Prologue: Manifestation

  Hmph. Funny, until just now, I did not realize how much of this story has thus far taken place on the dreamscape, undoubtedly leaving you to wonder if I am merely mad, or in possession of a very active imagination. Well, the truth of the matter is that both are probably true, but that fact does little to change the reality of things. And much like you, I initially did not believe my dreams had any meaning until reality began to coincide with them. And trust me, my sitting here in the Washington Monument waiting for a man to arrive is a direct consequence of many, many demonstrations of reliability. Antares proved to me that he was, if nothing else, not a figment of my imagination, but a genuine phenomenon independent of me.

  In fact, as I tested Antares and other aspects of my dreams in the real world, I began to understand what partly distinguished me from others, i.e., my ability to traverse between the two places and retain full consciousness in both. Indeed, before long I began to understand that this particular ability not only made me special, but the very will to employ the ability is, per se, the essence of the ability. Indeed, this aspect makes the ability to "manifest" unlike most others. For example, running fast exists independent of the possessorís desire to run fast. Solving Fermatís Theorem requires far more than a desire to accomplish the feat. Lastly, even the greatest of abilities, faith, or the ability to believe in that which cannot be perceived, requires more than the desire to believe.

  But the ability to ďmanifestĒ, to traverse the dreamscape and the real world seamlessly, to mesh events from one into the other is nothing more than the will to do so. And for me, in trying to prove to myself that my experiences in the dreamscape, and their real world counterparts were genuine, I learned that I wanted to manifest, and thus, I began to manifest. And as I willed myself to manifest further, I obtained an even greater ability, to choose to manifest. But you do not understand the difference do you? You will my friend, trust me, you will see what it means to manifest versus choosing to manifest. And this choice, this choosing, is part and parcel of a Champion. It is what makes us what we are.

  And as I sit here waiting on my friend to arrive, I have, in fact, chosen, regardless of what ultimately happens here. But before I can tell you what I have chosen, I must explain to you why I chose to manifest in this world and the dreamscape. And probably more importantly, you need to know what I did not chose.

  Wait. What was that? I thought I heard something. Nah, it was nothing, just machinery settling. Anyway, I was about to explain why I am what I am, and more importantly, why I do what I do. And I guess that I should just start at the beginning.

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