05/14/11

I did find the hostel without much trouble after that. As I was told, the buildings were unmarked, but the streets were laid out in a regular grid pattern so there was no worry of getting lost. When I knocked on the door, a woman in thick gray robes greeted me, carrying an electric candle. She bid me follow her down a dark hallway, lit by a few electric candelabra similar to what she was carrying.

The room was bare. Just a bed and a desk, the same amenities I was used to. Surprisingly, however, despite appearances the bed was very comfortable. And though bare, the desk was sturdily built and pleasant to write on. But everything was the same gray. No natural light anywhere, just electric candles – assumedly because there were no windows, thus real ones would eat up all the oxygen and fill the air with smoke.

After taking a short nap, I found the woman who had let me in sitting in her office. She told me how to find the temple – it was only a few blocks down from here, on the main road. It was the only building in this district with any decoration; specifically in place of a street number, it had the sigil of Morpheus wrought in bronze above the door handle. That's it.

And so I asked her what had been on my mind since I got here – why would the followers of the god of dreams live in such a way? Why was everything gray? No ornamentation, no art. No one out on the streets, no windows. According to her, this was because followers of Morpheus believe that only dreams are really real. As they devote their lives to the study and practice of dreaming, their dreams are far richer than normal folk, and the environment is designed to help them break their ties with the physical world. If their waking world is devoid of stimulation, it's only natural that dreams will seem more "real".