This document was compiled by the civil service in response to a request for historical research announced and approved by Merel Pathfinder, Advisor on the Vallorn, early in his tenure in that position. It was published shortly before the WInter Solstice 381YE, with his permission.

Early Life

According to a letter she wrote to a friend in Miaren in 104YE, the child Megan was born in 77YE during the reign of Empress Teleri. Her parents were part of Quiet Clay (The Quiet Secret Hidden in the Red Clay) Steading in western Therunin. Raised on the shores of the Feverwater, her steading cultivated a section of forest spotted with rich deposits of dragonbone in southern Eastring. She describes her childhood as "typical; I climbed and ran with the other children, got into trouble, was once almost eaten by a monstrous insect horror out of the Greenheart – typical, as I said.

Typical as she might consider her youth, it was clear from an early age that she was fascinated by the Great Dance. She studied occasionally with the vates who passed through her steading on their long migration along the trods, and at fourteen decided to travel with members of one particular band, the Slow Spiral striding (The Long Slow Spiral That Curves Outward From The Heart). She showed little aptitude for the work of the magician, however, and while she obviously felt drawn to a life of service, at the age of seventeen she chose a different path.

The long peregrinations of the Slow Spiral led them to Liathaven, where Megan settled for a time in the Black Blood steading (The Song That Draws The Black Blood From The Earth). Located in Liaven's Glen. There she studied with several guides, learning to focus her intellect and intuition and exploring the many pitfalls that surround the life of the guide.

During this time, she demonstrated a clear fascination with and affinity for the series of trails an earthworks known as Liaven's Dance. The twisting trails, ditches, mounds of earth and weathered cairns were an early working designed to weaken the power of the vallorn. Many Navarr scholars consider Liaven's Dance to have been an early attempt at creating the trods that today criss-cross the entire Empire. She would regularly disappear for days or weeks on end, exploring the paths and meditating next to the cairns and mounds.

As she gained in confidence, she ventured further afield, spending several years exploring the marshes of Bregasland and the Mourn in particular. She founded the Green Loom Striding (The Shuttle Weaves Across the Green Loom), and began to practice her calling on the Marchers, helping them to find their places in life. During this time, she encountered the man who would later become her life-mate, the Marcher Landskeeper Bran of Alderley.

Landskeeper Bran was increasingly dissatisfied with his life in the Mournwold, and fascinated by Megan's stories of life among the Navarr. Eventually, he left his home village to accompany Megan on a long pilgrimage across the Empire from west to east, looking for a new home.

The Weirwater Campaign

In 131YE, Megan and Bran of Alderley were caught up in a campaign against Druj insurgents in the Dawnish territory of Weirwater. Fighting under the banner of the Shadow Wasp, the Druj invaded Weirwater with a flotilla of great rafts launched across the Semmerlak. The Druj were led by a powerful ghulai and her coven, who wielded the power of Spring magic against the Imperial defenders.

As a Navarr who had studied with vates, accompanied by a small band of Navarr thorns and a Marcher master of Spring magic, Megan's group quickly found themselves as special advisors to the Dawnish forces there. The Navarr scouts provided valuable assistance, and the magic wielded by Bran of Alderley was especially effective at countering the use of venom against the Dawnish knights. Despite initial victories, the Shadow Wasp were slowly pushed back eastward, trapped between the Imperial forces and the lake shore.

As the Druj fell back it was clear they planned to take to their rafts and flee. The Navarr suggested another plan – while they couldn't perform the magic themselves, they knew of the ritual Foam and Spittle of the Furious Sea. With the assistance of the Spring Archmage and three covens of Dawnish weavers, the Semmerlak was transformed into a short-lived maelstrom of devastating storms, waterspouts and whirlpools. Great waves battered the shore for three days and when the storm cleared, the Druj rafts were shattered to splinters giving them no chance to retreat.

In retaliation, and neither seeking nor expecting any quarter from the Dawnish knights, the Druj expended the last of their magical power to raise the forests of Weirwater against the Empire – they unleashed the Thunderous Tread of the Trees.

The devastation was remarkable. The great trees of some of the oldest forests in Dawn marched against the town of Culwich, smashing several smaller villages. The Dawnish had little option but to take defensive positions and try to weather the onslaught, while simultaneously harrying the Druj forces before they could retreat towards Karsk.

Megan observed the catastrophic release of Spring magic, and remarked on how easily the non-Navarr soldiers mistook the attack for being that of a Vallorn. She and her Navarr companions repeatedly explained that the trees were unleashed by Spring magic, were not vallornspawn. In the end, the common soldier seemed unable to tell the difference – they had heard of the malign force at the heart of the Navarr forests, and simply assumed that any horror of this nature must be connected.

