Khamet awoke in darkness falling with nothing beneath him. He reached out with his legs and claws extended to catch anything. Suddenly there was blinding light all around him. It softened and below him the land of Heere reached out in all directions. The air was cold and his fur whipped around as he fell. In one direction was a large body of water. He kept his paws out instinctively trying to grab as he fell and waited. What would happen when he hit the ground?  He wondered. If he died Heere would that be the end of him.

He thought of his brother and wondered how he would find him up here in the air. He was even higher than the Bandersnatch had flown. He had known about the field of Love and Betrayal so he must know he was above him now. As if an answer from nowhere, he saw something shiny and bright flying towards him. Then a second. Was he being shot at? Was this because of the war?

The first of two bright streaks struck him dead center. They were aspects of him that had remained when his brother sent him back through. The images came in succession one after another. One had made it all the way back to the Kingdom of Hearts and his knowledge of the land expanded as more aspects of him struck. How many had he sent out? He had forgotten. Everything they had seen and done began to assault his senses and images filled him. The landscape below became more and more familiar to him as his awareness expanded. He had been gone only a moment this time, two weeks and all the while they were exploring and moving around much faster and easier than he could.

One had found the Jack of all Trades. The others had simply wandered. They found nothing in particular, but they did make some very awesome discoveries. Khamet watched the ground coming at him as the knowledge of his aspects assaulted him. He thought of the Roadscholar in the Bandersnatch nest. He could see it far below him. Khamet had no way of guiding himself toward it, but then again…

One of his other selves was walking alone through a thick fog. There were sounds and noises he had never heard before. He tried to identify them, but they were unclear and faded in and out of existence. The trees were twisted and colorful like flowers, and candies, but they mixed and intermingled with a horrible knurled darkness. The trees looked as if their very existence was something of a desperate struggle to survive.

 The noises continued with screams and cries of things sounding of pain and desperation. Some wept in disappointment and loss and Khamet had a feeling of fear as if this place didn’t make any real sense of anything. If Heere had been a contradiction of the senses, then this place was a contradiction of everything.

He moved through the trees and saw the wisps move past him, one becoming something… a thing of some sort he could not identify. It had a long nose and a most disturbing set of long sharp white teeth that could devour him in a moment. Suddenly the nose was drawn up and the teeth turned from long to short spiked needles, then the thing made a scream sounded as if it were in pain and was gone, like it never existed.

Khamet didn’t want to see this, but he was privy to everything his other selves had experienced.

This was a place of nightmares. The mist swarmed again and there was a little girl very like Umayma, the little girl he had known from his beginning place in Kemet, but this little girl had short blond hair and with a little piece of material holding it back. She giggled and suddenly she screamed and was gone. In the mist around him things continued to appear and vanish one by one.

The fog began too thin after a while and as it did the characters became more solid and remained for longer periods. There were chocolate horses and candy cane flowers and strawberry insects that fluttered, but the nightmarish things came as well. There were beasts that snapped and made wet gurgling growls. When the fog was very thin the figures did not vanish at all.

The strange trees mingled tighter and walled in the path with more odd shapes and colors while the characters lined the area as some display of the strange and the horrible. Most had no voice other than screams and could not interact with him or each other in anyway. Then the fog lifted completely and above him clouds departed to reveal the gloomy dark of night.

“Saedi,” Something whispered.

Khamet turned to an aspect of a man standing beside him. The man was tall and thin and dressed like something from a time he had not known in any respect.

“Saedi.” Something else whispered.

Khamet turned again. Several figures were standing about including a thing so hellish his mind could not bear the sight of it for more than a moment. It looked like ting that had been turned inside out.

“Saedi.” Several voices whispered near and far and Khamet searched for the source.

The figures were moving towards him and something large entered the vicinity. It was bristly with a shag of fur about its head and large pointed ears. Its mouth which contained many teeth was so large it could almost swallow Khamet whole. It sort of looked like a dog. 

“Out of the way. Move, where is it, move, now, move!” the dog faced thing bellowed and then stepped through the crowd. “Well, well a newcomer.”

“Excuse me.”

“A polite new comer? And you are from?”

Khamet stared.

