Author Topic: Book of Metamorphoses  (Read 327 times)

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merrychase

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on: August 22, 2022, 05:45:06 PM
 
                        ,
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                                   '.| /
                                     '`



A simply bound book appears on the table inside the grove that now spills out from the Sunpurse Estate inside the Peerage Ward. A quill from a goose feather and an inkwell lay to the side



merrychase

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on: August 22, 2022, 05:56:26 PM


Preface

An account of the metamorphosis of Phelan Sunpurse and the many transformations of our age. So that we may better strive towards paradise.

-Rin of Oldflowers



merrychase

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on: August 22, 2022, 06:13:07 PM
    (`/\                             /\')
    `=\/\                           /\/='
     `=\/\    Table of Contents    /\/='
      `=\/                         \/='
         \                         /
      _)  (_                    _)  (_
      [____]                    [____]



o The Curse of Sunpurse, Geriand the Groundskeeper and Lord Desmond Sunpurse
o Massacre of the Students, the Guardianship of Phelan
o House Haremarch and the First Trangression of Seasons
o Fury of Winter and the Rite of Sverri the Small
o Return of Phelan, Death of Oriana
o The Seven Labors of Hulbert Wolfson
o Metamorphosis of Crowsong, the Death of the Willow
o The War of the Fey Courts and Druidic Schism




« Last Edit: September 20, 2022, 06:10:56 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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The Curse of Sunpurse

For ten generations, the scions of Sunpurse have suffered the fate to perish before they reach the age of five and thirty. For near as long, the nature of that curse, and its ultimate source, Zerano Senuspur, were not known to the heirs or their servants.

The knowledge of his dark primogeniture, but the ignorance of its cause colored every moment of Desmond's life, the ninth heir to the Sunpurse. Early in the age of his majority, Desmond had also undertaken to restore the lands of the 98th ring. To plant there Willowgrove Park and make of it a beautiful garden. For this purpose, the first Students were gathered. Botanists, and scholars of artifice, gradeners and keepers of fish, beasts and fowl - curious and gentle folk were drawn to his vision of a great gift to mankind.

    _ _  __   
   ( | )/_/
__( >O< )
\_\(_|_)  

Geriand the Groundskeeper and Lord Desmond Sunpurse

The works of these Students drew the eye of Geriand Relve'len, an elf and Druid who had traveled far and seen many Circles throughout the city in his long life. He had grown wise in his frequent discussions with the spirits. Step by step, Geriand, Desmond and the many who labored to build the peaceful garden, grew in esteem and regard for each other. The elf and the energetic scion became close friends. Geriand showed the Students how to listen to the spirits, and taught them the lessons of the many Circles he knew of from his travels. Desmond himself gained great wisdom and clarity as he learned from his friend and teacher.

And yet the curse was never far from his mind. The young man had now a wife promised to him; the duty and issue of an heir gave Desmond feverish desire to break his family curse, for it was no longer his life alone which depended on it. Desmond and Geriand used the long eye, and glimpsed the patient shade at work on its black designs. The pair of friends and the inner circle of Desmond devised then the means by which to break free from the curse. It would take great sacrifice, yet Desmond was willing himself to give it in order to safeguard evermore the life of his yet unborn son, and all his grandsons.

    _ _  __   
   ( | )/_/
__( >O< )
\_\(_|_)  

« Last Edit: August 22, 2022, 10:40:25 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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on: August 22, 2022, 10:29:41 PM
Massacre of the Students

However, his rivals and detractors within the Peerage declaimed his new friend. His gardens were truly beloved and remarkable among the many, yet for some of the nobility it was seen as an injury to their own reputations to have so bright an example in the 98th brought into clear view. Indeed, those that had learned from Geriand had built what was then the nearest thing to paradise we know of in these outer rings. Some saw in Desmond's changes both in demeanor and methods a rejection of their own manners and customs.

