Neithernor is a small “pocket world”, that was unaffected by the disappearance of magiq from the mundane world. It is a strange and gorgeous land of shores and fields, of deep woods and unexplained ruins, mountains and caves, all abandoned when memory of it was removed, but still alive and rich with hidden magiq. The Monarchs believed that this place had been created eras ago, through magiq, as a home for the old guilds… A place where those in the old time could slip away to use and research magiq freely, because even in the time of those who didn’t die magiq was secret and feared.
In "Mr. Wideawake", Deirdre learned from Mr. Wideawake that time runs differently in Neithernor. Time runs more slowly in Neithernor and those who stay in Neithernor for extended periods of time adjust to its time. When they return to the mundane world, the time shift creates a disorientation. For individuals who stay too long in Neithernor, they become unable to handle the shift in worlds and become permanently Neithernorian and cannot return to the mundane world. The only known Neithernorian was Sullivan Green who, after being pushed back in time by The Churning Storm, used the time difference in Neithernor to guide his past self into following his plan to open the Book of Briars.
The development of the guild houses themselves originated in the fanon, with users discussing the topic of what home bases for the guilds might look like in the Campfire category. The guild houses were later encountered by Deirdre Green during Phase Four.
According to the Monarch's remaining history, there was experimentation with wells. They were hoping to find answers about our changed world in them, and sometime in the Book of The Wild someone managed to harvest a piece of the Fray deep within a well, to study, but it began to grow. They were afraid it would take over our world so they tried to send it back, but reaching out to The Fray is unpredictable and dangerous and it wouldn’t accept the piece. They tried to destroy it and thought they had but it actually grew just outside our world, and it eventually became Neithernor. A place where magiq and imagination could be fully realized without limit, without fear of misunderstanding or retribution, but with its own risks and dangers.
In August 2017, Deirdre stumbled into a note in her fathers journal that described him coming into an “all-consuming need to find Neithernor.” The journal gave scant details about it, location wise, but it did mention "The Little Red House" existing there. After a short stint of knocking on every door in her brownstone, she concluded that she did not exactly have access as of that particular point in time. Two days after her post, on August 17th of 2017, Deidre had entered Neithernor. The location she first entered was the Warren, which she soon learned her father used as a sort of safe house. She spent the rest of that day sleeping, and on waking found she had been gone less than two hours. Deirdre learned that she had gained the power to summon a knocking door at will, allowing her access to Neithernor.
In "The Three Manners of Magiq," Deidre told Mountaineers that she had been to a new area of Neithernor using the chronocompass directions recruits had used on the Fletcher Dawson website. The new area was a giant walled grove, which Deirdre named The Grove Hall. Deirdre tried to find an exit to the wilds of Neithernor, but returned home after being unable to do so. She spoke with Cole and the two reconciled, agreeing to go their separate ways while they both tried to process what they were going through. Going to the grove also unlocked a new journal entry, where Sullivan told Deirdre she would have to learn figuration magiq, the most difficult of all magiq to perform, in order to find the little red house. Deirdre returned to the grove in "The Storm - Part One" in an attempt to learn figuration, and she encountered the statues of the same animals that made up The Minnying of Ojorad poem. The statues led to a crystal door with no way to open it. Using story magiq, Deirdre was able to pass through the door.
Deirdre and Cole explored a new location in "The Hike" and "The Tunnel", which was a lengthy tunnel that eventually led them to a small courtyard in "The Vault." Deirdre and Cole explored what they believed to be a castle, navigated the stone pathways until they came across a massive vault. The vault had all manner of artifacts and thousands of books. Nearly running out of food, Deirdre and Cole repaired a door in the vault and used it to knock back to the mundane world, where they left the door open so they could easily return. However, they soon learned that a door to Neithernor could only remain open for a short amount of time before causing issues. Deirdre decided to go back to the vault without Cole so that she could process the new location and she realized that her dream of being carried through a hallway was actually the tunnel she had traveled in, and that she had been in the vault as a child. The new breakthrough led her to rediscovered what she called her soul's providence - The Myth of Elainnor.
The Incomplete Mundane History of Neithernor.
There is a place beyond our world. A place untouched by the curse that erased magiq and all knowledge of it.
The following is what I know about Neithernor. When your mother and I walked the paths of wool and silver we knew so little, and had no clue where they would lead. But after you were born I found Neithernor. And my experience there, along with echoes of its history here in the mundane, helped me assemble what I believe is the most complete (but still unfinished) history.
My research of Neithernor goes back to Anne of Brittany’s death and the eventual splitting of her court of artists’ secret guild into the paths of wool and silver. At some later point in our current history the path of wool became Monarch’s Mountain so that’s what I’ll call them going forward.