 “You are…”

“I have no name Heere and what I am is only an aspect of it. This, is not Heere.” The things long snout and a long row of teeth growled a bit, but it was more interested than threatening. “You are a cat are you not? Are you having a laugh cat? Are you playing?”

Khamet stared. There was a twinge of threat in the voice, but… “I am looking for the Jack of all Trades or the Princess of Hearts or…”

“Stop, we know nothing of any of these things. Nothing in this place has a name. We are the Saedi of the Delirium.”

“The Delirium?”

“Correct. And you are Saedi as well.”

Khamet looked puzzled, “No, I don’t think….”

“If you are here you are Saedi for we are all Saedi.”

Khamet looked confused, “The Delirium is a forest that eats anything that comes across it. It is loud and confusing and…”

‘We know nothing of this.”

“So the Roadscholar named you Saedi.”

“Yes,” the shaggy dog face said.

“When did he do this?”

“The first of us still recall, only a few of us remain. And many of us come and go faster than we can begin to imagine.”

“What are you?”

“Creations from Yonderland.”

At the mention of Yonderland Khamet became very interested.

“What do you mean?”

“We are aspects from those in Yonderland. As they think, as they imagine, as they believe and dream, we come to be and then we go as their imaginings fade. Farther out they are less substantial and never last long. They are simply hopes and wishes and momentary flashes of aspect and possibility. The further in, the more we are realized. In Yonderland we tend to exist in some form and continue.”

“But you are all trapped Heere?” Khamet asked.

“What would we do were we to leave this place? There is no place for us. Outside of the Delirium we cannot exist. The Delirium is our link to Yonderland and if we leave…”

“We would cease to be.” A figure said suddenly stepping out from the crowd. A man in a red robe with a large wide brimmed hat and a hook for a hand, “I will have you Pan!” he said and suddenly he was gone.

Khamet looked questioningly.

“He will return.” The dog face with the long teeth said. “He has come and gone several times. He is being imagined right now. Then he will exist for a time before he is gone again. Eventually the realization becomes so real it exists permanently. You can always tell when something is going to stay because they are instantly realized. They are conscious and not just a phantasm. They can communicate. But when they die…”

There was a moan around them.

Khamet looked around.

“When a realized aspect, a real idea, a living creation is lost…”

“We all feel it.” One said.

“We all know it.” Another added.

“And we all witness it.” A third said.

“How does…”

All the faces looked down and away.

“Everyone is different.” The big toothed mouth said. “Some burn, some fall apart, some just fade.

“Some rot,” one said looking as if it were remembering something horrible.

“And now you are here.” the shaggy dog head said.

“But I am not Saedi. I am only an aspect of myself that is in another part of Heere. He is from Yonderland.”

The mumbling of this moved around the entire area.

“You say your other self is from Yonderland?”

“Yes.”

“Where is he?”

“I don’t know. I was sent to find…”

“Come with me,” the shaggy dog head interrupted. “And again the crowd parted. The entire area was trees and very like the Delirium, the ground spongy and loose. A wall of shrubbery was ahead, as they approached the shrubs drew back to reveal a small glade enclosed under a night sky. A large chair made of vines sat at the far end with a tall man in a white beard and robe.

“Hello?” the man said. Then followed with. “Yes hello.” “How are you?” “Hi.”

“Hello?” Khamet asked having been addressed several times.

“Welcome.” “Good to see you.” “Make yourself at home.” “Hi.”

The large dog headed creature stood back.

“Who are you?” “Do you have a name?” “What is it?” “Tell us please.” The man spoke in four distinct voices one of which sounded like a woman.

“My other is called Khamet.”

“Not a name.” “Matters not.” “Unimportant.” “Not a real name.”

“He is from Yonderland.”

“AHHHH…” they all said in unison. “I remember.” “Yonderland of my birth.” “A place of forever.” “And never.” “Long ago.” “Many somes.” “Great time.” “Distant.” “So distant.” “Very distant.”

“Who are you?” Khamet asked the old man.

“We are the first not named of this place.” “And here we have remained.” “Abandoned.” “By the scholar.” “Or fired.” “Once a companion.” “We believe.” “Cared for us.” “We thought.” “But we are so ever much more.” “And less.” “Than we ever believed.” “And in this place.” “We remain.” “The word.” “We once heard.” “Told to us by another.” “I’m going crazy.” “Insane.” “Lost.” “I believe, but.” “What is truth?” “To those?” “Who no longer can be?”