So it came to be his rivals levied all manner of accusations as fantastic as they were untrue. Desperate to forestall the worst, Desmond and Geriand counterfeited the Groundskeeper's own execution. However once the spirit of the bellicose and easily led is animated, it can take a mad life and purpose all its own. Huscarls rushed into the gardens, and they lynched the gardeners, scholars, and Students who had served Desmond in a mad nightmare of screams, broken glass and weeping. Of the fowl and beasts, they shot and flayed for fear they were Changelings.

The few forewarned, such as Geriand, and lucky then slowly regathered, but now out of sight, hidden among the Pauper Ponds and the Willow there. Their ties to Sunpurse severed, but not forgotten.
« Last Edit: August 22, 2022, 10:42:39 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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on: August 23, 2022, 05:09:24 PM
             /
\\\' ,      / //
 \\\//    _/ //'
  \_-//' /  //<'
    \ ///  >   \\\`
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         //  //\\\
        ((`

      
Guardianship of Phelan

It soon came to pass that, after Desmond's twenty seventh name-day that his one and only issue, Phelan was born. One evening soon after, Desmond, his wife Oriana, and his swaddled son were ambling through Willow Park in front of the Manse, at the edge of the pond about the Willow. While Desmond held his son, bouncing on his hip, the Willow all at once burst forth with a hundred of a hundred catkins, and its mighty boughs bowed to the giggling boy. Gobsmacked, Desmond stared up at the Willow. He made to get closer, handing his son over to his wife, however, as soon as his wife Oriana held the boy, the Willow's catkins disappeared, its boughs straightened and a deadly cold chill ran over the Ponds. Meanwhile Geriand had been peering through the hidden grove he and his dryad friend Mai dwelled in. At once Geriand understood the meaning of this omen. While Desmond had been his student it had been assumed from the glimpses of the long eye that it was Desmond who was destined to perform the rite to rid the curse of the shade from his line, now he understood that it was not the father but the son.

Eight years passed, and the circle quietly grew in strength and wisdom. Geriand with the help of Reeve Cooper Crum and Ser Hulbert Wolfson worked in secret, little by little to ensure the boy would be safeguarded, when the time came. Desmond took him often to the Park to fish, and so that his friends could start to teach him of the old ways and so that father could plan for what would happen after his thirty fifth birthday. And so, though he knew not how the shade would strike, he was comforted in knowing he had made provisions for his son. Oriana drowned her husband on his walk about the Willow Ways on his birthday. She was the paramour of Zarano by that time; as had long been the wight's design.

With Desmond murdered, and the nature of Oriana now clear, Geriand and the Reeves worked quickly. The boy was an obstacle to Zarano's plots and would be murdered once it could be arranged. So the young Phelan was spirited away from the the Ward along hidden and secret paths connecting the mansion to the park. And so in the secret places there for three years is where Phelan remained, learning from Geriand, Mai the Dryad and the other Students. It was in this time he learned speak with the spirits, and saw a vision. Underneath the shade of the Willow, he dreamed of a crow cawing among the boughs of a strange grove, calling all creatures to seek shelter among the great roots and limbs with his strong, warning song as a great storm and flood came spilling forth from a dark horizon. When he awoke, the he held a black feather in his hands; telling his vision to Geriand, that is how he earned his name, Crowsong.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2022, 05:11:39 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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on: August 26, 2022, 09:45:08 PM

     .\^/.         
   . |`|/| .         
   |\|\|'|/|         
.--'-\`|/-''--.     
 \`-._\|./.-'/       
  >`-._|/.-'<         
 '~|/~~|~~\|~'       
       |


House Haremarch and the First Transgression of Seasons

Three years passed while Phelan remained in the Pauper Ponds. The Torq invaded and were ultimately repelled. Ticker was destroyed, as was House Nephezar. The archivist was slain. Zarano and his knaves appeared. He married Oriana and began his rebellion. The name of the King was spoken for the first time in memory. The Drill was being built.

