Sandman Myth in Totania | World Anvil
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Sandman is a Dwarven story about a Dream Mage known only as the Sandman.  

The Tale

Sandman begins with a young Dwarven boy named Clawsyl (often localized in Common to Klaus). Klaus lives in the village of Claurode, a mountainous village above a river. He is a schoolboy with Dreams of eventually leaving Claurode. The story says he and his classmates are children, but that is to Dwarves, so it means someone who has not grown in their beard yet and had their Hjiffnz E Ceremony yet.
Klaus by Jarhed
  Klaus has heard tales of people falling into endless slumbers recently. His classmates have begun to drop like flies, all into a sleep that never ends. Some scholars have interpreted this as death, but it is implied that the children are still alive but in a dreamlike sleep state. Nevertheless, the people of Claurode see little difference between this state and death.   Klaus is a rather confident boy, so he cares little about what's going on at first. He as well as a classmate of his, a girl he had a crush on named Lyesvian, continued their daily lives.   They were rather active kids, which led to them being quite tired after the day ended. So, of course, they went to sleep that night.  

Sleepless Nights

However, when Klaus gets to school the next day, he finds that Lyesvian did not show up. Again, he did not worry. On his way home, though, the town herald was announcing the names of children who were cursed with endless sleep the previous night, and Klaus heard Lyesvian's name.

Dream Magic

Dream Magic is a type of Item Magic that allows the user to manipulate dreams. This manifests, mostly, in two different ways.   First is the ability to manipulate dreams in the Waking World, aka Totania proper. With this power, the user can make targets see dreams or nightmares without sleeping. This has many uses, like creating distractions, calming people down with images of loved ones, making them sad by showing a deceased loved one, or showing nightmares to scare the target.   Then there is the ability to manipulate dreams in the Dream World. When an opponents guard is down, willingly or unwillingly (including while one is actually asleep or knocked out), the user can enter the Dream World.   The story tells of the possibility of Dream Mages putting people to sleep. It is unclear if this is something Dream Mages can actually do.
Klaus begins to slightly lose his composure upon hearing this. Up until now, he hadn't cared how many people were stuck in this slumber. Now it was not only personal, but was close. He had just been with Lyesvian, and now she was asleep forever. Who was to say he wouldn't be next?   Klaus spent many sleepless nights staying up, afraid that if he closed his eyes it would be the end for him. The first night, it wasn't paranoia more than it was grief and worry. But as the nights passed, he became more and more paranoid as he got less and less sleep. His eyes would nearly close before he went to drastic measures to keep himself up.   Klaus grabbed a dagger, of which he had learned to make in school during forging classes years prior, and stabbed it into his leg whenever he was close to falling asleep. This would keep him awake. But he was losing blood, and wasn't sure how long he'd be able to keep this up.   It is said that Klaus had grown. It is unclear how long it was, but the legend says a moustache had grown on the face that had once been so young as his eyes grew weary. This could have not been long, he could have been on the brink of beardhood, or this could have been years. The story does not specify. All that is known is that he stopped going to school, just like the kids who had fallen into the endless sleep, all in pursuit of not falling like they had.  
Sandman by Jarhed

Enter Sandman

An Earth Jinn arrived in town one day, or so they say, known as the Sandman. He claimed to have heard tell of what was happening in Claurode and came to save them.   He procured for Klaus a ball of sand. Sandman was, as his name implied, a Sand Mage, or more accurately an Earth Mage with the Impossible variant of magic known as Sand Magic, which gave him minute and precise control over sand. He also had Dream Magic.   With this combination, Sandman said, he could create this ball. Half of it was a yellowish sand, the other half orange. He claimed that with the yellow, he could put anyone to sleep. With the orange, he could instead keep them awake. This did, as Sandman said, come with the cost of dreams spilling over into the Waking World.  

Spiral Dream

Klaus was no longer tired, as every day he would go to the Sandman for more Orange Sand. As the days passed, reality seemed stranger and stranger to Klaus, as he began to see strange things. First, he saw hallucinations of some of his classmates who were supposed to be in the endless sleep. Then, he saw his father, who had died in a war with the Elves years prior.  


Terrifyingly, he then found himself chased by a demonic creature. WIth red skin, black robes, black eyes, and a single black wing. Everywhere he went, Klaus would find this monster there, which he called Phobetor.   It did not, at first, harm him. It simply watched him. The more it watched, though, the more Klaus saw it begin to ooze strange creatures, like twisted birds and long snakes, all emitting from Phobetor. The air around Phobetor was darkened and impossible to see through. Klaus eventually attacked Phobetor, to which Phobetor procured a dagger.  
Phobetor by Jarhed
This dagger has become known in legend as the Icelos. Even in what appeared to be just a dream or hallucination, Klaus felt real pain from the dagger. All of the pain and torture he had undergone since falling victim to Sandman's sand was within the dagger, now stinging harder than even the dagger he had stabbed himself with before.  


