Dear one, can I share a tall tale of strange wonder? It’s a secret that concerns us both, in a way. A missing piece recovered from our collective depths. Alone it means very little but I’m hoping it might illuminate a vital context. There are many who wonder what it might be like to hold the echoes of words as yet unsaid, or songs as yet unsung. Future ghosts of unborn fictions. Well, in my time, in my lost world, there was once a person who was said to be able to do all these things. It was uttered by poets and scribes that she was a liminal being, in those shining ways before the despoiling of the old chronologies. Aurum Kara, they called her. Light of the Myriad. Ishka of Viir. Twin of K’anna. She had many names. The healers called her the old maiden, the night sun, the ancient child. But she was so much more than a keeper of lakes and thresholds. She was revered as one of the first teachers of the hidden way. They say she spoke a thousand tongues and was honoured in every culture. Science, art and philosophy. Did you know that, my beautiful seamstress? That little piece of our true history? Our lands were once connected, you know. Before those wraith-priests shattered our straits and drowned our cartography. The North Way and the place called Albion by the poets – they were once a single shining realm. Have you ever imagined such a thing, even in dreams? No matter if not. So much of our true history was stolen, suppressed, rewritten. But more than this – the very threads of time and space were altered using the darkest, most frightening magic. Our oldest texts are counterfeit. Our fictions truer than our fact. Nobody believes me, seamstress. Not anymore. The imaginal has dimmed to a flicker of its former lucidity. It’s not the temple of inner sight it once was. These beautiful, unsuspecting people; they have become utterly entangled in the Fallen’s web of lies. They believe the temporal inversions that now pass for history, culture and memory. But you know what hurts me the most, as an adept and a storyteller? The thing that haunts my every waking moment? It’s the fact that our most beautiful fables, myths and fairy-tales are but pale shadows of the glories we once lived in the flesh. A subtler flesh than this, it's true. But no less sensate, vivid or real. They altered our chronologies, seamstress. These tailors of time and space. These dark occultists. The holy well is poisoned with the blood of the innocent. The very heart of the vortex is blasphemed, made profane with unimaginable human suffering. Many of the women still sense this, and some of the men. All across the realm. Some of them still grieve it in their souls. The Ra’ishka could look both ways, they said. Forwards and backwards through the mists of what men call causality. Here, in this ancient stellarium of stone, of oak, birch and pine, she was honoured. But the bright ones told me that Aurum Kara prophesied her own fall, that she spoke of future legends. Stories built on the co-mingling of sex and death. The darkening of our druidry. The blackening of her hair and the reddening of her lips. Birth of the witch queen, the sinister sorceress. Wrath of the lake. Shadow of the pearl. You know all about these stories, dear one. Everybody does. But I’ve seen true horror. Beyond the myths of Mar’kanna or the killings of Kiskuh. I witnessed an endless despair. Something I carried in my heart for almost a thousand years. Oh, my Ishkara. My sister of the unsaid. I wish I could show you the truth. What happened during the seething hush, when the cities began to fold and the spiritual darkness began to spread. But it’s not really something that should ever be seen. Midnight of the Day, I call it. I lost everyone I loved that day. My entire family. They drove a spear through her back, you know. A sword, some say. They impaled her. Pinning her to solstice earth within a blessed ring. Stones and branch, holding the eternal sea. She was with child at the time. Hunched over, one arm reaching desperately at her back, fingers curled around the killing blade. The awful recognition in her eyes. Both lives lost in a matter of moments. Yeah, I know a few things about grief, and war. Petrification. Vitrification. A thing of stone and glass she became. It was a mockery, you see. Of the entire shining realm. Those lands of light and places of peace. Not simply a boy and a ghost and a gate of Lud. There was far more than just dragon's silver hidden within the stone shaft of Powles Crosse. There was a dark magic concealing blacker magic still. A way to usurp the throne of songs. “Whosoever pulls this spear from stone...” Well, let's just say that I wept for centuries. I still have terrifying nightmares on ocassion. And I scatter them freely amidst all the secret societies of the earth. I want the Fallen to feel a little of what I feel. Echoes as yet unsaid, dark songs as yet unsung, moving back and forth through Man's notion of time. Syrian parlour tricks, I suppose. Somerset dreaming. A different kind of lucidity among the Fay. It’s still 1194 to so many of us. Even the unsuspecting. Magicians and medieval kings. Grails and gallants. This is my tall tale, seamstress. My exercise in linguistic nihilism. They say none of it is true. Is that who I am now? A fallen angel, a bizarre catastrophist screaming to the heavens about the abhorrent sophistry of these dark ones? Weeping over their deviant spell-craft and malevolent technologies. Better to be a failed artist, I suspect. A nightmare poet. It seems far less heart-breaking. They say the haunted stone shattered as the boy drew the sword. They were not wrong. I cannot quell my rage but I’ve tried to make amends for that failure. My inability to protect the people I loved. I suppose maturity is knowing that you can’t always get what you want. But sometimes you can. There is an incalculable fury within me now. I will make them pay for what they’ve done, in my own terrifying way. Just know that we’re winning, seamstress. Despite the lies they try to sell you. This place is not yet a desolate ruin. There is still music here, community and family. Pages and pages of glorious fiction. The light of love is winning. You remind me of her, so much. You even have her eyes, and some of her secrets. She was a teacher to me once. A lover and a friend. I am still so very fond of her flitting hands and sacred gold. Hear me now, Fallen. I do not abide this slavery or corruption. Your red gates will be closing soon. They are my gates now. You still think art means nothing, does nothing, despite your rudimentary initiation. You were never the magus. Just a heartless clown begging for signs and wonders at my feet. Murder my loves and steal my songs? Oh, my swordhand will sing. I’ll take your fucking hellscape apart piece by piece. It's already begun. My words can change things. Language of the birds, upon M'ithriin tongue. Don't you remember who I am? The king is dead, they say. Long live the king.