Once per month, I will dedicate an entire post and week-long Facebook advertorial to my over 6000 followers, to promoting someone who isn’t myself : )
I will accept physical (digital), musical or literary art; stuff related to the genres in which I work. If you’re a master of pointillism flower portraits, mine probably isn’t the best platform for submissions. Why do this? What’s my angle? There isn’t one. Just trying to be a nice person–novel idea, that. Anyway here’s a quick checklist before submissions:
And finally, as those artists among you hopefully know, dealing with rejection is part of the creative process. Because this is a personal space, with defined visitor tastes, I will choose the work that I feel will be most appealing to my readers. That’s not a judgment call on you–the artist–or the quality of your work. But curation ultimately comes down to taste. So if you’re new here, I’d suggest looking around, seeing what I like, what my readers like, and determining if your stuff is a good fit. If your creation is accepted, I will email you with a post date that you can share on social media.
Often rejection is simply not knowing your audience, and I want the artists who use this service–which is entirely free of charge and limited only by spots and demand–to feel encouraged, to grow roots and to climb that damnable wall even I’m still scrabbling up after four years. I don’t care if you pass me on that climb; another’s success shouldn’t define our own. We all share in the struggle. We need to work together, especially in this age, toward assisting others in that climb rather than shoving them down.
Take the plunge, and submit. All best for 2017.
Having partially lifted the veil of secrecy surrounding Morigan’s place in the universe as a Daughter of Fate, the mysteries of the Black Queen, and even the dark revelation that Caenith’s father is none other than Brutus, the stage is set in Feast of Chaos for our travelers to go beyond illusions and visions, to facing their foes up close. Still, as a blood moon rises over Geadhain, worries grow that Morigan might not live up to the savior status the Sisters have bestowed upon her. A shadow of hate is overtaking the realm, its gloom affecting even the impermeable willpower of the Sisters Three.
In their midst now, is Sorren—whose role in ushering in this immutable blackness leaves the Sisters conflicted about their hospitality in allowing him to recuperate under their auspices. What vestiges of his old life as a psychopath and murderer might remain within the mangled skin-suit of one who once acted as the vessel of Death is a mystery to all. And he is sent on his way, his external injuries not so much healed as stayed, while uncertainty remains as to whether his newly professed humanism is simply a guise to conceal his fevered and angry internal wounds. As a parting gift, for reasons unknown, the miscreant Ealasyd gives Sorren custody of three “old stones,” whose providence and future utility are equally cloaked in obscurity.
Unaware of Sorren’s resurrection, Morigan, Caenith, Mouse, Thackery, Talwyn, and the unlikeliest of allies Moreth of El have set their sights on a region whose shifting landscapes and mysterious creatures that populate its climes do honor to its name: Pandemonia. It is a land of dreams and nightmares incarnate, wherein a million manners of death exist. There, even those accustomed to wielding magik are left agog and aghast at its unpredictability. The borders bind this land in a perpetual spell that warps the laws of nature, rendering even the most skilled sorcerer virtually impotent. Survival in this land requires that most difficult and elusive of skills: the capacity to truly listen and humble oneself. Simply to survive, let alone thrive, travelers of Pandemonia must be able to filter out the din of the world—to distill from noise its greater meaning.
As they venture deeper into Pandemonia’s frigid terrain, Morigan is newly besieged by visions of such ferocity that they leave her begging for the easement of her incessantly humming hive. For within this dream world, she has been transformed into a witness of, and prey to, a Dreamstalker. As the herald to Zionae, this hunter lives with Brutus in the physical world, as well as inhabiting that ethereal otherworld of blackness and potential that is Dream. Together these villains realize that to vanquish the Daughter of Fate and return Caenith to the protection of his father, they must find and capture an arkstone, one of Fate’s cornerstones. In the dawning of the world, these wonderstones hurtled down to earth as a single meteorite forged from Zionae’s essence before shattering into four pieces. They are known to work miracles beyond imagination and horror, but so too is their power easily corrupted.
Meanwhile, having absconded to Carthac, Erik and Lila temporarily safeguard themselves from the ever-expanding fields of battle by hiding as a sellsword and a peasant woman. But their newfound isolation is bittersweet; they find no joy in the meeting of flesh, and their passions play out painfully and joylessly as though a punishment for their crimes against Menos. Their lustful encounters are cloaked with Erik’s anguish over his once-hidden desires and Lila’s intense guilt over the holocaustic rampage she set in motion. But when the sanctity of their temporary refuge is violated and their identities exposed, everything changes. Their attempted escape sees Erik grievously injured, and Lila—reluctant as she is to use magik, knowing how cruel a path it has led her down—seeks to heal her lover. Little does she know that in knitting his wounds, she inadvertently weaves their essences together, enmeshing them as bloodmates. Bound together, Erik’s strength surges, and Lila reclaims her former name, Lilehum, and her former strength.
