Thursday, August 25, 2005

Embarrassing Fanfic Theater

If you thought I was above it, you don't know me very well.

I wrote this four years ago, for college credit. Yeah, that's right, college credit. It was an assignment based on Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon. A friend had come up with the rather brilliant idea of inserting good Sir Robin into the story as a device to examine the themes of chivalry in the book. Spinning off of this, I noted that a key scene early in the book revolved around dream manipulation as a means of fate manipulation, and that got me thinking about both the morality of various actions in the story, and about Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. And so a crossover was born.

Hey, I was 19.

An effect that I think will be lost on Blogspot is that each of the Endless had a different font, mirroring their indivdual lettering in the comics as best I could. If you want to replicate that effect (yeah, right), here's the chart:

Dream: Times New Roman, Bold
Destiny: Garamond
Desire: Trebuchet MS
Destruction: Impact
Delerium: Monotype Corsiva,
Despair: Sydnie
Death: Default Font

Profuse apologies go out to Ms. Bradley and Mr. Gaiman for my no-doubt inadequate handling of their characters. Consider full MiSTing rights granted (but do email me a copy of the final draft).

You're still here? Then click the link for the story.

The Lost Tale of Viviane and the Endless*

It was many years after the death of Lancelet that I discovered the texts which are adapted below. I know not how many years in the world of the Christians, but for we in Avalon, it seemed that the seasons had cycled twenty times. The tale of how I found them is thus:

I dreamed that I was walking through a vast building. All around me were rows and rows of books, with titles and authors I had never seen. Some appeared to be from lands far off, but I could read the words on their spines as if they were my own language.

How long I wandered around that library, I do not know. I only know that, at last, I came upon a section where the endless shelves stopped, and before me were my own chambers, not as I decorated them, but as they had been when Viviane was Lady of the Lake. In the corner, however, was a tiny alcove, no larger than any of the lapdogs I encountered in Gwenhwyfar’s court, that I had never seen before. As I bent down to inspect it, I discovered that it was opened by means of a hidden latch. Inside was a stack of papers. To my great surprise, the topmost sheet was in Viviane’s handwriting. I inspected them all, and found all but the last few to be in that same script. These last were in handwriting unknown to me, but still in my own language. And yet, because that is the nature of dreams, I found myself unable to read the words, though I desperately desired to learn what my predecessor, my aunt, my mother had left behind.

I started at a voice clearing its throat behind me. I turned, clasping the papers to my breast, and saw there a man. He was unlike any man I had ever seen, even among the Fair Folk whose isle is as removed from mine as mine is from the world of the Christians. He was impossibly tall, and thin, with a tuft of brown hair sticking up from his head, and a long, pointed face. He wore a pair of glass circles over his eyes, and was dressed in no garb I had ever seen before. He addressed me in a low, soft voice:

“Those papers are not meant for this library. Take them, and go.”

I awoke. In my arms were the papers, just as they had been in my dream, only now, I could read them. What follows is their contents, as written by Viviane, who was then Lady of the Lake, at the end of her days; and also as written by one other, whose name is unknown, but chronicled the last of her encounters with the Seven Who Are. I must confess, I have no idea what to make of it. I only hope that you, the reader, having read both this and the full tale of Arthur’s reign, will be able to see the sense in this strange tale…


Viviane sat in her chambers. It was late in the evening. Her fingers trembled in anticipation, and fear. Tonight, the beginning of her plans to preserve Avalon for the generations to come would culminate. She hated the idea of manipulating Igraine’s mind in this way, but it would be necessary to set her on the path that would lead to her union with Uther. No priestess or druid in living or unliving memory had ever attempted to control another’s dream before; the lore was only theory, untested and dangerous. But Viviane had come far, and sacrificed much, to reach this point, and she would take the necessary steps to reach her goal.

She downed the drink designed to make her fall into a deep but wakeful sleep in one gulp. Lying down on her pallet, she closed her eyes. Her breathing became slow and sonorous. She felt herself slipping through the mists…

When she opened her eyes, she was on a strange plain. It seemed to shift whenever she blinked. Her view remained unobstructed, however, and occasionally she saw glimpses of others floating in and out of the dreamscape, on their own journeys. Closing her eyes again, she reached out for Igraine. The sheer number of slumbering minds nearly overwhelmed her, but she focused on the bond she and Igraine shared as sisters, and the greater bond between all women who serve the Goddess. She found her sister, sleeping a disturbed sleep. Her mind this vulnerable, it would be simple to adjust her perceptions and send the necessary image: she and Uther, not as they were, but as a holy couple from the land that had sunk beneath the sea, bound in life, death, and rebirth to the same destiny. It was true and false at the same time, but it would be enough to nudge Igraine down the correct path. All it would take was one little tweak…

“Just what do you think you are doing?”

