Reports concerning the death of the dream guardian and sacrifice of Goran and Phoenix

Towards the end of the summer of 1104, a tale, which had begun a thousand years before, came to an end – or perhaps better to say a change. Morvaine, hero of Albion, Champion of Dreams, a man who had stepped forth at a time when his race did not even have their lives to call their own, had reached the time when he could give up his burdens, and take up his reward. Mortals being what they are though, he had spent so long holding the land and dream apart that he could no longer see this time approaching, and so the Albiones, knowing what had to be done, stepped forward bravely into the Dreaming to make him understand.
The company had met at the Wellspring in the north of Albion, from whence they intended to move down across to Whitton – the village where Morvaine was reputed to have set his final stand. For two long days they marched, and then on the final night before reaching their destination, they set their camp. To all those there I believe, came a creature of dreams, sent to explain this tale into which they were about to walk, to make them at least understand its beginning before they dealt with its end. I learnt an important thing from him – that the Treasures had been gifted to the seven tribes of men by the fae who protected them, and who wished to leave them inspiration. Some part of me yearned to see that time, to see this glorious beginning … little did I realise that my wishes might come true sooner than I had expected.
Awaking, we continued our journey. Shortly after it grew dark, our path was blocked by an invisible barrier – a thing we could only presume to be the first of the barriers erected by Morvaine around Whitton. Those who knew how fell to brewing the potion needed to open a path through, but as they worked, we were attacked on all sides by creatures calling upon the dark power of the dream. In the blackness it was hard to see what they were and the fight was a painful one. We fought as the Dream Guardians began to chant the weave between the waking and the Dreaming. A deathly stillness fell over them all, and nothing could be done but to watch and wait for the opening of the passage. Those waiting gradually became aware that there were…less of them waiting…and that an increasing number of their party were vanishing around them. The numbers left to fight against the onrushing hordes were growing increasingly slim – but eventually the way into the Dreaming reached out and caught them all.
A swirl of lights before me faded leaving only further darkened woods, but less people including two we did not know at all. Another time, another tale … we had become for a time at least part of one of the seven tribes of men. We spoke to our guides whilst trying not to sound as though we did not know who or indeed where we were.

We’d all gained tribal markings upon our faces, and were taken to where the rite was to be carried out – a fort of some description. We met those who took part in that rite, including the considerable honour of meeting Morvaine as he was then. I spent time talking to a bardic type – the old leader of the stag tribe I recall – who told me that we were gathered in the place where the fae had given the tribes of men their treasures, and where the rite would now be carried out. To actually be at that crucial point in the tale which we were about to end … After some fighting where people (I gather men who were still the slaves of elves) we went out the back of the fort, where the fires were burning. People stood around their respective fires, when suddenly some of us vanished. Elen called me to him and asked if I recognised the dream catcher he had picked off the floor. It wasn’t one of mine. At this point, a member of the tribe came up and thrust a dream catcher onto myself and Georgiana. I was waiting for him to turn away so I could drop it again (as I did not want to accept a gift!) when all around me vanished and I found myself in a village. I believe it was Whitton, it certainly seemed to have several severely sleep-deprived villagers living in it, and a heap of bodies (some asleep, some smelly) off to one side.
We chatted, I chatted to Reann about what was going on. She was mid-way through telling me when she fell asleep. I was mid-way through irritably trying to wake her up when it seems I fell asleep too.
The next thing I remember is being shaken awake by a village woman. It was light, so I suspect we’d slept at least one night. Apparently they’d returned from walking their goats, and had found us all sleeping – for purposes of reference, one of the goats appears to have got on very well with Diogenes as he slept, and they were enquiring about his willingness to work as breeding option.
I’ve definitely forgotten something here, but at some point Phoenix vanished, leaving Reann in charge. I’m told by those around him that he was talking to himself, muttering.

Before that though (as I recall) we wandered back out of the village and into the fort again (I ‘think’ it was the same fort that the rite was originally held outside of)(although bear in mind we were in the dreaming so who could say…). This was all because we thought we had seen the final treasure – the shield – and one of the party was obsessively following it around. We reached the fort and the man had vanished. The shield follower walked off down a path, followed by several others, all of whom promptly vanished. In the spirit of doing stupid but interesting things, Osric and myself followed. It all went a bit blurry for a second, then we continued walking down the path, and saw the people in front of us again. After another few seconds, a few more people appeared behind us, but then I think the number of people willing to walk into ‘vanishingness’ tailed off, so we decided to move on.
We walked along a leafy path, then we reached a slight broadening of the path, where we were accosted by the Tomorrow Court. We had stepped outside the story of the mortals I was with, instead we had stepped into the tale of the Tomorrow Court. They of course saw us as Harts of Albion, those they fought those few years ago. Anything we said that did not fit that story, they ignored. We fought them, and beat them. Looking back, I could have perhaps profited by asking the name of their Queen’s consort…but hindsight is wonderful.

