Art by Stuart McCune
Welcome to the Dreamscape
The Sleeping Man is the culmination of an idea I had when I was sixteen, in which I could see The Desert so clearly. I remember thinking of a Twilight Blade, “as black as the space between stars,” and a man with violet eyes. It just wasn't clicking so I just kept it in the back of my mind. I've performed, written, and day-jobbed my way through the world. It wasn't until I joined the Navy so I could better provide for my daughter and ex-wife that I found myself going back to this idea. Perhaps it was the writing classes, life experience, or just timing, but suddenly I knew the violet-eyed stranger was known only as The Sleeping Man. I didn't know his name because he didn't know his name. He was the one man who is standing up to the Volto Empire, having experienced their ruthless expansion first hand. With no unifying force to stand up for the non-humans who are being rounded up or killed, he has found a clue as to the location of the mysterious Compendium. Will the knowledge contained within give him the tools to stop the Empire? Read and find out!
The Sleeping Man
"His eyes were piercing and distant, and even before we moved against him, we had lost."
- Sergeant Leah Cho, Voltan City Guard
The last surviving Dreamwalker strives to find the long lost Compendium, which is rumored to be the seat of all knowledge. How else can one man take down an empire? Through his powers of traversing the Dreamscape, he has found a set of instructions leading him to the Compendium, but what will he find there and will it be enough?
Art by Stuart McCune
"Everyone dreams, we just perfected it."
- Yason Har-Mon, First Eye of Tirmuierese
A nomadic people with violet eyes all but extinct, Dreamwalkers would roam from city to city, telling fortunes and interpreting dreams, while their real power was only whispered. It is rumored there was once many tribes of Dreamwalkers, though any information is scarce due to their disappearance after the Dreamwalker Wars.
Art by Stuart McCune
"Memory is a dream of the past."
- Dreamwalker Saying
Laid over the physical realm like a shadow, the Dreamscape reflects the desires and fears of the world. Mystics, prophets, empaths, and Dreamwalkers all claim some connection with the Dreamscape. The most well-versed in its properties and use were the Dreamwalkers, and though few of their writings survive, their teachings have been studied by countless scholars trying to unlock the secrets within.
"Do not make a sound in The Desert, that's all they need. In fact, don't go at all."
- Captain Alicia Smock
Sole inhabitants of The Desert, the Cannoi are ruthless predators capable of tracking any intruder for miles across completely flat land. They rarely leave their territory, but the times they did left stories to frighten children and most adults. Their faces and bodies are covered with tattoos, and their lupine faces have only jagged teeth and a skeleton nose. With no eyes and holes were a human's ears would be they have survived for centuries in a barren wasteland through superb hunting skills and cannibalism.
"The Silverwood has ears. Claws and teeth, too."
- Jamison Stone, Scout
Elusive creatures which inhabit forests and mountain ranges, they are often found far from towns and cities. Their true origin is unknown, but they are notoriously passive and reclusive. There is no average Leshy, as they come in all shapes and sizes, with the exception of their tricolor eyes.
“To have life, there must be death before and after.”
– Bahtak Teaching
Inhabitants of the swamps to the south, the Bahtak are humanoid creatures in a perpetual state of decomposition. This often causes them to be mistaken for undead creatures and many rumors surround their existence. The Volto Empire has eschewed invading their swamps to avoid the costly toll of disease and drowning.
The Volto Empire
"Give your name, and take the Volto."
- Voltan Army Saying
The Volto Empire has begun its expansion into the realms of the free people, the collection of the Spice Islands, mountain clans, Bahtak swamps, and forests of the Leshy known as The Continent. After the collapse of the Adeunt Regem, The Volto Empire filled the power vacuum. Through carefully applied economic pressure and decisive military action, they have now become the largest power in the world whose sole purpose is to stamp out any non-human element which does not conform to their banner. As they expand, they erect white towers impervious to all weapons as a symbol of their influence.
"The Compendium is not simply a collection of books, at least, no more than a book is simply a collection of pages."
- Cassius Von Drake, Biblionaut First Class
Said to be the seat of all knowledge, The Compendium’s actual nature remains a mystery due to the conflicting accounts of the physical attributes of the structure itself. One account describes it as, “Rows of silent monks writing in sunlight, then candlelight, only to write once again in sunlight.” Another, “The forest citadel known as the Compendium gives its knowledge to travelers through coded patterns of light on the forest floor.” Though accounts differ, they agree that access to the knowledge contained within would make the wielder invincible.