Tales of New Camelot
Ruin of Camelot
The realm is like an onion, with layers within layers. The outermost layer is the Desolate Village. By day, this place appears as a medieval village recently sacked by raiders. Thatch still burns, palisades are toppled, animals roam free, fields still smoulder. Frightened villagers can be found, either wandering in shock or maimed or hiding, in dumb terror, in cellars or lofts. They are always unhelpful, demoralised and traumatised. By night the village takes on a different aspect: villagers emerge to engage in desperate defence and defiance. This time the villagers are hysterical, agressive, almost suicidal, and will attack wildly anyone who seems strange or dangerous. They erect flimsy barricades, improvise puny weapons – then they attackers come. Every night the attackers are different, sometimes robber knights, sometimes marauding barbarians, or savage beasts, or monsters. The defences are overcome and civilisation is extinguished. All this takes place under the very shadow of Camelot, yet no help issues forth from the silent fortress.
The next layer, proceeding inwards towards Camelot itself, is the Lawless Wood. In whatever direction you approach Camelot from the Desolate Village you must pass through the Lawless Wood. The wood is dense primeval forest with only a few hunting trails but one tree-lined avenue that passes through its heart. Hidden in the woods are the homes of various Faerie Shadows, atavistic chimera of the Fae lords from before the Shattering, but all twisted by tragedy, bitterness and loss. Kithain entering the Lawless Wood will encounter versions of themselves and their friends, versions that retain some of the power and grandeur of True Fae but all touched by Nightmare and consumed by failure. Like the inhabitants of the Desolate Village, these Fae lords are stuck in an unending cycle, pursuing unwinnable feuds and unattainable quests, not aware that they are no longer truly real or that the Autumn World has passed them by. The woods also contain Raths to various beast realms, such as Bear Mountain, that can be opened by chimera inhabiting the woods or by Kithain using a Wayfare●●●/Fae●●● or Nature●●● cantrip. These beasts often hunt in the Lawless Wood and participate in attacks on the Desolate Village.
The ruins of Camelot stand at the centre of the realm on a high hill. Camelot is always besieged by barbarian armies in the arms and heraldry of totemic beasts – the tribes of the wolf, bear, stag and crow, among others. What appear to be Camelot’s brave defenders on the shattered walls are more barbarians, who besiege the inner walls even as they are besieged from without. The ruined castle spirals ever inward, with battles fought on baileys, gatehouses, palisades and moats, but no amount of fighting ever breaks through to the centre. In truth, there is no centre, because the realm was centred on the king and Camelot will be in ruin till the king comes again.
Only when this truth is understood can Kithain escape from the Ruin of Camelot. Escape involves travelling in the opposite direction, away from the ruined Camelot in the direction of hope, the direction that Arthur went in, westwards. Any journey away from Ruined Camelot is always towards a setting sun. There is a Wasteland to be crossed, which contains many false Avalons and more Shadow Fae, pining in monasteries, repenting in nunneries, enduring sorrowing exile on remote islands or ruling empty cities in broken glory. If travelers ignore these distractions they will come at last to the Well of Avalon.
During Darkness Visible, Bors of Ganis visits this realm with Malegea and discovers a tower bordering both Camelot and the realm of Dreaming Gorre where Merlin Aurelianus had his workshop and the White Elyan were created