Fandom: Vision of Escaflowne
Characters: Dilandau, Dragonslayers, various others
Warnings: Mild language. (It's Dilandau for crying out loud).
Summary: Jeture lives within your desires. He knows what your soul longs for, even if you yourself do not. Sometimes he will speak to you, if you wish fervently enough. Sometimes he will even grant your wish. But not all wishes are meant to be realized...
This story was heavily inspired by some scenes from the Escaflowne Drama CD. In a section of that CD, Jeture actually does speak to Dilandau in his dreams, and insinuates that Dilandau's wish isn't what he thinks it is (power, at the time). I highly recommend reading the transcripts to this CD, if for no other reason that it really sheds much more light on events in-between some of the earlier episodes, as well as on Dilandau's past and how exactly he got to be such a high-ranking officer (and in command of an elite squad) at such a young age.
A Wish for Jeture: Prologue
Power is meaningless in dreams. It doesn’t matter who you are, what rank you hold, or who is afraid of you; the moment that your subconscious slithers to the surface, it swallows your free will whole, gorges itself on your uncertainties, and vomits nightmares into the unguarded pits behind your eyes. Nothing is ever secure in dreams. One night you may be aware and able to influence the intangible forms around your illusory self, but most nights you will be helpless, unaware that you are even asleep—trapped within a morphing reality.
Dilandau hated dreams. He'd learned long ago that he could not count on control there, lost within the blind abyss of fear and desire. He'd dreamed of cold tables, foul-tasting air, and syringes that injected terror into his heart. He'd dreamed of Escaflowne, charging, charging, charging and slicing his cheek with a stone-coloured steel blade. He'd dreamed of his Dragonslayers, melting within liquid silver and electric flames that were the same shade as their soul-shredding screams.
Forgotten fears made themselves known. Past mistakes mired his thoughts in despair.
After the massacre at Godashim, his dreams had not waited for Dilandau to surrender his head to the pillow in his dark and empty quarters; rather, they had reached up, laughing at his pain and confusion with the ghostly, sobbing voice of a little girl. He had passed out on a lonely catwalk: one of the few on the Vione that ventured far enough from the fortress’s metallic bowels to taste the sharp, frigid air. After the rush of failing blue and the onset of granular greys fading into black vision, he’d watched, frozen, the replay of their deaths—his Dragonslayers’ deaths. He’d screamed soundlessly until he was alone, utterly alone, and then he’d screamed even more for someone—anyone—to come.
And then a voice had answered.
He’d heard this voice only once before, and only in his dreams. He could not remember when—only that he knew that voice from somewhere. Deep, calm tones rolled like waves and resonated with every bone in his body.
<<Now do you know your true desire?>>
Dilandau was floating. He realized this as he struggled to understand what was being asked of him. His mind felt clearer than it should have in a dream, although his thoughts were sluggish with shock.
“Who are you?” he demanded. His voice did not carry in the depths of midnight blue. He sounded small and meek. Dilandau was never small or meek. But here, in dreams, none of that ever mattered.
<<I am Jeture. I have heard your soul’s cry, and I have answered. Speak your desire, mortal, if you yet realize its nature.>>
Jeture? Dilandau found his head tilting upwards, ballooned by an invisible weightlessness. There, a black shape bruised the serpentine form of a regal dragon upon the curtained seascape. Dilandau stared, oddly devoid of fear—perhaps because this was only a dream. Or, perhaps, because Dilandau did not believe in gods. Gods were legends made up by mortals, security blankets thrown up in desperation to shield themselves from the cruel knowledge of death.
Dilandau noticed, abruptly, how the colours of the water enveloping him were the same colours as his Dragonslayers’ deaths: blue armor, blue Alseids, blue liquid flames. They had been the best soldiers in the entire Zaibach copper army. He’d made them the best in the span of a single year, and they’d idolized him for it. They’d loved him. They’d loved him so dearly that they’d reached their grey fingers from beyond the stillness of death to save him from joining them.
They’d loved him, and he needed them. They represented everything that he’d achieved. They’d stood as the sum of his power: young and gifted and unsurpassed. Power was everything. Without it, he was hollow. Without them, he was an opened shell.
What was he going to do without them? Gatti, Shesta, Dalet, Viole… He didn’t know what he’d done wrong. He didn’t understand how he could have misjudged the battle to severely. He didn’t understand how Escaflowne could have destroyed every single one of them. If only they hadn’t died.
And suddenly, he knew his most fervent desire.
“I want them to live. My Dragonslayers.” His voice sounded stronger this time. “Something went wrong today, and they died. They should not have died. I want to change what happened.”
The sea god rumbled thoughtfully, and it sounded like wet thunder. <<And if it was their fate to—>>
Dilandau cut the god off unthinkingly, blinded by sudden fury, and shouted, “I’m sick of hearing about fate! You asked me what I want! That’s what I want! So either help me or quit screwing with me!”
Deep, consuming silence clogged Dilandau’s ears after his voice quieted. Only in that moment did fear press at his heart, hindering its beating. He had dared to interrupt a god. Even though he knew that this was a dream, and even though he did not believe in gods, his surroundings were too vivid for him to blanket himself with total apathy.
All motion died. Currents ceased. The serpentine blue-black bruise burned in stillness against the backdrop like congealing spots in his eyes after a bright flash.
Dilandau expected to wake up, or die, or both. Or for the dream to freeze entirely, then morph into something less coherent, something more like the nightmares. In the uncertain seconds that followed, Dilandau hoped desperately for anything but that last possibility.
He felt the roar before he heard it; his entire frame jerked in its force, thrashing angrily like a doll throttled by a furious child. Earthquake. It was only once he realized that he was not in pain that he understood why the ocean was shaking.
Jeture was laughing, and his voice was tearing the dream down with its force.
The god never stopped laughing, even as the blue currents around Dilandau turned to grainy noise and fell away as waves of colourful sand into nothing.