Despite the supernatural attack of the forests. The Dawnish forces scattered the Druj armies, slaughtering the Ghulai and her coven, and effectively destroying the Shadow Wasp. The Navarr of Green Loom striding were commended by Empress Varkula for the aid they offered the Dawnish, and Bran of Alderley was gifted with the magical staff he wielded for the rest of his life by the Weavers of Weirwood, as thanks for his assistance.

The Moving Forest

Her experiences in Weirwater prompted a period of introspection and discussion between Megan and several vates. By this time, she and Bran of Alderley had sworn oaths of love and companionship, bound as wife and husband, and Bran officially became Bran Green Loom. The pair became a regular presence at the meetings of the Nations at Anvil, using this as an opportunity to spread the philosophy of the Navarr in the Synod and the Conclave.

Despite her lack of training in ritual magic, Megan sought the assistance of the Dean of the Lyceum, a Navarr magician named Idris Adder Storm, in codifying a ritual based on her observations in Weirwater.

She suggested that it might be possible to use the same magical energies that empowered Thunderous Tread of the Trees to infuse the vegetation in an area infested by the vallorn and unleash them on the enemies of the Empire.

Her theory was based around several observations. She noted that even though the trees unleashed in Weirwater were chaotic and destructive, they did not stray beyond the borders of the Dawnish territory. Bran explained this by referencing the Marcher concept of boundaries and the delineation of land, while Megan drew parallels with the way patterns and designs could often be described in terms of the empty space they surrounded or contained. Unleashing the vegetation in a forest claimed by the vallorn should likewise mean that the vallorn did not venture beyond the boundaries of the territory in which they grew. They could be controlled – for a given value of control.

Further, when the ritual in Weirwater ended, the trees began to move back to the location where the they had previously been rooted, coming as close as possible to their original homes. If this were true of the vallorn vegetation, there would be little or no chance of such a ritual accidentally spreading the vallorn taint into areas that had been reclaimed already.

Finally, she suggested several benefits to this magic. Vallorn vegetation is incredibly resilient to attacks from weapons and fire. They are often home to monstrous insects, and Megan cautiously suggested that rather than attacking the insects directly, the vallorn vegetation would ignore them – but the creatures themselves might follow 'their' trees into battle.

The magicians of the Conclave were horrified by the suggestion that they tamper with the Vallorn. Megan, calmly practical, refuted their claims that it was madness to meddle and explained that whatever else it was, the vallorn must be bound by the same laws as everything else in the world. While then ability to use vallorn vegetation against the enemies of the Empire was of limited use, she theorised that it could be especially effective at removing barbarian orcs from Brocéliande or Therunin, or even from Hercynia or Liathaven.

Critics suggested that the vallorn vegetation would be equally dangerous to Navarr steadings as to enemy forces, and Megan countered by pointing out that the trees raised by Thunderous Tread tended to expend their wrath on fortifications and large concentrations of troops rather than steadings which often have low populations – while some villages were destroyed in Weirwater, her argument was that in the long term the damage to the Dawnish yeomanry was less than it would have been had they just been conquered by the Druj.

Needless to say, the Dean and the Conclave alike were horrified by her suggestion and refused to countenance further research. Megan launched an ill-fated declaration of candidacy for the title of Dean, and narrowly avoided being declared a sorcerer after she was soundly defeated.

Despite her work being largely theoretical, she was left with an enduring reputation of being a dangerous lunatic. In much the same way that the soldiers of Dawn seemed unable to distinguish between the Spring-magic motivated trees and the stories of the vallorn, the magicians of the Conclave seemed unable to distinguish between a plan to harness a dangerous power for the benefit of the Empire and the insane desire to unleash the vallorn across great swathes of land.

Later life and death

Her reputation destroyed, Megan returned to Black Blood Steading with her husband. The pair of them had three children, and lived in relative obscurity. Both maintained ties with the Marches, and were regular guests at Mournstead and Turning Spiral Steadings. The pair made a long study of the Liathaven vallorn, but no copies of their study could be located.

Megan died in 152YE, and her husband Bran died a year later.

After their deaths, a box containing extensive notes and experimental records was delivered to Turning Spiral by their youngest child Linden Black Blood. The documents concerned the continued efforts of Bran Black Blood to codify a ritual that would animate vegetation in a region corrupted by the vallorn and use it as a weapon against the enemies of the Empire.

The documents themselves were presented as a gift and legacy, intended to become part of the archives of the steading. In the end, after discussion with fellow vates and a delegation of Highborn and Urizen that gathered at Turning Spiral to discuss the issue, the documents were destroyed. Tam Turning Spiral, the leader of the Turning Spiral coven, made an address before the Conclave in which he said that while the notes were nowhere near complete they represented a “dangerous seed from which a catastrophe might grow.”