Conversations with Prince Elidur of the Summerlands

Notes from a conversation with Prince Elidure [deceased] of the Summerlands,
as collated by Tómas D’Medici [deceased]“… the geography of the Summerlands is, as best I can tell from the maps at Brighthelm Stane, similar to the kingdoms of Albion, Cymryja and Caledonia, with some of the outlying islands. What lay beyond the seas we did not know, though ships which sailed out of sight of the coast often did not come back. Most of the mountains, hills and rivers that you have we had also, though named differently …”

“… you have more creatures than the Summerlands, both domestic and wild. We had dogs, cats, cattle and sheep, but some of the wild creatures you have we do not …”

“… the lands of Edreja seem much more magically rich than ours. Mages are more
common, and Ritual Circles far more frequent. Perhaps our land had a stronger
barrier against the Void than yours? Certainly the ability to wield magic was seen to be a sign of great strength in my lands, even the slightest kind. You have perhaps 50 Circles in the three Kingdoms? We had perhaps 10 in the whole of the Summerlands …”

“… Bolster must have been a truly enormous figure, since he could plant one foot
on Carn (the high hill just outside Camborne) and the other on the cliffs
outside Maerith’s Point – six miles away as the crow flies – he must have been about 12 miles high. Bolster was a bad tempered and violent brute who terrorised the countryside and struck fear into the hearts of ordinary folk,
but he met his match in the pious and chaste Maerith, who was beloved of the Mother. He fell in love with her and pursued him relentlessly, but Maerith wanted none of it. Sick of his constant attentions, Maerith told him to prove his love for her by filling up a hole in the cliff at Caer Porth with his own blood. To Bolster that was an easy task. After all, he’d never miss a few gallons-but Maerith knew that the hole was bottomless and led into the sea below! He stretched out his arm, plunged a knife into it and lay down to wait for the hole to fill up. It never did, of course and eventually Bolster lost so much blood he died. Thus, Maerith was rid of his unwanted attentions, as were the folk of the land, but he left his mark behind. The cliffs at Caer Porth to this day still bear a red stain, said to be from where his blood ran down into the sea…”

“… Kernow was a place of great magics, the place in the Summerlands most strongly tied to the old ways. The Ritual Circle at Brissail was the last to go, when the rot started. Some say that it was because the Old Folk lived there, the Owmen of legend. Others that it was beloved of Turan, the Ancestor of the Storm, a wild place, and much of his strength in the final days went to fighting the corruption …”

“… The first circle to fail was at Lundun, where the Cult of Glas Tygry first struck – they preached a return to the early days, where all would survive by hunting and fighting. Destroyed fields and orchards, tore down buildings and pulled up roads. They had much from mainly young, foolish men. The Summerlands had long been without a war, and fighting spirit was whipped to frenzy by the Cult. They struck against the Temple of the Mother in Lundun, and in Gorsenneth, which was the second circle to fail. Mages tried to find out the Cult were doing this, and could sense no connection, but the co-incidence was too Each time they struck against a Temple to the Mother – each time their forces grew strong in an area, the Circles became harder and harder to open. Kormevis fell, and people feared for Brissail, as close as it was, but the troubles passed it by and struck instead at Rathness, far to the North, and Rannock Forest. In each place, the Cult of Glas Tygry grew, and people turned from the Mother, praising the name of the Tygry and his followers. He gave them great of distruction too, and the Mothers name was heard less and less in the Summerlands…”

“… The Owmen? They’re the Faerie of the Summerlands, and they are capricious and wilful. It is said that the Shining Ones long ago negotiated a settlement with the Owmen that they would not hunt us, if we did not hunt them. Some of the Owmen rebelled against this and were driven out of their land to dwell in
infamy among us. My people did not treat them well…”

“… reports of the leaders of the Glas Tygry came in – creatures with the form of
men, but twisted, different. Their wishes were as orders, and their orders the
fervent desire of servants. Did I say servants? I mean slaves…”

“… the Owmen could be summoned, and placated, and they would give gifts of great
magic to those who pleased them, or who served them for a time. They were not
cruel captors, but were demanding – serving them was not an easy option and few
took it by choice. You would serve for a year and a day, and if they were
pleased, you returned puissant. If they were not, you returned battered and
bruised. And some did not return, though whether that was because they were
favoured of the Owmen or died in their realm is not known …”

“… Sturm Brennan was one of the heroes of my family, and fought long and hard against the fimir, who came from the sea and who tried to sink the Summerlands beneath the waves so that they might rule over it. He fought for 12 days and 12 nights with their greatest war until the very earth was tattered and torn, weeping blood and moaning like a stuck pig. He prevailed, and the fimir were driven back under the sea …”

“…the Great Council was called, and lords from all the lands came to Brissail to decide the strategy for the fight, but too late. The Lord Arthur MacCoin from the northern provinces argued that all of the Glas Tygry should be destroyed, hunted down like the dogs they were, but the Pendrinn replied that they were dug into their hills and forests like mennochs in their sett, and to dig them out would take more forces than the Lords of the Summerlands could bring to bear. And each Glas Tygry killed was a martyr to their cause, and each blow struck by either side was a prayer to the Tygry. Mennius of Carglass argued that inactivity would see the Summerlands fall to apathy, and the Glas Tygry would swoop and pick at the bones of the People of the Land. The Druids of Caer Dubh spoke of the great Serpent below the land, and the waking of it. They spoke of a ritual of great magic, that would rouse the Serpent and loose it against the Glas Tygry, ridding the Summerlands of the foul presence. Much arguing there was, and the discussion raged for several days, but finally the Lords were agreed. They would follow the council of the Druids, and enact the great Ritual. 5 circles were needed, spaced along the Serpent’s spine, but the influence of the Glas Tygry was too much, and for some of the circles, not enough power could be drawn from them to rouse the Serpent, even though the heralds sent to rouse it walked through the Gate into the darkness beyond,
never to return.”

“Hearing this, the Lords of the North took counsel amongst themselves, and then one Colm MacArt stood, saying “we should not fight the Glas Tygry. Their day has come, their time on the circle is now. The Mother has left us to our fate, like a mother lets her son leave her house when he becomes an adult. She has bourne us, raised us, fed us, and clothed us, and we should be grateful. But we are adults now – men, and warriors, and her time is behind us.” At this there was much dissention, with many saying that the Mother would never abandon her children, but the words of Colm MacArt were persuasive, and many flocked to his banner, and they approached the Glas Tygry, seeking to parlay with the Tygry itself. The results of that parlay is not certain, but when I left to seek a new Queen, one blessed by the Mother, the forces of the Northern Lords were
less than 4 days from Brissail…”

“… there were many tales told of the rise of the Glas Tygry, and of what the Tygry did to the land when it forsook the Mother: tales are told of a dread and evil spirit who lurked within the very trees themselves, seeking unwary travellers for its prey. It is said that in the beginning a pair of travellers camped in the woods next to a twisted and blackened tree. One traveller was awakened in the night by a terrible scream, and as he turned to his companion, he saw him grasped within the deadly embrace of the roots and branches of the tree – the very life being squeezed from his body. The traveller ran, never to enter the forest again. A troop of woodsmen determined to destroy the tree and set into the wood – they were never seen alive again. A party sent to find them discovered their crushed and twisted corpses lying by the scorched tree. They resolved to leave the tree in peace and left…”