Histories of the Desert Freehold
Her natures are similar but her passage of time bears different hallmarks and signs. For the Lost of the Desert - Desires come with the Growing Season, Wrath burns in the Dry Season, Fear comes down in the Monsoon Season and Sorrow is remembered in the Dead Season.
Truce between the Sarah Largent & Honovi Tallfellow. Truth is revealed to Tallfellow. Hedge Gate & Trod to the "Great Spirit" are destroyed. Creation of the Freehold of Sacred Trust. Compromise of culture leads to the adaptation of the local seasons: Growing, Dry, Monsoon & Dead.
The Dry Court led the Dry’s Champion - Slim Todd, help routed Mexican forces out of the northern portion of Arizona. Slim Todd was mortally wounded due to cannon fire. This led to in-fighting between them and the Growing season. The Freehold of Sacred Trust fell and the Lost scattered by courts claiming their own lands. Some Changelings were never heard from again.
The Freehold of the Sun is created from the surviving members of the original freehold as well as new comers to the land. Daphne Begay – Growing Court Elemental, Tom Strong – Dry Court Beast, Phineas O’Toole – Monsoon Court Darkling, Deacon Smith – Dead Court Wizened put the hurt feelings aside to re-establish a place of safety for the Lost. Initial disagreement force the Monarchs to bind the aggressors with oaths otherwise they would face exile or possible death. There is peace but the feeling is tense for many years.
During the Copper Boom – there is a new influx of Lost and mortals who come to seek their fortune in the mines. Miners find copper as close as Globe. However, mine is closed after a horrible collapse kill 30 men. The mines are opened a year later at a different point in the mountain. The original mine is considered a loss and closed forever.
Through the promptings of the Monsoon & Growing Courts via dreams - Jack Swilling uses the ancient canals to form an irrigation company. Water flows in canals by the next year and rich farmland can began sustaining pioneers. This causes a rift with the Dry Court initially, but objections fade in a year.
Hayden Flour Mill opens causing business to boom in Tempe. Noah the Butcher, Growing Monarch declares Tempe to be the new home for Freehold. In a conjoined effort - as one oath expires, a new one is enacted - creating the Freehold of the River's Prosperity.
Red Jacob, a Courtless Artist sets up a safe haven for all Courtless in Mesa as an act of defiance. Tensions rise and leads to street violence. Human police intervene thinking that this is a racial fight between Irish and the Blacks. Red Jacob is killed along with three Courtless supporters. Benjamin Quiet, a Dry Court Darkling discovers a set of railroad tracks in the Hedge. This attracts the attention of the Magi of the Gilded Thorn who declare the tracks a danger. Using their will and the Hedge - the Trod is blocked off.
Mary Soot, Dead Court Monarch celebrates the arrival of the first train connections for North & South Arizona. She sends Ava Frost as an emissary of good will to the Lost of South. The railroad tracks trod reopens. No amount of will is able to close them again. The trod is considered under the watchful eye of the Magi.
Noah the Butcher is taken by Privateers. It is revealed that Red Jacob had faked his death and sells off Noah in vengeance. Red Jacob is killed by Magi Jenny Wind, a Monsoon Court Darkling. Magi Wind was too late to stop Noah from being carried off. She is found dead a year later from hanging herself. No note is found, but it is believed that the guilt was too much.
Arizona becomes a state. Freehold is moved to Phoenix proper. Growing Monarch - Arthur Sprig dedicates the building after the memory of Noah the Butcher (under the name Noah Smith). Some feel that this was a bad choice, but nothing can be done to sway Sprig.
Sisters Emma & Alice Bloom arrive in Phoenix proper to find the freehold empty. Alice Bloom, the Monsoon Court Monarch searched in vain to locate the members of the Freehold. 15 Changelings were said to have occupied the valley. Ava Frost is found wandering in the Hedge along the set of ancient railroad tracks. Her bloodied and torn clothing suggest a fight but she is unable to speak. All she repeats is "Red hands...red hands" before she dies in Emma's arms. No information was found. The sisters close the building of the former freehold and set out for Mesa. They establish a safe haven called "Forgotten Memories" - but not a true Freehold. Forgotten Memories becomes a traveling hub of the west.
