Derek Michael MacMillan
"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand."
Once upon a time, there lived a boy who was the descendant of proud heroes, the Children of the Stag, the Sons and Daughters of Fionn. His childhood was a happy one, for the Earth Mother Gaia had blessed him with the blood of the wolf, marking him as one of Her chosen defenders, the mighty Garou. But though his family loved him well and raised him to respect and honor the traditions of their tribe, his mother harbored a great secret. For the boy's father was not the Kinfolk man everyone believed, but a changeling warrior--a mighty troll. The boy's mother never spoke to anyone of her one night of indiscretion, and carried the shame of her infidelity to her grave.
When he was a youth, the boy's life was a happy one. He had many friends among the Garou and Kinfolk of his tribe, who all shared with him many skills. How to fight, how to hunt, how to live off the land, and most importantly of all, how to sing. Everything imparted to the boy was given with the knowledge that one day, the wolf would rise within him, and a new warrior would take his place as Gaia's champion.
That day came in his sixteenth year. Now, the boy was ready to learn all the skills the Garou could not have shared with him before his First Change. How to control his shape, how to move beyond the wall between worlds, how to treat with the spirits of land and sky. But though the boy learned all these skills well, the ancient faerie blood within him was stirring. His dreams, which had always been vivid and clear, began to feature memories from lives not his own, nor those of his Garou ancestors. In his dreams, he beheld an imprisoned queen, longing for the return of her lost champion. But the boy paid no heed to these dreams, beliving them simply part of becoming one of the mighty Fianna.
In his seventeenth year, the boy was ready to perform his Rite of Passage. Having seen his skill with the denizens of the dream world, the elder Theurge posed the boy a challenge. Deep in a dark part of the Dreaming, a nightmare slumbered. Born from the twisted mind of a terrible monster, its existence polluted the beautiful and colorful world, threatening the innocent with terrifying nightmares. The boy, who had been born under the full moon's face, was tasked with finding this evil dream and ending it for good.
And so armed with only fang and claw, the boy passed into the Dreaming. His passing was easier than his brethren in the tribe ever could ever attain, for his faerie blood was strong and pure. Deep into a darkened forest the boy traveled, seeking signs of his quarry. But though many days passed, he found no sign of his prey. On the eve of the seventh day, however, he found something else. He found the tower, and the elfin queen of his dreams.
Hungry and weary, he approached the tower and greeted the queen. Observing the proper forms and making all the obiesance required in the presence of ancient royalty. The queen recognized the boy in an instant, for he carried the blood of her long-lost champion. She invited the boy to take his ease in her tower, which the boy gladly accepted. But the queen was of a devious mind, and feared to lose her beloved knight after having found him again. And so the queen prepared a magnificent feast for the boy. But among the splendid victuals, she also placed a goblet filled with a powerful potion, laced with certain magics she knew.
Thinking nothing of the danger, the boy drained the cup and immediately fell into a deep slumber. When he awoke, he could remember nothing of his life in the waking world. The wolf in him had been stilled, allowing his faerie blood to rise to the fore. Though he did not possess a faerie soul himself, the potion worked its strange alchemies with his trollish blood to befuddle and confuse his mind. He was an easy victim for the queen, and soon his heart was hopelessly ensnared.
He took up his place as her champion once again, as his ancestor once was in the days of myth. He led her armies, fought her battles, and crushed her enemies. He became her willing lover, hopelessly ensorcelled by the magic with which she had bound him. But the spell was an imperfect one, and though the wolf slumbered within the boy, its dreams were fitful. On the night of the full moon, the queen would find it needful to feed her champion a fresh draught of the potion. So long as the enchantment held, she need never fear losing her beloved champion. And so it would go for twenty long years. The boy grew, as boys shall do, until he was no longer a boy, but a man.
But even though he had long since forgotten his beloved Mother Earth, she had not forgotten him, even in the depths of her Dreaming self. And so it came to pass that fate conspired to break the elf-queen's spell, and free the knight to pursue his true quest. For on the night of the full moon, as the queen prepared her potion, she chanced to use a knife that the kitchen staff had used to prepare the evening feast--a roast stag that the knight had brought down that very day. The blood of the stag still stained the blade, but the queen heeded not the danger, beliving her power to be more than sufficient to keep her champion in her grasp.
And the knight did indeed drain the cup the queen had prepared for him. But when he tasted the blood of the stag in the potion, the wolf within him stirred for the first time in twenty long years. And later that night, as he beheld the full moon in all its splendor, his memories returned with a rush. Casting aside his courtly finery and dreamforged weapons, he fled the queen's tower, closing his ears to her heartbroken wailing. For his true quest awaited. Deep in the forest, the nightmare yet waited. The Earth Mother had need of her champion still.
And there, in the deepest part of the wood, the once-knight found the terrible nightmare. Assuming his mighty war-form, he howled his challenge, and the creature answered. The battle was bloody and terrible, sending reverberations through the minds of many innocent dreamers. But in the end, the knight triumphed, and slew his foe. Taking one of its great tusks as a trophy, he turned his back upon the dream world, and sought his passage back to the world of waking. Hoping against hope that some remnant of his life before might yet remain, and that the dreaded Apocalypse had not claimed his true beloved, his Earth Mother.
But when the knight returned to the waking world, he found that the dream world's logic had outpaced his own, for only a mere week had passed since his departure. A great hatred for the queen was kindled in his breast then, for she had robbed him of twenty years of his life. But even so, he had returned victorious, and the Garou celebrated his Rite of Passage. The tusk he had brought with him out of dreams was fashioned into a mighty blade, and the elder Theurge bound within it a mighty spirit of war. And so he would always remember his deeds, the knight was given the name 'Wyrm's Worst Nightmare' in honor of his victory over the terrible creature he had slain.
Now, the boy is no longer a boy. He is a knight-champion of the Earth Mother, and a proud warrior of the Fianna. He has joined the Tuatha de Fionn, using the virtue of his faerie blood to bridge the waking and dreaming worlds and reaffirm the ancient oaths of friendship and duty that once joined his tribe to the fae. And though he still struggles with rejoining a world he has not known in so long, he soldiers on with all the strength, courage, and valor he brought with him. The Wyrm continues to grow unchecked. Evil darkens the land, and the Earth Mother cries out for her warriors to save Her. And somewhere deep in the dream world, the heartbroken elf-queen schemes to reclaim her beloved. But the knight will not falter, and he will not yield. He is the Wyrm's Worst Nightmare, and will remain so until the end of all his days.
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