Many of you know me. Many of you knew me, or read the tales of my existence from before I Awakened; other lives, other realms, for I have lived in many, but none as real as this.
Perhaps that is an exaggeration. Perhaps "this" is only more real because it is the here and the now, and the next world will be even more real than this.
But I digress...
This is the tale of Roland, as you know me, and in part, my sister Amygdala.
Our parents were simple folks - laborers, scholars, as many of Cloudsbreak tend to be.... but in their Dreams, they were Knights. Knights of a grand House known as the Order of the Sable Moon, although we were not to know this until much later in our lives. We were very young when we lost them; their souls destroyed when Dreamstrike was deployed in the Dream; unable to Dream, they left their twin children in the hands of a local orphanage, and disappeared into the desert... presumably to die.
In the orphanage, being more bold and outgoing than I, Amygdala fast became popular among the other children. She was a natural leader in conversation and athletics, and was always surrounded by friends and admirers alike.
I, on the other hand, was tolerated only because Amygdala was my sister. I was a private child, preferring the company of a good book to that of loud and boisterous children. Many times, when Amygdala was otherwise occupied, I was picked on... my desire for solitude mistaken for weakness. I regret having had to administer more than one bloody nose in those years.
In my 12th year of life, I was offered an apprenticeship with a Blacksmith from a nearby town. His name was Cort, and his mastery of the weapons he produced in his forge was only surpassed by his demanding tutoring. It was a path out of the orphanage, and while reluctant to leave my sister's side, I accepted, vowing to find a way to gain her release, that we could live again as a family.
I was allowed to travel to the orphanage after several months working with Cort; to this day I do not know, but suspect that Cort was already aware that my sister was long gone. I wept, and prayed that the family that adopted her would treat her as a daughter, and not a slave.
When I returned to Cort's workshop, he saw the expression on my face, and said not a word. From that day on, Cort's tasks grew more demanding, tasks that required full attention, lest a limb be lost... as we progressed from forging weapons to using them, I quickly learned the ways of the Warrior, and before long was unmatched in the arts of combat
In Cort's training, the heart and mind were not completely forgotten... but Cort had his own thoughts on how they applied to the total person: Placing honor and personal courage above all, the heart was a thing to be controlled, lest emotions get in the way during battle. Cort taught me that to love was to give up something of oneself, no small price, and not one easily paid. Cort had trained some of the finest minds in Cloudsbreak, and learned much of the known sciences; these things Cort passed on to me as well, and I took to my studies as I did to my training -- voraciously. Knowledge is a tool, and I sought to master it as any other.
I had been under Cort's guidance for some 3 years, when another joined our family. I knew not where she came from, nor would she speak of her past. She was sullen and bitter, but I saw something in her that made me work to befriend her, and befriend her I did. I found in her the missing piece of myself that Cort could never teach me of. We grew together in secret, always mindful of Cort's scorn for personal relationships. This went on for several years, Cort never suspecting our hearts had grown fond of each other, until the eve of my 18th birthday. Celebrating my entering into the age of manhood, Cort allowed me to partake of wine for the first time in my life. I can only assume I drank too much, (it truly wasn't much at all) and my young tongue spoke of what was in my mind and heart.
The following morning, there was a note from Cort in my bedchamber. It was an invitation to a duel, for he had been entrusted with the Lady's care, and now knew that I had forsaken that trust. It was a matter of honor, and neither Cort nor I could deny it.
I "graduated" from Cort's training after besting him in that duel. I was not ready to part company with him, but he was resolute in his insistence that there was nothing more he could teach me. I wept that day, as I walked from his shop... it was the last time I have ever done so. I never saw the Lady again.
It was several years later when I first heard the calling in my head. I was sure it was a voice I recognized, so I listened. I have never regretted those sounds, for they called me to a Dream.
The voice was familiar; it was the voice of my sister, Amygdala. She had learned of our parents and learned to master what they had known. She had learned to Awaken, and through her, I learned as well.
I am Roland, and I am a Dreamer...