Letting the dreams leave

Session 2: Setting the Context

Jak and Keira were in their apartment, preparing for the arrival of their guests. They did their utmost best to clean up everything, making their home presentable. Once they were certain the dining table was properly laid out and prepared, they went into the kitchen to busily prepare the meal. It was stew with butternut squash and hot paprika, the very meal Keira had intended to prepare for Jak that night, as they had both begun their days believing he would soon embark on a long journey. As that was no longer the case, they were both much happier and the mood more light-hearted. They helped each other in almost every chore, finishing the stew preparations and leaving the mixture to cook, while they both prepared elements of the apricot pie. The mood was so cheery they started singing various songs and rhymes from their childhood, laughing when they discovered they could not remember some of the lyrics.

Eventually, everything was finished and cooking. The couple sighed as they began to clean up the mess they had made in their kitchen, Keira dealing with the used utensils in their sink, while Jak grabbed a mop.

"We have to change out of these clothes," said Keira disapprovingly as she inspected their stained and dust-covered garments.

"Nothing too formal," ordered Jak as he swept. "You can wear a dress though," he suggested with a grin.

"So you can stare at my legs while you're supposed to be getting help?" observed the mechanic wryly. "I don't think so, your Highness."

Jak gave out a mock moan in response. He continued sweeping while a thought struck him. "Did you mean what you said, about wanting to understand what I went through?" Keira stopped her scrubbing to face him, wanting to say something but only nodding her reply. He looked at her earnestly. "Part of the reason I want you to sit in is so that...I don't feel so alone, when I explain what happened to me back then. But I need you to promise me something, ok?" When she didn't answer, he continued. "I need you to just listen, only listen. If I need something from you, I'll ask, I'll say something. Just don't suggest anything that could help me, or you think could help me. Or ask me to talk outside the sessions. Yerran's the expert, after all, not you."

His beloved seemed sad that he would ask such a thing from her. She forced herself to smile as she nodded. "I understand. I'll just listen." She turned back to her scrubbing, while Jak finished his sweeping. "That doesn't include tonight though, does it? From what you told me, we'll just talk about ourselves tonight, us in general."

"Yeah, tonight. So, that's the exception." He picked up a dustpan to sweep the mess into.

"In that case, we should figure out what we're gonna say. I seriously don't think they'll believe the time travel part."


In his smart baby-blue britches, white T-shirt and navy waistcoat, Jak opened the front door. The sky was lit orange by the sunset and his smile seemed to match.

"Evening, Yerran."

"Good evening, Jak, this is my granddaughter, Pern." The older woman indicated the teenage girl next to her, who wore her dark-brown hair short and had watchful eyes the colour of green emeralds. Her skin was dark, like the other nomads, but she was wearing a pink dress more similar to the style the citizens of Haven City adopted. Coolly, she shook hands with Jak, exchanging greetings with him.

Inside, Jak poured into the glasses the grape juice from a tankard. The two guests seemed very curious about the furnishings, clearly interested in the typical household items and styles of other cultures' homes. Vocally, they asked about some of the pictures and photos adorning the walls. Keira, wearing a marine-green tunic over silver leggings, brought the food to the table and served the stew onto the guests' plates first, explaining the ingredients as she did so. The two visitors looked delighted by the food and happily tucked in.

After some light prompting, Jak and Keira took it in turns to talk about their life story, albeit in summarised form. They briefly talked about their childhood in Sandover Village, both talking about the role of Samos in their lives. Jak then went into detail about how he could not only channel Eco - already an unusual and unique ability among people - but also absorb it for various effects: green for healing, blue for faster speed, red for strength and yellow for the ability to aim and shoot energy. He compared these uses to Dark Eco, which is a dangerous substance and has harmful effects when absorbed in great amounts; at this point he mentioned how Maia and Gol had been mutated and driven mad by the substance, as well as how accidentally pushing Daxter into a pool of it meant his best friend had been turned into an ottsel. After defeating Maia and Gol and stopping their plans to open up the Dark Eco silos, they had found a large rift gate. As agreed earlier, the couple did not mention that this gate had sent them through time, providing the impression that he, she, Daxter and Samos had simply been sent over a long distance.

