Notes on Igraine’s handmaidens by Cawd
Following on from questions raised, I was looking into the background of the Swords of Waylund. With the library monks’ aid, I turned up some additional information which may be of interest. It may not all be correct, and is probably not complete.
Queen Elspeth’s histories describe how Igraine, wife of the Duke of Cornwall, was the first summoner of the Swords of Waylund.
An account of Igraine’s end, while not describing how and when Igraine died, dscribes her funeral. Dressed in royal white and gold, she was placed on a clifftop pyre, surrounded by her seven handmaidens. Each touched a sword to the pyre, which caught fire.
Although Excalibur had been forged, Igraine had subsequently unmade the sword. It is therefore possible that the handmaidens’ swords were the Swords of Waylund. The Swords themselves disappeared at this time, possibly consumed in the magical lighting and cast to the winds, or possibly subsumed into the handmaidens.
Some scrolls were found indicating that Igraine would only allow the King and her handmaidens into her chambers. It then lists their names, and briefly describes a silver headband each wore with the symbols given to the swords.
Current guardian – Symbol – Sword name – Handmaiden
Calaen – Vengeance – Morax – Brangwain
Ligea – Wisdom – Solas – Gwendoloena
Lyra – Might – Beleth – Isolde
Caroline Bathroy – Justice – Albion – Melyor
Elizabeth Falcon – Honour – Lauros – Lunete
Cordelia Fisher – Mercy – Orias – Enide
(vacant) – Fealty – Elidor – Laudine
Rowena – Unity – Excalibur – (Igraine)
I’ve put Igraine as handmaiden of Excalibur for obvious reasons, although it’s not strictly accurate.
Some other notes use the Swords’ names in connection with Spirit servitors of Waylund, indicating that they are patterns dedicated to aid the swordbearers when needed.
A separate note on Waylund gave the handmaidens’ names again, together with a little further information:
Gwendoloena was rumoured to be Uther’s ritulaast’s sister, believed to have died in 542 AF, coincidentally (?) the same year that Arthur came to court with Excalibur.
Isolde has little mentioned. The name is common in ancient Albione history, and it is unclear which ancient scrolls match up.
Brangwain is described as a cousin of Igraine, and was also apparently of noble birth.
Laudine was a noble of Gloucester. She tended a fountain of which many tales were told, and was reputed to be magical. Upon her death, the fountain dried up.
Lunete was Laudine’s losest friend, although she was the subject of various tales of working with dark magics. At one point she was sentenced to be burned, but was freed beforehand. Her death is reported to have happened at the same time as that of Laudine, at which a bright light burst forth, and the body vanished, leaving only flowers.
Enide was a beautiful maiden who inspired her husband to memorable deeds by her love.
Melyor does appear to be the same as Dame Melyor of Caer Pendrinn. Dame Melyor vanished a year ago, at around the time the Pendragon stated that she was a problem (of some kind – Corman and Charles couldn’t tell me) that needed resolving.
This last would certainly explain the reverence in which the Cornish hold her. Slighting her name in the presence of the people of Cornwall is a good way to get a beating, if you’re lucky. I’m also told that Albion was the sword summoned first.
As a side issue, and probably of little relevance to this matter, Luned is a variant of Lunete. In times past when we were searching for the treasures of Albion, we came across writings by Cumhal ap Luned. There is of course no certainty that it was the same Luned.