Next we met the crone aspect of the Mother. Harts need training in how to speak to mysterious old women who they randomly encounter in the woods. One hint: if asked who you are, give something other than your name. Be that ‘I am Duke of Cornwall’ or ‘I am the son of…’ or ‘I am a mother who mourns her son’s death’. Just something! Given that they didn’t, we didn’t really seem to get anywhere with that. Next we encountered the eighth legion of the Empire, who saw us as Conclave. Elen and I even became concerned enough that we tried to Force the Empire troops to see our story, but it was no use, we were fully embroiled in their tale and that was all that they could see. Eventually we overcame, with no losses.

We moved on and encountered the mother aspect of the Mother. She healed those wounded; she placed healing within the healing cup, for which we were most grateful.

So far the stories had moved back in time, and I saw no reason for this to be different. I was proven completely right when we passed another corner and all the humans in the party were then accosted by elves demanding to know where they thought they were going. We were in a story before Our story, in the time where the humans were slaves to elves. Stupid elves I might point out, as one hit me, despite me being a fae. We killed them, I was not in the slightest saddened by their passing. Then we moved on again, and encountered the maiden version of the Mother, and she held the Shield.

Our shield follower stepped forth to fight for it. The fight turned…tribal…and she fell, and the Shield was retrieved. I began to heal Joseph Henroth, and then the world went briefly black and painful. I believe Joseph healed me, and then everything shimmered and we found ourselves lying just outside Whitton again.
Phoenix appeared. Everyone tried to bring him back into himself, it really didn’t work well. We followed him, still trying to convince him – we ended up at the manor house where Morvaine had installed himself. Others tried to speak sense into Phoenix; everyone else got attacked by demons. Cadogan et al helped us defend – very good fighters/survivors!! Phoenix disappeared; a puzzle was found which the villager tried to steal but got dropped. The puzzle was completed and we all woke up AGAIN in Whitton.
Someone noticed lots of soldiers who kept wandering past. I was told that they were delivering bodies. I never caught onto this whole ‘bodies / barriers’ thing really, there was a lot of ‘but our bodies will be trapped on the other side’ etc etc, but I never understood the details. As such , I’ll précis with ‘it was decided this was bad’ so we went and hit them. Some time around this, Phoenix reappeared (looking really unhealthy) with Morvaine (ditto). He told us to leave and that he could deal with the situation, as could Morvaine. We (it would seem) said ‘no’, so he ordered the people with them to kill us.

All I can relate of this part was myself, Sophia Gregory and Elen being given a forbidding scroll which I invoked, and walking into the fight to try and get some people out. I really don’t remember anything else, until I found myself on the floor feeling quite weak and somewhat shaky, with Elen leaning over me. From what I’m told I was hit by something and nearly died in the forbidding that was centered on me. I believe I owe my rescue to Bleys and Osric. Perhaps another tale there, not yet finished. Actually, I also owe it to Phoenix…a favour I need to repay, and will, if only by making sure his true tale is told.
Given the fact that two were then dead (Preceptor of the Hwyt Draga, William Dimens; and Jason Toombs), we retreated as we were forced to. Phoenix let us leave, if we promised not to interfere with the rite. As we began to pull out, a call came telling us we could retrieve our carrion (the dead bodies left behind). Myself, Elen and Osric ran up, and to our shock found Reann’s pattern held to her by a sanctuary amulet. A potion was subtly administered and then we dragged away our dead mayfly…(whilst telling her to slump and not speak if she wanted to stay alive).