Keira mentioned that they had all been separated before arriving in Haven City and Jak had been captured and sent to prison almost immediately after his arrival. The other three did not see each other for nearly 2 years. Jak quickly said that Daxter had led him out of prison and introduced him to the underground, where he helped them stage a revolt against Baron Praxis. At this point, the very curious Pern interjected with her questions regarding political history, as she was aware that the current baroness shared the name, so Jak confirmed that Ashelin was his daughter. Without mentioning that there were 2 Samoses at this time, as well as a very young version of Jak, who needed to be sent 300 years back in time after the baron and the Metal Head leader were defeated, Jak quickly skipped to the point when all enemies had been defeated and the city was quickly reformed. Ashelin became baroness, reformed the Krimzon Guards into the Freedom League and held elections for a new, elected City Council. However, the Metal Head threat had persisted, so the top priority was reinforcing the city's defences and retraining the troops where necessary. Jak had assisted in this all he could.

The finished meal had to be cleared and dessert served before the story could be continued. After a few months, the city had been the victim of a vicious Metal Head assault; there were many casualties among civilians and troops and the city's palace had been destroyed. In a quick trial, Jak had been charged guilty for crimes against the citizenry and was exiled to the Wastelands. Daxter and Pecker had joined him, Ashelin had also provided him a beacon. The heat meant all 3 had passed out, so when he came to, he found himself in Spargus and worked to become a citizen of Spargus. He and Daxter had learned much about the Precursors, as well as the plot of the 'Dark Makers' to come to their planet and conquer it. They had had assistance from what had remained of the Krimzon Guards, which had all been mechanised by this point. While learning of this plot, Jak had been granted Light Eco powers (at this point in the story, he realised he had not mentioned the fact that his time in prison meant he had escaped only with the ability to channel Dark Eco. He quickly stated this and then continued.) While Jak had fought the Metal Heads, the Krimzon Guards and the traitorous council member Count Veger, who had desired to become a Precursor and gain great power, he had also gotten to know Damas, the King of Spargus and former King of Haven City, who had been overthrown and exiled by Baron Praxis. Damas was also his father.

"That's why officials address me as King Mar. It's the name he gave me, but I grew up someplace else and have no memory of my time around here, so my friends still call me Jak."

Jak became contemplative as he shared the moment of his father's heroic - yet tragic - death. After defeating numerous Metal Heads their vehicle had been damaged by a landmine. Jak's fast reflexes meant he had jumped clear of the accident, with Daxter hanging on his shoulder, but Damas was too injured and died from the damage, simply asking Jak to save the world, as destiny foretold. At this point, Jak got up and fetched the jewel from a cabinet. It was a dark magenta stone, portraying 2 sides in a loop, to signify balance. Jak turned it over, showing the date of his birth engraved on the back.

"This jewel is supposed to signify that the wearer is a member of the legacy of Mar. They wear this, they have the right to rule. Damas gave me his and I put it away for safe-keeping."

After putting the jewel away, he wasted little time in explaining that it had been Count Veger who had had him kidnapped as a child, before he was rescued by the rebelling underground and sent away. At this moment in time, Count Veger's intention was to save the world from the Dark Makers by becoming a Precursor. Well, he became a Precursor alright, the Precursors were actually all ottsels, meaning Count Veger was turned into an ottsel as well. The 2 guests could not hold back their laughter at this. The hosts let them laugh, knowing full well how silly this twist in the story is (and another reason why they did not mention the time travel element). Once the laughter died down, Jak stated that he and Daxter were able to defeat the mechanised Krimzon Guards and the Dark Makers, thus saving the world and Daxter could finally have them grant his wish: a pair of trousers.

Keira then spoke. "And if you still don't believe that the Precursors are ottsels, well go to the Naughty Ottsel and see Tess. She wished her shorts could fit her like Daxter's so she got turned into an ottsel." This time, the guests did not laugh, simply looked stunned.

Yerran let out a breath. "Well, I can honestly say I have never come across anyone so young with a life already so eventful."

Jak chuckled. "Impressed?"

The elder woman nodded. "Among...other reactions," she answered mildly.

"Can I use the bathroom?" asked Pern.

So Keira showed Pern to the bathroom, while Jak gathered up the used and empty dishes, Keira helping when she returned. After a few minutes, all four people found themselves seated on the sofas arranged in the other end of the dining/living room, each holding a mug of warm herbal tea. The couple had questions of their own regarding the nomads and their history, as well as their specialist craft.

As was becoming typical, Yerran did the talking. "Skydown Fountains is a township that prides itself and focuses on the sciences, as well as some arts and philosophy. Centuries ago, philosophy and observational science merged when the following questions arose: What is it that informs a person's morals? How important is the surrounding environment on a person? Does a particular upbringing decide a person's intelligence level? And why does hypnotism work?"

"Hypnotism?" asked Jak.

"You mean that act people do when a person controls another person and makes them do things?" clarified Keira.

