'Every symphony relies upon a melody; every dream upon a symphony; every mind upon a dream.'

Unrealized though the sentiment may be in well-known texts, there exists a dimension in which the phrase is common place- memorized- and thereafter used to the point of monotony, as most seemingly intricate philosophies are.

It is a dimension ruled only by the Traumerei; the Twelve enigmas only seen in pictures, and heard in stories. Although no one seems to have ever seen one, their names are surprisingly well-rehearsed.

The twins, Lady Anima and Lord Animus; the strangely solemn Young Lord Divine; the calm, yet ever-changing Lady Juno; the unusually apathetic Lord Hero; the placid shifter, Lady Persona; the ambiguous Mr. Shadow; the catalytic Mr. Spirit; the mocking Sir Trickster; the all-seeing Matriarch; the all-knowing Patriarch; and finally, the omnipotent Mr. Zero.

The Träumerei all guarded the cathedral with windows of stained glass, with bells that rang out dreamy symbolism and a thick ivory exterior that seemed to age and sicken along with the mind and body of the Träumerin. In her bed, hidden away in the infirmary adjacent to the Physician's house, the Träumerin slowly withered away. She was dying just as quickly as the flickering dream that kept the dimension of the Traumerei in weak existence.

The dream had been dying ever since the disappearance of the reclusive cellist, Mr. Montressor. Mr. Rook's mountain dulcimer stood abandoned in the calefactory, and the shining flute of the Träumerin lay neatly in its open case beside her bed, untouched. The unsettling silence in the dream realm tainted the mind of Man.

It was then that a well-dressed demon approached the Träumerin, whose hair was long and stringy and had the pallid hue of fresh butter cream. Her face was pale and sunken to the point where she looked almost frozen, as though she had fallen into a rather chilly and timeless pool. Quietly, the demon sat beside her bed as she slept, waiting for her to stir, his ashen and eyeless face free of any emotion what-so-ever.

"I haven't been able to sleep, Mr. Needles." The Träumerin said softly. "I can't dream anymore. It's just black now." The eyeless demon looked up, his sharp and jagged teeth visible as he said in a soft voice.

"My sympathies, Clothilde… I do mourn your loss, but there are more pressing matters." He said, taking off his top hat, his endless eye sockets now even more visible. The young girl sat up slowly, resting back against her pillow.

"What's wrong, Mr. Needles?" She asked, suppressing a shiver. The demon stood and walked over to the fireplace in the room.

"Man…" he said softly, "man has waged a war on the Otherkin. On elves, on demons, on shape-shifters…." He smiled slightly, a sharp, frightening smile in which his teeth glinted with the fire from the hearth. "Politicians, however, have been discounted." Clothilde frowned, leaning back into her pillows further.

"Is Montressor all right?" She asked meekly. Mr. Needles sighed, placing a hand on his forehead.

"I don't know where Montressor went. Nor Mr. Rook, nor Mr. Norris…." He sighed deeply once more. "We can only hope they're faring well." He pushed his long, dark hair over his shoulder as he leant down to pick up the fire poker. Clothilde watched as he stoked the fire idly.

"What about the Erlkings…? Are they being hunted, too?" She asked. Mr. Needles looked up.

"Erlkings…? Surely you don't mean the men and women with tails…? Of course they're being targeted. Only those allied with the royal houses are safe. And there are only few…." Mr. Needles said, on the brink of a whisper, sitting in a chair beside the fire. Clothilde looked horrified.

"But one was born tonight!" She frowned. "He's the one I threw the sovereign into the well for…." She finished softly. Mr. Needles looked out the window into the dark and flowery courtyard.

"If you threw a sovereign into the well for him, I'm sure he's fine…. There are men who are lucky to have made a sovereign in a whole month of work." He smirked. "You're only supposed to throw pennies in that well, and you know it." Clothilde smiled guiltily.

"I had a dream about this Erlking… his name is Evos…. He has the tail of a reindeer, Mr. Needles." Clothilde said, smiling slightly and fiddling with the ragged doll in her hands. Mr. Needles smiled his usual, crooked smile.

"You wish him eternal luck… because he has the soul of a reindeer?" He asked and Clothilde blushed, fiddling with the doll again.

"Reindeer are my favorite animals."

"That's very superficial of you, Clothilde." Mr. Needles said. Clothilde just nodded slowly, nuzzling into the ratty doll. After a moment of thought, she finally spoke.

"I want to see Mr. Onieros." She said, firmly. Mr. Needles frowned.

"And what could Mr. Onieros do for you that I could not?" Mr. Needles asked, replacing his hat on his head.

"Mr. Onieros is a Captromancer. He can scry, Mr. Needles. He could tell me how Evos is. Maybe he could find Montressor, too."

"Doubtful." Mr. Needles said dryly. He continued, with an almost reprimanding tone. "Clothilde, Mr. Onieros is an Incubus." Clothilde frowned deeply, every feature in her thin, pale face becoming all the more strained. Mr. Needles seemed to understand that Clothilde was set in her ways and stood, his posture much more paternal than before.

"Very well, Clothilde. I'll return shortly." He said softly, taking off his hat briefly before turning and starting out of the room.

"Mr. Needles!" Clothilde cried. However, she was quick to realize that the cry had put far too much strain on her voice. Mr. Needles raised a brow, turning slightly as she collapsed into a coughing fit.

"Clothilde?" He asked. She straightened up and stuck a cold, pastel-hued foot from beneath her cover slip.

"I'm going with." She said firmly. Mr. Needles frowned.
"It's cold out there." He said simply, returning to the bed. Clothilde only nodded, quickly taking Mr. Needles' outstretched hand.

"You know…" said Mr. Needles, as he led the frail and shoeless girl into the courtyard. "The Abbot will have my head if he ever knew I let you out of your room…." The girl said nothing, the small anklet she wore making soft tinkling noises as they walked through the quiet courtyard.