"The streets are too dangerous, too dangerous for thee, sweet Tera, stay here, bolted and barred, let no one in. No one, do you understand?"
"All I understand, damn thine eyes to eternal Shadow, is that thou art going without me!"
"And why shouldn’t I? Am I not a free person, able to do as I wish?"
"Going out to play thy night games, thinkest thou I don’t know that? Thinkest thou I don’t know what thou would do for the price of a Dream?"
"Dream? Tera, Gallillya, what art thou talking about? I must go. Bolt the door after me."
He’s gone. Gerick’s gone. All his talk of doing what he wants, of course he’s gone Dream hunting, there’s no other reason for him to go out on the streets at night.
I want a pleasure stick. If he has gone hunting I’m going to indulge myself. Where are the eternally shadowed things?
No pleasure sticks. Damn Gerick, he’s used them all! Perhaps there’s some in his compartment over there -
No. No pleasure sticks.
Then I’ll go and get some.
Why not out?
Because Gerick said it's dangerous.
And what does Gerick know about it? He’s out there right now, walking the streets, playing night games, and he comes home safe in the mornings, doesn’t he, when the first light touches - The dead and the dying.
But that’s only now and then, when the Light goes.
What goes on out there at night? He’s never said, is it too unspeakable? Or too delightful?
The epitome of sensuality and joy? Or the epitome of evil?
Why not find out?
Why not go play my own night games?
What about the Condains?
What about the Condains?
Well, they’re -
Everyone says they are, but do they know for sure?
No. So let’s go, what are you waiting for?
A little bit of courage.
I wonder what Gerick pays for his Dreams? And does he pay in golds or rapames? And what
if he has no currency Does he then sell his -
Stop thinking. Come on. Let’s go join in the games. Is the door locked? Yes good and tight.
Then let us go. Softly now, softly as I go.
Of course it’s dark, it's night.
But I didn’t expect it to be this dark. How can anyone see?
Now can I see a little better. What was that? Oh Eternal Light, that dog faced Thene has just clawed that poor Wontan - and now it’s robbing it!
Out, out on the street, from doorway to corner they come, look everywhere, the clawing Thenes!
"LIGHT OF LIGHT!!!"
See how they run! As long as the Light stays with me, I think I’ll make it.
Who would have the pleasure sticks? Lightforsaken Wontans, Kerbers, Condains? If it’s the Condains I’m renouncing pleasure sticks right now! I always meant to find out if the story of the Condain massacre of the helpless Dreamers was true. Now I don’t think I want to know.
I heard the Wontans orally mate with the Kerbers. The idea is - almost - unthinkable. Wonder if I’ll see any tonight?
Walk tall, Tera, walk tall, and they will think you are one of the night children and will leave you alone.
How do I know these things?
Question not. Accept.
Rays of the Light, I’m scared!
But it’s not too late to turn back. And I’m not sure that I want to anyway. Fear is almost as exciting as pleasure, and almost as stimulating.
"Who - who are you?"
And where did you come from? One moment there was nothing but darkness and now there is the silvery shine of your moss and mask, Zandorian.
"What seekest thou, child of the night?"
Bold I am to reply without salutations to a Zandorian, but being a night child makes you bold, makes you do things that you would never have done had you been in the compartment, safe, barred against the world.
"Not a Dreamer, then?"
"No, I don’t Dream."
"A night child with some sense, thou art unusual, child."
"Am I so unusual?"
"Thou knowest of course what people do for Dreams."
"No, but since I came out tonight and saw some of the things on the streets, I’m beginning to find out."
"Death and destruction. Life is cheap when Dreams are at stake. And whether that death comes from a Condain boot or a Kerber sacar is immaterial, for the ultimate darkness awaits those who dare Dream."
Gerick, art thou listening?
"Why should it matter to thee, Zandorian?"
"Bold, art thou not?"
"The streets make me bold."
"I suppose that could be true. It matters because I care deeply for the children of the night who waste their lives in frivolous Dreams. Thou only seekest pleasure of the body and I will supply that for thee."
"There is nothing I can give thee in return, Zandorian."
"There is nothing I want in return, child of the night."
"It is dark."
"I will give thee light. Come."
Is there no end to this journey? Is there no end to the passages we have walked? We must be deep in the Zandor sector by now and it is forbidden for me to be here. He must know that surely!
"Art thou afraid?"
"Only of the Condains."
"In some ways thou art more a child than a night child."
"Why sayest thou this?"
"There are more things in life to fear than the Condains."
"What knowest thou, Zandorian?"
"There is nothing I do not know about the night games, but I will not tell thee, child, for fear of alarming thee further."
"These are the pleasure sticks."
"They are indeed. My light will take thee safely back."
"I don’t remember the way."
"Thou will remember. Go in the Light thou believest in."
"I give thee thanks."
He’s gone. One moment there was a soft moss shining the coldness of the night, the gleaming mask, and then - Nothing. My saviour is gone. Time to get back. I have my pleasure sticks, I have a light, I must go.
"What goest thou, night child?"
"I-I seek my compartment, nothing more."
Kerbers! Light protect me, I see Kerbers, with sacars!
"What holdest thou, night child?"
"Pl- pleasure sticks."
"What, no Dreams?"
"I’m not a Dreamer."
The sacars are honed and pointed, they shine in the cold night as his silver mask did.
"Leave me I have nothing for you."
"No games, night child?"
"Thou seekest pleasure sticks on the streets, thou must play the night games."
"I seek not the night games, only solitary pleasure."
"Thou knowest thou art in the Zandor Sector."
"Thou knowest, Kerber, that thou too are in the Zandor Sector."
Is that supposed to be laughter?
"The Zandor Sector is more interesting than the Kerber Sector, night child."
"Leave me, I must go."
"The Kerbers seek games, night child, and the Kerbers have found thee."
It burns, it pours, it hurts I hurt and I cannot see what they have done. They have stolen my light. The pain fills my head, in my body, in my heart, they have cut me, they have stolen my pleasure sticks. Again and again I feel pain, deep cutting pouring pain. If I cry out, no one will heed me. I am alone and I should not be here.
Someone is screaming.
Let me go home, Eternal Light, I give you all my light I will never stray on the streets at night again. I cannot move, to move means pain and I cannot stand the pain. Light of Light, help me, bring me the day, someone must find me and help me! Gerick, the light of the day has come and it is raining. Blood red rain pours from the skies, Gerick, and mingles with my blood soaking into Zandorian soil.
I have just discovered who it is screaming.
It is I. And the Condains are coming.