Yerran grinned. "Yes, exactly. Hypnotism is often used to force people to tell the truth or put them under an illusion of some sort. Jak, it is likely I will use it at least once on you, but not for a while yet. Anyway, with these questions our ancestors began studying various people and children in various environments, some within our township and some in a few towns and villages further away. They learned fascinating things about the relationship between a person's morals, character and the environment they grow up in, as well as how people treat them. So this was the beginning of the study of the mind, or Mind Sciences, or even psychology, as some choose to call it. Then, nearly 250 years ago, Skydown Fountains was hit by a plague. I don't have to explain how terrible that was. After the plague was gone, after the disease claimed no more victims, there was still suffering. Doctors were baffled, they were unsure what caused this hysteria or how to treat it.

"This was when my people made a remarkable discovery and when explaining this discovery, I always compare it to a physical injury. Say you broke your arm. You know what's wrong, your doctor knows what's wrong, so he treats it as normal and advises you to leave it alone. Which you do, because a broken bone needs to be kept in place and left alone in order to heal. However, when the mind is wounded, the problem is not an obvious one because no one can see it. The injured person is also unaware of it, not realising anything is wrong until they notice that, they are not thinking the same way they used to, not acting the same way they used to, not even feeling the same way they used to. Because the mind does not know what is wrong, it always touches and fiddles with the wound, never letting it heal. So the person then finds themselves re-living the terrible experience that wounded them."

Jak nodded. "Makes sense."

"So, what happened to all the people that ended up in the Keris Institute?" asked Keira. "A lot of them have been there for years, no war to scar them."

"The majority of the poor people in that institute have been affected by one of two things: either they have had numerous traumas in their life, meaning their minds have many wounds, or their minds simply deteriorated."

The hosts blankly stared at her. "Minds deteriorated, just like that?" clarified Keira.

Yerran nodded sadly. "Just like that. The studies of our ancestors discovered that as well, meaning that treatments could be developed. The studies of the mind are very vast and treatment for any problems long and complex. When comparing the mind to the body again, a person's body will always look like another's, in the sense that a doctor can find the same bones in the same places, the same organs in the same places. Every visitor we care for is different, in personality, in experiences, the way they communicate, whether they know which of their life experiences has traumatised them or not. When our ancestors chose to leave Skydown Fountains, it was not only to share what they had learned in their studies, it was also to study further, to come across new situations and new kinds of people."

"So the first sessions we'll have is to identify the wound? Even though I already know what caused it?" asked Jak. At this point, Pern grabbed a pen and notebook from her satchel and began scribbling notes.

"The fact that you are able to refer to your 'time in prison' without hesitation suggests to me that being locked up was not the cause of your trauma. I will need to know what happened to you, how it has affected your mind and how it affects you now. Only then will I know how to train your mind to accept the wound, to allow you to be able to live with your experiences without them interfering in your current life."

"So," spoke up Pern, pausing from her writing and looking up, "are you King of 2 cities? Because you said Damas ruled Spargus but you said you're the King of Haven City."

Jak nodded. "There's a man called Sig, he governs Spargus when I'm not there. Even when I am there really."

"And how does your rule work with the baroness around?"

"Her main responsibility is security, like mine is securing our sources of Eco. She also governs when I'm not here. And before you ask, yes I trust her. She was working with the rebels against her father."

Pern scribbled in her notebook further. "Matthias said you were really quiet in the Council Meeting, the baroness too. Why do you let the council talk all the time?"


"That is the name of the speaker who presented us to you," answered Yerran.

Jak blinked. "The reason I don't talk in meetings much is because the council is elected, so I'm really just there to stop their debates getting out of control." He frowned at the sight of Pern note-taking. "What are you doing?"

The teenager looked up in confusion. "I'm writing notes."

His frown changed focus to the elder guest. "You take notes too?"

"Yes, but I choose to never take any during a session, I prefer to write some key notes afterwards so that I know where to focus."

His frown deepened. "You keep records?" he asked in a hardened voice.

Yerran watched his reaction and grew concerned, so much so that her perpetual smile had vanished. "Of our sessions? I will do, yes."

Her concern matching Yerran's, Keira laid a hand on Jak's. He seemed to appreciate the gesture, squeezing her hand in return. "New condition," he ordered, "before every session starts, I want to read your notes of the last one. All of them, including hers."

Pern looked panicked, but Yerran was not surprised and nodded easily. "Of course, it is your right."

Relieved, Jak let out a sigh of relief. "Good. So, can we have the next one tomorrow?"

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Written by Ruth Hüneke 2013

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