The two groups split, searching for illumination and beauty and magiq in their own ways… I don’t know how or when exactly, but it was the Monarchs who first sought out Neithernor ( I believe the destroyed eighth unicorn tapestry may have held clues to its location and is the true reason it was destroyed.)
The Monarchs discovered a small but verdant place connected to our world through secret entrances, but wholly hidden from us. ( I’ve read that at that point in history simply knowing about Neithernor and/or its name and imagining or wishing yourself there may have been enough to gain entrance.)
Neithernor was not affected by whatever removed magiq from our world. That’s how the Monarchs learned that there was an alternate history of magiq. (A secret they kept from the world.)
Neithernor is a small “pocket world”. It is a strange and gorgeous land of shores and fields, of deep woods and unexplained ruins, mountains and caves, all abandoned when memory of it was removed, but still alive and rich with hidden magiq. The Monarchs believed that this place had been created eras ago, through magiq, as a home for the old guilds… A place where those in the old time could slip away to use and research magiq freely, because even in the time of those who didn’t die magiq was secret and feared.
The Monarchs found written histories of the guilds, learned magiq beyond our world’s rudimentary charms, explored the strange island-like world, discovering doors to and from places all over our mundane world. They created their entire society around Neithernor and the relics and old histories they found. At some point they created the original path of wool so that others like them could find it and explore and learn and cast. Many Monarchs lived normal lives here, then secreted away to rule and explore their hidden kingdom.
But the path of silver also discovered tale of Neithernor and became desperate to share in its wealth. The Monarchs allowed them entry. The Silver chose a remote place to call home, and kept to themselves, as was the agreement. (There had been conflict among the groups in the years following the court of Anne, even before Neithernor, having to do with their differing views and methodologies.)
There was peace for an untold time. But then something unknown happened that pitted the Monarchs against the Silver. I don’t know whether it was a gradually building conflict or if there was a single catalyst, (or who was ultimately at fault) but it escalated into “The War of Neithernor.” Many were lost but MM drove the Silver out of the land and barred all entrance back.
The Silver scrounged for power here in the mundane world, trying to use everything they had to get back in. But they had been exiled.
Years later, The Council sent The Book of Briars to Monarch’s Mountain and the Silver scrambled to take it from them. They had grown strong in their own secret place here in the mundane, using what they learned from Neithernor and gathering artifacts and objects from the old time… They had also created The Storm. Once they realized the book was not for them, they sent the Storm, and in doing all but wiped away any memory the Monarchs had of Neithernor. Aside from the Silver, and a few whispers and stories, Neithernor was forgotten again.
The paths fell into ruin. The ashes of Monarch’s Mountain became a small secret sect here in the mundane, unaware of what they had discovered. Left with nothing but esoteric records of their former, glorious history. And Neithernor, untended, became a volatile and lonely place.
But Neithernor is still there. Still barred from most. But I found the way in. And in that strange place I learned magiq.
And there I found the little red house your mother had somehow dreamed of all her life, and inside of it… well, you’re going to have to see for yourself.
Sullivan's Entries in The Monarch Papers: Neithernor Edit
My dad said the warren (which is why I knew what to call it) was his home for many years.
Time is different there. It moves faster, but our bodies are still bound by the passing of time in our world. We can experience days and weeks there but our bodies and minds only age by seconds and hours.
When he had finally found his way here, (which he says is a story for another time), he’d secretly hoped that Monarch’s Mountain would have been waiting there to welcome a traveler of the path. He’d been harboring the belief that maybe they’d somehow remembered and tended to this world. But they were gone. And as wondrous a world as it was, he felt more alone than ever.
He says that Neithernor is a wild and wondrous place. But a sad place. It’s the last corner of our world as it was, and as it could have been. But even broken it’s still beautiful and full of undiscovered wonders. Treasures still hide here. Ruins to explore and stories to seek.
He then explained what happened after my mum died. He believed the storm had been looking for him because he’d briefly come in contact with the Mountaineers and had been touched by the book. But he’d also been touched by Neithernor. Regardless, the storm wouldn’t leave him alone. So he sought refuge there. But when he returned home the storm would hunt him, and over the years the doors to Neithernor started closing. They were always meant to protect that world. To keep out the Silver. And so it became harder and harder for him to find ways in, until he discovered that the storm couldn’t enter Central Park. And in the Ramble he found a single door that could still carry him over.
Eventually he had nothing but the Ramble and all his regrets. But years later he felt a presence in the park. Faint and faded. It was the Council. What remained of them. He says they spoke to him, in the rustle of grass blades, in the chirp of baby birds. They were calling to him. They had sensed his presence too, also faint and faded. They’d found each other.
Over the years they nursed each other back to life. He says he became brave enough to leave the park so he could collect objects and artifacts from the other time. He shared their power and the Council grew strong again. And together, over years, they came up with a plan.