Viviane jumped, her connection to Igraine lost. Whirling around, she saw a man, skin pale as snow, dressed in deep black robes, with piercing eyes of darkness broken by two tiny stars. He was very tall; around his neck was a bright red ruby on a chain of gold. She did not speak, for she was very afraid.

“Answer me,” the man said (though his lips did not move).

“I…,” she began, drawing up reserves of strength, “I am Viviane, Lady of the Lake, servant of the Goddess. I am sending my sister a dream, that she will realize her duty to the goddess, and wed Uther Pendragon, and bear him a son, who will unite Avalon and Christendom.”

The man’s expression darkened. “And what makes you think, Viviane of the Lake, that you have the right to trespass in my realm, and attempt to bend it to your own will? Are you so full of pride to meddle in the affairs of my kind?”

He words confused Viviane. Pride? she thought. I do this not out of pride, but as
my duty to the Goddess. And whatever his kind may be, all creatures serve the God and
the Goddess, and none have power over her will. Unless… is he the God himself?

As if he heard her words, the man chuckled. “No, child, I am not one of your
Gods. I am merely myself. My kin and I existed before your gods were but a notion
in the brains of your ancestors. And we do not brook meddling. I would be well within my rights to punish you, or simply send you back to the realms of waking, your task undone.”

Viviane gasped. “No! I must fulfill my mission for the Goddess! If you say that I may not send a dream to my sister, then I command you, in Her name, to do so! It is Her will, and it cannot be thwarted, even by you!”

At this, the man in black rose even taller above her. It seemed like, if he would only raise his hand, he could touch the sky of this place and bring it raining down on her head. Viviane stood fast as he spoke.

You… command me? You seem to misunderstand me. I am Dream. This is my realm. You and your kind spend a full third of your brief lives here, but you do not control this place, and you do not control me. Despite what you may teach, I and my kin stand above all your Gods and Goddesses, and their names mean as little to me here as the names you give your livestock. I am not at your mercy; you are at mine.”

Viviane could tell that she had angered this man, this dreamlord. She knew well that she might never wake, instead being cast into oblivion. But she did not shrink, and she did not yield. She simply said, “I will not leave here until my task is done.”
They stood there for a long time; how long, she never could tell. She only knew that, afterwards, when she woke, her maiden told her she had slept for three days. During that time, they gazed into one another’s eyes. She knew not what the dreamlord sought; perhaps some glimmer of strength, or of worthiness, or of faith. It may well have been that he was ignoring her completely, while he pondered what to do with this troublesome mortal who had strayed into his realm. For her part, Viviane kept her gaze locked on his, focusing her mind: I am the Lady of the Lake. I serve the Goddess. I will not fail.

At last, he stopped staring at her with those cold black eyes and turned. It as clear by his manner that she was expected to follow. And follow she did, for one step. As soon as her foot touched the ground, the world shifted around her, and she was in a gallery. In it were six paintings, each of a different symbol: a book, a sword, a heart, a mirror, and two other symbols she did not know. Before each painting was an altar with a small object on it, each one different. The man in black paused before each of them, picked up the object, said some words in a voice so low she could not hear, and moved on. As he did, a figure emerged from each painting. All were a pale as he, but each was different.

A man dressed in robes, carrying a book on a chain that ran beneath them; whether it was connected to his body or his clothing, she did not know.

A woman, in a long black gown, with one of the strange symbols (Viviane recognized it now; it was something she had seen in one of Taliesin’s books, long ago, a symbol of life used by a dark-skinned people far to the south) around her neck, and eyes surrounded by ink.

A man (or was it a woman? It seemed to be both and neither), with short man’s hair, and a thin body. Although she (he?) wore tight fitting clothes, that the Christian women would have fainted to see, Viviane still could not tell whether she saw a man or a woman. All she knew was that this enigmatic figure stirred in her a longing like none she had ever known. Fearing the stranger, she held it in.

A woman, short and fat, naked, with a hideous face and scars all over her skin. The sight of her so frightened Viviane that her eyes filled with tears; but once more, she did not look away.

