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"Chapter 4": In Chapter 2, the oldest version of Dream had stated "we are the heirs of Night and Time". Chapter 4 opens with Morpheus paying a visit to the realm of his father, who appears to be the literal manifestation of Time. The visit occurs "in between t



Appearing in "Chapter 4"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:

Villains:

  • Sto-Oa
  • Fomalhaut
  • Mad star (Unnamed)

Other Characters:

Locations:

  • City of Stars
  • Realm of Time

Items:

  • The Saeculum

Vehicles:




Synopsis for "Chapter 4"

In Chapter 2, the oldest version of Dream had stated "we are the heirs of Night and Time". Chapter 4 opens with Morpheus paying a visit to the realm of his father, who appears to be the literal manifestation of Time. The visit occurs "in between two microseconds", in the middle of a conversation with the alien child Hope that took place earlier in Chapter 3.

In Time's kingdom, time flows and reverses and loops, in a manner fluid and subjective to the point of meaninglessness. Time himself appears as a child, then a young, middle-aged and old man, though not necessarily in that order. He bears a passing resemblance to Destruction and Delirium of the Endless.

Time receives Dream with flat indifference, aware that he is only there because he wants something. He does not appear to be on close terms with any of his children, and prefers it that way. He reminds Dream that the last time he lent him assistance, he allowed him borrow an object of power (the Saeculum) which he promptly lost.

As Dream fades out of Time's realm emptyhanded, he lobs a parting shot, asking if Time has seen their mother recently. Time appears briefly startled by the question before disappearing, leaving Dream with Hope and the Dream of Cats, at the feet of the city of the stars.

The city is a place where the various stars of the universe assume anthropomorphic forms, "to communicate with each other, or fight, or have sexual relations." The entrance is guarded by Fomalhaut (a real star in the constellation Piscis Austrinus) who interrogates them coldly and initially refuses them admission, before agreeing to get a consensus from the others.

A large red star appears and is very hostile to Dream and his companions. He threatens them with destruction if they do not leave, and is joined by Sto-Oa — a star who stole one of Dream's former lovers — who agrees that they should not be allowed inside. Dream finally convinces them to allow him in by stating that, as all stars dream, he is effectively already within, so barring him is a futile gesture.

In the depths of the city lies the cell where the mad star is imprisoned. In its disjointed, rambling state it calls Morpheus "brother", and indeed its appearance and lettering-style are similar to that of Delirium.

Dream calms the star by offering to tell it a story. He explains what happened when the first dream-vortex appeared, and that he was derelict in his duties by not immediately killing it. The vortex was a female child on an alien world, and in a fit of kindness Dream wanted to get to know and understand her. While he procrastinated, in three nights' time the girl's dreams had sucked in everything on her entire planet from single-celled life on upwards; even matter and energy were being absorbed.

The vortex was self-aware enough to beg for death, and still Dream hesitated. Finally Death and Destruction persuaded him that the killing was necessary to prevent the destruction of the entire cosmos. He drew the line at his siblings' command to extinguish the sun of that world — the very star who is now in the throes of madness.

Unfortunately, the stars in the city are already falling under the mad star's influence, and will not allow Dream to put the defective star out of its misery. They decide to place the Dream of Cats in the city menagerie, and "delete" Hope. While she defies them, Time appears and Dream is briefly pulled back into his realm.

Time demands to know why Dream enquired about his mother at their last meeting. Upset, Morpheus berates him for summoning him while Hope's life is in danger, but Time is again indifferent. He does mention that he is in a better mood after Morpheus returned the lost Saeculum — which turns out to be the "worthless" pocket-watch reclaimed from Mad Hettie in the present day. As this will be done many decades in the future by his successor Daniel, Morpheus has no idea what his father is talking about, but agrees to speak to his mother on Time's behalf.

Dream fades back out of Time's realm just as Fomalhaut vaporizes Hope with one touch. The star announces that they will not kill Morpheus, as another manifestation of Dream will just appear to take his place. Instead he is neutralized by being placed inside a black hole, whereupon he is bidden "goodnight".



Notes

  • This book was first published on December 17, 2014.
  • No special notes.

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