All of this is the wheel they set in motion. The last chance to unchange what has been changed. He wanted to fight for them, but his mind was broken by what happened with my mum and the storm wouldn’t stop pursuing him until he was gone. He could die alone in Neithernor, or with his friends there in the park.
He told them he knew someone who was brave enough to take his place.
A fighter. Someone who could work with those who would hopefully become the final mountaineers. He was talking about me. All I had to do was find the secret path he’d set for me years ago after he cast the spell to protect me from all this madness. The Council felt it was a lot to leave to “maybe” but my father said I was my mother’s daughter. As far as he was concerned there was no maybe.
He said I have to explore this world now. He can’t tell me how to find the little red house. I have to find it myself. And when I do I’ll know why.
He told me to take the walking stick he’d left by the bed. From now on I should carry the compass, the journal, and the stick with me wherever I go. With them I have all I need to do what I have to do.
He said to hold close to everything he ever told me. He said to trust in the flow of magiq and that he loved me and was proud of me.
The Three Manners of Magiq
My father said he found writings left behind (I assume somewhere outside the grove hall) when Monarch’s Mountain forgot about Neithernor and eventually fell apart. He found compendiums of “lost memories,” chronicles of things that people have remembered about the other time, and he found studies of magic. Sorry, magiq.
He learned in his exploration of Neithernor that there are three currently known schools or “manners” of magic. “Currently” being the last time anyone came to Neithernor, which was a long time ago.
There’s the mundane or Material Magiq, which is the simplest of magic used in our world and the “time before.” It’s mostly charms and rituals that affect the world in small ways. Finding lost objects, remembering forgotten things, subtle changes in the weather… He says that’s mostly what you (the mountaineers) have performed so far. It borrows power from the surrounding world, and then gives it back when the charm or ritual is finished.
On the other end of the spectrum there’s primal or Wrought Magiq. Magic that draws energy from other things and places, nature, magical objects, people, and then repurposes it. But by doing so, also destroys it. It’s dangerous, unpredictable, and powerful, but not necessarily “bad,” though it’s often used by those who don’t care about the destruction of magic. Monarch’s Mountain also thought that Wrought Magic is what makes adepts, people born with a specific, innate power. Without realising, they instinctively draw from the world around them to perform their magic. (He says magiq is finite in our mundane world, so wrought magic is a fading talent that is also diminishing all other magic. Sorry, trying to get the “q” down.)
Then there is the third manner of magic that falls in between the other two.
It can be taught but is most powerful in those with the innate gift of creativity. He says it’s essentially storyteller magic. MM never had a name for it (there was mention that either it shouldn’t be named or its actual name shouldn’t be spoken) but they colloquially called it “Figuration.” It’s the only way, MM believed, that new magic could be created. There is power when new things, new worlds are “thoroughly thought up,” when rich stories are told. And the characters, the settings, the themes and meanings can all be creatively repurposed to perform magiq. But “storytelling” can be used in all sorts of creativity, not just writing. Anything that joins disparate elements into a new creation (which includes all sorts of crafts) can be used to create minor magiq.
But stories are the focus of figuration. It is the rarest magiq in our world and near impossible to perform now. It’s how he cast the protection spell on me. Well, partly. He did it by writing the story and then borrowing power from the six corners and also using power from Central Park to bring it to life. He had to use the other two manners to manage the minor figuration.
He said it’s difficult to learn, and near impossible to master… And to find the red house I’m going to have to perform it myself.
And if I don’t find it, all that you’re doing now will be for nothing.
The Grove Part 2
My father wrote about the war. About “The Silver” and seeing what they were truly capable of, how he was also heartbroken by the bird when he first saw it.
“This was the world they wanted. Magiq, mined dry. Wonder, subjugated. To have all. To win control of a thing that didn’t belong to anyone. And when they were finally barred from paradise they set their sights on the mundane world. Drawing what little light remains into the dark place they hide. From the moment I left that grove I knew I had to do everything I could to stop them. The purpose I’d looked for all my life, and only seen glimpses of, was now looking back at me from the skull of that animal. Even though Monarch’s Mountain had been wiped away, their purpose, their soul still remained in those few remaining shafts of light. The Silver can’t win as long as we live to fight.”
THE DARK DOOR
I explored thousands of miles of Neithernor and never found the edge.
Once, I traveled for days across the great eastern sea and I found the remains of a strange fortress. The sea had claimed most of it, but portions were left on the shore. It was days removed from the other lands, the other ruins. I knew without question it was the house of Silver.
I spent months exploring the ruins and found writings that had survived the water and the war. The Silver were working on something in the mundane when everything fell apart. They were building a secret place inside our reality. Instead of sharing the discoveries they’d made in the mundane, they’d been secretly collecting them, stockpiling them out of view of Monarch’s Mountain. There was even mention of those artifacts being transported back and forth between their earthly “palace of doors” and Neithernor, for reasons I don’t know.
