The Fabric of the Dream lecture (also called "Why Pebbles Don't Float" or simply the "Pebble Lecture") was giving in Ximax in 1650 by the elven scholar, writer, humanitarian, and mage, Alýr (widely known among humans as Rayne Avalotus). During one of her many visits to the Academy of Magic, she was asked to give a talk regarding the overlap of elven and Ximaxian philosophies and the implications thereof. Though the lecture was meant to be limited to only high-level mages of the Academy, students from all levels attended. The documentation of the lecture comes from the collective notes of those students present at the time.

The lecture is often regarded as one of the most famous in Ximaxian history, opening wide the philosophical worldviews of a system that, until this lecture, was generally regarded as scientific and dry, a mere means to an end with regards to casting magic. Today the lecture is still frequently read and referenced, in part for its enlightening subject and in part to its clear rhetorical style.


Let me start by saying that I am not a Ximaxian mage. As you might have noticed, I’m not from around here. I am elven and practice elven magic. Your professors have, regardless, asked me to speak to you, and so I am here to hopefully offer you insight into the Ximaxian system, which arose out of elven philosophy.

You are all accomplished mages, and so I expect none of this is new. You likely already know "oún" is the Styrásh word for "piece" or "part", "xeuá" for "connection" or "link", and "cár'áll" for (roughly) "aura". Many of your spell formulas are also in the elven tongue. But the connection between elven and Ximaxian philosophies is deeper than mere nomenclature. Regardless whether you ascribe to the entirety of elven philosophy or not, its implications ripple to the derivation put into practice here, at Ximax.

In Ximax, you as students, as well as your teachers, often take a scientific approach to magic. I will ask you to take a step back and remember that the effect of speaking or listening properties are not merely physical. Yes, wind ounía hastening into movement or fire ounía illuminating into brilliance will have a physical effect, but recall, too, that fire can also stir passions. Every oún has a spiritual dimension. Every cár'áll has spiritual effects.

That is why the Ximaxian system isn't a scientific system, but a philosophical one. I want you to remember this, because it may indeed be philosophy, not science, that reveals the true depth of the Dream.

Do you know about the Dream? It refers to all of Caelereth--in a complete, holistic sense. The term derives, again, from elven philosophy. We, the elves, believe in Avá, whom we call the One (and in fact, "one" in Styrásh is "Avá"). She has many epithets: Avá the Compassionate, Avá the Just, but most often: Avá the Beautiful. We believe She has dreamed everything into existence, and we show our reverence by referring to the world as the Dream.

We don't all share the belief in the same source of this "Dream" of existence; still, we all experience the same world as it presents itself to us--we can all observe how the world manifests, what all existence has in common; we identify elements and connections, tendencies, and dependencies. What we, the elves, call the "Dream", others have named "reality", but we each experience it, and that experience fundamentally binds us together.

But what IS the Dream, that reality, in its entirety? What makes up the "fabric of the Dream", as is referenced so often? Some of you may say the Cár'áll, the collection of every individual cár'allía in the whole of the world, and you would be correct--almost. It is true that the entirety of the world is connected through a beautiful web of xeuá extending across unimaginable distances. Most of these xeuá connections are ahm (passive) of course, but they are still there. Wherever we are, we are connected to everything and everyone else.

No, the Cár'áll does not represent the fabric of the Dream, in its entirety. The threads that weave the fabric together may be those innumerable links between us all; the colour and texture, collections of ounía singing out their properties. But there is something missing.

What are the basic pieces of the Ximaxian system? Ounía and xeuá, of course. All cár'allía are composed of these, but there's something else, too. Anyone? --Why, the will, of course.

Yes, the will. A mage can alter xeuá and play with ounía, but no mage--regardless of how powerful he or she is--can affect the will. It is the untouchable part of each individual, the force that drives and defines each living creature--for it is, after all, the will that fights you when you cast a spell upon a living cár'áll. It is the will that heals wounds to the cár'áll, or that makes the cár'áll more aligned with water or wind. The will is perhaps the most remarkable force in the Dream.

And what a Dream it is. With trees that lift upwards to fan their leaves in the sun, and rivers that flow towards the sea.

Have you ever wondered why pebbles don't float?

Naturally, of course, because they are primarily composed of earth ounía, and the properties of these ounía, heaviness in particular, are expressed. But, through magic, I can make a pebble float. I can change the meta-state, making it soór (or active) so that it lifts under the influence of wind. Suppose I do not convert the meta-state back to ahm to seal the properties of wind. What happens? The pebble eventually falls. Slowly the wind influence tapers, and the earth influence re-established dominance over the cár'áll.

But why?

When someone changes your cár'áll, your will tends to step in to rebalance and adjust. There is a natural state to all things. But a pebble has no will in and of itself. Just like there is the Cár'áll that defines the state of all things in the world, so there is also the Will--a force that seeks to return all things to their natural state.

But what is the Will? Where does it come from? In elven philosophy, the Will is the Will of Avá the Beautiful. But Ximaxian scholars don't believe in Avá. You don't have to, because in the end, it's all the same. Your will is yours alone, right? The untouchable part of you, the thing that stays with you, the unchanging reality of who you are. But it is also something much larger: it is one part of the quiet and unimaginable force that is the Will.

Your will acts according to your desires. You wish to make a pebble float, and by magic, it does. But desires are also subconscious, unconscious. Within each of us is a desire for the natural order, and this unconscious desire manifests as one small force that, together with the unconscious desires of every will within the Dream, restores order and the natural state: in other words, unconscious desire for the natural state is the reason pebbles don't float. Every living thing contributes to the collective unconscious of the Will.

So just as you are connected by the innumerable xeuá between everything, so you are bound to every other will. You are both an individual and part of a powerful, timeless force that ensures the leaves fall in the autumn and rivers flow toward the sea.

And it is the Cár'áll and the Will together that make up the fabric of the Dream--a fabric that does not just hold everything, but unites everything. We are all one, all connected, all knowing and all-powerful.

We just haven't realized it yet.

 Date of last edit 2nd Rising Sun 1672 a.S.

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