The marriage of these two souls marks the terminus for the illusory spell Lila had cast upon Leonitis and Lowelia back in Eod. As all magik is born of, and powered by, emotion, the spell had been weakening with every moment of bonding between Erik and Lila. So in that peak moment of spiritual commingling, the incantation dissolves before an angry Magnus’s eyes. Thus alerted to what Magnus perceives of as a betrayal of his and Lila’s vows, he annuls what tatters remain of Lila’s illusion and the two—soldier and servant—are restored to their erstwhile physical forms. The revelation to Gloriatrix that for lo these many weeks she has been speaking to impostors unleashes in her a fury that sees a tenuous truce with Magnus strained to the limits. Together, he and the Iron Queen agree to a bargain that would see Lila punished and Erik executed.
There are those, however, who are still entrenched in the detritus of Menos’s fall, such as the siblings Aadore and Sean, whose miraculous survival is made all the more astonishing by the fact that they have emerged from the quaking waves of destruction that leveled Menos with a babe in arms. The landscape grows more treacherous by the minute, with ragged, infectious shadows of former beings mindlessly amassing as legions to fight for one of the many omnipotent alien forces seeking dominance in this war. The Queen of Bones, however, is no one’s ally. For she is Death herself, and her swift resolution to the conflicts at hand would see all life transformed into ashes.
Joining their small but formidable contingent of warriors braced for battle against the source of Menos’s dark infection are Aadore’s bodyguard, Skar, a former mercenary whose physical dimensions harken back to a world where ogres roamed, and the man long-enamored of Aadore, Curtis. It becomes apparent to their compatriots that Sean and Aadore share a resilience toward the violent strain of infection that sees its victims transformed into monstrous undead slaves to the Dreamer of Death. They and the others are also left to wonder what other strengths their shared legacy may reveal that renders them immune to Death’s powers. Their external fragility seems to belie an incredible inner strength. Sean’s wounds are not strictly the by-products of a battle well-fought as a former soldier in the Ironguard. Rather, his many painful scars and aberrations are the product of torture beyond that which anyone could imagine and remain sane—the cicatrices from his incarceration by myriad fleshcrafters and demented men of medicine are fused to his soul. And despite a primarily peaceful past as handmaiden to the Lady El, Aadore is no coward, either, and steels herself to become a fighter alongside her brother.
Back in Pandemonia, Mouse, Talwyn, and Moreth are spirited away through dreams and somnolent magik—the tools of their supposed ally and Morigan’s father, Feyhazir. They are taken away from the safety of their pack and into the regions ruled by Indigenous inhabitants of the region known as the Amakri. Here they must learn to abide by the rules of these people and discover the reason for Feyhazir’s machinations. The hulking, blue, and horned Doomchasers—a unique and powerful race of the greater race of Pandemonian natives—are a people focused on treading the path toward reclaiming their place in this land. And to that end, Mouse’s debt to the Red Witches comes due, and the being with whom Mouse must share her corporeal power makes his presence increasingly known. Feyhazir, the starry father of Morigan, begins regularly inhabiting Mouse’s body, and without her consent.
Once, as a vessel in times immemorial and as an adoptive member of the Amakri, Feyhazir had shared with the fierce blue warriors a drink from a chalice, and with them made a covenant that gave them the strength to resist the influence of Zionae’s and all other magik. For as soon discovered by the ever curious Talwyn, the Amakri’s strength is waning, and quickly; children are being born plain as any man, without horns, scales, or a resistance to dark forces. The promise of the chalice is a restoration of the tribe to its former strength. Feyhazir, claiming to play peacemaker while acting as abductor, takes pains to appear to Talwyn and Moreth in Fionna’s skin, and to commune with Morigan, to assure them of his intent to use her vessel to vanquish their common enemy. But Mouse’s inability to recall Feyhazir’s actions when in her fugue state leaves them with little to go on as to his trustworthiness. She cannot fight off Feyhazir’s violations, and she feels those infractions changing her piece by piece, beyond tinges of gray appearing in her hair or small wrinkles about her face that appear after her possessions.
