A Viper Perspective on Silverlake in 1114
Filed by Fama exCerebelli,
Chamberlain of the Viper Nation (on sabbatical)
Knight Memory of the Accord
Founder of Haven
A small party of Vipers accompanied Lord Protector Stavros Eranti to Bell’s Fair at Silverlake, Albion, earlier this month. Bell’s Fair is, I am given to understand, an event that happens once every twenty years and is hosted by the local fae courts in unison. It is supposed to provide a safe and neutral venue for trade and negotiations, with the full wrath of all assembled coming down upon the heads of any who break that contract.
There are four notable courts of the area: Tomorrow, Crystal, Dream and Story. The lords of each were present, and clearly engaged in a subtle political struggle. There appears to be a competition between them to see who can become Awakened first and I was therefore flatteringly popular. Of the four, however, only Lord Callum of the Court of Tomorrow demonstrated strong abilities in the art of making deals. He is apparently on good terms with Lord Fume of our Court of the Sea, and arranged an impromptu hunt for battle chickens with the intention of humiliating a dwarf that had been rude to him.
The Harts were primarily occupied with some manner of ancestor-bothering. Fixing a corrupted ancestor called Nethras, I believe. I confess to paying minimal attention to that. There were various quests that people had to go on to prove their honour or faithfulness or some such. There was also a final quest which only fae could take – this was said to be because we were held to a higher standard, as a race. Given that the one calling us to quest was an unliving fae himself, I take leave to question his ability to judge. Nevertheless, we transported to a place called Serenity which was surrounded by mists not unlike those of Arcadia. One by one, the guide led us into the mist and asked us questions that were meant to expose our loyalties. Given their simplicity, I do not think they were of much use in that regard. One of the Albion fae was then struck down by the guide and dragged into the mist. We were as a group given the choice – let him die, elect one of our number to take his place, or all of us to take a cold iron wound in return for his release. The task of the quest was to prove the unity of the fae race – a task at which we naturally succeeded. I fully intended to have strong words with the unliving fae who imposed this upon us later. Unfortunately events overtook me.
There is an elemental lord of chaos called Dolorous who took up residence in the city of Winchester some time ago. He established a ward around the city and has slowly expanded it, with the intention of claiming the throne and all of Albion. During that Saturday afternoon a number of Albiones, including Polly, Tristus and Faith Charenten, transported to Winchester as arranged with Dolorous. Polly had spent the last two years planning his seduction and destruction. The power of his ward was tied up in a ring, which he was induced to use in a marriage ceremony with her. Once it was on her finger, she destroyed it and the ward fell. In the ensuing chaos, she was killed. She knew this would happen before she left and I salute her for her courage and dedication to duty.
Tristus then bargained his life in return for the release of Faith and the rest of the wedding party. They returned to Silverlake without him. That night, however, he also came back, clearly under Dolorous’ control. The elemental had tasked him to find a fae and bring it back to Winchester to be killed. Having spent many years inside the head of the fae queen Morgana Le Fey, Dolorous has a profound hatred of my race. I happened to be standing nearest to the transport circle when his forces attacked. As I felled one, Tristus appeared from behind it and paralysed me. I was dragged to the circle and transported out under cover of darkness.
When I awoke we were in Winchester, in the presence of Dolorous himself. He is, as one might expect, mercurial in mood and seemed undecided about whether to kill me. That I showed him disdain and strength seemed to please rather than irritate him. Tristus, fighting against the restraints of his control, persuaded him that I would be far more entertaining alive and in the service of chaos. I was once again struck down. When I came to this time I had a cold iron scar in my chest, and a chaos elemental controlling my body and mind.
At that point Grif arrived in the company of Dolorous’ lackey, who I think was a powerful unliving of some description. He had bargained his service in return for knowledge of whether I lived – a truly brave and foolish action which I will not forget. He too was possessed, and then sent back to Silverlake with tidings of both Tristus and myself. He also carried back my new name under Dolorous’ service – Pandora. I, or rather, she then spoke to Dolorous of things she thought would interest or amuse him, including the existence of Haven. The repercussions of this are of great concern.
The following morning Tristus and I were dispatched to kill more fae at Silverlake. We found ourselves expected and did not remain standing for long. The possessions were summarily dismissed but the sense of Dolorous’ presence behind our eyes remained. As does his mark upon my glamour. This is a known trick of his, according to the Harts, that his possessions are able to reoccur at any time and without the need for his presence. I spoke to several about how to resolve the situation and received some guidance, though none of it concrete.
Unliving began to attack Silverlake shortly afterwards, in response to a ritual that the Harts were conducting to cleanse their ancestor. We killed a lot of them, including a number of former Harts from the Crows of Albion. I believe the ritual was moderately successful. Stavros declared war on Dolorous, and then we came home.