The Kindly Ones
|The Sandman Library||
MERVYN: There ya go again, Loosh - you can't just come right out and say it, huh? Now me, I'm a straightforward kinda guy, y'know? I mean some of us aren't afraid to call a spade a goddamn shovel.
MATTHEW: Listen, Merv, you seen anything of the boss recently?
MERVYN: Just the usual. "Mervyn, build an ocean over here, knock down that city under the willow tree over there. And incidentally, Mervyn, this time remember that ice is customarily cold." Like I don't have enough to do. I tell ya, sometimes I could just tell him where to stick his goddamn job.
HOB GADLING: I do think you're listening to me, from somewhere. I mean, I've seen too much over the years to believe that it starts and ends with bodies. There's something around before bodies start, something around after they rot.
Buggered if I know what it is, though. Somebody once told me you don't really die until everyone that you knew is dead, too. Think of all the people I'm keeping alive, eh? I don't know.
I don't remember what you smell like. You've been gone two days, and I don't remember how you smelled. You didn't smell like anyone else. I like the way you smelled. I...
I miss you a lot.
HOB GADLING: Everyone's died. Everyone I've loved. My wives, My loves. My children. You know, there's something it took me a couple of centuries to figure out. I mean, there was a while when I thought that life was all about fighting and eating and sex. Mainly sex. It was never that hard to dip your wick. I mean, unless you're a leper you can get a maid to bed you, if that's what you're after.
But one day I realized that it was sort of empty if you weren't with someone you wanted to spend some time with. It wasn't that I didn't get horny. It was that there didn't seem much point, if it wasn't with someone I loved.
MORPHEUS: I don't recommend revenge. It tends to have repercussions.
REMIEL: Have you ever thought about... returning?
LUCIFER: AHAHAHAHAHAH! No. Been there, Remiel. Done that. Wore the tee shirt, ate the burger, bought the original cast album, choreographed the legions of the damned and orchestrated the screaming...
REMIEL: Now, now Morningstar. Really? Be honest?
LUCIFER: Honesty is a somewhat overrated virtue, Remiel.
LUCIFER: Remiel... you know, when I gave up Hell, I have up none of my powers, none of my skills. I was the captain of the host of Heaven. Later I was the adversary. Now at present, it is true, I am a simple, private individual. But I could wipe out your existence with as few consequences as I wiped your spittle from my face... You would no longer exist.
I could do it. I choose not to.
MERVYN: First you get the winds. Then the cold. And then the sky just kinda spits, like its going to rain, and it doesn't rain. And the clouds are black, and they don't storm, and they don't rain, and they don't go away. You ask me, he's heading for big trouble. Ya gotta love him sure, but the guy's a complete--
MORPHEUS: A complete what, Mervyn?
MERVYN: A, uh, just a... complete boss.
MORPHEUS: Completeness is a virtue, Mervyn, is it not?
MERVYN: Hheeeeh. Whatever. Boss.
MORPHEUS: It has always been the prerogative of children and half-wits to point out that the emperor has no clothes. But the half-wit remains a half-wit, and the emperor remains an emperor.
Rose Walker's Journal: I've been making a list of the things they don't teach you at school. They don't teach you how to love someone. They don't teach you how to be famous. They don't teach you how to be rich, or how to be poor.
They don't teach you how to walk away from someone you don't love longer. They don't teach you how to know what's going on in someone else's mind. They don't teach you what to say to someone who's dying.
They don't teach you anything worth knowing.
ZELDA: Did I ever tell you the story about the footsteps in the sand and there are two sets of footsteps together, because some of them are God's except there aren't always two of them. And the woman says to God, where were you when I was in trouble? And he says, that was me carrying you...
These days I just feel like God's dumped me down on the sand.
MATTHEW: You kill people. You eat their eyeballs.
CORINTHIAN: Yes... yes, I suppose I do. Or I will. But that is my nature, isn't it? That is what I am. Do you not eat eyeballs also, master raven? Do you not also feast on carrion?
CORINTHIAN: Why don't you stop?
MATTHEW: I eat dead things. I peck out eyes. I'm a raven. It's my nature.
CORINTHIAN: And I am the Corinthian.
LOKI: There's a theory that for a human to be killed by a god is the best thing that could possibly happen to the human under discussion. It eliminates all questions of belief, while manifestly placing a human life at the service of a higher power. Where do you stand on this theory?
CARLA: I -- I don't believe in God.
LOKI: You don't have to believe in God. But what about gods? Eh? The plurality of powers and dominions. The lords and ladies of field and thorn, of asphalt and sewers, gods of telephone and whore, gods of hospital and car-crash?
CARLA: This is crazy.