Newly pledged to assist in vanquishing the Black Queen, Moreth is one of the few who is able to navigate Pandemonia’s terrain, and he becomes a valuable asset, adding to his already considerable contribution to the group in the form of tutelage on magik and control to the companions with whom they are now separated. The unexpected vulnerabilities of this once Menosian overlord are revealed to his traveling companions. While his proclivities induce cringes among those who lend an ear to his story, beneath the depravity lies a soul that still knows a simulacrum of love in the form of the blood eater Beatrice. His sexual sadism did not preclude him from a deep desire for comfort hard-won through years of inflicting pain on others who were—mostly—willing. The twisted creature that is Beatrice, a blood eater, was propitiously suited to meet his needs. But the ability to tame, or at least train, the blood lust within Beatrice through music and visitations to the Blood Pits, is not something that is shared with others of her kind, a lesson the Amakri encampment soon learns. And as Moreth teaches them of the true nature of these blood beasts, separated from her partner in bloodlust, Beatrice, now returned to Eod, stalks Alastair to reveal a near incomprehensible truth to him. The man whose dalliances numbered in the countless is forced to face a painful memory from the past—one that repudiates his long-held belief that he was infertile. In fact, a woman named Belle had the unique magikal physiology to propagate with an unnatural creature such as Alastair. The harrowing truth is that this woman—who eventually became one of Beatrice’s victims and whose ghost now acts as a faint beacon of humanity within the blood eater—begat Alastair two sons, one of whom is none other than Galivad.
As Talwyn communes with the Amakri’s leader, Pythius, he comes to believe that at the very least this people’s intentions are honorable, even as his faith in Feyhazir’s motives wavers. Through this cultural exchange, Moreth and Mouse also grow to more fully appreciate the scholar as they realize that his desire for knowledge extends beyond intellectual curiosity. They learn that his intellectual curiosity is both a blessing and a curse. His mind’s absorption of information is pathological; he has little control over the information that filters into his mind, forcing him into an incessant state of analysis and calculation. The strength of will required to harness it all often pushes him beyond his emotional capacity. But even Talwyn’s intellectual prowess cannot wholly forewarn them of the fact that Feyhazir’s promises are predicated on deceit; the chalice they have long sought is cursed, and he has manipulated others into coveting the arkstones for his own nefarious purposes.
Elsewhere, with distance in space but not spirit between them, the rest of Morigan’s pack continues its journey to Eatoth. This quest, bestowed upon them by her father who claims the city will be under siege from Brutus, is his justification for cleaving their fellowship in two. However, Morigan is beginning to resent the callous manipulations of Dreamers, increasingly believing that her father isn’t too different from his flock. Meanwhile, Adam struggles with the beast within and without, shamed that while he is considered one of the pack, he is not of the pack—no great sorcerer or warrior. Yet as time wears on, a newly developed talent within the young changeling rears its head. Desperate for a way to connect with his adoptive pack, Adam had previously begged Elemech to bestow upon him the gift of communication. Little did he expect at that time, however, that his gift would also allow him to decipher and communicate in languages once completely unknown to him. This realization provides him not only with a greater connection with his compatriots, but renders him an invaluable ally in working to achieve their greater goals.
Their arrival at the glittering city of Eatoth takes all the travelers aback. It is an expansive vista of prismatic glass, its towering panes reflecting sunlight onto the landscape in every direction, concealing the dark foundations upon which the city was established. Once there, the secret behind the Herald’s resurrection in darkness is pulled from deep within Eatoth’s bowels. Its Keeper, Ankha, is so attended with hubris that she believes she holds dominion over everyone and anything that exists within the city walls. And so it is only after much resistance that she is forced to explain that Zionae’s consort and Herald—Morigan’s Dreamstalker, Amunai—was her sister. Once a woman of peace, she had trained to be a Keeper alongside her. When Amunai had professed her expanding views on the equality of all and the Green Mother’s one true voice, her sister deemed her a heretic. She punished Amunai by killing her unborn child and mutilating and banishing her lover. It was in these darkest of moments that the Black Queen engulfed the former Keeper, embracing her with dark promises of revenge and shielding her from the pain of her past. So now, not only is Amunai an accomplice to the Black Queen’s rampage, but she is an assassin with her sights locked in on the sister who tore from her all the joy she had ever known.
But the Herald’s goals extend beyond sororicide, as Ankha is also the unlawful keeper of an arkstone. As with all of the self-declared “cultured” Amakri—these grotesque technomagikophiles who wall themselves away from Pandemonia’s influence in great bastions of comfort, who have built an entire religion to sustain their hubris—Ankha’s abuse and misuse of the wonderstones has made her a clear target. Realizing this, and that Brutus will be the weapon to strike Eatoth, Morigan and Caenith forge a plan to bind Brutus in technomagikal chains or, failing that, to end him completely, in order to protect Eod and the world beyond. Alas, on the eve in which they gather to await Brutus and to execute their plans, Amunai appears and overtakes Ankha’s body. In those moments incarnated in flesh, Amunai challenges everything Morigan believes to be true about her role in Fate’s plans. Not least of which is the assertion that Morigan herself is responsible for the city’s fall, by weakening her sister’s will through her incessant prodding of the past and hunt for the truth—it was through those kinks, formed by Morigan, that Amunai at last slipped into the Keeper’s mind. Knowing they have but moments to act, Morigan and Caenith are forced to kill Ankha in an effort to banish Amunai and protect the arkstone. But their efforts come too late, and Amunai—the Lady of Wind, she calls herself—escapes as an incorporeal ghost with the stone in tow.