It was then at this time that House Haremarch emerged from the Weald, under their scion Camedyr, who was a Druid. His House's loyalty to the King quickly put them at odds with Zarano; who was now ascendant in the Ward. To many readers, it may seem peculiar that a Druid like Camedyr would consider themselves loyal to the King, however it is taught among many Circles that the King's first and most trusted advisors were the Druids; that early in his reign Druids were entrusted to instruct vassals on how to safeguard and care for the City and its natural state, but that these Druids had been betrayed and many circle broken as the King fell under the influence of others in his Court.

In any case during the time the Haremarch emerged it was also then that cycle of the seasons had begun its turn. The leaves of the Willow changed from green to yellow, and frost blanketed the fields and forests at night.

However, hardship from the recent war with the Torq, a rising threat of a Ghyl warband, and lack of preparation among the Houses, now ostensibly in rebellion against the King, conspired to ensure that granaries and stores were poorly provisioned. Famine and hardship awaited the folk of the outer rings. This was the impetus then for Haremarch to broker a bargain with the Unseelie Court of Summer. The terms were made with Robin Threefaces, the Duchess of Dawn and the Duke of Dusk: Winter's reign would be forestalled so the folk of the outer rings could plant and reap another harvest. In return the Fey of Summer required the Haremarch to bring forth a child to give to them. Indeed, Winter was forestalled, and new crops appeared all at once in the freshly tilled fields of the Steading. Robin Threefaces stood to accept the daughter of a farmer by Haremarch's election, but at the last moment of the bargain's consummation a man named Powell, and a relation of Camedyr, Artegal interceded and instead gave of themselves to the Summer Fey in the young girl's place. They were transformed before those gathered into a dog and stag, and the Fey withdrew back to their secret forest haunts; delighted in having at once struck against their foes of Winter and having tricked the folk of the Steadings to giving them an offering.



merrychase

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on: September 06, 2022, 06:07:52 PM

     \__  __/
     /_/  \_\
      _\/\/_
 __/\_\_\/_/_/\__
   \/ /_/\_\ \/
     __/\/\__
     \_\  /_/
     /      \
   
Fury of Winter and the Rite of Sverri the Small

With the transgression of the cycle of seasons by Haremarch, a reaction manifested from the Winter Court.

The Arch-fey of that court, named Eg-iln-ribs-soto-eg, stirred from their more usual pastoral past times a number of its most energetic courtiers. These fey-touched beings belonged to its Court by virtue of pacts and bargains with mankind. Names such as Moreau and Goldcrest tell of these exchanges, nobles and gentlemen who gave of their children to the Fey for causes and reasons now lost to us.

Besides, the Winter Court's princeps had long nursed a vengeance against the walled city in the outer ring; some manner of betrayal or slight or cunning reversal on a pact it had suffered some generations ago. The precise nature of that slight is still hidden from your historian, though she believes it is knowable. A matter of insight and observation, though the Fey rarely deign to explain more than necessary for their own ends. That Winter follows the cursed House of Ghyl or that its snowy influence bedecks those rings marked by the King's ire perhaps some indication.

Whatever the totality of motives is, recent transgressions by Haremarch, ancient scores left unsettled or others, the outcome is known to your historian. A rite was devised by Soto-eg. Its purpose was to generate among mankind strong emotions of despair, humiliation, anger. The Fey crave and make use of such passions and feelings to craft their glamours. It is also the case that the most practiced and powerful Fey design such spells to cause and strengthen on the very feelings and passions they inspire in man.

And so these courtiers were dispatched to affect this new rite that would cause in mankind a great wave of grim and dire emotions: the rite was to humiliate a champion from each of the Great Houses of the Ward. The courtiers were quick to fan out and make allies and smaller pacts of all kinds to affect their ends. Aatish Aldebrand for example had some manner of understanding with the courtiers. Sverri the Small would enter into their service. Jett Moreau himself approached your historian with an offer, during her troubles with Manfred Japes and the massacre of her Lady Oldflowers and huscarls. The first House to suffer was Lyon's recently returned banner. A formidable woman named Carmine fell to some ambush laid by the Courtiers and her head was removed, as the rite describes. Though it was at some cost to their own number, shortly after a pair of courtiers involved in this ambush were killed by Quick-footed Mebril and other Moonspear bannermen.