A tall, broad man, clad head to toe in metal, like a Roman centurion, but with a face like a Saxon; hard, cold, and bearded. He carried a sword at his side.
A young woman, hair flashing and changing colors with very second, and mismatched eyes: one pale blue, the other green. Her clothing shifted as well, every so often transforming into butterflies.

Each of these newcomers remained silent, looking at Viviane or the man in black. Finally, he turned to Viviane.

“These are my kin,” he said. “Each will come to you, alone, in his or her own time, before your life is ended. When they do, you will receive them, and you will grant them one request. In exchange, I will do what you sought to do: give your sister a dream that will send her into the arms of Uther Pendragon. But, if you break this vow, I will ensure that your plans fail, and that Avalon disappears from all memory, never to return. Now go, and never enter my realm unbidden again.”

“A minute, brother,” spoke the robed man. “I have my own duties to attend, and it is not written that I should waste time for even your requests. Thus, I must discharge my favor immediately, and take this woman home through my realm.”

As the other pale people turned to leave, Viviane followed the robed man through his painting.


When they emerged, Viviane and the robed man stood above a vast garden. Hedge trails led in all directions, some curving back upon themselves, others going outward beyond the horizon of this place, perhaps forever. And yet, as she looked the other way, each one sprang from a single path, which led backwards as far as she could see. She turned to the robed man standing beside here.

“What am I to do here, Lord?” she asked.

“Listen,” he replied. “The path before you is a life. Ahead, what is to come; behind, what is to be. Each fork in the path ahead is a choice, and it leads to another set of choices, and each of those choices to another, and so on, until you die. The choices are infinite, but the outcome is always the same, and the paths not taken vanish behind you. At the end, my eldest sister waits for all.

“Know that you are the first and last mortal to lay eyes on my garden. And also know that every mortal has his or her own path, and it cannot be altered, even by you.”
Viviane shook her head. “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say, Lord. Despite what we do, it is all as the Goddess wills. I understand that. Why would my coming here change anything? I don’t understand.”

The robed man looked at her pitifully. “You will,” he said. And with that, the garden vanished before her.
Viviane awoke. Her maiden rushed to her side, giving her a cup of broth, and frantically calling for more help, The Lady has wakened! Bring food! Viviane ignored this, pondering the words of the two strange men.

“Are you so full of pride…”

“The choices are infinite, but the outcome is always the same…”

Do they speak true? she thought. And if they do, how can I know what the Goddess wills, and what is merely my own choice? Does the difference matter?

Viviane brushed the thought aside, and drank her broth.


Viviane did not meet the next of the Seven until much later. It was Beltane, the first since the birth of her child, Galahad. She did not know what drove her to the fires once more, but she went, thinking that it was more of the Goddess’ will. Perhaps this would be a reward for her endurance during Galahad’s birth; it had been hard, and she had been weak for many days afterwards.

When the fires were lit, and the celebrating people began to pair off, Viviane looked around her, feeling for where the Goddess willed her. Her gaze stopped on a gorgeous man; tall, broad-chested, with a head of long, black hair. He was the God as she had always pictured him. The minute she saw him, she wanted him, and she could see that he wanted her. As she walked towards him, a voice in the back of her head cried out, No! This is wrong! The Goddess would not want this! Stop! But she violently struck the voice down and leapt into his arms.

When she awoke, the fires were out. It was daybreak, and the others were all gone. Why did they leave me sleeping? She wondered. Rising, she hurried to replace her clothes. As she straightened herself, she got a good look at the figure that had lain next to her. She screamed.
Lying on its back, grinning up at her, a blade of grass between its teeth, was the man/woman from the gallery. It still wore the clothes of the man she had seen last night, and even sported scratches where Viviane had held him during their long night of passion. Pushing itself up on one arm, it smiled at her and said, “Was it good for you, too?”

By the Goddess, what have I done? thought Viviane as the man/woman rose to its feet. She felt her stomach churning, and bent over as she heaved its contents onto the ground. When she finished, she looked up to see it still watching her, that self-satisfied smile on its face. Rage flared in Viviane.

“How dare you interfere with the Goddess’ sacred rituals? This is a form of worship, not something for your kind to please yourselves with! I don’t care how much you purport to be above both me and Her, but this is no place for your magics!”

