A Lesson Learnt
Chapter 27: A Lesson Learnt
I dream I am flying, I dream of the casual caress of the wind between my feathers, the cool air of a spring day warming me as I dive and frolic in the bright morning sun. I dream… but know this is not just a dream, that this is more, a desire given flesh, given form.
I wonder, do I dream this alone, is this wondrous, peaceful vision just for me or are there others seeing, tasting, feeling, hearing as I do at the moment?
Are they dreaming it as I am or is my power making them experience it in a more waking way?
I do not know, all I know that this is a life, this is vibrant, this is somehow real and I do not want to leave this perfect dream. Yet I must.
There is a danger here, the same danger I faced when the bewitched peach handed to me by Hoggle placed me in the unreal ballroom. The danger that I might lose track of what is real, and what is not. If you create the illusions and you manage to lose track of reality, then I imagine the danger would be greater then just losing yourself, you might well drag others with you as well.
Responsibility, that is the word I need now, this is a power, I need to have the control to use it responsibly… well, at least, control so that I choose when it is time to use the illusions and when not too. Given the mature of the Goblin King I rather suspect this ability isn’t well know for responsible usage though like a politician I have little doubt that he could argue taking children that get wished away is a responsible usage….
And I suppose in a way it is, a lesson is always taught after all. A rather unforgettable lesson at that and aimed at those who should really know better. Should know better, like I should have known better.
Distracted… the thought about learning control, trying to figure out if this is real or unreal and how to break free… it slips from me, like somehow the illusion is protecting itself from discovery and destruction. I must hold the thought, my mind must be stronger then the hold the illusion has over me, I must be strong.
In a way, this is a test. A fundamental one at that, of who is in control, me or the illusion.
Perhaps, but is control the wrong word, control implies command, rule, far more blunt words then guide, restrain…. The difference between hammering a wedge till it fist and sliding it perfectly into place. A time for both uses I suppose, and what is control anyway when you think about it?
The thought had slipped out of my mind again.
I am in a illusion, I must remember that.
My purpose has to be to escape this somehow… no.
Not to escape.
To end the illusion.
Escape has its time and its place but it is not control. To end something, you must have some degree of control over it and that it what I must have, control. To not have control is to place a thermonuclear bomb with a random number generator attached into the hands of a child and suggest that they do not press the red button.
To put it another way, to not have control is an unhealthy idea.
I must think.
Or rather, perhaps I must think differently?
I will meditate; perhaps the calm and centring that brings me will help me out of this illusion.
I close my eyes, letting my body, my wings control my movements, trusting that my instincts will not allow me to come to harm as I steady my breathing, setting aside my thoughts like they were a book I could take up again later should I need to.
In, out, steady, comfortable breaths.
My mind empties, tries to wander, I guide it to a quiet, uncluttered place then let my sense reach out… and I am surprised.
There is an illusion, but it is not the one I was expecting.
It is light, almost feathery in its touch buts its implications and subtlety combined…
This is a good illusion and I know in a moment that Jareth cast it and has made no attempt to hide that fact. He was taking advantage of what I did unintentionally, of that I have no doubt, but the lesson is well learnt.
I dispel the illusion and my mind settles down, comfortable with the fact now that I am flying, that the morning sun is caressing my skin and that I have changed once more. I did not attempt to change but this is a beautiful moment now and I will relish it till the sun truly rises, until the business of the day begins.
“You are proud of her,”
Jareth glanced behind him, sharply restraining the urge to jump, he knew it was technically Dumbledore’s turf but still… he could at least make some sound or wear bells or something!
But he was right.
“I am,” he acknowledged, “I had not expected her to realise exactly what illusion she was really under quite so quickly,”
“Illusion?” Dumbledore frowned, “I did not sense an illusion in the area.”
Jareth shot him an arch look and Dumbledore nodded, “of course, your power is different enough that even here, I can not guarantee I would notice such.”
“It was a small thing anyway,” Jareth shrugged, his eyes following Sarah as she dived past the Astronomy tower, “I made her think that what was real was not and her mind, not expecting to find itself in her animagaus form when she woke up, accepted it.”
“A dangerous illusion,” Dumbledore frowned, “a simple warping of ones perception of reality perhaps, but still, madness lies that way.”
The Goblin King smiled edgily, “I have known a few who have said that madness is at the heart of a true illusion and perhaps there is a seed of truth in that, but then, a little insanity is good for the soul.”
Dumbledore nodded, “a little insanity helps keep you sane, just like a little of what’s bad for you… is good.”
Jareth glanced at Dumbledore’s outfit, “a truism you seem to have learnt well,”
He got a chuckle in reply, “I make use of my supposed insanities, it makes things easier in a way to be seen as an eccentric,”
Jareth nodded acknowledgement, his eyes tracking Sarah once more, “you are right though, it is a dangerous illusion and not the first time I have put Sarah under such but certainly the first time it has not been for my benefit.”
Dumbledore shot Jareth a questioning look, and he shrugged, “the lesson was learnt. That’s all that really matters now,”
Dumbledore sighed, but accepted it, “why did you choose here as the place for her to learn control?” he asked finally, “I imagine it would have been easier in the Goblin Kingdom?”
“That is true,” Jareth smiled, gesturing down from the tower towards the main door of the school and the figures excitedly diving out towards Sarah, “but not all the lessons were about illusions, some were about life.”
“Ahh,” Dumbledore smiled as he caught sight of Sarah diving towards the Gryffindor Trio, “the best lessons of all.”