The lights are glowing, and still the table is blank.
On p 202, things have changed. The fire dragons are ominously missing. No one attends the table. "Its surface shifted, with colors upon colors creating ever-shrinking points of light. Slowly, oh so slowly, they began to look like star systems, then clusters, then galaxies."
The very viewpoint of the cosmos was shifting. The fire dragons were no longer in control. As the text states, it was "a universe run amok." The fire dragons could no longer use the table to direct the dreams of creatures far across the universe in the hope that they would create an avenue of forward motion for creatures too inept to do anything except be a parasitic boil upon the rest of creation.
The table was alive... and alone, vacillating between images of what was, what is, and what will be.
That's everyday life for those of us in the real world, isn't it? In our heads (which is the table, really), our memories are constantly in flux. We think of things in the past, often without intention, and moments we experienced years before jerk back to us in vivid, crystal clarity. Wanted or unwanted, the memories jerk us around emotionally, and we're unable to do anything except be dragged along, sometimes kicking and screaming, reliving the past as if it were today.
Then what is intrudes, our children screaming, or the phone ringing. Or maybe our on-going custody fight with our spouse crashes into our day, and we must put the past aside, no matter how vivid it has become to us.
Yet, when the day slows down, we let ourselves imagine how we're planning to improve our situation. Pay off the college loan. Get that dependable car. A new house. A vacation. A new spouse, one that really cares about us this time. Build up our retirement savings. Actually retire. Travel the world.
The future becomes real to us, as real as the present or the past, and all possibilities are open to us in that moment. We can become, live, experience anything. It's all ours, and all we must do is reach out and grab it.
Not so very different from the fire devils, huh? Let's manipulate the world into what we want it to be. Grab the gusto. Make out like a bandit. Become king of the world.
Then we blink, and we realize no one is in attendance, the world is run amok, and our dreams have to change once again.
Welcome to being human. It's how we're designed to function, and I wouldn't have it any other way.