The man/woman let out a long, hollow laugh that chilled Viviane’s bones. “Honey,” it said, “there was no magic required. Oh, I could’ve made you want me enough you wouldn’t have cared about anything else, but it was lot more fun to give you a prize and let you do all the work. Last night was pure you. And you loved it. I should know; I was there.”

Viviane looked inside herself at these words. She remembered the hot flesh, and the sweat, and screaming out wordlessly, over and over. And she remembered not being satisfied with once, or twice, or even three times, but that she had coupled with him (IT! her mind screamed, but she could not help of thinking of the strong, hard, male body she had held last night) again and again until her body had literally shut down, driven to the breaking point by her lust. The man/woman spoke true: there had been nothing of the Goddess in that union.
Her thoughts reeling, she turned on the man/woman frantically, and shouted, “Is this then the favor? To insult the Goddess in this manner, and forsake all I have worked for?”

The man/woman smiled again. “No. Last night was just for fun. My favor is this: Let the pregnancy come to its natural end.”
Viviane lay in her chambers, but she did not sleep. The man/woman’s taunts came back to her. It was three months from that hideous Beltane; soon, already, her belly had begun to grow. And I do not know what I can do, she thought.

It is not a child of the God, meant to be given to the Goddess. I cannot keep it here, raised in her service; to do so would insult Her even more. But I cannot send it away to be fostered, for all the priestesses and druids know that the father is a stranger, and may not even still be in this land. And I cannot give it to that thing, that denial of the Goddess. Whatever its fate, it cannot be born into any kind of good life.

But I am forsworn to carry it, or else all my plans are ruined. But what good are those plans, if by achieving them I must profane myself, and my goals? Can I serve the Goddess in this way? Am I worthy of her? Does she even care?

Finally, Viviane sank into a dreamless, but fitful, sleep. Looking back on it later, she supposed that the Dream Lord had withheld whatever nightmares she might have had out of sympathy, or a reminder of her duty. She awoke, though, to great pain in her body, feeling her hips on fire as she felt blood on her legs. Looking down, she saw her child-to-be, dead on the ground. Her old body had miscarried it on its own. She knew, somehow, that this would be within the bounds laid by the man/woman.

She buried her last child, which her instincts told her would have been a girl, alone, in the rainy night, on the shores of the Lake. She never spoke of it to anyone, not even Taliesin. But even as she walked away, a piece of her mind thought, A child unwanted is the strongest chain…


The night had come. Even now, Morgaine and Arthur would be united, the Young Stag victorious over the King; the pool had told her as much. And yet, her heart was heavy, for she knew the pain it would cause her niece. That poor girl, who had become so much like her own child. My dear, I have used you as well. She thought of her own dead child, and shed another tear. Goddess forgive me, but I would have loved you…

A girl came into her room. She recognized her; Niniane, a young girl, only recently entered into the Goddess’ service. Evidently, she was a messenger tonight. Viviane bade her speak.

“There is a man, Lady, come on the boat, that none has ever seen before, and he demands an audience with you. His skin, Lady, it’s white as a dead man's!”
Viviane chilled. So another one of them had come, to bid her do who knew what. The will of the Goddess, she repeated to herself. “Show him in, child.”

It was the man in armor. He removed his helm and set it down on the floor. He did likewise with his swordbelt, armor, and boots, to reveal a man in common traveling clothes. Odd as it seemed for his kind, he was dirty; in fact, he looked almost filthy, as if he, too, had been running with the deer.

Viviane spoke. “Forgive me, Lord, for being blunt, but tonight is very important, and I have much on my mind. If it would please you, merely give me my task and be done with it. I half regret the bargain with your brother already.”

The man laughed heartily. “That, lass, is because the bargain is only half done. In the meanwhile, though, all I require of you this night is a place to rest, some food for my stomach, and the conversation of the Lady of the Lake.”

Though the request puzzled her, Viviane complied. She sent for her maid, and had food and wine brought in; the man requested meat, and was given it. The two of them talked long into the night, of many things. Viviane finally learned the proper names of those she had seen in the gallery: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Delirium, in that order. Their lore and duties fascinated her, and she found herself eagerly asking about each of them.

Destruction apologized for his sister/brother’s actions. “Desire did what it did more to annoy Dream than anything else. It’s just as well that it ended as it had, or we would have had the Devil’s own time dealing with you, the rest of us. As for me, I see it as just an excuse to visit this part of the world. Not that I need one now, of course. What you’re doing is right under my jurisdiction, both with the boy and his sister.”