The Mantle of leadership of the Monsoon Court is passed on to Ethan Venom. With the cooperation of Julie Swifthand, the two create a new Freehold Iron Progress. Lost population slowly rises as the influx of travelers from the east due to the Great Depression. Sophia Wurm inherits her late husband's mining company in Gold Canyon and offers it as a source of income for the Lost of the valley. Human families starve while the Lost of the Valley get by. A mentality of "Us against Them" is created as the Lost hoard the most lucrative jobs.
The discovery of Pluto prompts Gabriel Bard – Courtless Artist, to make the trek north to Flagstaff. Bard claimed that this discovery was an omen of things to come. He is never heard from again.
Lucas Colt, Knight of the Dry Court challenges Julie Swifthand in single combat for the right to rule. This was the first recorded challenge for ruling succession as all previous Dry Monarchs died during battle. Lucas deals a fatal blow to Swifthand while in a ring of fire – prevent any sort of healers to rush to the fallen Monarch. When the fire dies down – they find Colt standing over Swifthand who is uninjured and sleeping. When she awakens – Colt proposes and the two are wed on the longest day of the year. June 21st is known as Challenge Day from that day forward. Though any Dry Court member can challenge the Monarch any time of the year – formal challenges are accepted on this day as per tradition.
1940 - 1945
Julie Swifthand retakes the Dry Crown as Lucas Colt and several other members of the Freehold are drafted in the beginning of 1940 and en mass after Pearl Harbor in 1941. The freehold population which stood at 25 members of the Lost community is down to 8 (6 women and 2 men). The two remaining men are Ethan Venom was deemed “4F” (physically unfit to serve) and Daniel Walker – a recent escapee from Arcadia who had only turned 16 earlier that year. Unbelievable – the Freehold continues to function with former knights stepping up to take temporarily leadership until the Monarchs return home. News makes it’s way back home that many of the Lost from Iron Progress have made their way into the Bloody Wing, a Lost-based Regiment. However – every few months a new official from the army arrives to advise the “family” that one (or more) of theirs has died serving their country. Clarity takes a sharp drop and continues to do so by the war’s end as none of the men and women of Iron Progress made it back.
At the request of Ethan Venom, John Speakeasy comes to the Freehold as its first permanently based Blackbird Bishop. Along with him comes Alexander White, a Dead Court Darkling who serves Speakeasy like a body guard. Speakeasy finds that he has his work cut out for him. The Freehold is renamed The Desert’s Sacrifice in memory of those who sacrificed their lives to fight a greater evil.
Elizabeth Fury arrives in Phoenix from Minnesota as part of the fringe web set up by the Hound Tribunal. She takes an especial interest in Alexander White. White disappears for two weeks. Speakeasy demands that Venom do something and White is located – nearly beaten to death. The Hound representative declares White guilty of being a Loyalist. Speakeasy defends White by stating that the Palewraith was bound to the Bishop in Oath as penance for his crimes as a Loyalist. Venom makes the final decision that White is considered reformed and not a threat after reviewing the oath created between the two. To ensure that his judgment is not circumvented by Fury, Venom hires Olivia Web, a Tolltaker Knight to repay the injuries Fury committed upon White as recompense. Web then delivers Fury’s unconscious body to a local hospital to mend her injuries. After she is well enough to travel – Police arrest Fury to extradite her back to Minnesota for an assault charge. Fury leaves Arizona – but vows that the Tribunal will always be watching.
Esther Dune, Lily Hops, Nathan Dean arrive in the freehold and Hops becomes the Dead Court Monarch. Ethan Venom dies in the night of the seasonal change. His face is a contorted in absolute horror. There is no trace of Contract magic. It is unknown as to how he died. Daniel Walker becomes the next Monsoon Monarch.
Freehold numbers drift steadily downward as the call of wanderlust infects the younger members of the freehold. Despite the need to remain together – the allure of the 60s radical movements lead to a small population left in the freehold. The Monarchs that current stand are: Esther Dune - Queen of Growth, Julie Swifthand - Crimson General, Daniel Walker – Lord of the Monsoon, Lily Hops – Lady of the Dead.
