"Dreamtime": The first time Richard Swift was in Australia, he had had to take a ship, because he had not yet mastered the ability to step through the shadows. He had been on an assignment to find a missing heir in exchange for a tenth of his fortune. That, th
- And that was when I recalled something Blacksmith had told me... How, to native Australians, the earth, the people, the world... How everything is one within the dreaming. How, in the dreaming, my eternal spirit-child exists, along with everyone's, before birth on earth and after death. It is that part of me that reaches out now.
- — Shade
Synopsis for "Dreamtime"
The first time Richard Swift was in Australia, he had had to take a ship, because he had not yet mastered the ability to step through the shadows. He had been on an assignment to find a missing heir in exchange for a tenth of his fortune. That, though, was the past. This time, however, his reception would be much more violent.
After arriving in Australia, Chief Inspector Pemulwuy of the New South Wales police had asked him to help a local hero against a gang called the Idle Hands, who, for some reason, intend to destroy the Sydney Opera House. In exchange, the Chief Inspector will give Shade the information he requires. So, Shade aids the so-called Argonaut, using his shadow manipulation, and makes short work of the gang - with only minor damage to the iconic landmark. As reward, Pemulwuy offers a file indicating that Darnell Caldecott took the alias of John Cross and now lives in a villa outside of Alice Springs. The place is guarded by only one man - Mangar-Kunjer-Kunja. This man is apparently a lizard god - at least as far as the area's aboriginals are concerned.
The second time that Shade was in Australia, he had run afoul of a magician and crime-fighting sleuth called Diablo Blacksmith while half-heartedly planning a robbery. They had not parted as friends. Now, Shade has returned, and needs to see the magician again. After a bit of grumbling, Diablo Blacksmith agrees to provide the information Shade needs, explaining that Mangar-Kunjer-Kunja is the fabled creator of people, who gave them life and then weapons and fire. The magician warns that while Shade's oneness with shadow will be a boon, what he certainly requires is a oneness with "dreamtime". In order to do that, he will have to stay on this path, this journey. If he strays, it will prove dire for those he loves. Diablo Blacksmith attempts to show Shade how to get more in touch with his dreamtime.
When Shade finally treks out to Caldecott's villa outside Alice Springs, he is surprised by the size of Mangar-Kunjer-Kunja, not to mention the fact that it is not merely a myth. The creature is likewise convinced that Shade's sole intent is villainy, and is intent on protecting his charge, Darnell Caldecott, from it. Finally, Shade recalled what Diablo Blacksmith had said about how the Dreaming is where his eternal spirit-child exists, and that showing that side of himself to this lizard-god may prove his intent. Reaching inward, he produces a shadow construct in the form of a massive black swan. When the lizard-god inspects it, he realizes that Richard Swift is not longer solely on the path of evil. There is a goodness beginning within him. Mangar-Kunjer-Kunja finally grants him access to the villa.
Entering, Shade feels a strange nervousness. He and Darnell Caldecott have met before, a long time ago. When he reaches the man's bedroom, he sees how Darnell Caldecott has been confined to his bed with age and illness. He greets Shade as his grandfather.
Appearing in "Dreamtime"
- Diablo Blacksmith (First appearance)
- Argonaut (First appearance)
- Chief Inspector Pemulwuy (First appearance)