The Courtiers meanwhile proceeded with their charge; one such courtier for example tried to overcome Ser Adrian Velstra in a duel, though was unsuccessful. However, the courtiers used any means, and enlisting the aide of Sverri the Small turned out to be their most fruitful and productive in the long run. Eg-iln-ribs-soto-eg was able to use Sverri's dedication to his awoken patron god, Gnipir, and his religiously inspired pre-disposition towards longing for snowy apocalypses to form a powerful pact. Indeed, Oliver Merryweather, and later your own historian witnessed Sverri entering into the sanctum of Soto-eg in the Weald, having been marked by his favor. It is said that the pass-words at the time were "Fimbulvetr is anon," or at least that was the phrase Pavlina had seized from his memory later.

Of Sverri's life and works, much more could and has been said - the fateful choice to place the Augury of Arrenhius with Vivian. Her subsequent death, his bargain with Ishmenka Blacksmile to see her, and other augurs' memories restored in own mind and body, his then connection to the Mists though not entirely unrelated, are also not the subject of this account. What is important however is that he was a patient and diligent lieutenant of the Court, and cleverly used his oversized reputation as Augur to maneuver the Houses to accomplish his goals. For example, he led a rather mighty coalition of Houses into the Court of Summer and there did some violence to the Lord of Knots, the Arch-fey of Summer, and counted-coup against the Seat of Summer with an icy spell.

He also bid his time. And it so came he was in position to capitalize on the humiliation in Glitt Hall and subsequent assassination on the streets of Manfred Japes of Orza by Merryweather and the sturdy pair of Belmore bravos. Brie Cesme, once a servant of Oldflowers but now an Orzan had revealed that Manfred had entered into a rather elaborate contract with a powerful Devil. In that confusion and aftermath of that civil strife and death of a knight, Sverri cut off Manfred's head. It is also known that Sardistan, the Vizier of Senuspur has his head staked in the Winter Court sanctum. This historian had at times seen Manfred with that grim trophy, so I assume it was at the same point Sverri also took that part of the offering for Soto-eg's rite from the slain Manfred.

Some time later, in a not entirely dissimilar manner as in the case of Orza's humiliation, Ser Adrian of Velstra was captured by the warlord Hrorgjar during an action in the steadings of that campaign, and the knight's form was changed by the powerful witchstones the warlord had gathered. Sverri positioned himself as an envoy to treat with the woe-formed, and sue for the return of Adrian or his death. Sverri took the humiliated son of Norbert's head.

And so it came to pass that four of the five components of the rite were gathered and given to Winter's Court. The fifth, the humiliation of Glitt, however would prove to be Sverri's undoing. Sverri had invited Kinsley Greylocke and Pavlina, the tutor of Lady Belmore, into the Le Bleak estate. Sverri had abandoned his well appointed rooms in the Velstra Velvet shortly after his maneuver against the Lord of Knots - perhaps it no longer served his aims after that attack, or perhaps he wished to better obscure his intentions from the Velstrans. Whatever the exact causes or means, Le Bleak had died and mysteriously named Sverri his inheritor, and so Sverri had use of the small estate in the Gatelands for his occupation.

It was at this meeting that his many ambitions, pacts and obligations came to head. I have heard it reported by the Skratti that he gave the choice of what to do to Kinsley - complete the rite by offering herself freely, or instead kill him and pass the mantle of Augur to Pavlina. Or perhaps he simply tried to complete the rite and was overcome by the pair of women. The outcome is certain however, Kinsley and Pavlina slayed Sverri and your historian witnessed his body carried out of the estate and buried outside in the garden, under the Royal Favor flowers still blooming in the frost.

And so the rite of Winter was for a time left incomplete. The courtiers roused for the mission had either been killed, Goldcrest for example was delivered to Ojo, or disappeared. Their agents and allies for the time being fell and overcome. Pavlina meanwhile was given to a great confusion, as the sudden transference of the Augurs' memories was a great burden on her mind. Eventually, your historian witnessed her companions, Sorcha the Goat, Earc the Fair, Albert the Best Soul, and her fellow Druids, beloved brothers and sister, Taban who Goes Unseen, Jacho Bunts Alder Kars Cybel Lukeson, and Moonsent Brie Cesme, cross the great desert and pass the gates of Baz'eel towards the Last Keep. They reached the Keep, and whatever they found there, it granted them the means to see Pavlina's mind restored. At once she was made clear and comprehensible again after a flash of a mist sent vision. Immediately upon this miracle, Pavlina heralded that the Winter which grown in power since the rite's commencement would wane, and spring would soon arrive. The Skratti that Sverri had gathered who yet remained re-dedicated themselves to her augury and purpose.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2022, 06:19:49 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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on: September 13, 2022, 05:37:02 PM
A foote note appears

Nota Bene: As it bears some relevance on claims and counter claims regarding the history of the Fey Courts and their associations with mankind, in particular the Peerage Ward, consider the following estimate for the age of the Ward.

In the History of the Rings, Volume II, which is copied in the Senuspur Library next to Dorvant's bridge, you will find named three houses as those who founded the Peerage Ward following the events of the Daring Swords. They are Moonspear, Skybloom, and Sunpurse.

Inside the Grove of Phelan, you will find an account of the nine Lords of Sunpurse, and their deaths, all of which occurred, as has been described above, on their thirty-fifth birthday. Phelan was about ten years old at the time of his metamorphosis. On average let us suppose that each of the Lords of Sunpurse gave issue to his heir at age twenty five. That then figures as nine times twenty five plus an additional ten years for the last of Sunpurse's line, Phelan.

The Peerage ward is about 235 years old.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2022, 05:38:35 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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on: September 20, 2022, 06:28:07 PM

                           ,--.
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The Return of Phelan, Death of Orianna

The Cinquefoil Rose rebellion did bloom, as planted and planned by Reeve Jodfry a'Valar, Actress Elizabetha d'Auvergne, Adrian Velstra, and others, about a year after the Count's return and occupation of the Peerage Ward. The Grand Vizier Sardistan was defeated, and the strange memories and visions of Arrenhius, in the old Sunpurse Manse by the Pond's shore were witnessed and indeed given human form, and not so very long after, came to pass onto Sverri the Small, parts of whose biography we have detailed in the previous chapter.

With the new reality of the Cinquefoil Rose rebellion, the tenancy of once widowed, now remarried to the object of that rebellion, Orianna nee Sunspyre was a difficult political fact to reconcile. Anders Orza wanted to marry her, others wanted her dead no doubt. Many were as of yet unaware of her true nature, and perhaps regarded her, as always, a widow worthy of pity and admiration. This thorny issue however was resolved seemingly miraculously by the sudden and well-planned kidnapping of her person by the undead forces of the Pallid Prince from the Sunpurse Manse inside the Ward. The Pallid Prince who dwelled in his city of bones in the darkest crypts of Ergnyium was an ancient and powerful lich, who required for his pleasures and indeed his immortality, wives. And so this is why he seized Orianna. That is three men who have had the dubious honor of being Orianna's husband, Lord Desmond who she murdered, Zarano the Wight, and the Pallid Prince.

With now both Zarano remote on his drill, but opposed by the Cinquefoil Rose, and the murderess Oriana under the power of the Pallid Prince, Reeve Cooper Crum and many of the remaining Students saw that both the circumstances and time was upon them to return Phelan to the Ward to reclaim what remained of his inheritance there. His Guardianship thus took new form and meaning as the many nobles were stunned by his reappearance from his years spent missing and his presumed death, and now evident safekeeping by the Druids. On one hand, a return to the line of Desmond following the usurpation by Zarano could be a source of healing and unity to that ancient House in exactly the time it was needed, on the other hand, it was clear now to everyone that Desmond's Druidism though extremely unpopular, had in fact saved his House, not destroyed it.

Whatever the sentiments among the nobles of the Ward at the boy's return and his strange guardians, Phelan's plea to see his mother returned could not easily by cast aside. Widows and mothers in distress are a potent symbol, that she was remarried to someone who could have rescued her and wanted to murder her own child  was not well understood at the time and so did not diminish this power, and so a lengthy and hard fought campaign did follow to recapture the Lady Orianna and defeat the Pallid Prince. That campaign was ultimately successful in those aims, though it should be remarked that the defeat of the Pallid Prince did serve Zarano's object of advancing his drill through the 92nd. Thus it stands to some reason that Zarano may have engineered the kidnapping of his own wife so that the noble Houses, in rebellion or not, could at least once more be bent to his intent. House Orza and its Knife Manfred Japes, who in many ways took command of the enterprise, had also the aim to claim the 92nd ring, where to this day they collect revenues. Orza therefore was willing to subscribe to any cause to war, even a seemingly good one, at the hazard of helping Zarano whom all the Houses joined the Rose to oppose.

Immediately following their victory, the armsmen returned to the Ward with Orianna, who was, by all accounts, some manner of wight herself now, following the dark wedding traditions of the Pallid. A confusing scene passed inside Moonspear Castle, whereby Guisppe used some manner of divination to declare Phelan indeed, not a pretender, but the true article and Lady Oriana, now double-wife to a Vampire and Lich tried to also to double the number of murders of Lords of Sunpurse. She was struck down by Knights and adventurers alike, while trying to plunge her own dagger into Phelan. And so this insidious pawn, placed artfully as some avatar of the Lady in Waiting by Zarano, was finally undone.

And it is then in this time, where hardly had the tears of these fresh sorrows dried on the boy's face, that Ser Hulbert Wolfson, began in earnest the instruction of Phelan on the means discovered by his father and Geriand to free his line from the curse Zarano had used to cull its years and also yoke the Ward.



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-- All the Count's rubies and all the Count's men couldn't put Orianna back together again. In a dark tomb turned viridian, a boy is attended by hints of horror and shadows that slither but shouldn't. His hands gingerly hold an instrument. Fiddling, while his soul burns. --

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-- His magistrate attends him, offering the boy imperatives masqueraded as choices. The youth considers, soft in the face but hard in the eyes. The certain sense that something is about to transpire causes many a neck hair to tingle. And time, free again from illegality, inches on... --

« Last Edit: September 20, 2022, 08:42:55 PM by merrychase »



merrychase

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on: September 22, 2022, 06:17:19 PM
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-- The echos of three voices, made one, breathe into the open air of rings 99, 98, and 97 as though whispers upon the winds. They are warm, they are sudden, and they invade your thoughts with no resistance. --

Thus the curse is broken! Ten, the final time. Nine the last sacrifice.

In absolute resolve and finite determination have we sundered the final hold upon your freedoms.

A key is left with you. A path forward curved from Auld Stones.

By aspects stolen were these gifts delivered: By Unmeasured Growth, by Protection and Life, by Transformation, by Sacrifice, by breaking of Cycles; and by Purification of Blood.

We leave with you a Hearth for the long Winter.

Bereft of the Willow, the Curse, and given life by paths upon the Oldways.

Flourish and survive.

The Seven Labors of Ser Hulbert Wolfson

Ser Hulbert Wolfson was a Druid and Reeve who Desmond had entrusted with the task of instructing his son on both the manner and purpose of the change, to be completed before the curse could take effect. Ser Wolfson had witnessed the massacre of the Students. He knew that Orianna was an instrument of Zarano's by Geriand's auguries, and so had made the tent in the south eastern part of the park his dwelling after Desmond's murder, there to prepare and keep his oath. Though his hair was white, and his service to the Lords of Sunpurse had taken all his good years, and many more besides, he did not despair or sit idle. He charted the ley and the aspects of nature. He raised the orphans of the slain Students, and watched closely over those that yet remained who were loyal to Desmond, in the once but brief paradise of Willow Park.

Now that the young Phelan was returned to his ancestral home, among the ward, Zarano away on the drill, out past the whispering ways, and Orianna his mother undone as was described in the previous chapter, Ser Hulbert Wolfson knew his task was at hand. Phelan, Geriand, and Mai's part in the change was the greater, but not singular component required for the metamorphosis. He knew that seven Aspects of Nature were required, along with the Spirit of the Ancient. He gathered quietly the few who remained that had served Desmond, and would serve Phelan Crowsong. They were the following:

Sweet Grass - A young swordsman, and son of two Sunpurse gardeners who were slain in the massacre of the Students. He was raised since by Ser Wolfson.

Aveline Pettwoode - The last scion of the House Pettwoode, cousins to Sunpurse. A mystic whose parents had taught the rituals and the meaning of the Great Wheel from the vast desert.

Hubert Borwyn - A veteran footmen who had served Desmond. He sought redemption in service to Phelan for the shame he felt at having lost the father.

Myrd Duckweaver - A fowler who had remained in the Willow Park, following the death of Desmond, he had deserted from the House under Orianna.

Tiktika the Mighty - A mushroom farmer and Druid who was elevated to the rank of Wise One among the Students, a companion and teacher to Crowsong during his Guardianship by the Druids.

Rin of Oldflowers - A retainer of House Oldflowers, vassals to the House of Sunpurse who returned to renew their oaths on the event of Phelan's return in the Ward. Groundskeeper of Willowpark.

And so, Ser Wolfson and these few began the great labor of gathering the requisite Aspects of Nature. These aspects can be manifested at the conjunction of a place in nature where they are strongest. And yet such places are also known to powerful spirits who either love, or hate, covet or protect them, in accordance to the aspect. As is written above in this chapter, all who were present in the Ward the day the metamorphosis took place heard their names given sound. These names are but imperfect notions for these aspects, as nature does not conform itself always to fit man's tools to understand, yet they are instructive enough:

1. Unmeasured Growth
2. Protection
3. Life
4. Transformation
5. Sacrifice
6. Breaking of Cycles
7. Purification of Blood

We saw then in these works both wonders and horrors. We did great and good deeds to reach those places of power. We also committed crimes and outrages. I submit as personal testimony, that

I saw nightmares and altars to things terrible and dark, old as Agartha, dark offerings held by bones that once wore the colors of Flevas deep in the underwood, offerings to shadows and spiders beyond time and reason.

I bathed my hands in the blood of a spirit who was as pure as white snow, deep in the wilds of the Weald, and felt the world shake with cries.

We raged, grappled, and snapped - overpowering the baying pack of Scarvall's children in the Woe-formed wood.

We battled legions of the Old Masters before ziggurats, draped with great snakes who grew and ate their tails in a wild perfect balance.

We witnessed grotesquely beautiful mutated and overgrown gulls splashing in a great fountain as if it was a delicate bird bath.

I saw the withered bodies of retainers, staked and bled as offerings, blood ankle high, a dark tribute of loyalty before an altar surrounded by ghouls, tended as it was by the oldest liches and Rememberers in the cemetery of that still smells as that sweet flower.

These then were the labors of Ser Hulbert Wolfson we undertook. In each the old Druid manifested the aspect, in the end. Though the tasks were great and the guardians of all kinds mighty, and our pains many, our collective will did match the terrible and great things we resolved to do. The price was high. Not all of us survived. Moreover, these aspects left unguarded as they were, would in time fall under the power of the Fey, the subject of another chapter. Yet despite the prices, and their were yet more, the prize was a worthy one, and that is the subject of the next chapter; the metamorphosis of Phelan and death of the Willow.



 
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