The Big PictureEdit
The end times are drawing near.
In the grand scheme of things, Concordia is on the verge of war. The beloved High King David Ardry has recently, and inexplicably gone missing, creating an upset of power at the highest seat in the country. While this is many, many miles away from the current setting of Dusk, there has been a significant impact on local politics.
These shockwaves rippled through the Parliament of Dreams itself. It's members have been unable to appoint new rule, and have been thrown into disarray with no real figurehead to guide them. Many have stepped up to make their own rightful claims, or what they claim as such. But with no real support in any one direction, the Parliament has stalled.
Representatives from major duchies have either pulled back entirely, or resorted to underhanded tactics to further one potential ruler's agenda or another. For many, this is politics as usual. Though with so much on the line, the stakes have reason, and so has the desperation. Political maneuvering has become assassination attempts, or simply taking any steps necessary to discredit another.
This exists on both sides of the line. While Ardry has his progeny, and a sister who both wish to ascend to the throne, the Unseelie believe that their time for rule has finally come. With other events in the world, including the return of Lost Houses, stirring of the Adhene, and the Red Star, those on the side of nightmares are stepping up to lead Concordia into Winter.
Closer to home, the Duchy of the Crimson Canyon – one of the largest in Chief Greyhawk's Kingdom of the Burning Sun – has completely withdrawn from Parliament. Greyhawk himself has been known for his leniency when it comes to the affairs of commoners and Gallain alike. His ties to the Nunnehi are unrivaled. This has facilitated the growth of a booming, modernist, liberal Changeling community. The Duchy of Crimson Canyon is known to be one of the most commoner-friendly within the country.
As the first shots of the War in Concordia ring out across the country, as ancient foes and forgotten Houses emerge from the Dreaming, as Winter itself has started to rear its ugly head, the Kithain of Colorado have isolated themselves. Their primary goals have become survival, and protecting their domain. Their one stable home in the midst of a crumbling world. And while there is no shortage of Sidhe rule in the area, in many cases, the commoners themselves are the true driving force.
This has served the duchy two-fold, in both drawing new members to the population, seeking refuge, allowing the duchy to grow. And by giving Crimson Canyon a much larger army to defend itself from any that would dare to encroach and subject them to a repeat of the Accordance Wars.
With the Commoner's King Ardry gone, and the Parliament powerless, that's exactly what many opportunistic traditionalists think they are facing. The question is, will they make a move against Crimson Canyon, or will these wars be fought elsewhere?
The Fate of Great Wolf's ChagrinEdit
A letter from Chief Greyhawk ap Gwydion:
- The story of the Ducal Seat of the Crimson Canyon is a troubling one. It is the tale of the rug being pulled out from under us, a fall before our very eyes. Duke Alistair ap Fiona was an ambitious and vibrant young man. A soul too keen on the advancements of the mortal and modern world, a drawback of his youth, or perhaps a strength not properly tapped into.
- He was a visionary, and unlike his peers, he pressed himself and his court towards the future. He saw hope in forging new dreams in places not often sought. He spoke of concepts like Kith equality, taking the High Kings treaties to the extremes, and of ventures with the prodigal wolves, and of assimilation of modern technology into Kithain life. He also pressed for research in the field of what he dubbed Magitech.
- These devices ran on principles already familiar to crafter's guilds, but some of the applications were both new and puzzling. Advancements came from within the small court, even if some of the tools provided came from benefactors unknown to all but the Duke himself. They were believed to be among his prodigal contacts, or perhaps an allegiance with a noble of House Dougal, but were not confirmed.
- These bits of technology used things like fire elemental chimera to power their engines, and other similar concepts. Through use of arts, chimera, or potent amounts of Glamour were bound to the contraptions, using a process not too different than the creation of spirit-possessed Fetishes. Thanes were sent to capture chimera wholesale, dross was sacrificed in large amounts, the duchy still thrived.