Khamet was trying to follow, “I don’t understand.”

“Understanding.” “Not important.” “It is secondary.” “It is lost.” “It will be found.” “Eventually.” “In the end.” “We will.” “Don’t say it again.” “Not true.” “Speak true.” “We shall find our way.” “Out of here.” “This is the end.”

“This is the unnamed.” The shaggy dog head stepped up now. “The first of the Saedi. He created the Delirium to shield himself from the rest of Heere.”

“Why?”

“No one remembers any longer. He is lost in many ways.”

“You know the Roadscholar.” “You, new one.” “New to the lost.” “Delirium.” “You know him.” “For he has been lost for some time.” “Never existed some say.” “Not true not true.” “For we knew and still we remember.” “Yes we do.” The old man said.

“Yes he is trapped in the Bandersnatch nest.” Khamet replied.

“AHHHH…” they all said in unison again. “Yes that is truth.” “You speak.” “You have seen.” “And you do know.” “We must speak to him.” “He can free us.” “He can set us free.” “And we will be one day…” “Don’t speak so.” “For it is false.”

It was confusing listening to the old man who seemed to have lost most of his coherency.

“You are not Saedi.” “You are different.” “You are not here.” “You exist as phantom.” “But not as Saedi.” “No.” “As.” “Something else.”

“Yes.” Khamet agreed. 

“You go.” “Tell the Roadscholar.” “Help us.” “Release us.” “Don’t speak so.” “For this is our end.” “We have no future outside of this.” “And we want one.” “They all do.” “To be.” “To exist.” “To have freedom.” “Can you?” “Will you please?” “If that is so.” “We will tell you a secret.” “Many secrets.” “Many things we know.” “We have been here so long.” “Help us.” “We help you.”

“Yes I would like to help you.” Khamet said.

The old man stared. The silence seemed a crazed endlessness. After a long moment the old man in one voice said, “You know of the mushrooms and of the cookeys yes?”

“And of the Payasograss. The Jubjub and the Bandersnatch.” Khamet tried to help him.

The voices all began to speak in unison. “You must learn of the war that rages. It destroys the land and kills many.”

“Off with their heads,” one of the voices echoed. 

“And know that this land,”

“This place.”

“Will guide you. You’re from Yonderland. It will lead you forward on what you will. It moves, it lives, it teaches and it guides those who listen.”

“The Roadscholar listened.”

“And it created and it moved him. It taught him. He was the first and could be the last for there are no others that can do what he has done. It is said among us,”

“And only us.”

That perhaps,”

“Only perhaps.”

“And maybe, that the land doesn’t listen to him any longer. The Roadscholar cannot be trapped in a place in this land for he named this place,”

“This land,”

“And Yonderland. He alone knows all of the what’s, why’s and wherefores. So it is to him you must go. Here is one secret for you.”

The old man leaned in and spoke in one voice. Think, picture, imagine, and see.” He stared.

“Then and only then.” “Yes only after you see it.” “Will you do it.” “And be it.” “And so it will be.”

Yesss,” all the voices finished in unison.

“What does that mean?” Khamet said.

“Go now.” “Go back.” “Back to yourself.” “Think.” “Wonder.” “Ponder the truth of outwords.” “Confusing.” “Riddling.” “Strange.” “Insane we are.” “Not.” “Yes we are.” “I believe.” “We are.” “Or we are going.” “Have been too long.” “Sitting as they call us Dog.” “No.” “That’s backwards.” “I think then.” “Elohim.” “Or was it something else?” “Forever will be some way.” The voices died and the old man seemed to turn inward. He began mumbling to himself until Khamet could no longer understand anything.

The large dog head with the big eyes, to see and big teeth to eat, nudged him away. “He will not speak again for days. Come.” He led him out of the open area to the others who were waiting.

“He’s free to go.”

“What?” the word rumbled through the crowd.

“But what about us?” one asked.

“There is more to this than we know,” he said.

The characters all fell to a sullen mass. And the big dog faced thing urged him forward. Slowly Khamet made his way out through the nightmares and forest of screams, ghosts and the Saedi that never were and will be.

 

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