From the desk of Her Majesty, Queen Eloise
Her Most Excellent Majesty, Queen Eloise of House Hunter, has graciously granted the Herald permission to publish certain extracts from her personal diary. These excerpts focus on the winter campaigns.
I return, bloodied and relieved, from the district of Silverlake, with the faithful children of Albion by my side. It has been a mixed campaign, we have succeeded in our mission but at such a cost. My heart is heavy for those of Albion and our friends further afield who have paid a price for their aid at this time. Yes, at last, I have been able to open my pattern to the presence of Nethras again. It has been heartbreaking to see the pain of our Nethras followers, seeking a way to heal her and return her to her full cleanliness and strength again. Thanks to the Pendragon and to the Silver Lady, not to mention others such as Artemis, Shaman and the Watchers, I believe we have turned a corner. At last, I feel balanced again. We have seen some things on this campaign that we may never forget, even the faces of dear friends we once thought were dead appeared to us on the bodies of creatures who attacked.
I bear a great deal of distress about some of the events of the weekend. Some who came from other nations, such as the Vipers, to help us have been deeply affected by Dolorous, the Imposter. It hurts me more than I could have imagined to know that Polly is now lost to us. Her sacrifice means that we can retake Winchester, but the cost, the cost. I cannot imagine the court without her. It is clear that Dolorous has no compassion, he has no care for the safety of the Prince, he simply uses our people for his own benefit. I never doubted it, but it pains me that so many have suffered because of this detestable creature.
I am proud, however, for my dear brother in faith, Ninn. The time came, as I think some of us knew it would, for the Hunter to take him home to Chapel Perilous. Ninn’s journey continues in the Wild Hunt. How I envy him!
I confess to finding my patience strained over the weekend. These campaigns do, I know, have people act in ways one might not expect. But I felt that just one too many people found it acceptable to disregard my will. It was necessary, as Isaac has told me before, to remind people that I am Queen. It comforts me that this act was sufficient to encourage the Lords and Ladies of the Fey Courts to enter an alliance with Albion.
I am tired. It is time to sleep.
Oathsnight (The opening of the Incantors’ Guildhouse at Rockholme)
I was proud indeed this day to contribute what resources we have to the building and opening of this great Guildhouse, along with my dear Lazarus. It was such a pleasure to share bread and wine with Erdreja’s people of faith. There was a little upset amongst the Bears, who appeared to believe the land was theirs, or some such matter, I often couldn’t understand their odd accents. As a mark of respect to their Queen, I challenged her to an arm-wrestling contest, which ended in favour of Albion. Her martial retinue offered a return challenge of arms and the man of the Wardens known as Raziel defended my name. It was a great deal of fun.
Many oaths were taken tonight, and I was delighted to spend some time with the faithful of Albion. I sense that this year will see their oaths bring strength and unity to our nation.
Campaign to Meath – to fight alongside the Dragons
I have little energy to write on my return to Forest Glenn. My spirit is hearty but my body is drained. Our dear friends across the mountains are rejoicing this night, as they reclaim the capital city of Meath, having removed Balor of the One Eye. The battle was like none I have fought before. I thank the Trinity for Drake of the Lions, Sorcha of the Vipers and my dear friend of old, Finn Dracha. They each saved me more than once and their company made me strong. I will confess to enjoying the exhilaration of fighting in the front line with our fellows from the Dragons lands. To defeat an enemy side by side with Cale is something I shall never forget. Heinrich and Bradigan would have had kittens! I fear I may never see Finn Dracha again – but he would simply tell me to wait for the Spring. As he took the body of his grandfather, Balor, away, he winked at me and said ‘I’ll be seeing you’. I fear I may have had something fall in my eye at that moment.
I must rest now, but I fear disrupted sleep. Bad dreams have followed me in recent weeks.
Campaign to Winchester
I cannot sleep. I have had the most distressing news. Despite the fact that my dear, dear Albion children have taken Winchester again, and the Prince is safe, we have lost Ma Crow and Disruption. I do not yet know the full details but I have spent what energy I can petitioning the Trinity that their patterns will join with their ancestors. I understand from Isaac that Faith and Brother Ross were brave and bold, and I can be no more proud of them than now. Dolorous has proved his wickedness in the way he has tortured our dear Prince, breaking his mind, treating him so cruelly. From what I hear, I am amazed that so many have returned.
News from the Unicorns
I write in deep sadness a quick note. I hear a rumour that my dear friend Drake of the Lions is dead. I was not able to pass to him my thanks for his care of me at Meath. What senseless loss.