LOKI: There is a madness needed to touch the gods, yes, this is true. Few mortals possess it, the willingness to step away from the protection of sanity. To walk into the wild woods of madness.
LOKI: You know what sticks people to something? The desire to know how it's all going to end. It's like glue.
AMELIA: A woman shouldn't have to sleep her life away. Women aren't about dreaming. We're about the real world. Even your grandma woke before she died. Women are about waking, Rose.
As mothers we wake them from nothingness to existence. As maidens we wake them to the joys and miseries of adulthood, wake them to the worlds of lust and responsibility. And when their time's up, it's always us has to wash them for the last time, and we lay them out for the wake.
ROSE: I suppose the point you grow up is the point you let the dreams go.
PAUL MCGUIRE: 'We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep.' [William Shakespeare]
LARISSA: Destinations are often a surprise to the destined.
ODIN: You puzzle me, Dream-Weaver. Are you a spider who's spun a web of cunning and deceit and now waits patiently for his prey to come to him; or are you a deer, frozen by the light of a hunter's flame as disaster comes toward you?
All journeys leave marks on us.
HIPPOLYTA: "Let all that do ill take this precedent: 'Man may his fate foresee, but not prevent! And of all axioms this shall win the price, 'tis better to be fortunate than wise'."
MORPHEUS: Sister, I have responsibilities. I cannot leave the Dreaming at this time.
DELIRIUM: You use that word so much. Responsibilities. Don't you ever think about what it means? I mean, what does it mean to you? In your head?
MORPHEUS: Well, I use it to refer to that area of existence over which I exert a certain amount of control and influence. In my case, the realm and action of dreaming.
DELIRIUM: Hump. It's more than that. The things we do to make echoes. S'pose, F'rinstance, you stop on a street corner and admire a brilliant fork of lightning -- ZAP!
Well. For ages after people and things will stop on that very same corner, stare up at the sky. They wouldn't even know what they were looking for. Some of them might see a ghost bolt of lightning in the street. Some of them night even be killed by it.
Our existence deforms the universe. That's responsibility.
CORINTHIAN: You know, in days gone by they had many beliefs about violent death. They believed that a corpse would begin to bleed again, when its murderer walked by. They believed that the last thing one saw before one died was recorded -- frozen -- on the inside of the victim's eyes.
MATTHEW: That's bullshit.
CORINTHIAN: No. That's the truth. It's just no one knows how to develop the images.
MATTHEW: You're sick.
CORINTHIAN: No. I am a visionary.
WYVERN: I am honor-bound to warn you to stay on the path through the castle. Straying from the path could mean your destruction.
You killed my friend, woman. Stray from your path.
MORPHEUS: Why are you here?
THE KINDLY ONES: For now, simply to offer some advice.
MORPHEUS: And your advice is?
THE KINDLY ONES: We will destroy your dreamworld, Morpheus. We will destroy everything you have ever loved. Anything you have ever cared for. And, in the end, we shall destroy you.
ROSE: Have you ever been in love?
DESIRE: You might say that.
ROSE: Horrible, isn't it?
DESIRE: In what way?
ROSE: It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens your heart and it means someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses. You build up this whole armor, for years, so nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life...
You give them a piece of you. They don't ask for it. They do something dumb one day like kiss you, or smile at you, and then your life isn't your own anymore.
Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so a simple phrase like "Maybe we should just be friends" or "How very perceptive" turns into a glass splinter working its way to your heart.
DESIRE: How picturesque.
ROSE: It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It's a soul-hurt, a body-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. Nothing should be able to do that.
Especially not love.
I hate love.
MATTHEW: Do you think he's faking?
CORINTHIAN: Uh-uh. He's out. He's gone.
MATTHEW: So how's he going to help us find Daniel?
CORINTHIAN: Oh, he'll help us, whether he wants to or not. I told the truth. I would not kill him. The death-curse of a god is an evil thing. But I can hurt him. And I will... and besides... have you never wondered, little bird, what it must be like to see the world through the eyes of a god?
LARISSA: You? You can't even protect yourself? I'm sorry. That wasn't fair. I think you care about other people too much. It'll get you into trouble one day.
MORPHEUS: Is that meant to be funny?
LARISSA: I'm afraid not. I don't tell jokes. Remember? Sometimes I wish I could, but I can't. I never quite got the hang of it.
CORINTHIAN: You gained consciouness two minutes back, Your breathing betrays you too, Loki.
LOKI: Kill me. Give me back me eyes, or kill me.
CORINTHIAN: No. I shall keep the eyes, and I shall let you live. Goodnight.
