Why is it that the same names show up in so many places? The same souls appear and reappear time and again, and the same faces and stories haunt us, reminding us of all that had been, all that had never been.
We see them here, these names - Lokshmi, Kessica, Ypherod, Sherandris, Mystra, Rhi, Sarathi, and others - and then we see them again. Our worlds have different pasts and different futures, and yet they act as mirrors, tethered by coincidences. Always at the edges lie the dreamers, the mad ones who give them names and take note, and always at the center lies something else. A Dark Sister, a Dark Tower, a little girl, an expanse of nothing... something. It holds it all together, and we call the one what stands at its shadow King.
I am writing this to establish facts, to put the universe down on paper and fold the multiverse up neatly into a small assortment of words, or some similar such, quite simply because I do not know what to make of any of it.
My name is Fern. I am not who I was, and I take this name now to make that distinction, but there is no reason to it, no merit. I could just as easily keep my old name, for we all change, always. Nobody who lives remains exactly who they were before, at any point in their life, for that is what it means to live. This, though, seems different. It seems like more. So now I am Fern.
I am one of what I call the dreamers - mirrors all who stand somewhere within the mess of what we understand to be our worlds, and who came together in one disastrous series of coincidences. None of us now are who we were. Some of us are dead. Some are missing, not all there, or where we weren't. Some are twins, or had twins at one point. Some are all the same person. Some were the same person but no longer are. Some were King, some are now. We are very different, and all have problems of our own, but the same different somethings happened to us all. We wrote it to be so. We wrote the entire universe to be so, in our dreams. The entire multiverse.
Our worlds are universes. We connect them with names and announce them to each other, spreading knowledge of an impossible ever-growing whole through a vast network of interconnected minds. It it utterly impossible. It is nothing but a dream. And it works.
I don't know how.
I came to this world, this planet, as Dira Azzain, set up camp in the woods at the end of the road, and let everyone else sort out the legal issues for me. The neighbourhood sprung up around later, and at some point I became something of the local witch, not that they have witches around here. But a neighbour who will fix your plumbing is a neighbour who will fix your plumbing, so there I was, central feature, welcome everywhere, get your goats out of my tree.
They were the ones who called me Fern - when the neighbours moved in, some came by to say hi. They caught me digging up a fern. Caught me rather by surprise, to the point where when someone asked my name I just said 'Fern?' And it stuck.
So now I'm Fern. Might as well be. Not that I'll be leaving Dira behind entirely, but having died it feels appropriate to have a bit of change. Make things more official now. Really be the lunatic at the end of the block, because why the hell not? You only live as many times as you live, and sometimes things just get you. Some of us died by choice, sure - and I mean really died. Others... well, I was probably just collateral damage. And no real damage done, in the grand scheme of things. It was those who were lost entirely who were the real damage. But those were mostly choice. Mostly.
Though I suppose in truth we all chose this by getting involved in the first place. There was, after all, no requirement that we should. The Kings came calling for aid and we answered, but they weren't even our Kings. We answered simply because that's what we do, it's what we do for our families, for our brothers and sisters and all of our people that we hold dear, so we hold the others dear too, because we know how dear they are to their own families.
Answered, the call even worked, mostly. Mostly we all came out unscathed. Mostly the dreamers who had died died for something. Dark Sisters given life, Dark Towers given force, borders of reality reinvented and the worlds within living on. We were all just a bit dazed, after. A bit dead in some cases, and a bit dazed, but nothing a goat crashing in through the window won't solve. Goats are amazing for solving problems. You know exactly where you stand with a goat, so it all works out.
We'll yet see what comes next.