Part 9

That evening, they dressed to attend the revel.

Dream wore dark fragments of sleep and shadows like jewels in her white hair, the glitter of moonlight on her cheeks, and a robe of sheer gossamer like the gentle waves of dreaming.

Or, at least, what Muse thought dreaming might be like.  She often imagined the scenery of dreamland; it was quiet and warm, formless, void of any other living creature to take up one’s time.  Maybe Dream was there.  Maybe Love.  No one else.

Muse, rarely one to go out, or attend a gathering of Immortals unless she felt she must, had nothing quite so amazing to wear.  “I don’t like to be showy,” she half mumbled, trying not to sound apologetic, and failing.

“Ah, but you do like to be mysterious.”

There she went again.  Muse thought she could do without having her unspoken self exposed at every turn.

All the same, Dream’s presence gave her a spark of energy, and she found herself caring what she wore to Love’s palace.  She saw him every day, in the other world, in clothes not designed to impress (clothes she found at thrift shops and rummage sales) so she was sure it was not his eyes she sought to impress.  But there would be others there, many others, whose eyes would be drawn to Dream, and see her standing there beside her.  Yes, she did want to be seen as mysterious, like her sister, not just the frumpy hermit.

“I may have something,” she said.  “Somewhere in the stuff artists give me.  Gifts.”

Dream helped her rifle through the alms of her devotees, which Muse usually set in a corner or other odd place and forgot about, if it wasn’t food.  There were manuscripts —stories and poems and essays — and sketches, paintings, or sculptures, and piles of letters.  Between the two of them, they found enough dresses and jewels to move to the center of the cottage and pick through.

Muse looked at Dream, clothed in mystery and moonlight, stooped over the floor, and wondered, not for the first time, why she felt so plain compared to her sister.  She was Muse, after all, the stuff of imagination and dreaming.  Perhaps it was the other world, that Dream only saw in the distortion of dreams, and Muse must wake in, which pulled her down to its pragmatic level.

But then, here was Dream, singular among all goddesses, rifling through a dusty pile of clothes.

In the end, Dream made all the decisions about how to adorn her sister, and Muse walked out her rose-colored door in a gown of violet and sea green, her normally haphazard tangle of brown hair combed into submission and tied with pearl strings.

Muse thought to walk the mile or so up the hill to Love’s home, but Dream would not hear of it, and called to her side a pair of dark, winged creatures Muse had never seen the exact like of before.  They were almost birds, but less formed and defined, with smoke where feathers should have been.  Their eyes blinked blood-red, and their beaks were hard, dark points, glimmering jade in the evening light.

She looked at them dubiously.

“I took them from a child’s nightmare,” Dream said,  “so the mortal could sleep.  Then I grew rather fond of them.”

“You like a grand entrance, don’t you?”

“Of course.”  Dream smiled, a hint of catlike mischief in her dark eyes.  Muse knew, for Dream had told her, that she sometimes took something out of one person’s dream only to put it in another’s, for surely that mortal would then wake and wonder what possessed them to dream of such a thing.  It was that Dream that smiled at her now, and expected her to swoop down upon Love’s party mounted on a nightmare-bird.

Muse reached out to touch the dreamraven’s wing.

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