Lilehum, in the meantime—through coordination via farspeaking stones with Lowe, Leonitis, Rowena, and Dorothy—has fomented a rebellion. Lilehum’s evolving identity, one that is increasingly predatory, is now also entwined with that of an ancient relic found on the ancient Menosian ship she and Erik used to escape Carthac. It is an orb she calls the Mind—an entity whose genius connects her to an expansive network of knowledge spanning all manner of space and time. All the while, her spiritual metamorphosis is being mirrored by a physical transformation. Lilehum is changing at a molecular level into a being whose fearsomeness is bound up not only in her resolve to denounce and punish those men who would subjugate women and the marginalized, but in her newly discovered reptilian form, replete with poison sacs and feline-like incisors. She is emboldened to advance against the man who betrayed her; she sees clearly that Magnus’s rape was, in fact, what drove her into a madness that saw her overtaken by the powers of the Death, which loosed upon Menos the destruction from Taroch’s Arm.
In the nick of time, and just before Eod’s gates are sundered, Aadore and the others arrive at Eod to inform Gloriatrix of all they have witnessed; their revelation of a new and wicked Dreamer’s role in the destruction of Menos brings with it the possibility of reprieve for Lila and Erik. But as with all political negotiations, success is always predicated on the existence of good faith between the parties. This is something that is sorely lacking on both sides, and there can be little question of the presence of backroom machinations on both sides of the table. Gloriatrix’s longing to see a Geadhain bereft of Immortals is hardly in line with Magnus’s vision for himself or the realm. As Lilehum’s troops breach the city of Eod’s walls, a moment of silence, of listening, allows a peace between Erik, Magnus, and his former queen that holds back the fog of another impending war.
In the east, however, the theft of the arkstone sees another storm brewing quickly behind, promising to breach any peace that might be found in such moments.
In Feast of Dreams, we are greeted by the Three Sisters of fate who reveal that despite their best plans, the threads of fate have been broken, and by none other than our own Hunters of Fate: Morigan, Caenith, Mouse, Thackery, and Vortigern. We join the pack as they venture through the land of the Untamed, deeper into the protracted quagmire of a great war.
Morigan’s mind has become a virtual hive of visions. The bees of her dream-walking are beating out a nearly incessant rhythm of prophecies that are becoming ever more burdensome. Her waking dreams show her that she is, indeed, of immortal origin, and that the woman she called her mother, Mifanwae, did not give birth to her but rather was a willing pawn in destiny’s game. In many ways, Morigan has become a silent Cassiopeia, blessed with a second sight full of images she cannot, or dare not, share. With every passing day, she comes to realize that much of what she sees is unchangeable. She also peeks behind fate’s curtain to reveal more about the woman in Caenith’s past who once held his heart. Aghna, herself a wolf-changeling, had long ago ended her life when faced with a future of untold suffering. Morigan herself felt she had little to fear from a shadow of the past until she and her friends suddenly found themselves surrounded by an even greater legion—led by the long-departed Aghna.
Once again, it appears that death represents little more than a temporary transition for the lycanthropic being who now governs Briongrahd, the City of Fangs. She is no longer wrapped in the loving glow Caenith remembers from their last moments together but by a shroud of violence and hate. The changeling to whom Caenith had once devoted himself bears little resemblance to their glorious past, and he is forced to reconcile the woman he knew in life with the woman she became in death. Aghna has become the warmother of which Macha had warned, leading her species toward a battle against the Kings in which victory will represent the domination over other species in the realm. And much like Brutus allowed himself to be moved to slaughter his own kin, Aghna now appears possessed by a power that lives only to satisfy its carnal desires and lust for domination.
Unsurprisingly, there is little honor among those who are singularly focused on the advancement of their own—a kind of species-based nationalism—and Aghna betrays her former lover, killing Vortigern in the process. This is a death from which he will not return, and while the survivors escape, Mouse is scarred by the untimely loss of a father she had known only in his afterlife.
All the while, the undefinable, ethereal evil of the Black Queen continues to overshadow the land, reminding Geadhain’s inhabitants at every turn that in the battle of man versus the forces of the universe, they are always the underdogs. Yet the machinations of the Black Queen and her cabal are not the only threats to peace in the realm. With Magnus either missing or dead after the battle with his corrupted brother, the Iron Queen, Gloriatrix, intends to launch an offensive against Eod, using all the forces of her technomagikal arsenal.