MERVYN: You guys're an elite corps. They say I'm hard and I am hard. They say I'm a bastard, and I'll tell you what. I am a bastard. A hard tough bastard. A tough hard bastard with a pumpkin for a head. But that doesn't men I can't be proudda you dumb lugs. And I am proud of you. Alla you -- Wycziezbsky, O'Brien, McTavish, Silverstein, Pucci, and the little Norwegian. While some guys have skedaddled, and other have bolted into the castle, we're the Joe's that have faced the facts. And the facts are this. Is this. Are... whatever.
We're at war.
MERVYN: Hey! I can see you. Throw down your weapons. Just surrender peacefully and no one'll get hurt.
THE KINDLY ONES: You? What are you?
MERVYN: Me? Lady, I'm your worst nightmare -- a pumpkin with a gun.
THE KINDLY ONES: We have no nightmares. We are the Hounds of Hades. Gods fear us. Demons fear us. We have hounded kings and angels. We have taken vengeance on worlds and on universes. We are The Kindly Ones. We are the Eumenides.
CLURACAN: You crippled you with pain and lies
You're hurting all the time; and elf,
you built your prison cell yourself
then schemed and dreamed of open skies.
CAIN: I'll tell you a secret. A raven created the world. When Noah sent him out to find land, he couldn't find any. It had all been washed away. So he created it. He shat the dry land and he pissed the fresh water. Then he flew off, laughing fit to burst. So the world was there for the dove to find.
CAIN: They don't admit to it, of course. Who wants to be blamed for creating the world?
MORPHEUS: Did you have a particular boon in mind? When you summoned me here?
NUALA: I wanted you to stay. I... I wanted you to love me.
MORPHEUS: And do you think that love is a gift? Like a bauble, or a trinket? Something I can reach into a pouch and present to you?
NUALA: I gave all my love to you. Years ago.
MORPHEUS: Did you? I did not realize... On reflection, while I cannot give you the thing itself, I could give you a dream of my love.
NUALA: I already have that, my Lord. Please go.
DESTINY: Very well. Events will fall as they must. As the events happen, the conflicting destinies will merge into a whole. As the events take place, the conflicting destinies will cease to exist.
This will be felt across worlds and days as a reality storm; and as it plays its course, conflicting realities will fall and spin and shatter across time and existence.
All this is destined to happen. Events that never did happen and now never shall, will cast their conclusions out into the worlds. Cause and effect will jostle, unable to tell quite which came first. The event horizon will come closer and closer. Wrecks and mirages of time and occassion...
Am I the true Destiny?
MORPHEUS: Rules and responsibilities: these are the ties that bind us. We do what we do, because of who we are. If we did otherwise, we would not be ourselves. I will do what I have to do. And I will do what I must.
MATTHEW: Penny for your thoughts?
MORPHEUS: You have no pennies, Matthew.
LUCIFER: I told him, you know. I told him years ago. It was at the end of my reign. I closed the final door to Hell... and I told him... I told him that I owed him much for having given me the impetus to go. I told him that there was always freedom, even the ultimate freedom. The freedom to leave. You don't have to stay anywhere forever.
DELIRIUM: I leave places.
LUCIFER: I am sure you do.
DELIRIUM: But Dream doesn't. I don't think he can.
LUCIFER: You know, I swore to destroy him. Your brother.
DELIRIUM: No. I mean, I didn't know. Why?
LUCIFER: Oh he embarrassed me... He said something he thought was clever... it's not that important. And now... now I feel almost sorry for him.
DELIRIUM: What should I do?
LUCIFER: Go and find your dog, child. Go and find your dog; it is too late to help your brother.
MORPHEUS: We make choices. No one else can live our lives for us. And we must confront and accept the consequences of our actions.
DEATH: Destruction simply left. Took down his sigil, said he wasn't responsible for the realm of destruction anymore, that it was no longer his affair, and took off into the forever. You could have done that.
MORPHEUS: No. I could not.
DEATH: No, you couldn't, could you?
DELIRIUM: I must give you a present, for finding my doggie. Do you want palaces and golden touches and oh! never dying and things?
MAN: Nope. Uh-uh. No way. Not me, Ma'am.
DELIRIUM: What do you want?
MAN: I know you, missy. I think I do. I'm kind of yours anyway, ain't I?
DELIRIUM: Kind of.
MAN: T'ain't safe to ask favors of your kind, even if I earned 'em. Otherwise I could find myself spitting out flower petals and silver dollars every time I speak.
LUCIFER: I had the hubris originally to regard myself as a collaborator, as a co-author. Very rapidly I found myself reduced to the status of character, following something of a disagreement in the fundamental direction of the Creation.
Now I sometimes feel I'm simply waiting around to see which of us was right, which was wrong. But even if it turns out that I was right, what good does it do me?
So -- what -- I get the thrill of standing at the end of the universe, and saying "See, I was right all the time?" No, I'm better off out of it.