The lure of wanderlust leaves the freehold down to those who would call themselves Monarch and one or two members of each court. It is discovered that the reason for the wanderlust was not the allure of glamour but the through the usage of the Growing Courts Fleeting contracts used against the members of the freehold while they slept. The culprit turns out to be Talia Long. She was thought to have escaped in 1964 – though after a brutal interrogation by the Crimson General – the “young” fairest was found to have been almost a century old. She had been working for a third party in the Goblin Market who was distilling their youth and giving it to Talia. The result left many in an invalid and crippled state that they could not fight back and were easily subdued. They were all being kept in a private care facility in the West Valley. As the youth that not been utilized by Talia – the missing members of the freehold were re-infused with their missing years with help of Cromwell, a Hob liaison for the Market for the cost of undisclosed favor owed by Daniel Walker – the Lord of the Monsoon. The hunt for the “third party” begins and Talia is physically kept in a drugged state while her dream-self was imprisoned & guarded in a Dream Bastion.
After four years of searching – nothing is found on the mysterious “third party”. By decision of the ruling heads of the freehold – Talia is executed in the real world with an iron dagger shoved into her heart while the Dream Bastion is brought down on her. She is buried in the pauper’s field near the Butte cemetery. Lily Hops, the Lady of the Dead goes missing. A pair of red painted hands are left on Daniel Walker’s door step. They are determined to be Hops. Nothing more is said about it as it is assumed that the Dead Court were investigating it. The beginning of the Dead Season crown Bruce the Silent, an Ogre as the new Lord of the Dead.
Daniel Walker is found dead the night of the seasonal change. His face is a contorted in absolute horror. There is no trace of Contract magic. It is unknown as to how he died. This was the same way Ethan Venom was found 22 years earlier. Martha Deacon, a Fairest Shadowsoul becomes the Lady of the Monsoon and begins the investigation a new but no new leads are found. The current theories of the age believe it was a Death Pact Pledge though nothing could be confirmed.
During the Monson season, Julie Swifthand – Crimson General and Paragon of the Iron Spear is laid to rest after 60 years of combating threats against the freehold. Leading a party of Bridgemasons out to rebuild a trod – they are attacked by a pack of Shadow Wolves. Though the civilians escape, Swifthand and her Knights (Timothy Littlefoot – Beast Runnerswift & Thomas True – Fairest Telluric) suffer grave injuries. Though an unbelievable force of will – Swifthand destroys the wolves in a ring of fire and pulls out the bodies of her Knights back into the real world. They are found back in freehold. As Growth Court moves into to aid the Crimson General, she stops them and tells them that this was the way she wanted it to be. She orders them to heal the Knights and passes. She is buried in the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Mesa. Timothy Littlefoot becomes the next Crimson General. Jacob the Liar (Anthony Fuentes) comes to Phoenix and sets up shop – pushes Liam O’Rourke to step up to become the new King of Growth or rather the newly named Lord of Revival given O’Rourke’s style of Evangelical Sermons. Token (Steve Terry) – a Wizened with a taste for explosives is quickly swept up by Littlefoot and the Dry Court.
The Day of Silence happens. All Lost and those who bear pledges with the Lost lose their voice for several hours. Earlier that day – all the Hedge Gates open – even ones that were unknown. This forces many of the Lost to descend into the Hedge and pull people out – however not all can be saved and over 40 people go missing from Metroplex. Bruce the Silent does not renew his freehold vow and instead departs saying nothing. No trace can be found of him. Monica Caulfield is chosen by the Wyrd later in the year to bear the responsibility of leadership for the Dead Court.
Drek (Brom Inmon) and Von Jaegen (Amy Williams) arrive in Phoenix. Drek takes his place in the Dry Court while Von Jaegen is lured in by the Growing Court.
Sabrina Von Noir (Tara Garrett) escapes from the Hedge and joins the Dead Court.
Springheeled Jack (Michael McGough) arrives in Phoenix and joins the Dead Court along with four others: Link O'Connor – Fairest, Mikey the Smith – Wizened, Sam Bear – Beast & Martha Cub – Beast. In December of 1999, Sabrina Von Noir, Lady of the Dead and Queen of the Season (Tara Garrett) called for her monthly court and when all arrived at the townhouse in Apache Junction, they found nothing but an empty lot. The freehold property and the freehold emblem were gone. The freehold at the time was called "Perdition's Escape". The emblem was a small metal shield that bore a single bloody hand print.
