Siggy and the Slumbering Woods

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It has long been pondered, in our field of work, the difference between mundane humans and those with abilities such as thaumaturgy or reality bending. There have been theories of these beings having differences in the soul or the humors, but neither of these things have been proven to ever exist. I posit, instead, that there may not be a biological difference at all, that it may instead be a question of unlocked potential, that the difference may be purely psychological, a matter of perspective.

As the founder of the Department of Ontokinetics, I’ve spent my life trying to answer these questions, analyzing and documenting the biology and behavior of reality benders in and out of containment in search of answers. I now believe that the answer to these mysteries may lie in dreams.

Dreams have always been a mystery, for both the Veiled and un-Veiled scientific and mystical communities. Why does our brain replay scenes from our lives, when we should be at rest, especially in cases of trauma? Why does it make up new fantastical realms with seemingly no bearing on our lives? Why give fantastical bends to an otherwise mundane life? Why do we need to sleep? Why do we dream? While we remain unable to answer these questions, the developing fields of psychology and studies of the noospherics have shown great promise in researching dreams.

One avenue of exploration has been examining the subjective experience and perception of dreams by the general population, which has turned up some interesting findings. Many would claim the difference between dream and reality is obvious. In reality there is order, causality, reason. In dream there is only the unconscious mind, flitting from scene to scene, only chaos. However, we are, most of us, still fooled by dreams, tricked by our own brains into treating them as real, at times even speaking or moving our bodies in reality.

Not so for lucid dreamers. Lucid dreamers are able to do as they like within their dreams. They may act consciously, logically, fully aware that they are able to change whatever they desire within. Some people are naturally gifted with this ability while others are able to train themselves to detect the "cracks" in dreams, such as all written word becoming gibberish. Some lucid dreamers can even become something more, Oneiroi.

Reality benders are much like these lucid dreamers, becoming "awakened" and finding the "cracks" in reality that they can enforce their own logic on, as one might in dreams.

But if one can enforce one’s will on their worlds in both waking and dreaming what would be the difference? How does one distinguish between dream and reality?"

Excerpt from “Treatise on the Relationship Between Dreams and Reality Benders” by O5-11 "The Visionary"


Once upon a time, in a far away land, there was a Princess who lived in a wonderful, magical kingdom ruled by her father the kind and just King Stefan the Good. This kingdom was quite unlike the brutalist cities you may know, it had rivers of brightest aquamarine, sand as smooth as silk and forests with trees taller than the tallest towers. It was a kingdom comprised of all manner of unique beings living together in harmony be they men, faerie or even ogre. None ever quarreled and each home was as unique and beautiful as the hearts of those that dwelt within. The streets were made of rainbow and the lamps shone like the stars themselves, and nobody was ever afright, even in the darkest of nights.

From the littlest pixie to the most ferocious of giants, all knew they were watched, protected, and loved by the greatest of heroes, the Order of Pandora. Heroes like Sister Sophia of the Holy Light, Sir King champion of the Apple-folk, Sir Kondraki the Dragonrider, Sir Gears legendary tinkerer and their faithful hunting dog Kain. Even once-enemies such as the arch-wizard Clef the Terrible had joined their number, swayed by their friendship and inherent goodness to turn his machinations to the side of Good. A kingdom in which it was playtime all the time and no citizen ever felt sad or lonely.

Until, one night, everything changed. It was a festival day, celebrating the Order of Pandora and their wondrous deeds. The Princess of this great kingdom, apple of the eyes of her parents King Stefan and Queen Leah, had announced, cooked and set a great feast for all the kingdom, with the Order of Pandora as the guests of honor. She set plates of gold out for her heroes (whom the children in the kingdom oft play-acted as), twelve in total, and plates of copper for the remaining citizenry. The event was nearing the end of the first course (bread and cheeses of the most delicious variety) when it happened: Clef the Terrible, Clef the Horrid, Clef the Vile, the villain turned hero, entered the feast hall. Now, of course, Clef had been invited, he was one of the Order after all, the darkness in his heart having shrunk (or at least hidden). However, nobody thought he’d actually show up! He never did, for these kinds of things. Yet here he was parading into the hall along with his signature crooked grin. And that’s where the trouble began. The young princess, you see, had made a grave error. Maybe it was because he wasn’t expected to come, maybe he really had been forgotten, heck, maybe the young princess had just miscounted. Whatever the case, they were out of gold plates and oh no! Even the copper plates! "Clef would not like this, oh! Oh!" thought the Princess, "this is not suitable hospitality at all!" And so, the princess made her last mistake.

