A Midnight Garden

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The breathtaking loveliness of a midnight shadowed garden embraces you. the
night sky is filled with stars... no, not stars, but strands of light which
shimmer at the edges of sight. The soft call of unseen birds provides sweet
melody to please the ear and the low hoot of an owl echoes out of the trees,
only to be answered by the harsh, mocking scream of a carrion crow. A thick
tangle of web-shrouded crimson briar roses marks the boundaries of the area
and every conceivable variety of flower blooms within, despite the darkness.
At the center of the garden lies an ornate multi-tiered fountain, ebon fire
lighting the cascades from within. Benches have been placed invitingly in a
semi-circle around the stone basin of the fountain, set just inside a thick
band of mithril.

Look North:
The spiders seem to love this part of the garden best, and have covered
the trees with so many of their webs that it almost seems to be snowing.
The opalescent patterns formed by the webs seems quite beautiful, until
you realize that a thicker section is a cocoon the size and shape of a
mortal man...

Look East:
The briar here forms thick clumps of impenetrable brush filled with fragrant
rose blooms and thorns as long as your hand. At the foot of the briar wall,
lilies of the darkest sable sway gently in the soft breeze that caresses the
garden. Their scent is intoxicating, like the sacred incense offered upon an
altar to ancient gods.

Look South:
The briars climb up, around, and over an eight-sided doorway that opens onto
blackness. The sound of rushing water can be heard through the portal. Other
sounds - chanting, the rasp of scale upon stone - can be heard less clearly.
A tiny midnight sprite hovers near the octagon, her mournful song creating a
harmony with the call of the unseen owls and the unknown horrors from beyond
the gate, sending chills up your spine.

Look West:
To the west, the briars give way to a small pathway that winds through the
roses. In the distance, a small cottage can barely be seen, the light from
a lantern illuminating its door. The structure is sheltered within a stand
of oaks. It looks like a comfortable, cozy home, just big enough for two.

Look UP:
How can two utterly conflicting forces remain in such balanced opposition?
The screaming emptiness of the Void roils above, surrounded by yet somehow
enclosing, the searing beauty of the Pattern. Both have a siren call; dark
oblivion and the peace of the grave whisper from the void, hypnotic in its
emptiness, while the rapturous energy of the Tapestry's Pattern Web shines
with an intoxicating radiance that makes you want to cry out at its power.

Look Down:
The softest grass provides an emerald carpet underfoot and it is free of any
dew that might dampen the feet or hold a chill. A band of mithril surrounds
the fountain at the center of the garden, runes visible on the surface.

Look Crow:
An ancient crow, feathers a glossy sable black, sits within the briars,
glaring balefully at you. It screams, the sound raucous and grating. A
sense of power emanates from it and its scarlet eyes are hate-filled.

Look Owl:
A large owl, its orange eyes aglow, sits within the briars, watchful.
It bates for a moment, wings flailing. Shifting its weight upon the
branch, it resettles itself. Talons easily the length -and sharpness-
of a hobbit's dagger cause the wood to groan in protest.

Look webs spiderwebs
Spiderwebs cover the briars like snow cloaks the ground in winter.
The strands look delicate but the mummified shapes of those unwise
enough to stumble into them prove otherwise.

Look mithril band:
The mithril band is set with runes along its full circumference. While
they are not in a language you understand, they seem to somehow connect
to the strands of shimmering light. You hear a soft voice in your mind:
*My Chosen, of whom I am well proud.*

Look Cocoon:
The shriveled remains of one who displeased the Weaver lie here, food for the
spiders that tend to Her garden.

Look cottage:
The cottage appears to be simple but sturdy in its construction: perhaps only
three or four rooms in size. An elderly yet still sleek black cat sits on the
rug outside the front door, keenly observing all who might approach. Fragrant
smoke - perhaps from a fire set with cedar? - rises from the chimney carrying
with it the scent of a rich stew heating upon the embers. Though the path is
not physically barred, the black widow spider resting watchfully nearby gives
you clear warning that the cottage is off limits to all save the Lady and Her
Champion.

Look void:
Void... where prohibited.
This pun is included solely for the edification of Boromir.

Look Fountain Fire:
The fountain has several tiers, each a little smaller than the one below.
It spans exactly nine feet across its obsidian base. The second level is
a perfect half-circle, graceful in its simplicity, rimmed in silver, the
metal gleaming in clear contrast to the dark stone. The third tier is an
oddity - shaped like an ebon hand, a silver weaving shuttle held within.
The water is illuminated by unquenched flames of sable that dance in, on,
and around the water in a most unnatural fashion. The liquid reminds you
of the dark waters of Lake Hali, but bears none of its foulness.

Look Roses:
Huge blooms the size of your palm sway in the gentle breeze that flows
through the garden. They bear a fragrance that is sheer heaven.

Look Flowers:
Sable lilies intermingle with crimson sunflowers, and common daisies
grow next to exotic acacia. Clumps of bluebells intermingle with tall,
graceful orchids. Lavender, sage, and fragrant rosemary are scattered
here and there. Bushes of hyacinths and lilacs dot the grounds.