Klaus began going insane after this. The world around him distorted, as he now stopped going to see Sandman. The ground became rainbow, the buildings covered in blood, and the sky a bright green. Phobetor's dagger Icelos had driven Klaus to insanity.   Or perhaps there was no Phobetor. Perhaps Phobetor was a culmination of all of the collective insanity that Klaus had accumulated over the months, perhaps years, that he had spent awake without sleeping.   Corpses began appearing around the town as well. Klaus wasn't sure why, but he wondered if that was his own doing. He wondered if perhaps his insanity had driven him to the point where he was no longer seeing or remembering things right.   But he knew deep down that was not true. He knew instead that it was everyone eles that was seeing things wrong, and that his treatment from Sandman had allowed him to see the truth of the world. He was seeing truths that no one else could, truths hidden beneath the surface. Perhaps the ground really was rainbow, perhaps the sky was green, perhaps Phobetor was real, and perhaps the people supposedly trapped in an endless slumber were walking around in a place where no one else could see them. No one but him.  

Mr. Sandman

Klaus could not stay without Sandman's treatment forever. And as he believed his own delusions more and more, he began to want to see the Sandman again.   Almost as if on cue, Sandman arrived back in Claurode with his ball of sand again. Klaus now begged Sandman to put him to sleep. Klaus had been seeing so many hallucinations and horrid things, and he knew that wherever the people in the Endless Sleep were, they were better off.   Sandman smirked and said to Klaus,
"You have fooled yourself with delusions, to think that you have not been in a dream as you are. Fool yourself no longer. Enter the dream, and wake... to reality."
— Sandman
In that moment, the smirk reminded Klaus of Phobetor. In that moment, he wondered if Phobetor had been Sandman the entire time, if the delusions he had been seing were caused by the Dream Magic of Sandman, all in the hopes that Klaus would submit himself to the endless slumber willingly. Klaus in that moment believed that Sandman was the one behind it all.  

Dream or Reality?

As Klaus's eyes closed in Sandman's sand, he awoke. He found himself in the floating city of the Draconians, Zephys. A foreign land, just like he had always dreamed of travelling to.   He pondered Sandman's words, to enter the dream and wake to reality. Was this a dream? Or had he, truly, travelled all the way to Zephys? As he questioned this, he found Lyesvian standing across from him, holding her hand out for him to come with her. Klaus ignored any questions he had, taking her hand and going with her into the unknown as Sandman watches in the distance.  


There are many interpretations of the text of Sandman. Some believe Sandman is a truly evil figure behind the endless slumbers and Klaus's delusions, while others think Klaus was just truly insane of his own merit. Some consider Phobetos to be Sandman, while others call them foils for each other.   The biggest debate comes from the ending. People question where Klaus is when the story ends. Is he in a dream, having left the Waking World in Claurode? Or was he in a dream in Claurode, and is this really Zephys?   People question how Sandman seems able to show up whenever he pleases. He appears out of nowhere in Claurode both times, and in Zephys he also simply is there. This leads to the opinion that either could be a dream.   An argument for Zephys being the dream is that Dwarves were not fully sure that Zephys existed at the time, as few Dwarves had truly travelled there to check it out. This gave Zephys the reputation of a dreamlike locale that could not be real. However, that may be exactly what the author of the story, a Dwarf named Hulthran, wanted.   The Claurode delusions are called into question as dreams because some wonder whether a Dream Mage or whatever Phobetor is could harm someone if they are not in a dream with nothing but hallucination. Alongside this, his description of how the world looked after Phobetor stabbed him matches the description Dream Mages say of some people's Dream Worlds.  

In Literature

Sandman has become a popular figure in folktales, with stories being passed around that children need to have a healthy sleep schedule or Sandman will come and put them into an endless slumber.   In many folktales he is portrayed as an evil man who puts people into endless sleep, but a Goblin epic poem written by Krugab known as Awoken Reality paints Sandman as a misunderstood defender of the free will of people, fighting against the evil Phobetor who is hell bent on sending people into endless sleeps. The story implies that in Sandman, it was Phobetor who put Klaus into an endless slumber by stabbing him, and Sandman that woke him up in Zephys.   A play about Sandman was written by Getoh, playwright of A Dreamless Sleep. It is considered one of his more absurdist works. Here is a small passage from Sandman's final speech to Klaus before sending him to Zephys.
"Trapped in dream, or trapped within your own life,
The question unimportant 'fore the truth
For you are trapped, and I, your savior, free.
Wake, O cursèd one, to reality,
Wake, that thou may face thine dream with penance."
— Sandman

In Art

Phobetor is the most popular figure in Sandman to be featured in art, with artists of all races wishing to portray the demonic dream dealer as a beautiful, dark angel. Whether there is any merit to this is unclear, but it is the most popular and agreed upon interpretation of his character.

Cover image: by xaviandrew


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