Druids of Avalon:
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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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