A Synopsis of Metamor Keep

Metamor Keep is a castle in the northern Midlands in a mountain valley that fell victim to a terrible curse in CR 700. All adults over the age of fourteen or fifteen were radically transformed. One third changed sex, one third became animals, and the other third became infants. Due to very powerful countermagic cast at the same time, the curses abated somewhat. The new women and new men are no longer subject to their passions, the animals have regained some semblance of humanity, and the infants can take on an age of about ten to thirteen. The wizard who had cast the curses, Nasoj, is still alive, and rules a disorganized band of Lutins, outcast humans, and other monsters that dwell in the great northern expanse known as the Giantdowns.

That event soon became known as The Battle of Three Gates. The current Metamor Keep storyline begins roughly six-and-a-half years after these monumental events. Within my own stories, the events primarily focus on my own eponymous character, or avatar, Charles Matthias. He came to the Keep about a year after the curses were put into effect, and soon became a rat. He formed the Writer's Guild, and for the next five to six years worked diligently to ensure its continued success.

Matthias is introduced in my first story, "Writer's Guild", and we learn how much he detests violence in the second, "The Fight That Never Happened". In the third story, "Support Group", we meet the other rat with whom he falls in love, Lady Kimberly. The fourth story, "Facing Kinght", demonstrates that there is more to this rat than we had at first seen.

The next five stories in the first cycle show the growing the relationship between Charles and Kimberly, as well as between Charles and the other rats. At this point, the collaboration "The Secrets in Truth". occurs. In it, Charles reveals a bit of his power to Fox Cutter, the Keep's Librarian, who in turn tells the rat of his own colored past. The last six stories in the first cycle detail the Equinox-Easter festival which marks the beginning of Spring. In them we meet such interesting characters as Steward Thalberg, Misha Brightleaf - who will later become one of Charles's firmest friends - and the ever conniving Lord Loriod.

The Second Cycle starts by finally finishing off Michael's transformation into a beaver and his induction into the timber crews. Meanwhile, in Kristy Davis's story "Fetish", Charles is forced to go out on a special mission, in which he has to break his vow against violence. This prompts him to lose control in the third story, "Attacking Cossack", and assault Duke Thomas while Lord Loriod is present. Matthias is sentenced to a week in the dungeon, which sets up one of the largest adventures in the entire Metamor Keep Univese.

In the second collaboration, "Keeping the Lamp Lit", Matthias teams up with the Head of Thomas's Intelligence network, Phil, the white rabbit who is the adopted son of the King of Whales, to stop a threat from Nasoj. An amulet is discovered that could have dreadful consequences if Nasoj is allowed time to unlock its secrets. Matthias is dispatcehd via boat to nullify this artifact while Phil is poisoned by Lord Loriod, succumbing once more to his feral nature. After much machinations, Matthias steals the amulet, Loriod is destroyed by the very people who had been controlling him, Phil is returned to himself once more, and Wessex, the boy mage who specializes in darker magics, extracts the name of the evil mage who had been controlling the traitorous noble - Zagrosek.

Things once more start going good for Charles. For once in a long time, his life appears to be picking up once again. But a dark stranger with ties to Charles' past changes all that. After a violent innital meeting with this person, Rickkter, in "A Place Where There is No Darkness", the duo reach a truce, however unstable it may be. And once again, Charles's life starts to change.

Most of the middle stories in the Second Cycle flesh out the minor characters that surround Matthias. One in particular is singled out for much attention, Zhypar Habakkuk, the kangaroo morph who seems incapable of actually finishing a story. A rift develops between him and the rat, which escalates that by "Declarations of Allegiance neither is talking to the other. In the aforementioned story, Charles and Misha are sent to Glen Avery to combat a possible strike from Nasoj upon that small northern town. The campaign is mostly successful, but of most significance is the ferret that returns to the Keep with them. Garigan possesses the exact same power as does Charles, the Sondeck, and so the rat takes him on as a pupil to train him in its ways.

As the Summer Solstice festival draws near, a few events of import occur. The first is the proposition that Misha makes to Charles in Christian Okane's story "Picnic". The fox asks Matthias if he would like to become a Long Scout, the elite troubleshooters for the Duke. The rat promises to give it some thought, but he would not expect his decision would come so soon. In "Dialogues", my characters meets a friend of his from long ago, A Sondecki. They talk, each giving the other news. The most unpleasant that Jerome tells Charles is that he has seen a Shrieker and that lights have been glimpsed in the Chateau Marzac.

