There is no need to kneel. Honestly. I wish I could do away with all of this king nonsense altogether. The tragedy we face... it is not legend. It is real. It is now. Yes, I am the acting Wencen, but the true king has been gone for many seasons; I am the fifth such Fae to hold the title, and at times like this, I wish I did not.
The current Wencen that the Fateless One encounters is actually the fifth person to take up his mantle. He is very friendly and welcoming to him/her, mentioning that Hallam the White had already informed him of his/her accession to the seat of Sir/Lady Sagrell and that he/she was more than competent enough to handle his/her new position.
When Hallam told me a mortal had taken the open seat, I did not believe him. But here you stand before me. Impressive. It is a pity about Sagrell, a grand hero; but there's not time to raise the King's Token in his honor. We need every hand carrying a sword for the coming battle. We've come to aid Sir Farrara, our brother in the Court of Enchantments. It is time for his telling of the 'Ballad of Bloody Bones'.
It is a ballad of obsession and sacrifice, one of the Summer's oldest. Bloody Bones was not always as a terror. No. He was once called Famor, a counselor to Ysa himself. Sadly, he was driven by lust, and by his need to possess whatever he desired. Taking Lord Ysa's lover, he fled with her to his hollow of Uduath. When the maiden was rescued, Ysa cursed Famor. He could not die, and his soul would never enter the Great Cycle. He became an abomination known only as Bloody Bones. Every few seasons, Bloody would emerge and steal away a maiden to make his bride. That is until he took the beloved of Sir Farrara.
He is one who prefers action to discussion, a tempestuous firebrand who would rather pursue the mortal flesh than any other of life's mysteries. That is why his ballad is such a stirring one. Farrara will always be the lovable rogue who finally chooses another over himself. Timeless is what it is.
I do not speak of magic with a knowing tongue, but I do know that the persistence of Fae songs is eternally linked to the enchanted Lorestones in which they exist. When mortals began to use magic to create, change, and even destroy their own Lorestones, it was decided that the ballads of the Summer Court needed better protection. The Cairns are a new kind of Lorestone Hallam's way of keeping outside influence from affecting our stories, from corrupting them as the days pass and seasons transpire.
It is an amulet worn by all King Wencens in the Telling, I wear it, as have all the kings who rose and fell at the mercy of seasons. Only he who wears the King's Token is worthy of walking in Wencen's stead, of singing the most important songs of the Summer Court.
Few know the truth of the House of Ballads; that we are not the actual heroes of myth. Those knights have gone, passing into the Cycle, or moving on to nobler adventures. However, it is our wish for the great songs to endure. That seasons of Fae would sing them before the fires. True power is in returning to what matters. So the House of Ballads was established, and worthy warriors were found to act in the roles of Wencen, Belmaid, and the others. To tell these tales is a great honor.
I am relieved to see you well. What is happening? First Sagrell, and now Bloody Bones. These are shocking developments. Listen Hallam and I have been discussing what transpired in Uduath. You are needed for a very special quest, a song of your very own. You must travel to the home of Tenhwa, also known as the Librarian. It is an important journey, not without its perils.
I know little about the Librarian, only that she and Hallam have spent many seasons studying the ebbing tides of magic and how best to preserve our ballads. She is an odd creature, quite aloof and reclusive. From what I've heard, she enjoys the scholarly arts of men, with all their brittle, ink-stained quirks.
The Library is a collection of special Lorestone called Cairns, in which are kept the greatest of Summer Court ballads. As long as they are safe, so too are our songs. The Library was not Lord Ysa's idea but the inspiration of Hallam the White. He created the Cairns and cast the spell that protects them. The world is changing. Everyone knows it, even if some choose not to accept it. Even as Summer Courtmagic weakens, our Library of lore will remain strong.
At last. You've come. The Maid has made her sick fantasy a reality. Everything she was has been warped by the prismere crystal she holds so dear. It is difficult to tell if she controls it, or if it controls her. We must escape this place. The Telling has failed us, Sagrell. Nothing is certain.
If we must, but I fear I have no role in this song now. We are far beyond what is familiar. The Maid will be in the courtyard, where our ballad finds its end. Come. I will show you. Perhaps then I will find the courage that is required.
— when you tell him that this must be finished.
The courtyard is the Maid's favorite part of the castle. It's where she can see the stars. We will find her there.
I have been captured by the Maid many times in the telling, and I've always escaped. This time, however, I'm afraid the outcome may prove different.
I can't do this. I can't. You must understand. Every time I have faced the Maid of Windemere, we've both dangled by the strings of fate, puppets in the telling. Now she is free of those bonds, I would not even know how to face her. Before, my victory was assured. I have never known failure. This story is yours now, my friend. Take the King's Token. You are the only one left worthy of possessing it. It was you she wanted all along.
When the Fateless One approaches Castle Windemere together with King Wencen, the King leaves, just before meeting the Maid, saying he doesn't have the courage to do this. After completing the quest, the other members of the House of Ballads are dismayed to learn of their former king's cowardice.