“Be alert people! We’re crossing beyond the Glarewood into Fey. Everything here could be something dangerous and send you to an unpleasant end. Unless its beautiful. Then it is definitely something dangerous and will send you to an unpleasant end.”
-an elected Warden Captain to his Circle when passing beyond the Orchard District into the Fey Realm.
Enemies of the City of Seven Seraphs: The Flowered Queen & Lightbringers
At the heart of most great tales lies love. In the City of Seven Seraphs that love might be said to focus on the Flowered Queen, Hyandil and what she felt for her friends who traveled the worlds beyond. As a princess of Fey Realm, Hyandil was said to be the daughter of the Rose Throne’s queen and a powerful elven archmage from the Prime Worlds. She spent an ageless childhood in the worlds of Dream.
The Princess grew bored.
In the Public Kivas of the Colleges District they sing of her grand journeys through the Prime Worlds and of the four souls she met on the way. Bards may argue about the specifics but most agree that that in the end there were five. A dangerous number. An ill-omen to be sure. The tellings vary between each who sing but most will say that Hyandil loved all of her companions. As friends or more who could be certain?
Around her grew light, love and adventure.
Shinthalis the Gray said it was she, the Princess Bud, Aphos and Aphora the mage-twins, Ceradon Longeye and Duxandus of the First Frosts who made those journeys. He was somewhat prone to embellishment, but as lovers danced partners and friends laughed in each song of his Cycle of Seven, it always came back to Hyandil and Ceradon. They were wed in a timeless forest in an world whose name is now forgotten.
They kissed in the light of magic.
The songs say it was there in the wind after that fated kiss she first saw it. A silvered hair tossed in the wind from Ceradon’s brow. The feyblooded princess knew little of time. But as the wind carried the hair away from them she knew it then. Ceradon was dying. So were the twins. So was the ice-maker. Not the sudden death, but the mortal one. Her friends were withering away–how had it taken her so long to see?
She told them a secret.
In her journey from the Realm of the Fey, Hyandil had passed through the Shadow of Yggdrasil, not yet called the Lattice and she beheld it. Radia. The Storm of the Infinite. If she had a hope of saving those she loved it was there. She taught them each the secret names to call the Shadow and led them into the Dark.
The Fade barred their way.
Some say Aphos eager to eclipse the new groom Ceradon, attacked the Fade. Others say he subdued them with his nascent Divine Will. Others say he wept in the forests that would one-day be the Great Orchard. But a it is known wandering nature-priestess offered to join them for she too had been denied.
The Circle of Six was formed.
Satisfied with their Union and Balance, the Fade gave them leave to enter the light under Radia. The Circle studied its power, mysteries and in time each came to seek a way to remain in Hyandil’s love and light, forever. Hyandil was pleased and as her friends followed their Paths, she sang and danced, casting word of their successes into the heavens.
The Paths diverged.
Each of the Circle took their own way. Aphos the way of Blood. Aphora the way of Fire. Duxandus the way of Ice. Ceradon the way of Eternity. And the Priestess with No Name the way of Rebirth. These was were as different as the feet that trod them. And each named their way best. Ceradon was most proud as that he ever would remain as Hyandil, endless and Eternal.
The Runeweavers came.
The Radia dimmed and the light that was to grant her loves the power to remain beside her was threatened. She sang her Mother’s song. She called to the Fey, the Linnorm, and the Sleeping Beasts. Her flowers bloomed on every world and the ways were made open. The Lightbringers came to Shadow and the Web of Runes was rent asunder. As peace returned, she took with child.
She bore Ceradon a son.
This boy was said to be a wonder. A joy of light and power. Ceradon and her son watched the City grow beside her. A royal family in all but crown. The place called Hyraeatan by the Fade prospered. But the Paths diverged. Aphos’ hunger ever grew and he began to call the City his. Aphora was lost to Flame. Duxandus stopped his beating heart. The Nameless Priestess slipped between lives.
The boy was discovered, dead.
Drained of blood and touched by the blood of another, Hyandil sought out her once beloved companion. Aphos faced her fury and glory as she demanded he explain the slow crossing of living death in her boy. He denied nothing. Aphos only asked where the father had been. Ceradon fell from Hyandil’s eyes. She raged and stormed and decided it was not enough to merely destroy them both.
She vowed to destroy their City.
Abandoning the Tower of Light, she took her armies of fey and magic and returned to the Realm of her Mother. Casting her last glance back she smiled knowing that lest the City find Balance once more, it was doomed Fall… and if it did not… she’d return herself to tear it down.
* * * * *
At release the City of Seven Seraphs has only barely recovered from the first Lightbringers Incursion. The City bares the marks of a magical invasion and has gained strange new allies like Prince Maelwyn and the shadow few Court of the Mithral Throne. Dissidents supporting the agenda of the once glorious age of the Tower of Light work to undermine the City’s balance hoping one day for the return of the Flowered Queen…