Welcome to our re-read of The Evolutionary Void, part the eighth! This week we're tackling one of my favourite chapters of the trilogy, Inigo's 47th Dream: The Waterwalker’s Triumph, the last time Inigo dreamed of Edeard, and Chapter Eight.
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Inigo's 47th Dream: The Waterwalker’s Triumph
We join Edeard as his son, Mattuel, is helping him up the steps to the top of the tower. With all the mistakes that have happened during previous lives this one has been a success, and by the time the four Skylords came to Querencia events were on course with little trouble. People waiting guidance now used parks after advice from Edeard that they used the towers out of respect for the previous race that crafted them, and there were areas throughout the provinces for people to gather for guidance. This meant that Makkathran was never as busy as it had been in previous lives. Except today that is, where the streets were crowded to see of the Waterwalker.
This day was the day when Querencia paid tribute to the Waterwalker for transforming their world to one of enlightenment and potential. Already his era was being proclaimed the planet’s golden age.
As he awoke on his final morning with Kristabel, both of them going to seek guidance, his family were there to see him. Edeard thinks of days gone by, of Finitan, and how he will soon see him again in the Heart. His family had gathered round to say goodbye to him, one by one.
“See you soon.”
See you soon. It was a murmur that swept around the lounge, followed by a chorus of well-wishing that was taken up by those on the ninth floor and farther, all the way to the third. And nowhere in the ziggurat was Burlal. He at least was spared the indignity of age; his brief years were always those of happiness.
Edeard reminisces some more on his way to the tower, wondering whether he should go back to before the fire in Ashwell, saving his parents and the town, to live his life again. But he decides on guidance, that the life he has lived this time is his last.
As Edeard and Kristabel settle down at the top of the tower they are joined by moany others ready for guidance, and are pleased that Macsen, Kanseen, and Dinlay are there to be part of the journey.
Edeard looked around at his friends, humbled and delighted that they would all be traveling together. Kanseen on a bed of cushions next to Macsen, her terribly frail frame struggling to breathe. Dinlay, standing, of course, gaunt yet with a straight back, his Chief Constable’s uniform immaculate, dignified at the last.
“Everyone together,” Edeard said.
“No matter what,” they all chorused.
Edeard asks his friends if an ability that could change existed, should it be shared, with Kanseen giving a simple answer:
“If the ability Exists, it exists for a read.”
And so Edeard decides to share it:
“I have one last gift for you,” he said to the glittering enraptured minds below. “Use it well.” And he showed them how to travel back through their own lives to begin again where they chose.
And with that gifting Edeard, Kristabel, Macsen, Kanseen, and Dinlay leave their physical bodies to begin their journey to the Heart.
Edeard cast his perception up, growing aware of the songs calling down from the nebulae. They seemed to speak directly to him, a promise of such glory that he was filled with wonder and anticipation. “They’re so beautiful,” he exclaimed. “And we’ll soon be there.”
Oscar and his team are still on Viotia following Araminta’s appearance and departure to Ellezelin, and still nothing has happened and they have no new information. However, as they sit around discussing what to do Oscar gets a priority call to his u-shadow:
“Bloody hell!” he blurted.
“Hello, Oscar,” Araminta said. “I believe you told me to call.”
Mareble and Danal have both been confirmed to be part of the pilgrimage, travelling into the Void on the Macsen’s Dream, and are now busy preparing for embarkation and departure. With 2 million people boarding the ship it takes some time indeed, but they finally make it to the ramp to enter the ship.
“It’s real,” she whispered to Danal as they began the slow walk up the slope.
As they do there’s a comment from someone behind them, much to Mareble’s displeasure. They turn around to see who it is:
“They call me the Lionwalker,” he said. “But I got that label a long time before our very own Waterwalker came along, so that’s okay, then. Pleased to meet you.”
After a short conversation they continue forth, readying themselves for the journey.
The SI’s icon appeared in Troblum’s exovision, requesting a connection. At least it was asking, he thought, rather than intruding.
And so we re-join Troblum, where the SI is talking to him about his options and how he can help. The SI has intercepted the secure call to Oscar from Araminta, and it tells Troblum this, and that a meeting in a café has been arrange. They both speculate on what this means given that Araminta is on the Lady’s Light preparing for pilgrimage, but the SI asks Troblum if he wants to watch the meeting via its infiltration in the café network. After further discussion Troblum decides to watch the meeting, perhaps finally stepping into the arena of events…
Oscar arrives at the café and order his salad while Beckia and Cheriton take up their positions outside, monitoring the situation. Oscar watches the events on board the Lady’s Light as Araminta and the fleet start their ascent from Ellezelin and their journey towards the Void.
