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Druids of Avalon Extras

Table of Contents

I. The Lady
II. The Daughters
III. Exile

 

 

Deep Magic

 

Silver Silence

 

Celtic Fire

 

Druids of Avalon

 

Druids of Avalon:
The Legend

 

Note: This "Legend" is a blend of historical fact, historical legend, and the author's imagination, and is offered for entertainment purposes only. It is not intended as a representation of actual historical occurrences.

I. Druids of Avalon: The Lady

On a storm-swept night, in the year counted later as AD 33, a tiny boat navigates the treacherous coast of southwestern Britain. The craft is owned by Joseph, a merchant from the town of Arimathea in Judea, a man with trading contacts in the tin-rich British countryside. But the boat is not journeying for trade; its cargo is something much more precious. The lone passenger, a young woman, is fleeing turmoil in Judea following reports that a great prophet, an executed criminal who had once been a simple carpenter, has risen from the dead.

As the boat rounds the southwestern tip of Britain, the storm intensifies. The captain orders his crew to sail up the Sabrina Channel, hoping to find a safe haven in which to put ashore. As the channel narrows, the craft navigates the treacherous shore bordering the Mendip Hills. The woman rests her hand on her belly and prays the vessel will land safely.

It is not to be. Winds drive the boat onto the rocks; the craft splits apart. As the water rises, the woman grasps a piece of the ship's bow. Miraculously, she's swept past the rocky coast and into the inland tidal swamps.

The next morning, as the winds calm, a Celtic holy man, troubled by his dreams during the stormy night, poles his raft along the edges of the swamp. He discovers the young woman, lying cold and all but dead. Gathering her onto his raft, he brings her to his village on the Druid isle of Avalon.

The woman survives. She does not offer her name, saying only that she's traveled from Judea. Her message to the people of Britain is that of the Carpenter Prophet: Walk in Light. She carries a token from the prophet, tied in a sack about her neck. It's a simple wooden cup the holy man used during his last meal.

It's clear to the Druids that the woman is touched by the Light; it's equally clear that she's heavy with child. Calling her simply "The Lady," they care for her. The Druids recognize her cup - the cup of the Carpenter Prophet - as a powerful relic. The vessel is imbued not only with the magic of the Light, but also more powerful, more dangerous magic. It is not the power of Light, nor of Dark, but something older and greater than either. The Druids call this power Deep Magic: the power of the gods.

The Lady's time soon comes, and she is delivered of twin daughters. The next dawn, she disappears, leaving the infants behind. One Druid initiate reports seeing The Lady walking upon the swamp before the rising sun. But though the Druids search and search, no body is ever found.

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II. Druids of Avalon: The Daughters

The twin Daughters of the Lady are named Eluned (white) and Eirian (silver), for the Light magic they possess. The Druids of Avalon raise the girls as their own, teaching them Druid lore: herbcraft and enchantments, and the sacred Words of the Old Ones who erected the ancient circles of stone. The Daughters are also trained in the Druid craft of silversmithing, learning to work the precious metal mined from the nearby mountains, and entwine it with magic.

When the twins come of age, they take their mother's wooden cup and encase it in silver, gems, and magic. Into its surface they set the mark of the Druids of Avalon: a Celtic triple spiral, surrounded by a four-quartered circle entwined with vines. The magic of the Old Ones, merged with that of the Carpenter Prophet. And so the cup of the prophet is transformed into the Grail of Avalon.

For a time, the twins life in peace and magic on Avalon. Then war comes, and changes everything.

The Roman army has maintained a presence in Britain for almost a century, but in the year later called AD 43, the Romans launch a full-scale invasion. The Celtic tribes of southern Britain are only loosely allied; they cannot mount a united resistance. Some tribes cooperate with the invaders. Others resist, and their priests and priestesses, the Druids, provide inspiration. But for all the holy men and women's prayers and magic, the Celtic rebellions fail, one by one.

In the year later known as AD 51, Caractacus, king of the Catuvellauni tribe, is defeated and transported to Rome. A decade later, Boudicca, queen of the Iceni tribe, leads an uprising against the Roman army, and succeeds in driving the army out of the fortress town of Londinium. Boudicca's warriors slaughter hundreds of Roman civilians. The Roman governor of Britain is outraged.

After the Roman army regains the upper hand, Boudicca commits suicide rather than be transported to Rome. The governor issues an edict against the Celtic Druids, whom he blames for the uprisings. Druidry is declared illegal, and anyone caught practicing Druid magic is put to the sword. The famous Druid college on the isle of Mona, on the northern coast of Cambria (now the island of Anglesey in Wales), is brutally destroyed.

The Druids of Avalon endure a fate similar to their northern cousins. The Romans purge the West Country, arresting and killing Druids, and forcibly removing Celtic tribespeople from their wilderness homes and resettling them in Roman cities. As the army marches on Avalon, the Druids flee. The Daughters are separated. Eirian disappears with the Grail of Avalon; Eluned escapes with a handful of Druid kin.

The Druid settlement on Avalon is destroyed.

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III. Druids of Avalon: Exile

Eluned escapes the Roman advance with her Druid husband and their young daughter, Wynne. A handful of Druid fugitives escape with them. Wynne has inherited the magic of her mother and grandmother--it seems The Lady's Light descends through the female line. The family, when detained by Roman soldiers, hides its Druid identity. They are herded to the Roman city of Isca Silurum, located in what is now southern Wales.

The Druids make a life in the Roman city. It's a place where Celt and Roman culture both clashes and blends. A fortress town, it is home to many soldiers. The army brings prosperity - an abundance of food and goods the likes of which the Celts have never seen. Many of the richest merchants are Celts, who trade goods to the Roman army at a healthy profit. The Druids are fortunate in that they have been able to keep their identity a secret, and thus have not been pressed into slavery. As free Celts, Eluned and her kin make their living as weavers. Wynne marries Cyric, the son of another Druid who fled Avalon. They have two children, a daughter, Tamar, and a son, Uwain.

Several years later, Cyric's wife and son die of fever, leaving him grieving. Tamar, now a young woman, is old enough to take a husband. Cyric knows the Lady's magic must be passed to a Daughter of a new generation. He arranges a marriage between Tamar and Morvyn, the son of a friend. The marriage is not a happy one, but produces blessings in the form of a son and a daughter, conceived together, and born on the same day. Tamar names her first-born Rhys. Rhys's twin sister is Gwendolyn.

Seven years later, death strikes again. This time it is Tamar who is taken. Cyric, grief-stricken once again, makes a bold decision. He cannot allow Gwendolyn and Rhys, heirs to Avalon and to The Lady, to be raised in a Roman town. They must learn the Druid magic of their ancestors. Druidry is still illegal, and any Druids discovered congregating in the wilderness will be executed. Yet Cyric is adamant: his family will no longer live a Roman life. He will not allow the path of magic, the Words of the Old Ones, and the lessons of The Lady to be forgotten.

It is time, Cyric declares, for the Druids to return to Avalon.

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The Grail King
Deep Magic

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