The Book of Onei is an antinomian dream grimoire, providing deceptive yet true information about the art of Oneiromancy or dream magic in the form of poetry, fantasy, and intentionally ambiguous instructions.
“The Book of Onei is not The Book,” my father once said. I remember him still, walking beside me on that sunless beach – but was it before he had died, or after? “The Book of Onei is only a guide, a book of riddles that don’t always lead to any answers, a book of truths within lies. I have been to Onei many times, but I have never been to any of the cities or nations mentioned in the Book of Onei, nor have I seen their ruins, nor met their citizens. As far as I can tell they do not exist, and most likely they never existed – not even in Onei.”
“Then what is the Book of Onei?” I asked him. “Is it just a fraud?”
“The Book of Onei is both a key and a lock,” he said. His face was haunted, as if he always listened and always waited – perhaps for a footfall. “Those stories mean something, but I do not know what. The Book of Onei hints at something, but I am afraid to ask.”
“Perhaps all this darkness is just a means,” I said, and yet he would not hear me and would not answer.
“So what is The Book, then?” I asked him.
“It contains all knowledge, all knowledge on any topic. It contains the secrets of the Primal Darkness! It is the gift of the Veiled One, the most ancient of all the Powers in Onei.”
“Did she give it to you?”
“And why would she have done that? I snuck in to the library, the Great Library of Onei, and I stole what I wanted. I walked out with the Book of Onei in my coat pocket! What power would give me any aid or comfort?”
“Maybe that isn’t something she would even care about. We know nothing about her. Perhaps the Book of Onei means nothing to her. Perhaps she wanted you to have it. Perhaps if you had ever made use of it, she would have shown you The Book.”
Still he did not answer, would never answer. He only looked at the ocean, at the light that flickered across the dark waters, and recited a poem:
“I’m Prometheus,” he told me,
“I’m the traitor and the thief.
But his eyes were still defiant
Through his horror and his grief.
Then the eagle stuck its beak in
For the hundred millionth time,
And I watched in guilty wonder.
Was I worthy of his crime?
Have I used the gift he gave me?
Have I kept the embers warm?
Have I fed the god inside me
Striving daily to be born?”
And now here I stood, deep beyond the Borders of Onei, among the gorges and mountains. How far would I travel, how many mountains would I have to cross, until I discovered the secret? Was there even a secret to be uncovered, or only lies within lies?
I dug into my bag and found the Book of Onei, opened it up to a random page and read a poem about these mountains.
– notes found in the handwritten original of the Book of Onei
Image by Andreas Achenbach