Chapter 1


I am Morghan, Lady of the Grove. Lady of the Wilderness, Lady of Life. This is the vision given to me.
Awakening, I find myself on top of the great hill, looking down at the sea. This is the hill behind Wilde Grove, but now it is not a mere hill, but a tor, tall like a tower of a great church. I stand upon it, the wind in my hair, and I look out to sea where the ocean churns and heaves itself in a maelstrom. 
I am reminded of the vision the Queen gave to me months upon months ago. The vision that broke my sight so that I could see the web, the threads that bind us all together, the beauty of the world so exquisite it hurts my heart every day. 
And beneath it all, spreading across our world like the great blight upon humanity that it is, the creeping darkness.
     Not upon us. Within us. Our light dimmed, consumed by the world we have built ourselves. 
But this hill, this tor, is mine, on land that I call my own. It is my home for I have built a relationship with it, and I love every stone, every blade of grass, every creature who shares it with me. 
I stand upon it looking about me, at the storms that rage, at the shadows that are dim at the edge of my sight, but that do grow and spread like stains upon the land. 
Grief cuts into me, sharp-edged, wounding. That we have come to this! 
I want to close my eyes to the view, to the vicious storms, to the darkness waiting to devour, to the souls that have become unattached to the web, who wander in the night. 
But it is not my job to look away. It is not my task, nor yours. 
So do I stand and look and a new sound comes to my ears. It rises above the wail of the wind, above the thrashing of the sea, the scream of the birds wheeling above the waves. It is a song. Someone is singing. 
There is more than one voice. I look down the grassy banks of the hill upon which I stand and see the track that spirals around it. A procession comes up the path, and it is they, walking single file, each lifting a lantern, who sing as they come. 
I recognise those at the front, for they are people I know and love. Erin, who grows and matures, whose heart fills with more magic each day, and behind her the other women from the village. Winsome, friend dear to me, Lucy, Krista, Charlie. 
Behind them, the men, lanterns also held aloft to light the way, though the darkness has not reached them yet. Their presence is a balm to my heart, lifting me to a sudden, wild hope. Ambrose, my dear brother, Stephan, Simon, Henry, Martin. More come after them. 
The procession winds its way higher up the hill, voices lifted to the sky, to the world, until they come to stand behind me, their rows like sentries, their voices warding off the darkness, singing the truth out into it. 
A subtle shift in the atmosphere, a slight pressure, and then beside me, flanking me, Ravenna, eyes dark, spiraling tattoos prominent upon her cheeks. She gazes out at the churning ocean, face impassive. 
Upon my other side, Catrin, as muscular in spirit as ever she was in flesh, hand resting upon the hilt of her sword. She glances at me, then turns back to the view. 
And so this is my vision. We stand, all of us, lifting the light to the world, the singing upon our lips. Ranged against the darkness. 
Ranged against the darkness.