Gloriatrix’s past has been so marred by loss that when her son, Sorren, suddenly disappears, she takes it as a signal that she is destined to live a life bereft of love, cementing her ire against anyone who would deny her the singular pleasure remaining to her: power. But Elissandra, who shares Morigan’s gift of insight, knows that Sorren’s disappearance was not of earthly origin. His essence has been given over to a power greater than anything Gloriatrix could imagine—that of Death itself. And while Gloriatrix is almost singularly focused on capturing Morigan and her fellow travelers, she is blinded to the dissent that is fomenting in the halls of Menos in her absence. The Iron Sages begin staging a revolt, targeting Elissandra and her one vulnerability: her children. The sorceress barely escapes with her life and fails to impress upon Gloriatrix the growing futility of waging war against Eod.
Queen Lila, Magnus’s wife, has left the kingdom with her husband’s hammer, Erithitek. She leaves in her stead her hands, Lowelia and Leonitis, who will serve the kingdom in her absence, both wrapped in a spell of illusion that tricks whoever looks upon them into seeing the appearances and voices of their departed queen and Magnus’s hammer. Believing Magnus to have perished at Brutus’s hands, Lila has taken it upon herself to acquire a tool of untold power: the arm of Taroch. Conjured out of the ashes of Magnus’s despair, the ancient relic, like every tool of magik in the realm, possesses power that is easily abused and will extort a steep price from its user.
Approaching madness, Lila gives barely a thought to her once-beloved Summerlands or to those she left to safeguard its borders. She is blinded by her loss and pain, and Erik—her silent admirer and stalwart protector—is the only thing keeping her physical and spiritual being safe, as she wrestles with a faltering morality that is dizzied by grief. Both she and Erithitek—who is increasingly struggling to keep silent his intense feelings for the queen—are unaware that Magnus, in fact, exists in a kind of purgatory. There, Brutus has opened a window into his mind through which Magnus can view his rampages, in the hopes that he might seduce his captive brother into joining him as a vessel for the Black Queen. And so visions of Magnus that push Lila to the brink of sanity represent more than simple nightmares from which Erithetek must awaken her.
All the while, Rowena and Galivad, Queen Lila’s Sword and the Master of Eod’s East Watch, respectively, have been watching Moreth of El—a trafficker of all things dark and depraved in Menos. Also under their purview is his new bride, Beatrice, a woman not unfamiliar to Galivad. Beatrice, with her angel-like appearance and glowing aura, is more akin to a viper in her actions, her need for self-gratification finding purchase in the indulgent devouring of bodies and souls—one of whom was Galivad’s mother. The couple are kindred spirits with Gloriatrix, both taking relish in exacting their own sick torments on those who have the terrible misfortune of crossing their path—and Lila’s envoys are exactly such misfortunates.
Also caught in their web is one working for an invisible authority, guided by forces unknown in the corporeal world. Alastair, a man who had once granted Mouse her freedom from indentured service, appears to have a mission that extends well beyond that of underground trader of goods in Menos. His intrigue with Maggie, the owner of the Silk Purse tavern, leads him to pull her into his plots as well—the goals of which seem to shift along with his loyalties. While Alastair is another of Geadhain’s citizens for whom dying simply represents a bump on the road toward his next death, there is little question that he takes no pleasure in seeing Maggie tortured at the hands of their captors.
As the pack’s journey continues, Caenith comes to see that Aghna’s treachery is but the first of many shocking truths he must absorb. Deep in a cave, the pup that grew into a great Wolf is reunited with his mother. There in the darkness, the great Mother Wolf divulges a secret about his father’s identity that eclipses all the Wolf thought to be true about the world and his place in it. Brought face-to-face with the woman/beast who bore him, he learns that his father is none other than Brutus, the creature who would see the world’s destruction as a vessel of the Black Queen.
But while the immortals are faced with challenges of an otherworldly nature, most inhabitants of Geadhain cannot shake their mortal coil. Amid Menos’s murk, there are civilian casualties of a war they are simply trying to survive. A simple observer, Aadore does not see herself as a party to the jingoist frenzy into which Menos is being whipped. She seeks only to reunite with her brother, Sean, a man who has been ravaged by not only time but life’s savagery. At the moment of their strained homecoming, the city is rocked by explosions, and rising up from the detritus, these new players reveal themselves as the sole survivors.
Another unwitting player in fate’s grand theater, young Beauregard has a past that remains a mystery. But in the present, he and his father, Devlin, have been entrusted with knowledge that may secure the future of Geadhain’s most precious and beautiful region: Sorsetta. They leave the Summerlands—a land now scarred by Brutus’s fury—to act as messengers of the war that is bearing down on Sorsetta’s peaceful land. But more than that, they bring with them a tool of magik that offers one of the few glimpses of hope for defense. As Brutus appears to them, he is cloaked in the shadow of Magnus’s trapped spirit. Knowing that his son is strong enough to survive the hardships that await him, Devlin sacrifices himself so that Beauregard might wield their weapon: a wonderstone—a shard of condensed, ancient magik. Doing so releases Magnus from his purgatory, banishes Brutus, and propels Beauregard forward from peaceful poet to warrior of fate.