- There is such a thing as too much of a good thing, if you are to take stock in the flaw of my Fiona colleagues. Duke Alistair had been flirting for far too long, and the excitement was lost. Delving deeper into the world of his prodigal acquaintances, however, gave him just enough risk to satisfy his needs. And it turned out to be more than he asked for.
- It's easy to influence one as hungry as he had been. Among the wolves there is a faction that serves the Dark, as the Fomorians have. They call themselves the Black Spiral Dancers. Whether they found him, or he sought them out, is a tale that only the dead can tell. They were just as eager to exploit him, and he was easily exploited.
- They continued to feed him practice and theory on his new magic based tinker toys, and he no doubt turned over a great deal of lore of our kind. The Duke, who had already been straddling the line made an Unseelie shift. He distanced himself from the rest of his court. Over the next several months, that circle of outside influence became bigger and bigger, while his own personal world grew smaller.
- The hold changed with him. Nearly nine months ago, he officially changed the name, to Great Wolf's Chagrin. When he was questioned on the matter, many had been lead to believe that he had simply fallen out of love with the idea of the prodigal shifters. Though the atmosphere of the land itself changed, Fiona were known for both their highs and their lows.
- No one had been able to console him out of this one.
- Court still ran, as his grasp on power remained. Some questionable decisions were made. It was around this time that the abandoned thorpe that was to become the Barony of Hearthsong was discovered. That was the last major move that Alistair and his court made.
- The hold withered in ways that no one could quite place a finger on. The bale remained strong, no more banality than had already been had seeped in. A spiritual degradation was taking place. And only those not truly complacent had felt detached from what the court was becoming.
- On the night of December 20, and into the early morning hours of the 21st, Great Wolf's Chagrin simply and suddenly fell. A pulse of virulent Banality rippled through the Near Dreaming. In that moment, horrors were spawned, and just as quickly were swallowed whole, along with the holding.
- Duke Alistair had sacrificed himself and the bale to his Dark-serving friends. It had been devoured, along with the innocent, and/or clueless members of his court. A great many lives were lost in silence. Word however is beginning to trickle out...
- Over the past fortnight, there has simply been a void. But the Dreaming has responded. It has been wounded, and in effort to mend itself, another drastic shift occurred. The Firchlis rolled through in places previously anchored. The will of the Dreaming itself overcoming the shaping magics of our people, and the scarring left by the Spiral Wolves.
- In the form of a bandage, trods from elsewhere were moved. The void gone, replaced by a Market hold from the Duchy of Golden Gate, in the Kingdom of Pacifica. Our displaced friends are going to need some time to adjust.
- What became of those souls lost from Great Wolf's Chagrin? You might just be wondering that. Them, and that portion of the Dreaming have vanished entirely. Perhaps lost to the Shadowlands or the Middle Umbra. Caer Crimson Canyon has brought with it fresh, untainted, clean land, with a powerful and radiant balefire of its own.
The Market hold of Caer Crimson Canyon is just now finding its footing and seeking stability. The fall of Great Wolf's Chagrin simply goes to show that threats still exist within the boundaries of Crimson Canyon, and that a need to learn of their prodigal neighbors for good or ill exists.
More information about Caer Crimson Canyon can be found here. .
The Lay of the LandEdit
Within the Duchy of The Crimson Canyon (which holds most of Colorado, and more importantly, the eastern, more inhabited portion of the state) lies a pair of Counties, and within that lay a small handful of Baronies. Most noted is the northern County, which fancies itself as gateway between the Kingdom of Grass and the Kingdom of the Burning Sun. To the south, near the mortal cities of Pueblo and Trinidad, lies the southern half of the duchy. Below is more detail regarding the two halves (and the holdings therein) these settings.
The County of Sun's Rest, formerly ruled by Catriona d'Lance ni Gwydion, contains the mortal cities of Denver and Boulder, Colorado. Within such, most notably, is the Daireann held freehold of Hearthsong, and the County holding of Valley's Gate. The former is known not only for its relative newcomer status, having only been resurrected within early 2010, but due to the fact that it is gaining a reputation as a Cauldron House, something more prevalent some time ago.