Growing up, the young royal had always been a little different from the other children. She was able to do things, impossible things, just by wishing them so, though few seemed to realize things had ever changed at all. Not so, for the Order of Pandora, well versed in these sorts of things. One day, while at the royal court, she was Seen, and told that not only was she a Princess, but a Witch as well! Oh how proud she was! Oh how proud her parents and her kingdom were of her! But being a witch wasn't all it was cracked up to be after all. The training was fun and she got along well with many of her teachers, but the tests were dull and the rules… My goodness the Rules! She could feel this immense amount of power, pressure behind her eyes like the expansion of galaxies, and she was only allowed to use the smallest bit of it, to make the most boring of changes, out of spells in a book. And only during specified times too! No playing with her magic allowed. Of course, much like any little girl, she had a Serpent whispering in her ear, telling her “Break the rules! Cast some spells! Nobody will ever know!” And sometimes she would fall prey to the Serpent (as many of us do when chafing against seemingly unjust rules) and cast a little spell, have a little fun, harmless really, and sometimes, often even, her teachers never seemed to find out. But not Clef, never Clef. He was the one teacher that always knew, no matter what she did, no matter where she did it — somehow, he always knew.

But, during this day of festivities, the little Serpent fooled the Princess once again, (or maybe it was just the stress of hosting such a large party, or of failing her teacher) and so the Princess grabbed the first plate she found, one of simple wood, and enchanted it to be made of gold instead. This plate was then filled with the main course (pork roast) and presented to the arch-mage. For a moment, all seemed well. Clef chatted to his companions and even tasted the pork roast (a bit dry, but the Princess was no expert cook, and so all forgave this). But then Clef squinted at his golden plate, and his crooked smile became a crooked frown. He calmly stood up, and in his actions and his poise, all that knew him could see that the darkness contained within him had emerged once more.

He cast a wicked spell, that wicked wizard. A death curse, of the kind unrepeatable (in pleasant company, at least) aimed at the poor Princess! But as the realm was defended, so too was the princess, by the celebrated heroes in this very hall that eve. The Order of Pandora quickly turned on their traitorous companion, in a bid to defend the princess from harm, but it was too late, the curse had already taken root. White Sir Kondraki valiantly fought his dear friend Clef, spells multi-colored brightening the hall (as the planned fireworks would have later that night) Sir Gears rushed to the aid of the Princess. Now, as we all know, unspeakable death curses aren’t reversible, else they wouldn’t be unspeakable, but Gears was a clever sort, he was. He didn’t try to counter the spell at all, and instead wove his own spell (or rather, used a magic item in his possession, but there’s little difference there). Though the spell could not be lifted from the beloved princess, it could be shared, and thus lessened, for it is known that a burden shared is a burden lightened. Thus the curse, rather than granting the Princess the sleep of death, merely inflicted the slumber of the weary, across all within those halls (excepted the dark wizard, for it was his own dark magiks that caused this) to awaken when the curse was broken, and protected until then.

Clef raged at the world, gnashing his teeth, incensed by his righteous justice being stolen from him. Well, he thought it righteous, if you asked just about anybody else they’d say killing a little girl for breaking the rules was a bit harsh, but for Clef breaking the rules was breaking his universe. He put up a wall, miles tall, covered in thorny vines, completely surrounding the kingdom. He freed the Dragon, ancient enemy of the Order, who patrolled the land, destroying any waking being who came near, healing from any injury that would kill another of its sort. He enchanted one hundred and seventy-three gargoyles, who would move in the blink of the eye, assassinating those unfortunate enough not to know better. The kingdom was Good no longer, it was Clef’s, and belonged to the darkness in his heart as surely as Clef himself did.

But all was not hopeless(though it surely seemed so) for there are yet more heroes, unnamed as of yet, who may yet save the day. This tragedy was not unexpected, not entirely. There was a prophecy, long ago, spun by the Great Oracle Xyank. But this was no prophecy of doom and gloom, but a prophecy of hope.

A prophecy of Last Hope.

Meanwhile


Far from this and every other story, there was a watchtower in the churning sea, anchored, still, unchanging. While everything else may be washed away by the tide it stood mighty, and watched. Light shone from the top of this tower, and the light was an eye, and the eye belonged to the one known as the Archivist. The Archivist, second among equals of the Overwatch Council watched from its panopticom with the zen of a believer and the passion of a machine, both of which it was. O5-2 ran its holy code, and thought, running tens of thousands of simulations of future events, and in mere miliseconds, coming to a conclusion: things could not be allowed to continue this way.

It was not concerned with the recontainment of SCP-239 and the neutralization of its effects on Site-19. For all that Alto Clef's chaotic nature was difficult to compute there was a pattern of successes in recontaining SCP-239 and in dealing with hostile reality benders in general. O5-7 had chosen her piece well, Green was a master of the game after all and normally the rest of the council would be content to leave here to play with her dolls. But if O5-2's calculations were correct (and they always were) then this chain of events, left untouched, would interfere with its holy mission, and this could not stand.

The Archivist would have to put its own pieces into play.

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