Meanwhile, as our travelers venture through the Pitch Dark groves of Alabion, they are met with three sisters of another kind. The three red witches whose taste for blood would see a meal made of each them can sense Morigan’s ascendant power. They foretell that hers will not be a path paved by peaceful light but with crimson. They also sense within Mouse a growing resentment for a fate that would drive her further into darkness.
The immutable nature of that which is preordained becomes ever more apparent as the Hunters of Fate finally meet with the sisters whose shaping of destinies makes them both friend and foe to all they meet. There, Morigan’s true calling as a Daughter of Fate is confirmed, born of Elemech and sister to Eean and Ealasyd. But the sisters also reveal that the darkness overtaking Geadhain is more terrible than the anthropomorphized version of the Black Queen could have led them to believe; she is The Great Dreamer, Zionae, whose roots run deeper than anything in their world. She is devouring Geadhain, and even immortals cannot halt her frenzy. Their only hope is to return to the cradle where life began to find a trace of Zionae’s fall from grace that might reveal a weakness. Despite the incredible losses they have incurred during their campaign to find the Sisters, Morigan and Caenith know that their destiny is to take up this mantle.
Recognizing that he, too, bears a burden for Geadhain’s fate, weary Thackery strikes a bargain for time. As an old man nearing the end of his days, Thackery declined across the miles, an effect made even more glaring in the company of immortals and beings who are seemingly beyond death. Each night as the travelers rested, he was enveloped by a vigil of companions wary that each breath might be the one that ushered in the end. But to add time to one life, it must be taken from another’s. And as a now youthful Thackery emerges from negotiations with the sisters, the origins of his newfound years are unknown.
Mouse—seemingly unable to deny the dark roots that were nurtured during her life in Menos—also readily accepts a deal, albeit from the three red witches, that would see her avenge her father. She is so blinded by her grief that she fails to realize that even for the purest of hearts, it is all too easy to be led astray when the desire to exact revenge rears its head. There is always a price to pay for such caprices, whether in this realm or another, and early indications are that Mouse may pay dearly for acting as the messenger for a spirit of retribution.
Even knowing that much of what lies ahead is unchangeable, the Three Sisters pull at wefts and warps here and there, keeping the fabric of fate intact, but all the while subtly changing its pattern. They cannot help themselves from crafting deals designed to test the travelers’ characters and push the limits of their virtues. Nor can they remain untangled from the affairs of beasts and men, even when their own existence may depend upon it. Even as sisters of fate, they make these bargains, largely unaware of the impacts they might have on the final tapestry for the future. But then again, these are not concerns for beings who are reborn as easily as a snake sloughs off its skin.
The only certainty that remains is that the Green Mother is angry, and what she wills, she wills…
When first entering the world of Geadhain, we encounter a realm of magical smoke and metaphysical mirrors reflecting the darkest and lightest that its inhabitants have to offer. But as the pages of Feast of Fates turn, a deeper understanding of this mystical realm emerges, one that parallels the universalisms found in our own very real experiences in this world. It is a world unlike any other, where science and magic form a mysterious force known as technomagik. It is a land borne of a Green Mother earth, but ruled by the wills—both conscious and unconscious—of kings and queens that wreak havoc on their world. But there comes a time where even a mother must teach her children the hard way, even if it pains her. And so Feast of Fates sees the start of the Green Mother’s tough love, depriving them of her protection for the anguish they have brought to her with their violence; it is the world’s inhabitants alone who can save themselves.
Our story begins with the weavers of fate themselves, the Three Sisters—Eean, Elemech, and Ealasyd—who make their homes in the forests of Alabion. The Sisters represent life, death, and all its various contortions and permutations in the world. There, they both give birth to, and usher death upon, themselves and the world. With each renewal, they shape the twists and turns of our players’ journeys, for better or worse. They represent destiny’s infinite loop in a twisted sibling rivalry that will determine Geadhain’s future. But even the Sisters of Fate cannot control the rumblings on destiny’s horizon—the harbingers of destruction to come in the stormy and ethereal form of the Black Queen.
The scene shifts to the city of Eod—Geadhain’s cosmopolitan metropolis. Nestled within Kor’Khul’s oceans of sand, it is known as the City of Wonders for its host of technomagikal advancements and a skyline filled with flying carriages ferrying Eod’s cultural and social elite. There we find Morigan, a young woman of character and strength who is traveling toward a destiny that was forged ages before her birth, and one that is intimately entwined in tapestries of the Three Sisters.