“Holy crap,” Oscar grunted. He truly had no idea what he was doing here now. In fact, he started to worry that Tomansio was right and Living Dream had broken into her mind so they could clear up any possible remaining problems. That was bollocks, he knew. Why wait until now?
Mr Bovey pulls up, comes in, and sits next to Oscar:
“Mr. Bovey,” he began in censure, which he was about to follow up with something along the lines of what’s she up to? when the man simply grinned and shook his head.
“No,” he said emphatically. “That’s Mr. Bovey over there keeping an eye on you.”
Oscar twisted around. The two men eating steak and kidney pies waved solemnly. “I don’t get …”
“I’m Araminta. Araminta-two, I suppose. I borrowed one of my fiancé’s bodies. This one, to be precise. I always liked this one.”
With that Oscar, Araminta-two, and the team quickly leave the café and head straight for Oscar’s ship. Once there Oscar waste’s no time in leaving the planet and heading straight into orbit.
“All right,” he said to Araminta-two. “What the fuck is going on?”
“I was running out of options,” Araminta-two replied. “Becoming the Dreamer is a diversion.” His confidence faltered for a moment. “I hope. That’s where you come in.”
Araminta tells them that she will help the pilgrimage enter the Void if it gets there before they can do anything, and Oscar tells her to name what help she needs. She tells them that Bradley Johansson told her to find Ozzie, that if anyone could help, he could. After some calming of the Knight’s Guardians – after all, they just found out their founder is still out there, albeit in a different form – Oscar calls Paula, and she tells them to head for the Spike to see Ozzie. She also warns him that Aaron is there, as is Inigo, and that there may be trouble given Aaron’s past exploits.
The SI asks Troblum what he plans to do now…
Paula’s sensors observe the Elvin’s Payback depart Viotia, and that is shortly followed by the Mellanie’s Redemption. Paul then contacts Qatux aboard the High Angel:
“I know the purpose of the High Angel is supposed to be to save life from this galaxy, but something is happening, Qatux, something my instinct tells me is crucial. So I’m going to need a favour. A very big favour.”
Ozzie, Aaron, Inigo, and Corrie-Lyn are now heading to Ozzie’s place the Spike.
“Okay, we can go out,” Aaron said.
Ozzie gave him a long look. “You sure?”
“Well, okay, but be careful of the mutant squids in the lake.”
As Aaron gets the unconscious Inigo and Corrie-Lyn out of the flyer Ozzie goes in the house to join his female companion so they can … well, you get the picture. After an hour with Inigo and Corrie-Lyn awake there’s still no sign of Ozzie, so Aaron goes up to the room to wake him, much to Ozzie’s annoyance given that it’s the middle of his night, but he comes downstairs anyway. As they talk Aaron tells them that his initial plan was to get Inigo into the Void so he could talk to the Heart to try and get some communication going, and then he would know what to do next. Ozzie fills them in on what’s happened in the Commonwealth, and it’s clear that they aren’t up-to-date on events, so Ozzie tells them to get current and heads back to bed.
The following morning Ozzie and Myraian head down to the gang. Corrie-Lyn gets angry with Ozzie for knowing what he does, but not helping them.
“Enjoy your victory,” Inigo said softly. “The Void is not our salvation. I was wrong to hold it out as a symbol of attainable Nirvana, of a life that can be perfect. It is none of those things. I. Was. Wrong.”
They talk some more about Ilanthe and what she’s doing, or planning to do, and then the other Ozzie – stored in the house – made up of memories chimes in, telling them he’s the real Ozzie, the one with all the memories. But the memories can be accessed, so at least they can use them all during the talk. Aaron once again tells them that his goal is to get Inigo to talk to the Heart, and asks if Ozzie’s telepathy effect can help. Ozzie explains it, but essentially it can’t. However, he’s interested in how Inigo dreamed of inside the Void from 30,000 light years away.
“I don’t know. I never did understand. The best anyone came up with was that Edeard and I were related somehow. Could be, but we’ll never know. I connected to a human. There aren’t any left in the Void now. The Skylord was quite clear about that when Justine asked.”
They talk more about options, with Aaron insisting that getting Inigo into the Void is his goal, with contact an acceptable second place if getting in is definitely not possible. Talk turns towards why Inigo turned his back on Living Dream, and just what the Last Dream was:
“What happened?” Corrie-Lyn entreated. “Please, Inigo, what did you dream after Edeard accepted guidance to the Heart? Just tell us. Tell me. I trust you with this. I always will. But I think I deserve to know.”
“I dreamed of perfection.”
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Next time we finally reach the fabled Last Dream, as well as Chapter Nine, so join me then!