Note: the following manuscript was found in storage vault #████ in ██████'s branch of ██████ United, a banking house belonging to the Foundation. The circumstances of how the document came to be stored in the vault are currently under investigation. Attached to the manuscript was an additional handwritten note, reading "A thought exercise, a warning, a curiosity. Look carefully. Look beneath."
Excerpt from Ar-Metusal's Dissertation on the Nature of the Hidden, Chapter XV
The Serpent's Codex, Vol 456, Of Those Who Lie
It is in the nature of names to reveal. A simple truth, you might say, but one, I will claim, that is easily misinterpreted.
When one sees a name, especially if one is educated to some extent, there exists a certain natural tendency to wish and dissect it. Cut into its skin, and dig through the hidden organs of its linguistic lineage, prod the wobbly bits of history hanging from its bones, peer into that murky ichor which is its root. There, one can find truth, or so you would assume.
"Oneiroi". A proper name. A… Classical name. It is a name to inspire thoughts of a majestic past, of ascended travelers, their deeds wallowing in myth. Sons of a god, masters of dreams, that most restless of realms.
Do not mistake them.
A name reveals, but its dissection by intellect can obfuscate. Try, if you will, to put it aside, for a moment. Think not of the great god Hypnos and his thousand sons, shrouded in Olympian splendor. Cast Ovid aside, if for a moment. See not the name's history. See the name. What do you see?
It is a name which… slithers. A name which crawlers and twists and slides. A name which… seeps, seeps deeply into the wet sands of your thoughts. See the name, my intellectual friend, and tell me this- does it not sicken you? Hold this name, hold it tightly in the grip of that powerful mind of yours, and ask yourself- does this name belong to a god?
Or to a bottom feeder?
The Collective, as the things take a perverse pleasure in referring to themselves as, say that they do not believe in gods. They claim that gods are thieves, taking possession of dreams for their own purposes. Perhaps that is so. But if that so, why did do they take such great pains in depicting themselves as beings so very similar to those hated deities? See the visions of themselves they project across the Ways; Proud wayfarers on the pathways of the trance, nests of ancient knowledge, safekeeping in their collective's unconsciousness the deepest, most precious mental gems of the cosmos. Gods in anything but name. They reject dreams of worship all the while attempting to inspire the very same thing they reject by erecting this noble facade. Hunted guardians, tragic curators. What a farce.
See beyond their visions, my friend. See beyond the history of the name. See the name.
The Oneiroi are indeed creatures of dreams. That is perhaps the only truth that can be extracted from their visions. But they do not preserve. They perverse. Look at their favorite vision, my friend. Look at their 'sacred forest'. It is not coincidence that this sylvan mirage is so dear to them. It inspires awe, does it not? See their proud forms, pouring their hidden, precious cargo of sleeping memories into the pool. What could be more wholesome? See the depth-less tragedy of their actions, marvel at their selflessness. Admire them. Fall prostrate before them and repent, for you have neglected to remember at they have. Weep at their terrible beauty.
But wait. Look closer. Twist your head. Apprise the form behind their sentiments.
Is this truly a forest you see? Or a wasteland?
Peer into their mouth. Are the memories pouring out… or are they siphoned in?
Are the dreams dying, or are they being murdered, sucked dry?
But perhaps you are not convinced. The forest, after all, is but one manifestation of their projection. It alone proves little. Perhaps you are correct. Let us look elsewhere then.
Let us turn our eyes to their music.
Of all of their tools of deception, the music of the Oneiroi is perhaps the most potent. Few things are more universal, after all. All thinking things are many which are not are moved by it. Music is the language of promise, and the Oneiroi are creatures of promise. With their music, they offer their services. It can be a simple thing, the ring of a telephone, the shaking of a glass sphere. It can be transcendent, a symphony of planets. It is a thing of purest beauty. Like the light of an anglerfish in the cold depths.
With their music, the bottom feeders manipulate. They offer to shape your dreams, to relieve you of the woe of nightmares, to preserve the sanctity of your sleep. You need only suffer minor side-effects. A small price to pay, no? Anything more severe is but an unfortunate mistake, a misunderstanding by beings so above us mortal dreamers that their actions cannot help but harm us on occasion. The nature of transcendence is to burn those lesser, is it not?
Why do we think thus? Why are we so quick to forgive, when it is the Oneiroi who transgress? Why are we so quick to become their willing victims?
Look at the name, my friend. Truly at the name. Think unburdened by what you know. See them for what they are.
We forgive because that is what they wish.
We give them control of our dreams because that is what they show us.
We feed them our thoughts because with their music, they cajole us into believing they are their source.
We grant them the image of gods, because that is what they wish for their names to tell.
But look not at the name. Look behind it. Look at their lamprey's mouth, gaping beneath it. See what music you'll find inside. What forgiveness.
See how well you dream in their watery jaws.
Deception by any other name.
A name for lies.