Morigan lives a simple life as a handmaiden until her world is thrown into tumult as she is drawn to the literal animal magnetism of Caenith, a wolf-man changeling whose initial gruff appearance belies his ancient origins and unimaginable power. The two are instantly bonded, each of them knowing that their attraction goes well beyond “love at first sight,” and is more akin to having been written in Geadhain’s starry skies. The two cannot deny what has been preordained, and the ripple effect of the Wolf and Fawn’s union (as they come to know each other) as bloodmates begins to be felt throughout Geadhain. Their coming together stirs ancient powers of sight in Morigan, and inspires the beast in Caenith to reclaim its role in his life.
Morigan’s nascent visions are a near-constant reminder that whenever there is joy, sorrow remains but a half step behind. She is witness to waves of destruction and death shadowing the realm, making their impending presence known not only to her but to all of Geadhain. In her mind’s eye, she sees that just as we humans wage war against ourselves and the earth that has borne us all, so, too, does Geadhain face a battle against evil forged in blackness, smelted from the depths of all the worst the world has to offer. Chief among Morigan’s visions is the emergence from the pitch of the Black Queen.
This foul, black entity exerts her power chiefly by wielding the bodies of others like puppets. Morigan is forced to watch as the Black Queen overtakes Magnus’s body to mete out a brutal attack on his wife. She is also witness to her use of the Sun King, Brutus, to wage war against his own people, pitting him against his brother in kingship and immortality, Magnus, the Everfair King. The incorporeal figure of the Black Queen has set the wheels firmly in motion to bring drought and death to the Green Mother’s world.
A witness to Morigan’s symbiosis is Thackery Thule, a sorcerer who guided her in her youth and through the painful loss of her mother. Thackery forms another piece of the puzzling group that will either pitch Geadhain forward into light or see it crumble before them into darkness. For years, Thackery’s past was concealed from Morigan, but unwittingly, she begins to reveal tragedies long buried. His is a history filled with loss at the hands of those closest to him, the details of which will play out over the tapestry of time. He quickly realizes that Morigan’s powers extend beyond simple fortune-teller’s tricks; she may hold the key to Geadhain’s future. In an effort to safeguard this knowledge, Thackery takes them to see Queen Lila. There, in the royal palace’s Hall of Memories, Morigan reveals that the threat that Brutus poses to the queen, the kingdom, and the entire realm is also manifest in Lila’s spouse, Magnus.
But the sudden emergence of Morigan’s long-repressed powers has not gone unnoticed by other powers that be, and fear that she might pose a threat to the hierarchical order of Menos quickly makes her a target. In those moments where Caenith and Morigan are pledging their blood to each other, others are plotting to capture the Fawn and subjugate her before the Iron Queen of Menos, Gloriatrix, a woman so driven by grief at the loss of her husband that she has ruled her kingdom with a fist worthy of her title. Never content to do her own dirty work, she instructs her son, Sorren, to become a party to the destruction of Eod and capture of Morigan. He sets off a number of explosions that destabilize the city not only physically but also politically and socially, and Lila is struck with the realization of Eod’s vulnerability. For Thackery, Sorren’s indifference to inflicting pain comes as no surprise. As his uncle, the sorcerer was not only a witness to his past violence but a victim as well. As the mysteries of Thackery’s past continue to be untangled, we learn that not only is Gloriatrix his sister, but his nephew was responsible for the death of his wife.
Before the dust can settle, Morigan is spirited away to Menos, a city that breeds its own brand of filth borne out of fear. She is to be held captive there until she is subjugated to the whims of Gloriatrix. But even with her newfound powers still in their infancy, the Fawn is a worthy match for her captors. So, too, is her new companion, Mouse, a member of Geadhain’s underworld network of spies. This diminutive woman has been shaped by the mean streets of Menos, the ones paved with slavery, exploitation, violations, and hate. Mouse had done her time in the city and sought out a new face from a fleshcrafter, only to discover that there truly is no honor among thieves, landing her in the same captivity as Morigan. Like the city of Menos itself, Mouse’s moral compass is one that, accordingly, wavers with the magnetic pull of the tides.
The unlikely pairing of these two women is a reminder of how difficult it can be to cut through the obscurities of a world where appearances are never quite as they seem. Our impulse to simply dismiss the “bad guys” is constantly challenged by being privy to perceptions of individuals both within and without the relationships of all our players. Good and evil are never as simple as they appear. Each player is “othered” by those in opposition. Good is never just good. Evil is never simply evil. Perception is everything.
