The King Norivu’Denor of the Selkie Kingdom looked tired standing upon the dais before his gathered subjects. His first-born son, Norivu’Cael, had returned just in time for the coronation, his immortal life saved by those mortals known as Travancians. What should have been a joyous day was shadowed in the betrayal of his second son, Norivu’Tevrin. The bound and captive brother had confessed to his crimes, although he showed no remorse for his actions. That Tevrin had made an alliance with the Unseelie Court and its Queen Hyporia was in itself unfathomable to the wise and ancient neutral king - he had spent his reign protecting the Coral Curtain Reef and the natural rifts between their realm and the Prime Material plane safe from the machinations of those that would use such a through-way for destructive purposes. But the idea that Tevrin believed so strongly in this alliance that he would plant a mortal spy in their midst to assassinate Cael put a weight on the Selkie King heavier than the loss of the children's mother so long ago. Tevrin claimed he wished to bring the kingdom into a new era – one that did not live in fear of mortalkind but ruled over them. He had planned to use Cael as a martyr, murdered by a mortal himself, to rally the selkies to his cause in their search for vengeance. Denor could not be more saddened that his youngest son saw his quest for balance between their realms as a weakness.

As such, the coronation began with a trial, and at the Counselor Morganna’s suggestion, the young prince would be exiled to a room in her Palace of Onyx and Pearl until such time as he showed reformation for his acts. With such long lives, perhaps one day he would. Cael had not returned alone, however, and in his last act as king, Norivu’Denor found some joy in granting the young mortal Kathleen her wish to stay among the selkies as one of their own. What wouldn't he give to the woman that fought so hard to save his first born son? She bore a selkie skin from the Nyad spy Arlyn Mariner, which had been stolen by Tevrin from a young selkie, whose death was another crime on the young prince’s hands. Ownerless, its power was still great, and with it Denor granted Kathleen the powers and immortality of selkie-kind – a wedding present so that she may become Cael's wife and queen.

Counselor Morganna left the coronation-turned-trial-and-nuptials before it had fully ended. Faeries and their mortal loves - such things will never change. She held no ill will, really no emotions towards the matter either way, but she was disturbed by the events she had witnessed within Travance, and at the information she had learned during the negotiations for the device now known as the Mortalis. It pained her to disregard the proper protocols, but she imagined the selkies would barely notice in their quite vivid emotional states, and if they did, probably did not mind her absence. Few, even among the Undine, we're ever comfortable in the presence of the elder siren.

Using some of the last of her personal reserves to return herself home after a trying period away, she arrived safely to the Palace to be informed that the Baroness Hartwoode had more or less recovered from the unexpected psychic mishap that occurred when the siren had made her first attempt in using the Mortalis. The elven female had already been returned to Travance by the Palace attendants, as per the typical protocols to be used towards mortals rescued at Morganna’s behest - slightly disoriented, unsure of where she’d been, and to a relatively safe location near presumed allies. While assured of the Baroness’s ultimate safety, Morganna mentally noted that she may need to revise that point of order if she planned to increase her otherwise relatively infrequent encounters with mortals, and that she might also consider an apology, if this turned out to be an inconsiderate act in Travancian opinion.

The idea of further visits to the Prime Material plane seemed to be in question however. Would the formal negotiations between Travance and the Unseelie continue after the revelations that came forward? The first stage of the talks was highly irregular, what with Hyporia so quickly making a play for the desired object of the negotiations. The Mortalis should not have even been discussed until a few stages had passed successfully, and yet the Queen had forged forward with little regard for etiquette. Despite her gnawing curiosity, the siren reminded herself that this was not her responsibility, even with the safety of the Mortalis in question. At least someone had finally decided to talk to what was inside. Being stuck in an Iron Vault had to be lonely, even for an inanimate object with only the echo of sentience.

The Iron Vault - Now that was a question. How did the Travancians find that particular pocket of Ellorian’s realm anyway? Even her own planar doorways to his kingdom had been closed off as part of the deal between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts to seal away the Mortalis. Except for the neutral grounds of the Pass, of course, which were currently held by - but no, the idea was insane....Wasn't it?

Alone in the cavern depths of her personal chambers, Morganna sat herself down cross-legged in front a large still pool of water in the polished stone floor. Dragging her silver fingernails across its surface, she began to make swirling patterns that may have seemed random to the casual observer. Mentally projecting her intentions to the mirror-like waters, images began to form before her eyes.

Morganna had been informed by those subject to her will that the faerie ship the Sapphire Stag and its faun Captain Symele had departed the Travancian coastline only some hours before she arrived in the Proper. This may have been mere coincidence, or a deliberate act of avoidance - even faerie sailors knew it was best to avoid the Undine matriarch. The shining galleon sat calmly now in another mortal port, this time disguised as usual as some nondescript craft, with a nondescript crew, preying on the misfortune of the local denizens with promises of lucky victories should they gamble well. Glancing at the bottle of rum sitting stoically with other tokens from other mortals along the walls of the chambers, the siren idly wondered if the visit had anything to do with her former Coast Havennite guest, or if it were also mere coincidence.

Shifting her focus, Morganna scanned the Spaces Between Spaces until an image of Hyporia and her attendant Halcyon appeared before her. It was blurred and she could not hear their speech – Hyporia’s protections against scrying were powerful, but not infallible to the powers of the siren as long as the Queen remained outside her stronghold. She looked angry, which was not an uncommon appearance for her, but she also seemed agitated and worried as she looked out across her Unseelie territories before her. She was preparing for something, some kind of storm, but a storm of what Morganna was not sure. Halcyon must have said something comforting, or at the very least distracting, because the two turned and walked out of view, the doors of the magnificent Opalite Citadel closing behind them.

Searching further, Ellorian's Pass lay quiet and empty, the cobbled roads leading to the former castle of the monarch of the Third Court broken and overgrown from neglect. Further in, the Iron Vault that for so long housed the Mortalis lay open and abandoned, the only location to have been recently disturbed in that vast and now exiled faerie realm.

Looking out upon Arawyn, Morganna now saw the strife that plagued the continents of the mortals. Abyssal energies were everywhere, and the armies seemed far too embroiled in their own petty wars to care about the greater imbalances occurring on their plane. Perhaps this was the storm Hyporia feared, although it did not seem to be affecting the Spaces Between just yet. Morganna saw images of those mortals, of those who had paid her tribute and still lived, of those that carried her pieces of personal power across the world, floating before her eyes, each in the middle of some mundane action or activity as they went about their daily lives

Knitting her brow in what some might call worry, Morganna sent a psychic message to all that might hear: “Hold fast young ones through what is to come. You may still serve another purpose yet.”

 

Sept Epilouge

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