All of these things are still plaguing Matthias's mind as the day before the festival begins in "Diplomacy", a diplomat arrives from the Chateau Marzac, announcing his intention to stay at the Keep. Charles tells the Duke about the Shriekers, and the thousand years of history that is wrapped up in the Chateau, but when Wessex tells them both that the ambassador, Yonson, does not appear to be a threat, Charles is forced to accept Misha's offer, and relinquish his place in the Writer's Guild to stay away from this man he is convinced represents the greatest evil ever to face their world.

And so ends the Second Cycle. The Third cycle picks up immediately where the Second left off, with "False Winds" and the collaboration "Stepping up to Destiny". Both stories cover events during the Summer Solstice festival, including Sir Saulius's joust (with Charles as his squire), and Charles accepting a position amongst the Long Scouts. Subtler currents are moving in "Fingers in the Weave", where we discover that Wessex is having nightmares about Matthias and Zagrosek.

Charles goes through his Long Scout training from "Fireside" to "Jormugand", and learns a great deal more about the world than he realized he could. In "Killing Time", Charles accompanies Misha, Rickkter, and the other Long Scouts on a special mission to avenge one of their own who was slain by Lutins - Craig Latoner. Charles and Rickkter come to a special agreement to stay out of each other's way on this mission, but fate had other things in mind. They are forced to fight back to back, and Rickkter even gives Charles the Sondeshike to use to fight. Charles, in secret, keeps the Sondeshike.

In "Legacies" we discover that Wessex's nightmares are leading him to draw spells upon the very place where he sealed the Censer away. The spells would undo the binding that he had cast back in the Spring. Wessex confide shis fears to Phil, and arrangements are made so that Wessex does not have to sleep unprotected at Metamor any more. This is followed by "Libraries", where Habakkuk reveals that he is more than just a merchant of rare books to Rickkter.

And then, we come to "Liturgy of Blood". Patriarch Akabaieth of the Ecclesia visits Metamor intent on spreading his message of peace between the Lothanasi and the Ecclesia. Though many are dubious of his visit, all he meets are quickly won over by his inner peace and quiet inquisitiveness. However, Zagrosek and Agathe lie in wait, and the very day that Akabaieth attempts to leave, Zagrosek slays him and almost his entire retinue. Only Bishop Vinsah (who was warned by a woman in a dream of the attack with only a few seconds left to save himself), Kashin the Yeshuel, Sir Yacoub Egland, and Sir Albert Bryonoth survive the attack. Zagrosek carries Sir Bryonoth off from the battlefield for some sinister purpose. Kashin has lost his left arm, but starts off in pursuit of the Patriarch's murderer. Both Egland and Vinsah are trapped at Metamor and suffer the curse. Egland becomes an elk, while Vinsah becomes a raccoon.

In "Longing", Charles becomes a Long Scout in full, and goes through their colourful initiation ritual. He then proposes marraige to Lady Kimberly in "Nuptials". Rickkter attempts to take back the sOndeshike in "Relics" but is unsuccessful. Habakkuk though comes and tells Charles that he must give it back. Charles refuses, and Habakkuk, using the Sondeshike against him, break's the rat's arm. And in "Wandering the Keep", Vinsah takes a stroll of the Keep, but the only name he can think to use is 'Elvmere', what the lady in his dreams keeps calling him.

Finally, the Third Cycle comes to a close with "Winter's First Chill". In this tale, Charles is raising Garigan to the rank of Green. Both Jerome and their old friend Zagrosek show up to join in the ritual of advancement. Wessex meanwhile discovers the identity of Zagrosek's ally at Metamor, but is murdered by Agathe before he can act on this knowledge. Wessex is raised as undead and is bound to undo the spell he put in place over the Censer. Charles, desiring to clear Zagrosek's name, leads the SOndeckis to Wessex's quarters, but find the plac eon fire. They put the fire out, and then follow the bloody footprints to find Wessex casting a spell. They are too late to stop him though, and a vortex is opened up. A Shrieker comes out of this vortex, and the Keep itself rearranges all known laws of geometry to contain the horror. The Sondeckis are trapped in a chamber with it, but manage to defeat the Shrieker. Wessex's body is drawn back through the vortex along with what remained of the Shrieker's form. Charles states that they have to report this immediately, but before they can do this, they stubmle onto a party of Lutins and Keepers fighting. After they kill the Lutins they discover that Nasoj has invaded Metamor once again!

And now the Fourth Cycle will take up the stories of all of our heroes and friends as they face these new struggles and new periods in their lives. Join us in the adventure that is Metamor Keep. Drape yourself in fur, or swaddling clothes, or even a new gender, and become a Keeper, proud and determined to fight for your home, and your countrymen, and all that is good and worthy. Read Metamor Keep!

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