Neither does “dead” always mean “dead.” There are brokers and fleshcrafters who deal in the undead and nearly dead, and these manner of men are holding the women in wait for Gloriatrix’s interrogation. But even the zombielike slaves of these nekromantic death dealers have deep within them a spark of humanity waiting to be lighted once again. For no one is this more true than Vortigern, the dead man whose shackles of catatonia are broken when Morigan’s psychic bees pierce into his mind. Buried deep below his death mask is a past and present inextricably linked to the group. He was no random victim of Sorren’s psychopathy—they were brothers. Vortigern’s present death was the consequence of having once loved Sorren’s wife and fathered a child with her, Fionna, the mighty Mouse who is now a witness to his deliverance from un-death.
But these women are not stunned into inaction by their newly gained knowledge, for the world of Fates is not one in which women are the meek observers of the world’s affairs, passively allowing events to simply happen to them. And so their escape comes not at the hands of Thackery and Caenith, who have ventured into Menos’s dangerous underworld to rescue them, but through the women’s own ingenuity and intuitive powers. In the process of their escape, they rescue yet another prisoner, Kanatuk—once a malevolent, mind-thralled servant to Menos’s underworld kingpin, the Broker. Although before being enslaved and brought to Menos, Kanatuk was a peaceful wanderer of the frozen North. Through Morigan’s grace and natural proclivity toward reweaving broken souls, he is rescued from his darkness and restored of his past.
Elsewhere, in their efforts to rescue Morigan, Caenith and Thackery also encounter a young changeling girl being exploited at the hands of the seemingly insane Augustus and free her of the bonds of child bride-dom. A skin-walker without a skin, Macha is a sister of Alabion, and like her changeling brethren, she is possessed of visions of other worlds. Her dreams are ones that foreshadow the presence of an unknown, fanged warmother who has ushered an era of conflict and violence into their homeland. They form a troop of undeniable misfits that eventually makes its way out of Menos toward a destiny whose grandeur and importance is made increasingly clear through Morigan’s visions and buzzing mind hive. She alone bears the full weight of those visions and the horrors that unfold within her mind’s eye. Even the mental and spiritual link with her bloodmate do not fully spare her of that burden.
In an effort to secure what she believes is her rightful place in the halls of power, Gloriatrix has formed an alliance with Elissandra, a powerful sorceress and seer. She believes that the prophecies have foretold that when brother rises against brother, she will find her place in the resulting power vacuum. But even the Iron Queen is unaware that the powers that run deep in Morigan’s veins also run in Elissandra’s; we learn that they are both Daughters of the Moon, sisters in the providence of Alabion. And so Gloriatrix’s plan to wage war against the immortals may be undermined and her suspicions of Elissandra warranted.
Meanwhile, King Magnus and his hand, Erithitek, have been leading the troops of Eod’s Silver Watch forward toward Zioch, the City of Gold and host to Brutus’s throne. Magnus begins to appreciate the scope of his brother’s burgeoning depravity, unleashing terror and chaos upon his own people. It also becomes clear that there is every chance that his journey is one from which he might not return. He thus elicits a hard-won promise from Erithitek to return to Eod and keep safe his Queen Lila.
But not unlike the two women who use their strength and cunning to escape Menos, the queen that Magnus left behind is no manner of shrinking violet. Shaken by Morigan’s prophetic revelations, she is no longer certain that the man she loved is as virtuous as she once believed, and whether the choices she made were truly guided by love or something more sinister. She sets out on a dangerous journey upon Erithitek’s return, steeled to protect her people against any offensive from Gloriatrix. Yet love of husband and love of kingdom drive her to commit acts of terror against those who would threaten either, reminding us that each one of us believes we are “the good guys.”
As Magnus continues the Watch’s advance, he knows that his brother is lying in wait, hunting him. Once the two are face-to-face, Magnus comes to understand that just as Brutus has transformed his kingdom into a wasteland, so, too, have the feelings of fraternity they once shared been transformed into intense hatred. Empowered by the Black Queen, Brutus overtakes his brother in a firestorm of destruction. Lest mortals and immortals alike forget: even with all the accumulated powers of the world, complete control over one’s ecosystem is always an illusion. Magnus’s vanquishment by his brother shakes the foundations of Geadhain, and the land spews forth a natural disaster, a storm of frost and fire that sweeps the world from end to end, triggered by the outcome of the battle between brothers.
It is a battle that produces no winners, since it takes place in a realm where even the very concept of death is malleable. And death, or that which resembles it, is the destabilizing force it always is, bringing with it both chaos and clarity. Thus the Black Queen’s reign of terror begins with the fall of Magnus and the rise of her corrupted avatar, Brutus, from the ashes of that climactic battle.
When the smoke clears, a world lies in ruin. The line between coincidence and fate is wholly blurred. And the Three Sisters reveal that they are adding a new sibling to their fold—one by the name of Morigan.