The Battle for Silverlake 1114 – Nethras, Lady Jane & the Unliving by Ma Crow
Filed by Martha “Ma” Crow
Brief background leading up to Silver Lake:
For most of 1114, Nethras had become tainted with Unliving and a connection with Satuun. She had gathered up all her ‘lost’ children who had died and brought them back to her as Unliving. As they year moved on she would appeal to her followers to join her new cause, using visions, dreams and visitations, at times tricking followers into believing they were hearing their true, pure, Ancestor. Followers became distressed and confused yet at the same time refused to turn their back on the one they believed in, seeking out information with which to help them.
The Silver Lady had stepped in to assist the Queen by acting as a barrier to stop Nethras and Satuun speaking to her.
Performing a Speak with Ancestor for the Nethras followers, Lazarus Hunter advised that they should go to Silver Lake and construct a ritual circle there.
An unliving army, with Generals known to Ma Crow, began to form. One of them appearing to be one of her dead children (Jane Moreno) from her Orphanage, which was destroyed many years before. Ninn, Duke of York, advised Ma Crow that unliving swarmed through York and the surrounding countryside, many of which wore the colours of The Crows of Albion. Jane Moreno, The Gentleman Soldier and others struck at the Gathering fighting the Harts in their own camp and seeking out Ma Crow and Hesper, Jane’s sister.
SILVER LAKE 1114:
Meeting with Taliesin Mallory – Keeper of the Book of the Dead:
Taliesin Mallory, Order of the Pendragon, had appeared to talk with people about faith and belief. He had the strangest effect on our connection to the Plane of Life, which would sever temporarily as he stood near you, returning after he had moved away. A new and somewhat unsettling experience. He discussed with us what our belief was to us and encouraged us to think more about it saying that he would return the next day.
Friday Night Meeting at Milford Cathedral:
Nethras followers had been having dreams, letters or visitations all referring to “Now is the Time”, a key phrase which would signal when they were to attend a meeting with Nethras and company.
Ma Crow had been woken up by the sounds of her chamber door shutting to find a note on her pillow from Lady Jane making reference to one who had died at The Gathering when the Crows were poisoned. This one had been taken into the unliving family. It could only be Honey Soy as he had been a Nethras follower but had been dedicated to The Trinity in an effort to save him. Like others, this letter gave the key phrase and said that a representative would fetch them and they would follow with no more than eight followers of Nethras. Any non Nethras followers would be dispatched.
It was way past midnight, Maru had just retired to take TeaSpoon to his quarters, when Shaman walked past and suddenly lurched back as if he had been punched. He approached Ma in a strange manner saying “Now is the Time” and insisted that we were to follow him.
The only Nethras followers were myself, Charlie Hulce, Callow Merryweather and Threya. We followed him out into the dark, amongst concern from the others left behind. Shaman transported us to Milford Cathedral where, by the light of a single candle we spoke with Nethras, Lady Jane Moreno and an Elder from Maru’s tribe whose name I cannot recall.
For what it was, I assume you could say it was a civilised discussion. There were no heated arguments though in my head there were many questions I wanted to ask Jane, but I knew had I asked them we may not have returned alive as tempers would flare – she was so much like her mother, Me.
The group offered questions as Nethras encouraged us to speak freely with them. She implored us not to use the circle for fear of things going badly. Much reference was made to the light being but a small part of the darkness, of moths to the flame burning and in pain. In essence she seemed to go round in circles and we all felt she was afraid that we would go through with the ritual. Lady Jane then spoke to Ma about one who had been gathered into the family and it was indeed Honey. My heart broke as she told me of him, how he had suffered but that he was now amongst his new family. I sat there crying gently in the darkness as Nethras, my unliving ancestor sat beside me gently stroking my back in comfort as Jane stood in front of me showing me Honey’s waistcoat. I felt my hand tighten on my sword as for a brief moment I thought to punish them but then reminded myself it was not her doing. She was not in control of herself. We asked other questions of birth and life, of eternity. Callow commented afterwards that they were like small children who have the idea that everything is better without pain, without hunger and without sorrow, not more tiredness or thirst. A very childish view of the world indeed.
Maru’s ancestor was disappointed not to have been able to speak to her and said that they hoped to speak with us all again.
Charlie Hulce had remained standing when the rest of us sat. She stood there strong and silent and it was noticed that Nethras would not go too close, nor would Jane.
All this time, Shaman had been acting as a dog on all fours on the floor. He looked to Nethras as does a loyal pet and it was a very strange sight to witness. When she had finished with him he stood up and responded to her thanks with a phrase I will note forget “We exist to Serve”. As he prepared to transport Nethras walked round speaking to each of us and Lady Jane walked in front of me and saluted and we transported out. Another strange sight that will stay with me for many years to come I feel.
Shaman escorted us escorted back to Silver Lake.
The Shrine & the Grail:
Brother Ross took Nethras followers to learn more about the Grail and our beliefs about our Ancestor for when next spoke to Mallory. The cup could be turned either way for Healing or for Change. This would depend on the outcome of the vote by the peoples of Albion undergoing the five quests
Preparation for the Ritual:
Ash had constructed the circle in the weeks since the Gathering. The circle was built with love and was as a memorial to her husband, Sathareal, one of the Crows murdered in the Ritual Circle at The Gathering. This bought much joy to the Crows of Albion. It ‘s alignment was to water being near Silver Lake.
Artemis could not make any preparations for the ritual until the alignment of the Grail was known however in the meantime she asked Ma to obtain names of relevant personnel; Nethras and Silver Lady followers, Contributors, Incantors. Artemis wanted the ritual to be small, intense and personal.
