Great Old One
For the time being, I can't imagine that I'll write more than two entries. However, since this first piece began as something else entirely, I freely admit the possibility. We have until the end of July, after all. Let's just see what comes of it!
Spoiler ShowI had initially planned to write a character piece on Gehrman, from the video game Bloodborne, but my first attempt quickly mutated into a piece about the Doll, his companion. I just ran with it, and when I reached a certain point I noticed that only about twenty minutes had passed — so I decided at the last minute to change my entry. Hopefully it still makes sense without the context that I had planned for it to have...
If nothing else, it's a start to a more fruitful season of writing.
A living doll, who is dead elsewhere, kneels before the grave of a person who may or may not be dead.
She trails her fingers over the weathered etching on the gravestone, threads them through the ivy that clings but never advances. There is no sensation in the habitual act; cold porcelain hands cannot feel a thing. Yet she does it out of love and care. She loves them all, these men and women—these hunters—who no longer dream. Because she cannot hold them or comfort them, she touches their graves before she prays for their wellbeing. Each chiseled name recalls a hunter who has awoken, and each letter is a moment shared with them.
She hopes that in the waking world, separated from this Hunter’s Dream by a veil of fevered sleep, each one has found a life full of real loves and joys. She hopes that one day each can enjoy a deeper sleep, free of dreams.
She clasps her hands in prayer. The segments of her delicate dead fingers lock together like the clip of a brooch.
A wind blows in from far-off nightmare shores, stirring the moon-white flowers that grow beside the grave.
And the doll’s silky hair, which is the same color as the flowers…
“O Flora of the Moon, of the dream. O little ones, O fleeting will of the Ancients. Let the hunter be safe,” she prays, “let her find comfort. Remember her service. And let this dream remain for her but a pleasant memory…”
The doll knows nothing of the world beyond the dream, nothing save hazy impressions too ephemeral to be called memories. Apart from the other doll that lays lifeless in the waking world, the whole of her existence is bound to the Hunter’s Dream. Attuned she may be to the greater dream of the Old Gods, and indeed her true nature is unknowable as theirs is, yet still she remains rooted in this tiny dream-haven. To watch over hunters on the night of the Hunt, and tend to their graves when the night passes. Such is her purpose, and she does not stray.
The doll was designed to be a caretaker, to steady hearts that needs must be strong. Her love is a gift parceled out equally to all who pass through the dream, regardless of age or sex or creed. Whoever thinks this gift precious must be troubled by severe naiveté.