Viviane cast her face down at this, thinking of Morgaine, and what the future held for her child. I can only hope that Arthur will keep his vow, and that the boy will be safe in Avalon all of his days. I pray they will forgive me, but I know I will not forgive myself.

Destruction noticed her sorrow, and picked her face up in his hands. “Don’t feel bad, lass; it’d have happened to them one way or another. Building things is never clean; that’s why I’m around. What matters is that you do what you need to in order to get by. And yes, the lass’ll be angry with you, and she’ll even hate you for a time, but she’ll still know you love her, when it’s all over.

“I wish I could spare you the pain, but I can’t. There’s just no stopping the breaking of things. I can only tell you that what you’re going through is no worse than any other in your position since time began. And I’ve felt ‘em all. Trust me, lass; it’ll mend itself, in time. There’s always an order to things.”

After that, he left her for the quarters assigned to him. Viviane slept well that night, and dreamed of Morgaine and her child, playing together in the fields.


Priscilla was dead. Gawan sat downstairs over his wife’s body. Balin and Balan were somewhere in the night, one seeking the other, both exhausted mentally and physically. Viviane sat wearily in the small room she had been given. It was here that she shed her tears for Priscilla, and for herself. This was not the first death she had seen, and it would not be the last. And now, my son, she thought, I have driven you and your brother apart, perhaps forever. And yet, I did no wrong. Why must such things come from good aims? Is the Goddess mad?

“I don’t think she’s mad. If she were mad, she’d go like this: Rarrrr! I’m mad!”

Viviane looked up, completely baffled by the strange words. There, sitting on the edge of the bed, sat Delirium. Her hair stood out of its own volition, and Viviane could read no expression in the mismatched eyes.

“Hi!” Delirium said. “I’m here for my favor. I went to a party once and got a favor. It made this sound: Whooooooeeeeep! But I lost it. I lost a lot of things.”

Viviane stared at this being. She knew that the child was older than the world, but looking at her, she saw a young girl, not quite sure what she was supposed to be, or why she was the way she was. Seeing her now, Viviane felt great pity, that this girl should be so alone.

Like Morgaine, she thought. She went through her pregnancy, and all the months after, alone. It was her choice, but I was the one who gave it to her. I cut away the paths in the garden…

Viviane drew herself out of her reverie. There was business to be done. “My Lady, what do you require of me?”

“Huh? Oh. Sorry. I was busy with the man downstairs. The one who yelled at you. He’s with me now. I wish he weren’t. He’s scary. And he doesn’t like you.”

“Thank you for the warning, my Lady, but…”

“Wow. You said ‘thank you.’ Nobody ever says thank you when I give them something. They usually just scream a lot. I used to scream. But then I stopped. You have pretty shoes. Can I have them?”

Viviane looked down at her sandals. They were old, worn-out, and brittle; they no longer comforted her feet. Then she looked at the godling before her, who was staring at them with such awe, as if they were all that was important in the world.

“Certainly, my Lady. With my blessing.” Viviane removed the shoes.

Delirium clapped her hands and squealed. “Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou! They’re so pretty! And now I can go, ‘cause you did what I asked. Bye!”

And Delirium was gone. The next morning, if anyone noticed that the Lady of the Lake did not wear shoes to the funeral, they said nothing of it.


The worst had come. Arthur had rejected the Dragon Banner for the Sign of the Cross, and defeated the Saxons without the Little People. Avalon was in an uproar, but it was a quiet one. Everywhere, the priestesses and druids waited for word from the Lady on how to proceed. The Lady would know what to do.

The Lady was alone, by the scrying pool. She sought for sign of Morgaine, but to no avail. The waters refused to stir. For three years, there had been no sign of her, and she was feared dead, if not worse. Now, when Viviane needed her the most, she was gone.

Viviane stared at her reflection in the pool. She saw the toll the years had taken on her. Her hair was no longer its bright red; her fingers were wrinkled and thin, and her face had many lines. She had heard that the lines on the face showed where laughs had been; the last few years had proven this untrue, for she had not laughed in a long time, but every day she counted a new line.

Looking harder at her face, she saw that it was changing. The eyes grew smaller, and the cheeks rounded out. The nose flattened, and the teeth grew long and sharp. The skin turned pale white. Viviane looked on the face of Despair.