They’d built, somewhere in their Neithernorian fortress, a dark door to their secret place on Earth. A door that now could only be opened from Neithernor, because Monarch’s Mountain had barred Silver’s return.
I found it, half-submerged. I knew once I walked through they might sense that I had entered, and would know about the forgotten entrance. I prepared myself and opened the dark door, into the silver palace, and closed it after me. I found a towering, endless place made of countless rooms, libraries, galleries, and museum halls of magiqal artifacts, connected to every corner of the world. Vast and quiet and cold. They had spread to the six corners like a virus.
But this was the opportunity we needed. The Council and I had been searching for an object of power with what little power we had gathered. It’s one reason why I had scoured Neithernor. We needed something that would catalyze our plan, to set all of this in motion. We believed in you, but we needed something unmistakeable, something so wondrous it would inspire thousands to join your cause. Your army of mountain climbers.
After hiding in their stronghold for weeks, avoiding the sounds of footsteps on icy marble, I found it. There in the heart of the palace of doors I found a copy of Ackerly Green’s Guide to MAGIQ. I stole it, along with whatever else I could carry, including a pocket watch I found which had belonged to the Green family long ago. I tried to escape, but I couldn’t find a way out. No door would knock for me there, because the knocks were meant to keep out The Silver and The Storm, and by taking the Guide I had drawn the attention of both.
I’m ashamed to tell you what I did, what wrought magiq I performed to escape that place. But I did. And I found myself on the other side of the world. I knocked a way back into Neithernor, back to the warren where I felt safe, but The Storm had followed me through my escape. As I reached for the doorknob to slam the warren’s closet shut, The Storm reached for me, touched me, and I saw into the heart of it.
It ripped away shreds of me. I saw them fall away into the black void in the moment it took me to shut the door… I saw inside it, what it would do to me, etched on its black heart.
I’d seen so much, had so much stripped from me, sometimes by my own hands. But looking into that void I finally knew… I saw… my time here in this world was coming to an end.
“Two true manners of magiq… material and wrought. Borrow and break. You make the third with one or the other or both, and it changes it, depending on what you use, what story you end up telling.
Borrowed figuration is slow, but steady. The stories take root over time. But possess a particular, gentle resonance. Broken figuration… faster, but unpredictable. The stories take on hidden themes one didn’t intend. Combining them is hardest, nearly impossible without many, a coven. Coalescing the opposites, ordering the chaos… but the magiq created is potent. Rich soil. How my dear girl was made safe.
But it’s all minor figuration. Trickles of temporary power. All that can be managed here. How to create major figuration? True, new magiq? Impossible in the mundane, and even Neithernor? Or just beyond my power? Even with all I’ve learned, all I’ve gathered in the stick over these years…
Must I be inksworn? Yes, that’s the word. The one they were afraid to speak. Why? Why did they fear that name?
When will all these secrets be undone?”
You have come further than anyone ever has. Done things that most thought were impossible. But you have one final task ahead of you. A difficult task.
Shifting through time is a dangerous and traumatic experience. Even for books. The Book of Briars doesn’t remember what it is. It doesn’t remember its purpose. It is most likely confused, and even afraid (if you believe that books can be afraid.)
You have to remind it.
Tell it about the fragments.
Tell it histories of its time with you, and your own memories.
Tell it poems, sing it songs.
Create art and objects that will help it remember what it is and what it’s meant to do.
Tell it what all this has meant to you.
It is a ceremony to wake The Book of Briars.
The last fragment and your final assessment.
Know, once the Book is awakened this time will be over. You will usher in a new age, and nothing will ever be the same.
Though we never met it has been an honor to work alongside you in our common goal. I believe the peak we’ve sought is now in sight, mountaineers.
You’ve reached the final climb.
We all believe in you.
Ackerly Green Part 2
“I had always thought my father had been the force I felt, the force I called my soul’s providence. But only now, at the end of all this, have I finally seen the truth. A truth I wish I’d always known. So I want to tell you that I love you, more than I thought I could love, and I hope I have not troubled you so much so that you can’t continue on. I am gone now. There are no more clues to riddle. No more puzzles to solve. Nothing now but all the wonders of a life still unwritten. I gave my life for a cause, and if you’re reading this, we succeeded. And now I go to a place where you can’t. A place where my shadow can’t reach you.
It’s time for you to blaze a new trail for yourself and leave my shadow once and for all. You don’t need to be told what’s next. Find where your heart lies out there, my dearest girl, and seek it. I have no doubt you will find it.
In "Mr. Wideawake," Mr. Wideawake told Deirdre that members of the Path of Wool do visit Neithernor from time to time. Neithernor is like a memorial for them. A place of reflection, and only rarely do they go there.