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.
When my father told me about the Lords of the Earth, I was riding a bus along a lonely highway. No headlights passed us, and no stars shone. The sun had long set and was far from rising.
I couldn’t sleep, but something shimmered in the window in front of me like a reflected dream. It was the ghost of my father – fainter this time, deader this time. I picked up our conversation where we’d left off, eager despite my own troubles to learn more of Onei.
“Are the Powers gods?” I asked him. He nodded silently, as if he respected my refusal to speak of anything personal.
“A god is a certain type of Power, but not all Powers are gods. Some are heroes and some are saints, some are ghosts and some are devils. The Powers of Onei are infinite in number. To hear the words of such a Power, you need only hold the entity in your mind each night until you receive an answer in your dreams – but be careful who you ask for such a favor. The most terrible by far are the Lords of the Earth.”
“And who are the Lords of the Earth?”
“The tyrants of dream. Rulers of what we can imagine, they rule the world. You won’t find them any safer to defy than these earthly powers you have so offended. Remember, son – most of what you will read in the Book of Onei does not exist at all. The secret is clothed in shadows; it wears lies like a veil.”
And yet I had crossed the Starry River and read the future in its constellations. I had crossed the Plain of Night on foot and heard the whispers, the dread conspiracies. I had gazed on the ruins of the City of Wisdom and laughed along with the birds who nest there. No one had ever thought to rebuild that place after the Sons of the Crow came down on Onei. No one ever will.
Now I stood here before the City of the Gods in the Plain of Day, one of the nations my father had assured me had never existed – not even in dream.
But had it existed before I came there?
No map of Onei is ever complete, nor even particularly useful.
Except the one you draw yourself.
– notes found in the handwritten original of the Book of Onei