Valley's Gate, however, has been of record for at least the past five decades, born out of dreams of the counterculture that still remains prevalent within Boulder to this day. The freehold itself existed in a pocket of the Near Dreaming close to the campus of UCD Boulder, and from there, the county was held by a more Traditional Gwydion rule – it was matter of great political tension, as both the duchy above and some baronies beneath remain quite liberal to the point of Modernist tendencies. This remained until the hold's fall at the hands of "Horizon" in early 2011.
The southern portion of the duchy The County of Serpent's Grove, containing the mortal cities of Pueblo and Trinidad, Colorado, is decidedly the lesser of the two halves of the duchy; there were no particularly sparkling notes of art in either of these places, though Trinidad does have its exaggerated claim of the 'Sex Change Capital of the World' to spark imaginations (and at times, controversy). The county has been surmised of various near-fiefdoms, some kithain, some – other, particularly Nunnehi, though more than that has been noted to crawl out of the woodwork.
Officially, this area is ruled by an elusive Eiluned who lays no real claim to either the land or any definitive Legacy – he is known to be Count Isaac, though there is no surname to tie him to. Most throw this notion to the wind, though, as he is Eiluned, and at the best, one would call him wrapped up in his work.
Rumors persist that he may be a member of the Crystal Circle, even, and that is what keeps him away; these rumors are unconfirmed.
Between these two counties, though, lies the city of Colorado Springs; while the city is, in all technicalities, within the northern county, its central location makes it a bit of a crux to the ruling classes. With Hearthsong located nearest there, it is a place between the order of Sun's Rest and the chaos of Serpent's Grove.
Unity is a driving goal for the Kithain of Crimson Canyon. Whether it be between Seelie and Unseelie courts, nobles and commoners, or more importantly Kithain and Prodigal, many believe that these are the end times, and the only way to brave them will be on common ground.
While the Fae of Concordia have their own political mess, true evil moves outside of these bounds, uncaring of how a vote passes or fails, or that it was even taken in the first place. The fight here, the fight to ensure the world, is a much more literal and direct one. And as steps are taken forward to bring in new and old allies, more common ground is found. More causes are shared. More advances are made.
Victory in the fight for tomorrow becomes that much closer.
True unity is something that may never be achieved. But even those opposed to the attitudes of the Modernists know the benefits of strengths in numbers. Not all who allied with the shifters allied with those of the Gaian persuasion. Even worse, the Wyrm's influence has greatly expanded into the Changeling world. Truth be told, it was there all along, but new arrivals from the depths of the Dreaming, and previously unseen horrors cropping up have brought it to the forefront.
The greatest threats come in the form of agents of the Fomorians (not to be confused with Fomori.) The Thallain did manage to sneak their way back to the Autumn World at the tail end of the Shining Host during the initial resurgence. But their true numbers, and true presence weren't felt until the second round, which also brought with it the nobles of the Lost Houses. The Adhene, or denizens came along for the ride as well.
Stories of encounters with Dauntain have also reached the Kithain of Crimson Canyon, when they were previously used as nothing more than stories to frighten the Childlings. But beyond all that, beyond the signs that the ancient evils, the Fomorians themselves might be stirring from their slumber, the outside threats have been the worse.
Then there's the Wyrm's presence, as noted before. Some Kithain have fallen prey to and become Fomori (not to be confused with Fomorians.) These twisted Fae-Wyrm hybrids are something entirely unknown to the Kithain. Confronting them as they would another Fae threat has not achieved any lasting results. The Garou have had no such luck on their own either.
What's even more daunting are the rumors circulating of those willingly subjecting themselves to the various monstrosities. For every Fae fighting to save the world, there appears to be one just as dedicated to tearing it down.