Based: Barony of Hereford (in
the County of Chester and the Duchy
Heraldry: Four feathers (white, brown, blue, black) on a pale blue background.
Deep in the mists that are known as The Vale there is an inland sea that stretches as far as the eye can see. On the distant horizon there is a small atoll created eons ago by a fierce volcano, which now lies silent. In the crater sprang up a great forest that rings with the songs of its avian inhabitants. This is the Island of the Birds.
There is a lonely copse of trees on the misty island in which a flock of many different types of bird nest and raise their families. The mists roll in and the mists roll out and sometimes some of the baby birds get a little odd.
The Bard and the Babe
Strange things have washed up on the shore of the island over the centuries. Once a bard washed ashore and the birds were very curious. They made him a home of woven twigs and brought him food and in return he taught them to speak in his tongue and wrote ‘The Book of Phrase’ from which all the bird folk learn their language. Time past and the bard became white haired and then one day stopped moving. Now he is just bones and dust but his book of phrase has been passed from bird to bird although now it has gaps and is getting worn out.
More recently another strange thing washed up on the shore of their island, a ship from which came the sound of a tiny thing crying. The magpie being ever curious decided to go and have a look at the mewling little thing, there she found the owl who is always attracted to small mewling animals in distress. It was a baby, just a nestling really, must have just hatched. There was no sign of the parent birds, but something shiny caught the magpie’s eye and she grabbed it as the owl grabbed the baby and they climbed out of the ship as it began to sink.
Tyto and Quicksilver took the baby on to the island and began to squabble over what should be done to it but it would not stop crying, so they put things in its mouth till it shut up. This was the pattern of the next few years. They named her Cuckoo and became her mothers. They taught her the language of the book of phrase but she never grew her feathers and no matter how often she was pushed from the nest she would not fly. So the mists rolled in and the mists rolled out on the isle of the birds.
The Loss of Dodo
One stormy night the puffin hurried to the clearing to say he had seen a strange vessel mooring off the beach and a group of green scaly creatures were coming ashore. The birds were curious but a little frightened at the fierce looking lizards and watched from the tree line, all except for Dodo. He was a trusting bird and he went to greet the beings who called themselves Lizardmen. They invited Dodo to dinner and he accepted. The six skinny Lizardmen and Dodo went into the caves and soon the smoke from a fire could be seen drifting from the entrance. Darkness turned to dawn and six fat Lizardmen emerged from the cave but no Dodo. The birds realised what had happened and a fury swept through them like they had never known. One bird alone may be vulnerable but now the Lizardmen faced The Flock. As one they descended on the evil creatures who had eaten their friend and the Lizardmen were torn to pieces. The birds feasted on the eyes of their enemies and the mists rolled in and !
the mists rolled out on the isle of the birds.
The Cukkoo and the Scroll
Cukkoo had become too large for the nest and the other birds laughed at the big flightless child. Quicksilver and Tyto had begun to dress her in ‘Bard’ like clothes similar to the pictures in the book of phrase and they had started to dress the same themselves but something had to be done about the cuckoo.
The owl was cleverer than the magpie but slower to think. She began to remember the shiny that was taken from the boat and eventually managed to convince the magpie to bring it from her nest. The shiny thing was a golden seal on a scroll, once the magpie had removed the seal and put it safe, the scroll could be opened, but the time in the magpies nest had not been kind to the old parchment and much of it was unreadable to the birds. It seemed to speak of a faraway shore where there was a grim house, in a grim time and it had a crest of a creature which looked a lot like the horse pictures in the book of phrase but with trees on its head. The birds decided they had to try to find a way to seek this grim house where the cuckoo must have come from. They watched the mists for signs of the distant shore and the mists rolled in and the mists rolled out on the isle of the birds.
The Coming of The Flight
One day early in the morning as the owl was hunting, the mists rolled out and far away she saw the glimmer of a distant shore. She called the flock to her and all the birds looked out and saw the shore. But most were afraid. None had ever left the island before and birds that flew into the mists never came back. But the magpie was curious and curiosity was a lot like bravery when there seemed to be something shiny on the distant shore. She flew off the isle and over the water but the mists rolled in and the magpie was lost. She flew back and forth but she could not find her home. When she finally did see land beneath her feet, it was a strange shore. She landed and rested and waited for the mists to roll back. When the mist finally cleared the magpie was in a place she did not know, but there were shiny rocks all over the shore so she began to collect them. At that moment she saw figures moving in the mists and moved to see what they were. They were people like the bard riding on horses like in the books and they wore shiny metal all over their bodies. Suddenly bowling out of the mist at the rider’s feet came a very damp and angry owl. Tyto had followed Quicksilver into the mists.
After a lot of shouting and some difficulty communicating, the knights eventually told the birds of approaching Heartland Games and suggested they go there to look for this grim house they sought. After some trial and error they learned that they could fly the mists between the island and the new shore and they learned the ways of the mists and the creatures within them, an ancient art known as ‘Mistwalking’. The two birds returned to the shore. It was hard to fly on the new shore and the ‘bard shape’ was easier. They returned to the Island, told Cukkoo of their news and prepared themselves for the long journey ahead to visit the games.
On arrival the Tyto and Quicksilver approached many people telling them they sought the horse with the trees on it’s head and finally were directed to the Harts faction. They asked for the grim house at the Harts gate and were directed to House Grimmir. They gave the lady of Grimmir some drink made from bee vomit and in exchange for this gift they said she should have her cuckoo back and The Flight were adopted into House Grimmir.
Those birds which have learned to travel the mists have called themselves ‘The Flight’. Those that remain on the island they call ‘The Flock’. They learned that ancestors are those who have gone before and began incanting in Dodo’s name.This was how The Flight first came to Albion but our tale does not end here. This is merely the beginning.
As told by Quicksilver & Tyto and scribed (after much translation) in 1103