Look Strand strands thread threads Pattern:
Lives. Souls. Spirits. Name them what you will, but in the Great Pattern,
this is their representation. The Tapestry is overwhelming in its profound
intricacy and beauty. Each Thread is unique, indicative of an event or an
individual, perhaps a time or place. Tiny runes draw the eye to certain of
the threads: storm-blue, midnight-cyan, diamond-white, fuchsia, silver,
midnight, blackfire and shroud-grey.


Look storm-blue:
The power and fury of a spring storm rages within the storm-blue Thread.
The commanding figure of a thrice-born warrior appears, the dark copper
of his hair like the final shades of sunset. His piercing hazel gaze scans
the environs unceasingly, ever vigilant. As he travels swiftly through
the rain-lashed forest, he moves with both confidence and stealth, quite
unusual in one so tall and powerfully built. Heralded by a deafening peal
of thunder and blinding lightning flare, a Pattern of shimmering light
appears in his path, but his hands do not seek his weapons. Instead, they
grasp the waist of the curvaceous, silver-haired woman who steps through
the portal and he effortlessly lifts her off the ground. Raising her to
his passionate kiss, his arms mold her body to fit his. She returns the
embrace with matching hunger and joy. This vision fades, giving the two
lovers their privacy.

Look midnight-cyan:
As with many threads within the Tapestry, the midnight-cyan thread reveals
only darkness at first. As your eyes strain to discern detail, you slowly
recognize the outlines of the hideous subterranean caves sealed below the
Sigil Draktha. By the still waters of Lake Hali, a powerfully built gnome
kneels in communion with the One who Sleeps below. Sacred ritual garments
shroud the worn mail that glints beneath, and around his throat dangles a
delicate dove-gray feather bound in a drop of crystal. Above him, warding
his safety, a lovely Aara swan glides in circles upon the powerful winds
of the Hurricane's Eye. As if summoned by the cherished priest's devotion,
the Dhole appears, rising up out of its home. To your shock and surprise,
the hideous creature does not instantly devour the priest. Instead it dips
in a formal acknowledgement of Lady Fate's Ordained Blade and Taoiseach,
then continues to flow out of its home. Coil after sinuous coil emerges,
blocking your view of the gnome.

Look Diamond-white:
One fingertip brushes the diamond-white strand within the Pattern.
At once, you hear a soft chuckle in your mind, followed by a male
voice accented in an old dialect of Northern elvish. "You realize,
Lady, I'm never going to stop the horrid puns or the teasing? Even
if we are both much changed from those ancient days? I understand
now, why you did not laugh as much, now that I bear the same duty,
and responsibilities. But still: there is always room for laughter."
The voice takes on a more serious tone. "And I will always be your
friend, even unto the bitterest of ends. Never doubt that." The voice
and this vision slowly fades.

Look Fuchsia:
As your eyes flow over the fuchsia thread, the image of a graceful
and lovely elven woman comes to your mind's eye. She has the pale
skin and crimson eyes of a vampire, but her smile - though fanged -
is warm and friendly. An aura of power surrounds her, glowing with
an Immortal's strength as she tends to those in her care.

Look silver:
Lightly touching a finger to the silver strand within the Pattern,
you sense that it reveals a moment trapped in time from some years
in the distant past. You see a moonlit elven garden, curtained off
from the rest of the Realm by a delicate wall of spider-webs: near
twin to where you stand now. A preternaturally still figure stands
gracefully tall, looking up at the night sky. He turns, and a slow,
sensual smile lights up his face, revealing ivory fangs. "Love? I
hadn't expected you this ear-- You're not her." The smile disappears
instantly, to be replaced by chilling menace. "Who are you? What are
you doing looking among my Lady's private things? You are _not_ welcome
here." He makes an abrupt, angry gesture with one pale hand. There is a
sudden flash of darkness, and your eyes sting; this vision of the past
fades away.

Look Midnight:
As your gaze brushes the midnight strand, you catch a glimpse of a
city silhouetted by night. Frowning, you look closer, for there must
be more... Straining your eyes, you finally see what the Weaver does:
Standing on a wire stretched taut above a shadowed alley is a dark,
lean figure, his outline barely visible in the pale starlight. His
arms are held out to the night sky and his head is tipped back, as
if watching the infinity above. A feeling of calmness radiates from
him, and despite the powerful chilling wind he seems unrushed. He is
waiting, but for what? Suddenly a cat dashes across the rooftops,
drawing your eye, and when you look back, the figure is gone...

Look Blackfire:
Gazing into the blackfire strand, you become surrounded by the lightless void.
Searing, unseen flame licks at you as you vainly try to find something other
than endless black silence around you. The fires make no sound, the burning
of your flesh makes no sound, and your ongoing efforts to find any point of
reference make no sound. You hear a calm, measured voice calling from every-
where at once, in perfect Old Thoras. It says, 'It has been this One's
observation that few enjoy visiting Him in these environs. Worry not. This
one will find thee, in time."

Look Shroud-gray shroud-grey:
An icy power radiates from the shroud-grey thread. With that aura of cold,
a complex swirl of emotions cascades around you: Love. Loss. Pride. Hurt.
Tenderness. Jealousy. Hopefulness. Hopelessness. Friendship. Hesitation.
Acceptance. Abruptly, the Weaver's presence veils this thread, severing
your contact with it, and all you sense is gentle reproof at your curiosity.