It is a curious fact, noted by many a Faireland Scholar, that we who dwell in the Many Realms did not truly appreciate our own stories until we heard them told by a stranger, a man who was not born of the Fairelands nor of the Mainland. He came from beyond our plane, from a realm we call the Outworld. But he saw, as none before had seen, that the beating heart of the Fairelands was not the enchantments and other wonders for which it is so well known. He saw that it was our stories that bind us, animate us and give meaning to our lives. And so, though not of the Fairelands, this man, first of the Bard Kings and Queens, who was known in our worlds as Francis Garland, is remembered to this day as one of its most beloved sons.
Faireland scholars had long known of the Outworld. Ages before, a great Mage of the Mer had created the Sirenglass – a mirror that she endowed with some of the oldest and deepest Faireland magic. Through it, the Mer viewed a world that was as strange to them as any they had ever beheld. Through the portal of the Sirenglass flowed an energy that was as pure as the light of the Second Sun. From the plane they came to call the Outworld, this energy streamed through to the Fairelands and with this vast source of power they fashioned objects of such wonder as the Grid had never known.
But the Sirenglass was a window and not a doorway. And though some wondered if a brave explorer might not be able to pass through it from our world to the world beyond, there was broad consensus that such a journey could not be made. So you can understand their collective astonishment when one day a brave explorer accomplished just that. To their even greater amazement the journey was not from here to there but rather from there to here. It was thus, that by means unknown even to himself, Francis Garland came to the Fairelands. The Scholars and Mages had so many questions about him and his world. But when he saw the diverse beauty of the Many Realms he all but ignored their insistent questioning and set out instead to discover for himself a world that was as mysterious to him as was his to us.
Many adventures he had, and many Realms he visited. Always with his quill at the ready to makes notes of the stories he heard and the wonders he witnessed. And as the years rolled by he began to see what none had seen before. He saw the pattern, the key that enabled him to decode the secret language which Junction spoke. And he understood as had none before that whether celebrating, remembering or fighting back – her underlying reason for doing so was of enormous importance.
Junction, Garland came to realize, was a shield protecting our worlds from the entity we call the Unweaver – always at work to tear down that which we would build.
The Unweaver saw something too. It saw Garland as a threat. By its machinations, events were set in motion that threatened the very fabric of the Great Grid. What followed is a subject fit for a mighty quest, and the authors of this present report commend you to such quest. What may be here said – spoiler free – is that the House of Garland remains at the fore of the Bardic Order which Francis founded.
The Bard Queen, the Lady Maia Evangeline, daughter of the House of Garland has held her fast to her father’s goals. She listens to the music of Junction, the symphony she creates. She guides us to a deeper understanding and rallies us to the noble charge of the Bardic Order:
Celebrate. Remember. And Fight Back!
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