Unliving Armies – The Gentleman Soldier:
An Unliving Army appeared asking for/about The Crows of Albion. Ma stepped up to speak but was immediately taken away by Crows/Harts to safety – much to her annoyance and dismay. She wanted to deal with these people, to speak to them and find out more about them. I have been told that during the battle he was ‘dealt with’ accordingly by the gathered Harts and Guests.
Taliesin Mallory – Keeper of the Book of the Dead:
Nethras followers were taken to the Shrine by Mallory and asked ‘What is Albion’? Each of us gave a different answer; some spoke of actions, the land, a thought or dream, a song, a story, the people… All answers were right and all were also wrong. We were told to speak to people of our faith and why we felt Nethras should be saved and with that he presented each of us with a quest token for the Faithful, which would allow us to vote on the alignment of the Grail.
The Nethras followers had been talking to peoples of Albion explaining why they were doing what they were doing and what it meant to them. We were asking people to understand our point of view but not condoning them if they chose to vote for change. The decision would affect everyone.
Quest for Faithful:
We were taken at night, transported, into the forest there was an archway. Beyond this archway the Faithful were split into three groups. Our group had to show and explain how we show our faith in our Ancestors – in actions & deed, song, verse, stories and in our hearts. Whilst we did this others were being attacked and Roland of The Black Hand seemed to disappear. We feared the worst, but he was returned to us much later.
On passing the quest we were allowed to vote, some did so voicing their wish for all to hear, others were quieter and whispered it to the representative.
Alexander Nightkin of the Crows, advised me that even though he did not have a voting piece, he had assisted on a quest and asked to speak to the cup and said that he did not have a vote, but if he had, it would be for healing.
Those involved in the ritual were
• Artemis Nightkin (Ritualist);
• Charlie Hulce (Queen’s Champion) – representing The Sword Maiden aspect
• Myself (Ma Crow) – Representing the Mother aspect
• Maru – Representing the Crone/Washer at the Ford aspect
• Threya (Nethras follower)
• Faith Charrington (Silver Lady representative)
• Cara Corvinae (Silver Lady representative)
• WeatherEye (The Dream of Albion)
• Alexander Nightkin (Incantor and Contributor).
Artemis had worked considerably during the night to prepare for the ritual having only found out recently the nature of the circle and then ‘direction’ of the vote for the Grail to Healing.
As we were running through the ritual proceedings with Artemis, Hesper ran in shouting that there were Unliving Crows on the Battlefield. As we took to the field we could see people fighting unliving who had taken part form of deceased Crows of Albion. It was difficult to remind myself that these were not my lost children but constructs made up in an effort to unnerve us. I heard a wailing screaming to my right and out of the forest, striding through a cloud of smoke came Lady Jane Moreno and Others, marching into the face of our fellow Albiones and guests who stood strong against them, knowing that they had to prevent them from reaching the circle.
We hurried to the Ritual Circle as the enemy drew nearer. Artemis managed to raise the seal and we were locked inside as the battle raged around us.
Faith Charrington and Cara Corvinae stood in the circle as representatives and voice of The Silver Lady who had promised to help us in whatever way she could and who had, indeed, protected the Queen from Nethras for most of the year.
Artemis spoke of why we were gathered and then summoned Nethras into the circle. The ritual each of the three aspect representatives reminded her of why they were here, what she meant to us, what she stood for and what she meant to Albion and the Trinity. We pleaded with her to remember and used our love and our faith in her to help her recall what she stood for before the unliving tainted her. Charlie spoke of the Sword Maiden, I of the Mother, and Maru of the Washer at the Ford/The Crone and Wise-woman.
Because of the links with the circle and water, we had chosen to use water from the Silver Lady’s Fountain to purify and cleanse Nethras in an attempt to wash away the taint and remind her of who she was. Faith had earlier spoken with the Silver Lady and obtained a small phial of water from the fountain, which was poured into the Grail and shared amongst us all, each of us having a cup.
After we had all beseeched her we cleansed her by pouring water from the Silver Lady over her, which in itself is purifying and healing. Chanting “Birth Life and Death” over and over again we held her hands, hugged her and loved her until she began to show signs of remembrance. Her voice softened and our hearts filled as we dared to hope that we had broken the hold upon her by Satuun and turned away from the Unliving.
She walked round each of us, offering her blessings and stating that she would see us again, after which Artemis dismissed her and allowed her to return to where she belonged.
The minute the circle was closed everyone was struck to the floor, becoming confused. There was a rush to clear people out of the circle and away from harm.
Speaking with Nethras through Shaman afterwards:
Shaman immediately gathered the followers of Nethras and The Silver Lady insisting that we must speak with her straight away to find out what had happened. We went into shelter and there under the combined banners of Albion he spoke with her. We each stepped forward again explaining what part we stood for and represented. We spoke of the Children of Albion, all Children of all ages. A mother does not turn her back on her children when they are sick or in need of help, the weak are protected and aided, strength is given to understand that nature of birth, life and death and that when we must part we must part having lived a good life and died a good death. In due course Erdreja will allow us to return but in between that we must rest.
We heard back that Nethras was healing slowly. It would take time but she is healing. The joy we experienced in hearing those words was like no other.
We are to continue to hold our faith in her, celebrate her and make her name heard and known. Our faith and our hearts held true for the one we believe in. Nethras.
This by my word is my account and memory of the events relating to Nethras at The Battle for Silver Lake, November 1114. It should have been a neutral report, formal report but my emotions still run high with both trepidation at the memories and the joy I now feel.
(Ma Crow, Commander of The Crows of Albion Free Military Company)