In the final days of the Primordial War, a champion of light defeated a great being who had wrought such havoc upon Creation that all feared to say their name lest its attention be drawn to them. The champion stood above the fallen foe, and said, “You are defeated, but as I am just, unlike you and your brethren, I give you a choice. You may keep your power, but I shall kill you, or you may keep your life, but you shall be powerless. You shall be banished to a new realm, a realm of that-which-is-not we call Dreams. You may do as you please there, but it shall not be True and you can harm no one.”
The foe, that fallen despoiler, was ancient even in that time-before-time and far more cunning that the Light gave it credit for. It replied, “Alas, I value my life more than my power, and to this Dream you shall banish me.” And it was so.
The primordial horror began to come into the dreams of the mortals who inherited Creation following the war. But it did not come to playact at ravening and terrorising the helpless, no. It would whisper to the downtrodden about the possibility of a better life. It would whisper to the clever about success and new horizons. “If you can dream about this thing, why can you not make it real and true?” And those who heard its whispers would grasp for that reality. They would succeed and rejoice, or they would fail, but continue to dream, surviving on that thin sustenance of possibility.
And those of the Light saw this, and congratulated themselves for reforming that which could not be reformed. For what was the Defeated doing, but helping mortals find their best lives? Dreams became a motivational tool, something the Light endorsed and supported. “Follow your dreams!” “If you can dream it, you can do it!” If sometimes one dream came at the expense of another’s, that was sad but surely an anomaly, something that could be worked out, right? Dreams really *do* come true!
And then the Defeated, who was not OF Time and was banished to a realm where Time-Was-Not, began to tell certain dreamers about things that were, for the dreamer, yet to come. Sometimes things that brought joy. Sometimes a warning of dangers. Because the mortals were self-directed, gifted with that they called Free Will, these dreams did not always come true. But they came true often enough. The future could be glimpsed.
The Light saw this, and they saw a tool they could use. They could share messages with their charges, and because Dreams were That-Which-Is-Not, they were not betraying their oaths to leave the mortals to their own devices. They could help-without-helping, giving advice and guidance. Prophecy, as these dreams came to be called, was True. These dreams *must* come true.
Then storytellers (who have always been closest to Dream) began to tell stories of “What If?” and one of these “What If?” stories that was very popular was about the dream that *could* hurt. The boogeyman, the nightmare, the Jungian Shadow – they would come crawling out of the Not and into the Is and they would raven and they would terrorise. It did not matter if these Dreams-Become-Real were defeated in the end, what was important was that these Dreams *were* real.
Too late the Light saw the scheme. Too late did messages of “Dreams can’t hurt you” and “Live in the real world” and “Don’t worry about the future” enter Creation. For if prophecy was True, and dreams could become Real, a prophecy of creatures escaping the eternal confinement of Dream *must* be fulfilled.
And the unspeakable, primordial thing that called itself Hope continued to quietly scrape at the walls of its prison.