the dreamland, where they get a glimpse of the surreal and infinite possibilities of the mind. Think about it. If I am doing mathematics I am connected to the most immediate parts of the Realm of the Mind. I must use logic and deduction, fo the answers have to be “worked out”. But when I am painting or dancing or engaging in the arts, I am most often “struck” with inspiration. That is because I am drawing from things far beyond me, I have somehow bridged the material plane with the Dreamlands.
I have said that artistic inspiration and expression comes from an outside source, located in the Dreamlands. But I haven’t said from what exactly. Is it the Dreamlands itself? Does the very realm live? Possible. But doubtful. Rather it seems that the Dreamlands are inhabited by an intelligent species. These native beings control the Very fabric of the Dreamlands and like pure inspiration they can meld it to whatever they will. They can even change their very appearance. Think about the last dream you had in which there were other people, maybe someone you know. Maybe you interacted with them, maybe you spoke to them. But you didn’t actually speak to them, when you wake up they will have no recollection. In fact they were having their own dreams inhabited by facsimiles of people that they know. These Dreamfolk play the role of the inhabitants of our dreams.
Just who are these Dreamfolk? What are their motivations? Why do they sometimes entertain us with dreams that are funny or romantic or nostalgic, etc. and then other times we are haunted by terrifying nightmares? Are there multiple races of Dreamfolk, some benevolent, some malicious? Or maybe all one race but multiple factions, like the various good and evil aligned religions here on our realm? These are the questions that future scholars will have to answer, though I think nothing short of traveling there is going to really answer these questions.