What amazed the freehold was the fact that there was still a freehold and that the oath did not break with the disappearance of the building. Many searched far and wide. Drek (Brom Inmon), the Lord Warden of the area searched everywhere but could not find a trace of it. Rumors about hinted that it had to do with something with the Y2K computer virus but most of it was considered idiocy and non-sense. The search continued for most of the year but to no avail. The only recourse was to carry on business as usual until the time of renewal came.
When the renewal came - the Lost gathered at the empty lot where the former freehold stood and swore - the oath took - much to the amazement of the Lost. The hunt continued for the lost freehold structure.
In the Growing Season, Liam O'Rourke (NPC) - with the support of Von Jagen (Amy Williams), Brook (Bryan Himebaugh) and Jacob the Liar (Anthony Fuentes) took the leadership of the freehold once again and became the Lord of Revival. It also harked the arrival of Bianca (Sarah Himebaugh) a Winter Court Warrior who adapted to the way of the freehold and became entrenched in the Dead Court under Lady Von Noir (Tara Garrett). Also arriving was Ceili Kennedy (Jenn Eiland) along with the Summer Court who continued their investigation as to the missing freehold. Kennedy and her crew fell under the philosophy of the Dry Court as led by Littlefoot, the Crimson General
Many rumors came about and what was determined that four lost were missing: Link, Mikey, Sam & Martha. Link and Mikey were being fostered by Dolores Wilt of the Monsoon Court and O’Rourke two Sam & Martha under his wing. The end of their fostering was supposed to be in December of 1999. The oath hung around their neck like an albatross. Soon the weight became too much to bear and Lady Von Noir (Tara Garrett) found Dolores dead in her home in 2000 - dead from an overdose with a note of apology on how she failed. The event left a somber taste in many and the freehold kept itself quiet as most of 2000 moved along without incident or event.
Early in 2001 Anton & Lydia escape from the Hedge. He takes on the mantle of the Monsoon and she takes up the arms of the Growth Court.
In May of 2001 - the Valley of the Sun turned on its heat and as a sign. May 1st was when O'Rourke (NPC) would would hand over the leadership to the Crimson General. However, the Lord of Revival was found dead in his home - stabbed to death. The Growing Court began its investigation but found no trace of how he died.
The battle for Crimson General was underway still underway between the two Dry Season Contenders (Kristen Brittenham & Jen Eiland) were still warring it out as others went to gathering (Brom Inmon, Steve Terry & Mckenna Martinez). The former Crimson General died in a bar brawl on New Years day out in Buckeye. The Dry Court determined that it was an honest death as it was Littlefoot who instigated the incident.
Also joining were the Dead Court (Tara Garrett, Sarah Himebaugh, Lissa Oliver & Katelyn Mulholland); the Growth Court (Amy Williams, Kaylan Lyndell-Lees, Bryan Himebaugh, Anthony Fuentes) and the lone Monsoon Anton (Jordan Lyndell-Lees).
During the usual lull of the gathering - two new Summer Court members appeared Brahms and Maddie arrive in Phoenix – members of the Summer Court and later that day convert to the idealism of the Dry Court. (Michael Day & Stephanie Hislop). At that same time - Drek, Von Jagen and Bianca complained of a rumbling and cracking that no one else could hear. It was determined that it came from the hedge. Along with the two new arrivals - Drek led them into the Hedge.
An hour later - they returned with the skeletal remains of the four Courtless, the freehold emblem and an outrageous tale. The missing freehold was found in the Hedge - buried upside down. The reasons and the “hows” were still unknown. Presenting the emblem to the remaining freehold - they all saw the bloody handprint fade. Through the use of knowledge and wisdom, it was determined that a new freehold needed to be erected and that a Crimson General needed to be chosen by the new freehold.
The members of the Dry Court set off and begun a battle royal for leadership. In the end - Drek stood alone as the new Crimson General. Naming his officers - he set his first decree - to name the new freehold.
The courts dispersed pondered upon a new name for the freehold. In the end, the Dry Court's suggestion took hold. The changeling gathered sworn upon the emblem with a new name - the Freehold of the Phoenix Guard. The emblem took the etched image of a gate with a Phoenix rising in the foreground.
2002 to Present...
An empty canvas...the Freehold stood a decade of trials and tribulations as well as the induction of new comers and the loss of old friends. Thus began another year for the Freehold of the Phoenix Guard...