We were told quite clearly, if we tried to interfere in the rite, we would be killed.
We walked endlessly, not knowing whether we would be attacked. Finally (and I could not tell if we were in Dreaming or Edrejan) we reached the fort where we had slept that final night before this part of the tale began. Almost no power remained amongst those there present, all had been drained in the desperate struggle to save lives, to fight those who would kill us.
That night held the insulting of Cadogan (at least as it sounded to me, Enias Charenten shouted at him and he walked out) so he and those with him walked away, swearing they would not help us; attacks from hordes chanting to Nethras; the consecration of the ground where the rite would take place the next day (amid yet more waves of fighting), and the promise of happier tales yet to reach their peak.
It also held a mission to re-align the crown which had been retrieved from the goblins. Each time it’s bearer, Osric Karlennon had fallen asleep, he had been suffering from nightmares where he believed he was being attacked by goblins. So a small party was taken into the Dreaming by the Dream Guardians, in order to cleanse it. Ten of us went in, and found ourselves in desolate land, with a heap of bodies only a few hundred feet away. So, first thing we did (and had to do in fairness) was to check to see if they were dead. We got a sneaking suspicion that they weren’t dead in the truest sense of the word when they got up and started lumbering towards us. We killed them all. More came. And more and more and more and more. Eventually we advanced enough to hear “Rise my unliving minions” from the other side of a gorse bush. Another ten minutes and the liche creature was dead. Many wounds had been sustained but healed, and the crown was fixed. The Dream Guardians returned us to the fort.
In our absence, a ‘druid’ preaching a pretty tale had stolen Excalibur and Joseph Henroth to the Empire. I should really have raised my thoughts that surely Excalibur was 7 pieces and not 1…
The tale was beginning to spin apart. We had retreated, people had died, Phoenix was lost to us, and there still was no plan and no true camaraderie.
We slept that night, and I think a more normal sleep, I remember at least managing to get comfortable first!
In the morning, there was faffing and waiting to do the rite. We collected stories which needed to be held – that of Goran, that of Rebecca Falcon.

Then demon attacks began and we moved out to do the rite. Demons came from all sides but the rite remained defended. Then Phoenix and Morvaine arrived.
And a tale of it’s own
Phoenix was clearly seeing the world through eyes that showed us in the wrong. Morvaine had hold of him, and he wanted us to stop the rite as to him it now seemed wrong.

I could not sit silent, and I called out, I told him that his story was twisting so badly it made me want to weep, and I told him that he could have true love. Not simply promises or dreams of his parents, but true real love.

He stopped, and looked at me across the battle, and he beckoned me forward.

There comes a moment in some stories where time pauses, where battle will swirl around but the moment holds.

I walked to him, and looked him in the eyes. And slowly, slowly I tried to catch him back to his story. I told him of true love, the love I had heard spoken that very morning.

He said he had been promised his parents.

I told him the truth of stories, and how they must be.

He said he had been promised his parents. He said Morvaine’s voice echoed through his mind, and he could not escape it. I could see him behind his eyes, looking out at me, desperate but trapped.

I told him of his parents story. How it began, how it reached its peak when he was given to them. How he was the brightness in their life.

He said he had been promised his parents.

I asked him if his parents would want him to do this, just for them.

And he paused.
An eternity, a millennia passed.

And some fool hit him. All I remember yet is red and gold, I know which house it was.

And the story fell, and no longer held.
I tried again, I tried as hard as I could. He said he’d been promised that he could destroy Balor. He said he had no hope with ancestors such as those. I told him that in every tale there is an opposite and that he was a hero of Albion…that he could fight against that which he heard echoing through his mind. I reminded him of what he had done for Osric…and for me. I tried to reach him, but every word I spoke bounced off the twisting that Morvaine had placed in his mind. And eventually he reached his hand towards me, and a force pushed me back into the hill.
I am desolate that I could not save him, that I failed in catching back the fae child that he was, and healing his story.

And even now, I cannot decide which would have been the greater tragedy. For him to die suspecting us all of betraying the land, but knowing himself to be good. Or for him to have been brought out of the trap of his mind, and knowing that he had allowed others to die.

For both are so sad that they bring tears to my eyes. But…if one had to happen…I think I would rather it was the first – the one that did.
To the overriding tale

They retreated to the fort. We beat our way in, and…Phoenix was killed. Morvaine ran. Goran, he who would now take the burden of Dream Champion, chased, aided by those present. He eventually caught him, and Morvaine lay dead – and as he died, his demons went.
Thus ended the tale of Morvaine, Dream Champion.
And those present saw how Goran, Dream Champion faded from sight, and took his place as he who holds the land and dream separate. And everyone in Albion that night, could see that the Dreaming was a beautiful place.
Thus began the tale of Goran, Dream Champion.
Acathenni Of The Story Fey

Summer 1104