All thought of Arthur and his betrayal vanished. Viviane knew that this would not be as pleasant as the next visit. Already, Despair beckoned to her. She reached a hand toward Viviane, and Vivane drew back as it emerged from the water. Stopping herself, she let Despair take her by the wrist and draw her into her realm.

Despair’s realm was pure white, with no sign of ground, sky, or walls. Only the fact that she was standing ,and could walk, proved to Vivian that the place had boundaries. In the middle of the air were windows, each of a different shape and size, and each showing a different view. Despair stood to the side, drawing patterns on her skin in blood with the hooked ring she carried.

“What am I to do, Lady?” Viviane asked, by now resigned to these intrusions.
“I’m going to show you some people you know,” Despair replied. “They’ve all been in my hands for some time now. Look at them, and see what you have wrought.”
Viviane looked in the first window. There, she saw Arthur, his face gloomed. And more, she felt what he did, the despair that gave him to this realm. He still thinks of Morgaine, she thought, and the night of his kingmaking. He is torn between his duty to - not Avalon, but her! – and his queen. You poor boy. And I am to blame for this too.

He’s vanishing; it’s Galahad! Oh, my son; why are you drawn to this place? Oh. I see. You’ve had sinful lust with Morgaine (you fool! If only you knew what she’d give for your honest love), but desire… your own queen, and companion’s wife! The work of those Christian priests gives you to this creature. If only you’d stayed in Avalon; you and Morgaine could have borne the next child, and all of this would be a fading dream…

It’s changing again; I don’t think I know this one. Oh! The queen, source of Arthur’s troubles, and mine! Well, if she is trapped here, I’ll shed no tears. What? It’s… her child. She has no child. Her last is early- and stillborn. Like mine. And she only wants to bear a child to Arthur to please him, because she loves him. It all comes from love.

We are not so different after all, child.

The window cleared. Viviane turned to Despair. “Believe it or not, I thank you. I understand what I’ve done, but you can tell your brother it doesn’t change anything. I would do the same, to preserve Avalon.’

“I didn’t do it for him, or for you. I just did it to get it done with, and to benefit myself a bit. If you take anything from it, it is yours alone. Now go. We’re done here.”

Viviane turned to go. She saw now the Lake through the window she had entered. Before she left, she turned around.

“My Lady? Have you seen my niece?”

Despair shook her head. “The girl has been lost to me as long as she has to you. Death would be able to tell you if she’s alive, and Destiny as well, but neither of them will come to you now. Your kind only meet my sister twice, and my brother never grants audiences.”

Viviane left, and returned to Avalon. For another year, until she heard that Morgaine was indeed alive, and in Arthur’s court, Viviane felt a horrible sinking feeling whenever she looked in a mirror.


Viviane picked herself up off the floor. “The nerve,” she said, “of knocking over an old woman! And one who was addressing his king! Arthur, I hope you’ve not lost so much respect for Avalon that you’ll let this go unpunished!”

“He can’t hear you, Viviane. It’s over.”

Viviane looked behind her to see the last of the Seven. She had worshipped this woman, in some form, all her life. She still couldn’t get over how normal Death was.
She turned and saw her body lying on the ground, head nearly severed. Morgaine was making some impassioned speech to Arthur, while Balan was holding his brother back; the blood on Balin’s hands dripped over both of them.

“Well, I guess I should have expected that. But there’s nothing to be done about it. It is as the Goddess wills. What am I to do, before you take me?”

Death smiled. “I think you know, Viviane.”

Viviane nodded. She turned and looked at her many children; Balan, son of two mothers, brother of a madman; Galahad, denied all the women he sought for, and rejecting all the ones he needed; Arthur, never a betrayer in his heart; Morgaine, poor wounded child, and so stubborn.

I have loved you all, and I have hurt you all. I told myself it was the will of the Goddess, and, in a way, it was. But the deeds were my own choice. I chose your paths for you, and that was perhaps my greatest crime. I am sorry. I hope you will forgive me, my children, someday.

She moved to each of them, kissing softly on their brows. As she came to Morgaine, she said, “And now you will choose the paths. I pray you choose wiser than I.

“Goodbye, my children. The God and Goddess bless all of you.”

Death smiled, and took her by the hand.

(*The Endless are creations of Neil Gaiman, and property of DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The characters of Viviane, Morgaine, Arthur, Lancelet, Balan, Niniane, and Gwenhwyfar belong to all mankind, but these versions are the work of Marion Zimmer Bradley.)

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