From "The Power of the Mind Unleashed: Dreamwalking and other Arcana Esoterica" by Jarlessa Thyri Astrid Gunvaldsen
With the rise of the Belharan Empire and its passionate support of Estelore and other collegia arcana, the weaving of spells has progressed from a little-understood hedgecraft passed down between generations in oral form to a well-researched and documented art. Magic has become as accessible a topic of study in the empire as its history or economics. But even the full breadth of Estelorean spellcraft does not, after all of my dogged research through their archives and extensive interviewing of that storied school's most brilliant scholars, account for nor offer explanation of the supernatural phenomenon I will present an account of in this tome. It is my belief that there is magic in the world even beyond spellcraft, little understood or even acknowledged, that has escaped the notice of the empire — or perhaps has been pushed aside in favor of the easily-defined powers of its magisters.
Over my many years of both private occult study and adventures afield throughout the northern limits of my husband's homeland, I have experienced magics that defy Estelorean understanding. I have seen men hypnotized by a resonance from the deep beneath the waves, or driven mad by the chime of a bell; I have felt witches enter my mind with a glance, trading thoughts more easily than one might speak them aloud; I have seen a bird-man of the high mountains bind his living soul to a great statue and become immortalized within it. Having seen these events and many more, I have come to believe that these are not the work of spellcraft as Estelore defines it, but another force within the sphere of magic entirely. It is my hope within these pages to explain my findings.
First, let us remind ourselves that the working of aetheric energy into spells is accomplished by ritual invocation, using crystal or gem foci and words of power handed down by the First Wyrms to repeatably and reliably reproduce magical effects. Such is the origin of the most minor arcane prestidigitations through the most destructive and desperate of the blood-rituals ever performed by the southern barbarians, that which sank the Yvennese fleet off the coast of Zhenna and whose toll of death needs no repeating.
Second, I will call on the wise words (born of decades of painstaking research into the patterns of the sleeping mind) of Arch-Magister Sigismund the Blind: "There is great power in dreams, for the landscape of dreams is the domain of the gods." It has long been attested by priests of all faiths that it is through dreams that divinities commune with their worshippers and give guidance to the faithful; I assert that there are those mortals who are also able to tap into the power of the Dreamscape, and shape the waking world in much the same way as the lucid sleeper shapes dreams.
The Dreamscape is born of sleeping minds, all mingling together in the crystalline domain of the gods beyond our own senses. One cannot study nor perceive the dreaming world while awake (see the excellent work of the inestimable Grand Magister Caedwynn, who perhaps in my children's lifetimes will make his long-expected breakthrough in inter-planar travel); however, all of us interact with it, shape it and are shaped by it, while asleep. Only very rare individuals, what I have come to call Dreamwalkers, are able to manipulate the Dreamscape consciously — and, I believe, some few have discovered ways in which to channel their dreaming manipulations into the real world in the same way that the gods worked miracles in the ancient days, or now speak to their followers.
Perhaps it may sound heretical, but I assert that the Dreamwalkers have stolen magic from the gods. With a thought, they are able to bridge the gap between waking and dreaming mind, communicating and even influencing thoughts of others; the more powerful among them are able to cause physical manifestation of their power — to lift and move objects, or excite energy into flame or calm it to a dead chill — without the use of arcane invocations or even magical foci. A Dreamwalker need merely focus his will, and the world responds; such feats defy our understanding of spellcraft entirely.
Perhaps, as Grand Magister Caedwynn theorizes, this is only possible in places where the fabric between worlds grows thin and tired (though if so, this would suggest that the divine Dreamscape is a traversable world much like our own, or those that exist through portals); this would explain why Dreamwalkers are so rare, encountered only in the furthest reaches of the uncivilized world.
What I cannot yet theorize is why or how Dreamwalkers awaken to their power, nor the full extent of what is possible through their manipulations of reality. The Avanai at least believe their Dreamwalkers have uncovered the secret of immortality, while the frost giants of the north-beyond-north speak in their sagas of terrible creatures able to harness power similar to that of dreamers.
I must continue to unspool the the mysteries of the Dreamscape...
Only one of the conditions below must be met to unlock the Dreamwalkers Codex entry: