Morgan Le Fay A Remembrance ! Cast aside the soiled robes of loss Banish shadows ill timed corpse to pastures emerald Dream again within a hall of wonder
! Night passes and the sceptred vault of heaven Rains down its ambrosial mist Avert thy gaze and behold the kingdom reborn
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I Memories Dull Mirror No one said a thing as she sat in the dust and blood of her slaughtered fatherâ€™s corpse. In truth none knew of her presence, slight of form and of quite demeanor as she was. The only sound, the drumbeat of her own heart that threatened to tear itself from her breast upon a tide of tears. Only the merlin sensed her presence yet even he, arch mage, was glamoured by the gaze of her ebon eyes upon him. His glance, hooked upon a barb of vengeance sowed a seed within him that in time would bring him down. For now she sat and within her seething heart she laid the foundation of her quest for vengeance. Only her father had given her the love she craved, like the nectar of the poppy and this she drank deeply. The others feared her for the omens of her birth had been dire and her first memory was of being dragged from the arms of her dying mother but moments after she entered this life upon a wave of screams. Her early days were spent in solitude, shunned by all about her. Passed from one pair of unwilling hands to another. Her days were spent in darkness and herein she made her pact with the core of night and into its embrace she stepped and her world wanted for little. Only her father had graced her, forgiven her for her mothers death and into his embrace was she accepted. Her tutors did what they could to make a lady of this darkened soul and in despair did they spend their time with her, grateful when their duty was fulfilled. The merlin, a constant presence within the castle walked its passageways like a shade conjured by dark desires fevered heart and always within his eyes the haunted look of one doomed. On the occasions that he encountered her, like the others he looked aside as if to not soil his eyes by beholding her. This she would remember and though he caused her young heart to quake within her breast she steeled herself against his presence and secretly laughed at his infirmity that spoke to her of his mortality. This she remembered as she sat by the side of her now dead father who upon leaving had whispered to her with his dying breath, remember and beware my love. Rising she brushes the ashes from her robe and as to the blood upon her hands this would serve as the constant witness to the deed committed this night. All around her the others stood, some in shock, others in mute silence. Only the bastard appeared animate and upon his lips danced a smirk that spoke of deceit thinly veiled by the
gloss of tragedy. As if awaking from a dream the others made as if a recently presented tableaux had run its course and now with the curtain descending they felt displaced as if they had but haunted the scene like specters hovering over the recently arrived spirit. Morgan, for such was she named, left the chamber, now a tomb and sought consolation as best she could amongst the comforting shadows of her own rooms. What they did, how they would fare, no concern of hers for she had seen all that was needed to be seen and now, as her dying father had advised she would beware of them, for now in truth had they branded themselves, enemy. Reaching out with her yet trembling hand she grasped the dragons claw that served as handle upon this door of ebon wood and turning it leaned upon its surface and gained entrance. The chamber lit by the flames of a roaring fire and scattered candles greeted her, as always and the air about her, honeyed by jasmine and sandal welcomed her into its embrace. How many days and long nights had she sat alone, often forlorn within these walls? Too many to count for though she had seen but seven summers her memories were ancient. Crossing the threshold and entering the side chamber she stood before the mirror that served as her reflection and beheld herself upon its surface. Slight of form, angular of cheek, a nose tapering as though the beak of a hawk beneath eyes black as deepest night. Her lips full, ruddy against a skin of alabaster stained coral at her cheeks. Hair sheathed in a torque of gold, like a waterfall fell across her shoulders and the imprint of the night sky shone across its strands as if the light itself would be banished from its surface. Around her an air of absence drew the very breath and banished it to the well of forgetfulness and in this way did she often walk the halls unheeded as if a spectre had claimed her slight form and made of it a home. Leaving her reveries to dance upon the mirrors surface she enters the main chamber where in the corner stands her loom upon which she has recorded her memories upon the thread that passes between her fingers and transforms it into the tapestry of her days. This she has done daily since the time she could grasp its stylus within her tiny hand and it is to the loom that she claims her consolation for a tide of tears she has woven since the day of her birth and now she adds another chapter of verse, this one stained by hearts blood. Caught upon the wave of her brooding she is startled by an insistent rap upon her door, Reluctantly she puts aside her task and upon opening the door finds the space beyond absent of form but the breeze that caresses her cheek, ice cold, serves as the memory of an ever present feeling that all but haunts her. This haunting she has known all her days and can but give it one name, mother. Ygraine, never a presence in her life visits often, sometimes as a shade that walks the halls of her former home. Oftimes within the palace of dreams wherein she
weaves her spells of wonder into the heart and mind of her slumbering daughter. Born of the elven, Ygraine had been taken from her kind by the merlin and cast at the feet of the pendragon to serve as brood mare and to her shame she had served in this way before being released at Morgans birth. Like all of her kin the pendragons carried the blood of two beings, human and fay and though such liaisons were doomed they were sought by the merlin who acted according to his own schemes. Upon her second summer Morgan had witnessed the birth of the bastard for though he sprang from Ygraineâ€™s womb his father was other than hers. The merlin had schemed this and fulfilled his purpose despite all protestations and to her disbelief her father had taken this by blow to his heart and loved him with a passion she could not comprehend, only the merlinâ€™s sorcery could explain this and this she would remember. With a mane of ruddy gold Arthur, called prince by his familiars was to be groomed for greatness and despite her ascendancy she would be cast aside as the bastard was the favoured one. This angered her to rage and yet she loved her brother beyond reasons border and felt protective towards him as she named him bitterest enemy also. Such mixed feelings in her young heart curdled her innocence and the first drops of toxin were brewed within its vaults. The chill air recalls her to the present and it is stained by the memory of the smirk upon her brothers lips as he looked upon his dead father and with this memory does she seal his fate along with that of the merlin. For now she would smile, glide between the shadows and await her time, the time of her own becoming when all would be put to rights and the guilty punished for their deeds.
II A Sisters Loving Embrace Two summers pass and Morgan is caught up by the excitement that pervades the halls and though she would have it otherwise she feels the keen edge of excitement catch at her breath as if it would fell the mightiest of trees. The source of this excitement, a visit by Ygraineâ€™s Father and his ward. For a week the castle has been alive with the panic that attends all such preparations and now upon this morn the visitors have been seen crossing the border into the pendragons realm. Morgan would be elsewhere but for an unexpected curiosity that crawls across the surface of her skin and lodges deep within her stomach. Of her immediate family she knows nothing other than her now dead father and her brother who prospers daily as the mantle of kingship adorns his shoulders in preparation. Seeking to be the first she climbs the steps of the tallest tower and finds herself upon the escarpment that overlooks the kingdom to the west, the direction from which the visitors travel and in the far distance she sees the tiny dots that denote the visitors and their companions. Perhaps three hours ride will see them amongst us she thinks as down the steps she tumbles the better to be prepared for their arrival. What is it to be? Perhaps the green damask? Perhaps the lace and golden thread or is to be the simple gown of black silk, unadorned but for the crest that it bears over her heart? This she slips into and brushing her hair for the thousandth time she surveys her visage in the mirror. It will do. The merlin and Arthur already at the castle gates greet her with a dismissive scowl as she stands in readiness for the arrival and what seemed an age later the visitors enter the castle keep, dismount from their horses and stand before them. The man she knows to be called Ybrim bows to the merlin and to her horror she witnesses this noble man defer to his presence. It is self evident that he is of noble birth, a prince amongst his kind and yet he bows before the wretch she knows as the merlin. Disregarding this effrontery she casts her gaze to the one who stands before him and her heart all but stills. Never has she beheld such beauty and as if she looked into the surface of a mirror sees her reflection before her and yet her ebon form is greeted by that of a golden one whose hair, bound for the journey, now released from confinement spills like golden rain and shields eyes, likewise of gold stained violet at
their heart. Seeing Morgeuse before her Morgan almost falls to a faint and were it not for her steely resolve she would swoon in the embrace of disbelief. Who is she that I know her as I know myself? As these thoughts cascade through her mind the same pass through the veil that serves as Morgeuseâ€™s gaze. It is all that Morgan can do but stand and stare in disbelief, elsewise she would flee the scene as it were dream from which she could not awaken. The seeming spell is broken when the silence is breached by the whisper of Morgeuse, well met dearest sister and upon the tide of these words she steps forward and takes Morgan into her embrace. Confused and delighted Morgan all but melts in the embrace and would die this very moment were it to be true. But how so, how did I not know, why now? were the myriad questions that flooded her mind in search of resolution. As if no one else existed Morgeuse gently broke the embrace and taking her sisters hand in hers they depart the scene and seeking out a lone hilltop, beneath an oaks outstretched limbs they take their rest and the first of many words passes between them. Many spoken and many more cross the aethyr between them in silence. Morgeuse ever the more responsible of the two called for a moment of silence and fast upon the heels of this she asked that Morgan still her questions and listen to the story as she knew it. Morgan quieted her tongue and hanging upon every word listened intently as Morgeuse began to speak. On the night of your fated birth you were not alone for I your twin accompanied you into this world and my absence from you has been both a trial and regret though necessary were we to survive the night. Our father beside himself with rage and despair would have ended our lives then and there were it not for the words of the merlin who spoke of our destiny and the words calmed his heart, though he made one condition of his own which brought about our separation. He would not look upon us both so whilst you stayed, protected beneath his roof I was to depart that very night and be placed in the hands and home of our grandfather and whilst I have known of my sister for many a year you were to be kept ignorant of my existence. This pact was agreed to and for the past nine summers has it been honoured but now, the signs have led our grandfather to the certain knowledge that your life again is in peril and we would have you leave this place of woe and join us in Avalon, our home. The merlin resists this but has been convinced for his interests lay with Arthur and you, overlooked by such might escape the immanent peril. As we speak arrangements are being made and you will not spend a single night more beneath the roof of those who deem you pariah. Morgan sensing her sisters tale has concluded breaks her silence and for the first time in her as yet, short life knows relief.
Her task completed Morgeuse rises and following her lead Morgan joins her upon the path that spans the hill and leads back to the castle whose gates unattended they enter. Seeking out Ybrim, already upon a fresh mount accompanied by his companions and leading two similar mounts bids them join him and without a word of farewell or the desire to collect what little she might claim as hers they depart and Camelot becomes but a memory. Upon the highest battlement the merlin casts his gaze to the west and witnesses the departure of the visitor amongst whom is now Morgan. A perplexed smile crosses his lips and a foreboding he cannot shake takes possession of his heart, dismissed in but a moment by the flood of concerns he faces in bringing his charge, Arthur to kingship. He cannot know what has come to pass for like all who are blessed by wisdom he remains blind to the truth that resides outside his own and immediate concerns. And in this way did Morgan slip from the attention of her enemies and with her sister and grandfather embark upon the journey home, Yes home she would call it for she had known no other and felt no regret in her departure, only a sense of relief pervaded her and for the first time in her life did she truly feel wanted for her fathers love, sincere enough in itself had been bought at a price both irresponsible and cruel. This and those she left behind would not receive another thought for they were unworthy of her and into her bright future she would now walk unencumbered by the ghosts of her past.
III Avalon A full cycle of Diana passed before land gave way to water and the mystic isle veiled in mist was finally approached. The journey though long had been in the main uneventful and what passes for a description my be assumed to be superfluous to our tale. The isle, some rumoured, had existed since the first days of the mother herself and her ancient stones were seeded with the first runes to be cast upon the shores of lifeâ€™s tapestry. Others held that it was of later provenance and had been built but a millennia ago upon the ruins of a far more ancient cultures capital. Of one thing we may be certain it had withstood the sands of time and in the main had remained unmolested by the coming of man. Its people, the eleven were an ancient race, noble of visage and gentle of demeanor whose customs were ones of service and respect to the mother who bares all upon her body and then the druid had breached its shoreline and all that had been became a distant memory whispered in the vaulted halls of its temple. It is the merlin who entered the sacred confines and from that day forth claimed dominion over this proud but gentle race. It is from here that fair Ygraine, the flower of her kind was gifted to the upstart and it is to her that we avert our gaze as our story continues. Ybrim is yet to wed Morgan and of this union will blossom Ely whose tale has been told elsewhere for though our tale concerns the elven it is to the elder race, the Grigori that our attention travels in the unmasking of things yet to be. Upon the shores of the new kingdom our travelers await the vessel that will carry them across the waters to breach the mists and finally set foot upon fabled Avalon, forever dreaming beneath its crystal domes. It continued to do so in the light of the bargain struck between the eleven and the merlin who serving as mediator had breached and conquered this mythic realm at the beginning of the second great age. His origin is uncertain and it is rumoured that though he wore the flesh of a man his origin was far from such. Nothing is certain save the power he carried within his slight form, power which had subdued the elven without the loss of a single life for warcraft is the sole property of man, before whom all know despair.
For now we leave man to its lot and as to the merlin, likewise we leave him to his schemes as we join our travellers as they disembark from the vessel that has carried them and as they step upon the soil of fabled Avalon home is arrived at and a sigh of relief penetrates the silence. The path from the landing stage carried them through a verdant forest, a canopy formed of oak, ash and rowan permitted golden light to illuminate the forest floor. A mist formed by the warming of the earth carried the musk of sandal and vetyver to their eager nostrils. All around them the buzz of insects and the occasional bellow of a stag assured them that all was well and as they continued their ascent the mist parted and there before them crowning the rise the keep stood proud upon the escarpment of bedrock that served as its foundation. Doves, their wings outstretched danced upon the aethyr and their song raised the spirits further. The breeze cooled their brows for the ascent was steep and caused the skin to weep its precious moisture upon the air. Crossing a wooden bridge, bound by iron they were greeted by the sentinels who acknowledged their presence with the slightest of bows as they drew aside and permitted the home comers to pass. What were they, whispered Morgan when out of ear shot? Valya, Morgeuse replied, distant cousins from deep in the forest who each generation grant us of their kind for they are the nearest we yet have to warriors and their service to us is one of protection in these changing times. But how did they do that asked Morgan, ah, the bending of light came the reply. They dwell in a dimension that while it touches upon ours is different and this grants them the ability to bend light and appear as and where they will with the passing of a single thought and as to their true shape none know of this as they are a deep and secretive race. You will meet many exotic creatures within our halls, each a jewel in the crown of the goddess. Entering the keep a vaulted hall, immense in form yet delicate as filigree opens out onto a courtyard graced by an orchard of apple, plum and pear which having crossed amidst a storm of falling petals Morgeuse delivers Morgan to their rooms adjoined by a passageway hung with tapestries depicting the creatures that inhabit this world and the stories of the elvenâ€™s history. The light cast by candles dances across them and stirs life within their silken threads. Morgan upon entering her rooms surveys the fire that burns at the hearth for though spring has dawned there is yet a chill upon the air. Divans of velvet set upon a carpet of gold thread lend the room a sense of gentle grace. Adjoining this her bedroom, a canopied bed of oak thick with velvet and silk cushions adorn a bedspread of purest damask. Fine lace serves as the fold of the canopy and to her bright eyes appears as a veil between this world and some other unknown realm. The bath sunken, in the style of rome has been prepared and rose petals perfume the water which Morgeuse invites her to enter and refresh herself after their long journey. We will meet in the dining hall at seven bells, take your bath, robes have been laid out and now I will leave you and bid you welcome to
your new home. With a parting kiss Morgeuse departs and Morgan falls upon a divan and is in awe of the good fortune that has, like a blessing, fallen upon her. Enough of this she says out loud and rising removes her travel clothes and enters the warm embrace of the water and the dust and aches of the journey dissolve as the healing waters perform their miracle of transformation. Morgan drifts upon the gentle current and dreams. A distant bell breaks her reveries and informs her that is five of the noon, ah, still more time, she thinks, to luxuriate within the healing waters and would if given choice remain forever in their velvet embrace and what feels but a moment later a peel of six bells tells her that time is passing and rising from the waters wraps the linen sheet around her and stepping upon the rugs surveys the robe laid before her, cream cotton, chased in a filigree of silken thread depicting flowers and leaves the likes of which she has never seen. A chord of deepest red serves to cinch her waist and a golden torque to grace the line of her neck and its twin, though smaller for her wrist. Drying herself before the fire she finally wraps herself in this simple yet beautiful raiment and feels as would a princess upon a throne of gold. Placing vine and rose in her now gathered and braided hair she goes in search of Morgeuse and the hall in which they will dine. Corridor upon corridor danced beneath her feet as she glided along them being for the first time, as far as she could remember the nine year she was. Unburdened by fear she dived into the heart of being a little girl and giggled as she sought her destination. Urns of flowers decorated the alcoves set into the walls and paintings, hangings and sculpture adorned the walls. Beneath her feet rush matting all but covered the oak planks beneath and upon the air clove and cinnamon tantalized her senses. After what felt to be an age she heard muffled voices to her left and found the hall she had been seeking and upon crossing the threshold was greeted by the sight of a large gathering of people. She could only guess at who they were and their purpose for being here at this time. Morgeuse was the first to greet her and rising she bid her enter and take her place amongst them. Though only nine summers herself Morguese was evidently the parties hostess and like all serious folk took to her task with a zeal unknown to adults. Morgan took the seat offered to her and settled into its warm and welcoming embrace. We welcome you fair sister Morgeuse began, settling into her task effortlessly, permit me to introduce both family and friends gathered here this evensong to welcome you. Ybrim, our grandfather you have met and casting him a glance she noticed a gentle smile cross his lips and a smile bloomed within his eyes. Thank you for everything were the words she addressed to him and in his grace he did but incline his head towards her. Immediately to his left sat Malekh, an imposing figure dressed in gossamer veils that foretold the mysteries she held within her and upon being introduced she also inclined her head and Morgan smiled and responded with the affectionate words of auntie. Malehk nodded an assent. Palemon and Azrael were next introduced, evidently twins to Morgans eyes
yet where one was bright as gold itself the other was ebon and all but drew the surrounding light into himself. Though deep in conversation Galamael and Salamis paused when Morgan was introduced and each in their unique way greeted her. Where Galamael presented a gentle visage, high of brow and cheekbone, Salamis appeared somber, thick set and whilst inoffensive carried the weight of threat within his powerful frame. To Morgans delight Galamael presented here with a rose, while Salamis placed within her outstretched palm a bead of purest turquoise. She thanked each of them for their welcome and generosity and then noticed for the first time the last of those gathered at the table. Ah yes Morgeuse whispered permit me to introduce you to Vain, to many our usher and yet to us our beloved benefactor and soon to be yours, goddess willing. Shifting shadows were all that Morgan could make out with her, as yet, untrained eyes but where her eyes appeared to deceive her, her heart noted the presence of one who loved her dearly and the wave of this washed across her and all she could do was whisper a thank you. Completing her task Morgeuse let out a sigh, these we count as family and friends, others are with us but their forms are a little ambiguous but perhaps you will meet them in time? Pallas the first of our kind extended the invitation for you to come amongst us and though forever dreaming in her grave Damiana serves as your muse and guide through these halls and this time. Be at peace Morgan and know that you are home and amongst those who love you dearly. Enough of talk, tuck in and enjoy the feast set before you and this is exactly what she did.
IV A Priestess Is Born Nine cycles of the day star weave their mystery across the veil of life and Morgan begins to understand the life she now lives and those with whom she has been granted shelter. Morgeuse her constant companion and mentor accompanied by the endless succession of priestesses unfold before her spell struck senses the arcane of their arte. Over the first four cycles she learns of the regents and their manifestation as Fire, water, air and earth. Agni welcomes her upon the fringes of the volcano that lay a days ride from the keep and in a modest shelter does she spend a cycle learning of his mysteries as the salamanders, ever present whisper into her ears the wonders of their making and deep she dives into their realm until the day that fire answers her call and she is granted the staff of creation. Aqua, her natural element, finds her upon the shoreline, a bower of driftwood serves her as shelter and beneath the silven moon the undines draw her into their embrace and deep beneath the water within a cave of amethyst and pearl are their mysteries revealed to her and she is granted the chalice of tears wherein the nectar of life is transformed and the heart revealed. High within the branches of a tree in a house formed for the purpose do the whispering winds impart their learning and as the sylphs, ever in movement upon the aethyrs, sing their songs and invocations is she granted the sword of discrimination and her mind is revealed. Deep inside the mountain that crowns Avalon within a cave fashioned of the bedrock bejeweled with the tears of the goddess do the children of stone mine the secrets of the daughters heart and these she is granted and within the palace of dreams is she granted the seals of life and death and her body becomes as a vessel of the arte. For a cycle under the watchful eyes of Morgeuse and Malekh does she learn of the starry wonders, of their formation, of the patterns they weave upon the firmament, of their invocations and of their seasons. Another cycle she spends with Palemon and Azrael who on long moonlit nights impart to her the lore of leaf and stem, root and flower, their time of harvesting and the alkhemy that their essence manifests as potion, toxin and elixir. Morgan a bright and wondrous soul prospers under their tutelage and dons the robe of adept upon the anniversary of her fifteenth summer. For two further cycles are the rites of the seasons and the great sabbat revealed to
her by the vesica and archon of the isle, Malekh and Ybrim. The invocations and spells does she learn and her days are spent within the library, Morgeuse ever at her side, deep in study and their nights, beneath the moon and stars communing with the ever present spirits of the isle. It is on such nights as these that she meets Pallas and is accepted into the body of initiates that forms the elven race she now knows to be the firstborn, the grigori. Here within the depths of an emerald forest redolent with the musk of the earth, Damiana, ever dreaming, rising from her slumbers embraced Morgan and took her deep into her heart and revealed the nature of the soul. The final cycle of her study was spent under the watchful eye of Vain, who though intimidating upon first glance grew to become her closest friend alongside Morgeuse. He taught her of the axiomata, their crafting, birth and release upon the golden aethyrs and during this time were the cyphers of power inscribed upon her flesh in ink of ash and smoke. It is now, with the passing of nine cycles of the day star that the young girl Morgan becomes a woman and upon the eve of her eighteenth summer alongside Morgeuse who likewise shares this event, deep within a pool of crystal are they divested of their adepts robes and naked they stand within the circle formed of their peers. A moon at its zenith rains down its silven arrows and they are caught in the embrace of rapture as the invoKation begins. Upon the air the spirits of the isle, Salamander, Undine, Sylph and the children of stone bear witness to the rite and their song, a rapturous paean, a celebration of the boon of life and the unveiling of the mystery of the goddess. Morgan and Morgeuse all but divested of flesh dance upon the aethyrs and the final stage of their transformation takes place in indigo starlight. It is in this way that a priestess is born.
V Avalonâ€™s Aeternal Quest Within the council chamber they assembled and took their seats as appointed. Malekh, as ever sat at the head and to her left, Ybrim, distracted, bore the look of one deep in thought without a resolution to what ruffled the usually untroubled waters of his mind. Nine bells had passed and it was to be deep into the night that the assembled of the isle would debate the age old issue, yet again. For millennia had the firstborn lived upon their sacred isle at peace, servants of the goddess whose bounty knew no end but now, as ever the threat of conflict bloomed like a sickened rose upon the brows of all that sat around the table. Morgan and Morgeuse sat in deference to their elders little realizing the role they would play in the unfolding time ahead but for now they sat silent as the debate was picked up and challenged by each of eleven. The light of the chamber born of candle cast shadows into the corners and their flickering flames made as if to render the chamber and its occupants a thing of motion rather that the stability of stone, wood and flesh. It had been some time since the merlin had breached the isle and with him the ascendancy of man whom whilst they had no quarrel with displayed the acts of one bent on dominion and the warfare they enacted between the factions of their kind spoke of chaos and the end of the golden age which they the elven had been its heralds. Heralds now cast into subservience beneath the yoke of the younger race who like most children did not consider their acts and the natural consequences of such. They had appeased the merlin with the sacrifice of Ygraine that his schemes might bear fruit for he would raise a king that would unite man and bring about a second golden age upon the earth. However like all who would meddle with the nature of things his short sighted schemes had brought blood and loss. The treatment of the young sisters and the ultimate slaying of their father, schemed by the bastards advisors and finally sanctioned by the merlin were acts that bore the signature of the kind and the future as it would unfold. Where once the eleven sought nothing more than to participate in the mystery of life and give service to the lady that enfleshed this, now, their thoughts were taken up with considerations of a baser nature.
Morgan raised from her reverie by the call for a vote looked around the table and saw resignation upon the brows of all she beheld and like the others she raised her own hand in assent. The nature of the vote weighed heavily upon all and the once gentle elven were all but consumed by what they had considered and must now enact. For their survival and more importantly that of their divine mother a scheme of their own had to be acted upon. The merlin placed all his hope and expectations in the hands of Arthur and whilst a noble idea underpinning this, the very vault of the building raised, had been corrupted by the acts of betrayal and bloodshed that had ensued. Enough that they war amongst their own kind but reports were on the increase concerning invasion and the wards of the isle stood in peril upon the dawning of each new day. This will end had been the vote taken and now the details were to be discussed and debated and it is now that Morgan and Morgeuse are made aware of their part in it all. Upon the zenith of the next moon they will leave the isle and return to Camelot to witness and celebrate the nuptials of Arthur and Guinevere. For Arthur had come of age and ascending the throne sought an heir that his bloodline be perpetuated. Guinevere, known to be barren, unsuited to her task would be replaced and it was to Morgan that the task fell. She would bed her half brother, conceive his child in secrecy and return to avalon. Morgeuese would cast the spells of concealment and making and Morgan guised in the flesh of another would serve as the vessel of completion. Upon hearing this Morgan reflected upon the vengeance she had once, like a toxin, nurtured within her heart but this was long healed in the waters of her life and the flowering of it in avalon. Yet she weighed the matter in her heart and unknown to man she felt the keen edge of anticipation and would do all that duty asked of her. Morgan and Morgeuse exchanged a glance and inwardly smiled a smile of triumph which all but escaped reflecting itself within their eyes and upon their lips.
VI The Vale Of Camelot The mist parted as the craft of wood and hide glided effortlessly across the waters of Avalon. Horses, they knew would await them on the opposite shore. Drinking in the vision of Avalon, this would serve them as a token of their return and the completion of their task. They carried little in the leather satchels each bore upon their backs. A water flask, wafers of travel bread that would sustain them, a scroll or two of their arte, a willow wand and papers that would serve as their rights of safe passage. The remainder of their immediate needs would be fulfilled at the waystations that like milestones marked the long road to Camelot. A lunar cycle upon horseback whilst challenging also gave the sisters a sense of being on an adventure unaccustomed as they were to travel and the discoveries accorded by such. The oarsman with a parting word of blessing left them upon the quay and their as promised their mounts awaited, patiently chewing the grass beneath their hooves. Their mounts black as midnight and each bearing a white star upon their foreheads shifted slightly as the sisters gained the saddles and lightly flicking the reigns they turned and ascended the hill that was the first stage of their journey to the vale of Camelot. West they would travel and as they eased themselves into the rhythm of the horses which they had become a part of they exchanged but a few glances and even fewer words. The first sign of others occurred within a forest glade when finding themselves surrounded by riders bearing arms they were challenged as to their purpose. Reaching into her saddlebag Morgeuse withdrew the travel papers and offered them to the one who appeared to lead the group. Passing a cursory glance across the papers and looking up he noted the golden torques that each wore around their necks and left wrist and crossing himself bid the travelers ride on and it is in this way that the sisters encountered the first whisper of superstition, the first of many that was to attend them as they crossed the countryside. Ysith was to be their first port of call and consisted of farmlands and in the small town that served its inhabitants stood an inn, a chapel, and a market store. It was to the inn that they turned and dismounting passed their horses over to the stable boy who would see them fed, watered and sheltered. Brushing the dust from their leather leggings and adjusting their travel cloaks, bearing their saddlebags they
entered the inn whereon a stir rose from the small group gathered beneath its roof. Casual glances, furtive almost secretive crossed their faces and forms. They appeared but simple travelers yet the golden torques they wore spoke of much more. Inquiring and being given a room and a meal and mead to follow they ascended the stairs, found and entered their room and claimed the first night of shelter beneath an unknown roof. Their meal arrived on a tray in the hands of the innkeepers daughter, a creature pleasant enough, almost friendly but only quick to depart once her task was completed. The meal simple but wholesome washed down with the draught of mead saw them to their bed and its accompanying dreams. The next morn greeted them with fine rainfall as they mounted and left the what had been their first home from home. Uneventful enough but not too friendly either. This, the next stage of the journey would see them beneath the stars for shelter as a full three days ride lay between them and the next village. This they relished for they were both at home and adept at surviving in the wild where the goddess herself provided all that was needed. They caught fish, picked berries and with the travel bread had what passed as a feast as they sat each night around their fire warming themselves against the chill of the night before wrapping themselves in blankets and claimed their rest. The horses, well trained grazed upon the grass and kept a watchful eye over their wards. Paddock was a squalid place which they chose to leave as quickly as they had entered. The only thing of note being the breathless boy who on seeing them placed himself before their horses and handed them the folded and sealed parchment he carried. Tossing him a coin Morgeuse broke its seal and read the contents. They were to wait for the arrival of Malekh who would travel with them part of the way as she ventured towards the vale of aaron the domain bordering the eastern flanks of Camelot and it was here that they were to travel once their task was achieved. Not wishing to stay a moment longer than was necessary they found a sheltered valley beside the road to Camelot, made camp and awaited the arrival of Malekh. She arrived two evenings later and joined the sisters who had prepared a simple meal and the three of them shared stories and news long into the night. Malekh, always an enigma to the sisters appeared younger than they remembered her to be and upon querying this were informed that whenever she traveled she bore a form more suitable to the task for her kin were those whose light bending skill granted them the gift of shapeshifting. For three weeks they traveled together and one bright morning Malekh turned north upon the road, bid them farewell and with a blessing departed. The sisters now aware of the closeness of camelot spent much time in debate concerning their mission. Not a detail was left unattended, no eventuality left unexplored for they
knew that though expected their visit would be, in the main, it would also be unwelcomed. It was the small group of knights, two days later that announced their entry into the vale of Camelot and though courteous enough, the very least demanded of such, their greeting was terse as they escorted the sisters into Camelot and its keep. It was the merlin alone that greeted them at the gates and to their eyes he seemed tired, older and more infirmed since last they had seen him. Proffering his hand he bid them welcome and leading their horses, reigns in hand they entered the keep. A stable boy relieved them of their mounts and the merlin guided them to their rooms where they could rest and refresh themselves after their long journey. He said little, enquired of nothing and once his task was accomplished left them to their own thoughts and deliberations. That night they dined with the king who now of an age to be called a man bore the mark of his kingship and the battle scars of one grown accustomed to the sword. To his right sat Guinevere who though slight wore the mantle of one born to nobility and as this night was the eve of their marriage she appeared a chaste maiden embarking upon her journey into womanhood, though her gaze lingered upon Lancelot all too often and that spoke volumes to the astute sisters as they delicately partook of the feast laid before them. They must act and act fast for success to attend their mission. This very night she, Morgan would take the seed of her half brother and the future would unfold, assured. They sat and watched as whispers passed between the knights and withstood the bold glances that were directed at them and when sufficient to their purpose they excused themselves and retired to their rooms. The merlin, who while appearing to pay them no heed had watched them from his perch at the kings shoulder and the sisters had been most adept at granting him nothing but trifles for his fevered imagination to feed upon. Morgan, naked and kneeling before the flames of the fire in their rooms emptied her mind of thought, stilled her beating heart and entered the trance of making as taught and when all sense of herself had evaporated opened herself to the words of invokation her sister all but whispered upon the night air and as the air began to coalesce around her Morgan felt the first itching of the transformation. The cyphers upon her flesh now alive with intent began to dance and as their dance unfolded she felt the change take hold. Her breath returned to her though its rhythm was markedly different and she felt the absence of weight she had grown accustomed to. Finally the transformation completed as her eyes dark as midnights shroud flashed and settled into their new hue. Morgeuse, a distant voice now became an immediate presence as with the final words she sealed the axiomata and rising Morgan walked to a mirror and before her stands Guinevere. Be quick my sister wrap yourself in this linen for the night is but short and it calls to us now. Morgan rises triumphant in her power and leaves their rooms in search
of the bastard whom she must seduce and claim as hers. Approaching his rooms the two guards who stand in attendance are glamoured by a simple gesture and gently rapping upon the door she beseeches her beloved to permit her entrance. Silence and she repeats herself for fear that he has not heard her. Silence again is the response and mid way during her third plea the door opens but a crack and in the shadows stands Arthur. My love she whispers to the night air, I would see you this night for I am possessed of a fear that all is not aright and would have you as sanctuary at this time. Powerless, Arthur grants her entrance and wrapping his arm around her shoulders guides her to a chair and sits at her feet. What ails you my love he asks of her? My dearest one she replies, I woke from a dream in which your sisters lay dead at your feet and a river of blood covered the land issuing from the drops falling from your bloodied sword and I forlorn could but weep. It was the weeping that awoke me and would have me seek you out. Be at peace fairest one all is well and I would see you comforted. Hold me my love she beseeches as the linen slips from her shoulders to reveal an aroused aureole of pink flesh. Arthur, a man, resists and would claim his wife in the eyes of god on the morrow with its attendant marriage. Her breath slipping from her in gasps the seduction is complete. Rising she takes Arthurâ€™s hand in hers and leads him to the bed and with fire in attendance her body burns in its presence and an ocean of moisture rises as mist and she claims the seed that is hers alone to claim. Slaked Arthur falls into sleep accompanied by the words sleep and dream my Arthur it has been but a dream. Morgan rises from the bed wraps herself in her linens, leaves the room and from a corner erases all that has passed within the minds of both Arthur and his guards and it at this exact moment that the merlin rises from a dream of his own, screaming.
VII The Fall Of Man Upon returning to her rooms Morgan falls to her bed and enters a dreamless sleep. Morgeuse prior to retiring to her own bed releases the axiomata, kisses Morgans eyes and the deed is done. Upon rising they dress, partake of a light breakfast and make their way down to the main hall where the ceremony will take place. Arthur encountering his soon to be bride asks of her nights rest and she replies, I slept well my lord, without betraying knowledge of what had apparently passed between them. This Arthur puts down to Guinevere maintaining her virtue and gives it not another thought. The sisters seated in one of the many balconies survey the scene laid before them. Notables from the four corners of the realms gathered like preening peacocks fill the pews of the chapel. Some are known to them, most are not. Cornwall, ever the gallant, dips his head in respect and a smile passes between them. Norfolk, a scowl upon his face breaks his mood with a gesture of welcome, but in the main they go unnoticed. Upon the raised dais stands Arthur adorned with the robes and paraphernalia of kingship and beside him, ever vigilant, stands the merlin who by contrast wears but a monkish habit, only the torque betrays his true station. Before him the priest of the crucified one stands, book in hand, regal in appearance, dressed in cloth of gold and bearing a chain and cross around his neck, the value of which would feed a family for a year or more. Such is the poverty of their lord and his kind. Guinevere beside her father walks the aisle, climbs the steps and stands beside her lord to be, The priest begins the rite and his drone fills the hall and finally with a kiss Arthur claims his bride. Their purpose of being representatives of the old ways fulfilled Morgan and Morgeuse rise, take their leave and return to their rooms, again unnoticed. Finally dressed for travel they make for the stables and retrieve their rested mounts and make to depart in silence. As they approach the gates to the keep the guards step aside and the merlin steps from the shadows and greets them. Why ladies you leave without a parting word? Yes my lord Morgeuse replies, our duties call to us and we must attend to them. Travel well merlin replies though the look of suspicion upon his face does not go unmarked. It is with a sigh of relief that
with the keep far behind them the sisters triumphant in their purpose embark upon the path that reunites them with Malekh. This achieved the three make their way back home to the sacred isle where the tapestry of their plan will begin to unfold. It is a lunar cycle later that the travellers set foot upon beloved Avalon and with the absence of the flow of moonblood Morgan is assured that she has indeed conceived a child. Long preparations have been made and her confinement is to be a rite in itself. Her days are spent within the marble hall appointed to this purpose and with Morgeuse ever at her side she reads, walks and dreams upon the events to come. Each night and upon the fullness of the moon rites are performed and the axiomata sealed within the yet to be child and his purposeful mother. She eats but wafers of wheaten bread, fruits from the forest, herbs from the gardens and fish from the great lake and drinks of a pure mountain stream, each item blessed and consecrated in her name and in this way is her moonchild nurtured within her womb in preparation for his entrance into the world. Yes he is a boy and his name will be Mordred. On a night of storms. The moon full and blood red Morganâ€™s waters break and she retires to the birthing chamber. Morgeuse eases the robes from her and she steps into the pool of water drawn from the chalice of Ymir. Rose petals adorn its surface and as she submerges herself into its embrace all tension leaves her body and with her ladies in attendance the final rite begins. Incense of rose and jasmine perfume the air as the first of the contractions begins accompanied by the rites of first passage intoned by Morgeuse as she gently squeezes Morganâ€™s hand in her own. Outside the wind rising as if to greet the soon to be Mordred finally settles and silence, broken only by the incantations of Morgeuse and the gasps of Morgan descends upon the scene. Never had Morgan known such pain and likewise had she never known such pleasure as wave upon wave of pressure rippled through her as if to rend her and yet relax into this she did, gripping ever tighter the hand of Morgeuse. Sweat slicked her face and ran like rivulets into the ocean that was the birthing pool. It seemed to her that an eternity of this had been her fate and as her breath deepened further and amidst the rising words of the invoKation one final push and a scream breaks the now perfect silence and Mordred enters the world. The chord cut, he is placed upon the breast of Morgan where nipple between lips he sucks greedily.
Mordred prospers and his first years are spent in the bliss that attends the truly loved. The loving embraces of Morgan and Morgeuse attend his days and the sweetest of dreams his nights. As to the affairs of the world upon her recovery from the birthing Morgan is wed to Ybrim and Mordred is blessed by the presence of a loving father. Six cycles of the day star completed and upon the eve of his seventh summer boyhood is transformed as Mordred, now of an age is introduced formally to his family, proffered the choice of claiming his heritage and the story of his conception and birth is revealed to him. As would any soul he is at first confounded by these revelations and is granted time to think upon them before his conclusions arrived at he can make his choice. It is a dream that confirms him in his purpose. Upon a blood soaked battlefield his mother and aunt, blood seeping from many wounds lay dying. Towering over them, sword in hand a warrior stands, his blade yet dripping with the blood of his loved ones. Beside him stands another, cowled in darkness a shadow of a creature, bent by age, he whispers into the ear of the warrior, and now my lord it is done. Mordred upon awakening bathed in sweat knows these figures to be those of his blood father Arthur and the creature of shadows he knows to be the merlin. He knows this for like all his kind he is blessed, though sometimes cursed by the sight. Had he been but a watcher upon this field of carnage his prescience might have been but the fears of a young child. But his presence had brought a quality to the scene that his absence from it would have denied for the merlin had sensed him and looking into has eyes had shown the young Mordred his fear and this he would harvest. Mordred alone would turn the tide of events and the blood of his loved ones would remain within the blessing that is their bodies and that of his now known foes would soak the earth in their place. This he swore with the fervour only the truly young can muster. All of this Mordred speaks of to Morgan and in the presence of his family does he swear to undertake the task laid before him. Over the next eleven cycles of the day star like all those of the sacred isle he is tutored in the artes that create an adept and he proves formidable in his undertakings. Alongside these arcane skills and unknown to most he is tutored in the ways of battle and a man from a foreign land teaches him the arte of the blade. An arte wherein after his seventh year of practice is he made ready to forge the blade of his will by his own hand and into the fires of the axiomata is it cast and laid to rest within the body of the waters that bless Avalon. After three moons it rises, breaks the surface, as if held by a maiden fair and in this way is Excalibur born and placed within Mordredâ€™s hand. Forged of carbon sand, steel and the thunderbolts that fall from heaven it is light yet strong and along its blade in living fire dance the axiomata whose alphabet constant in its change reveals the purpose of its kind, in my name thou shalt conquer. Its pommel of purest ivory chased in a filigree of gold wire bears at its heart a single fire opal that burns with
the light of a sun wherein it was birthed. Mordred looks upon his blade and is pleased, as are his mentors. Upon the eve of his eighteenth summer he is conducted to the chamber of passings where stripped of his clothes does he immerse himself in the waters of Avalon and the axiomata scribe their runes into his flesh in lambent flame and as their dance unfolds is he made whole, initiated and consecrated in the arte does he rise from the waters adorned in armour of gold that would dull the brightest of suns. His helm fashioned into the likeness of a griffon conceals his eyes that burn as black coals within his youthful face. Once raised the visor casts its glamour upon all before him and he becomes as one invisible to their ailing senses and in his hand he holds Excalibur that drawing light from the stars themselves renders the chamber darkness itself. Mordred steps forth from the waters and in this way is a mage and warrior conceived and birthed. He is ready. Mounted on steeds of purest snow the riders do not turn as they leave the shoreline of Avalon for the final time. They will not return and in their absence Avalon will be claimed by its mists and dissolve into the annals of mystery wherefrom it arose. As a dream will it unfold its vision to the few and amongst those few will its eternal spirit be kept alive. The riders three in number head towards the vale of Camelot and the completion of their purpose. Two sisters, one of darkest night, the other of brightest day flank the young man who rides between them, like his mother he is dark of feature and bearing and yet adorned in armour of purest gold he outshines the day star itself. Their journey made swift by the casting of the axiomata prior to their departure makes a journey of a moon cycle pass in a handfull of breaths. Many sense their passing invisible though it be to them and cross their breasts in awe and fear for the riders are abroad as foretold in the books of the old ones and now their newly clothed Christian god retreats back into the arid desert from whence it came. Entering the vale of Camelot no one challenges the riders as they make their way to the keep and on arrival all that stands before them is the merlin, staff in hand. We seek my father demands Morgan and upon hearing this the light of truth dawns in the merlin's eyes alongside that of resignation. None shall pass this night is the merlin's reply. Then your fate is sealed Morgan all but whispers. In the name of a murdered father, in the name of a goddess raped and despoiled and in the name of a people noble and firstborn are you condemned to the shadows from whence you came, never more to spread the vile toxin of your word amongst the innocent. In response the merlin raises his staff but before a word can breach his lips into flame it bursts and the merlin falls to the ground and becomes as dust which gathered by the breeze is dispersed to the four corners of the realms and falls into the chamber of nightmares from where it will never again rise. This done the dragon deep within the earth stirs from its imposed slumbers burnishes it scales with the fire of its breath and rises, flexes its wings and prepares to take flight.
This done the riders enter the keep and at the foot of the stone steps that rise before them they call forth the king. Father I would speak with thee is all that Mordred demands and a moment later the vaunted knights of Camelot as a body step forth. What would you have of our king, Lancelot, ever the henchman of the king demands in turn? Not for your ears vassal, it is for the ears of the bastard alone that I would speak. Morgan and Morgeuse add their weight and presence to the moment and as the knights before them part Arthur appears, Guinevere beside him wan and slight in manner and appearance. Greetings brother and lover Morgan spits at Arthur who reeling from the words all but falls to the ground. Greetings half brother and bastard Morgeuse adds to the litany of truths that assail the silence and finally as if a death blow were served from the lips of Mordred fall the words that will seal Arthurâ€™s fate, greetings father. Arthur turns as if he would flee the moment but is held in its vice like grip. We would end this Morgan speaks, a sibilant whisper upon the air and like your lackey, the merlin, will you feel the justice served that is our purpose and very existence. Your blood will cleanse the earth of her wounds and your kind will fall to dust whereof you were formed. Arthur sneers and with the conceit of his kind rises to the challenge and in his pride is his fate further sealed. This night beneath the moon in the vale of tears will we meet Mordred demands. Come alone and this will end this very night. Unchallenged they turn and take their leave. The dragon now airborne and upon her maiden flight surveys the scene far below her and in her playfulness descends and burns a village for the simple joy of it. As foretold the puppet and bastard arrived in the vale of tears and with the moon burning red above him, its light cast reflections upon the armour of those who accompanied him. Expected, Morgan and Morgeuse step from the shadows hand in hand and between them blooms a light as of the stars themselves, the earth stirs from her slumbers shakes her rested form and the ground shakes with the passing of her breath. The knights confounded fall from their mounts and as one are condemned to the shadows leaving but the bastard and fates trinity upon the field. Arthur now aware of what fate will befall him beseeches them and falls to his knees. Too late my lover answers Morgan. We come in the name of a murdered father, a goddess cursed by the presence of your kind and in the name of a people that serve as the first born upon this shimmering star and upon these words as if it were a wave Mordred advances and embracing his father for the first and last time plunges Excalibur into Arthurâ€™s unresisting heart. Goodbye father is all that Mordred has left to say and it is done. Arthur falls to the ground and as his blood seeps into it he is minded of the dream that the merlin spoke of many years ago and as he does so he know remorse and regret and these handmaidens accompany him into the hall of oblivion wherein his name is erased from the book of life and committed to the dust of ages. The dragon now joyous in her release celebrates her freedom by washing away the upstart that albeit momentarily claimed dominion upon this our Eden.
000 Epilogue The Gates Of Eden And such was the fall of man. A thing of no consequence and barely noticed as the stars continued to whisper to each other across the void as they always had and always would. What became of the avatars of Avalon only the witness could testify to and he remains ever silent. As a conceit let us end their stay with us in the halls of the mind poetically, for yes it is true that like the mystic isle that nurtured them and brought them to purpose they too dissolved into the mists never to be heard of again. Some however have argued that the sisters were cast into the heavens wherein they were given the title of the twins and as to their son who can say what wonder was he granted in the stellar vault. What can be said is that with the stain that was man, washed from the body of the goddess, the earth once again knew an age deemed golden by the wise and as the dragon and her kin purified her in a font of fire, once more the gates of eden stood open.
Morgan Le Fay A Grigori Tale