For Serenity Sunday I thought I’d share an excerpt from “The Seers’ War Part One – The Weaving of the Web” not only featuring the priestess, Morgan, but the Blessed Isle, Ynys Afalau! Enjoy!
Standing on the western outer wall of Caer Ddraig, Morgan looked out over the lake in the distance. Still polluted by the Neidr Brenin’s presence nearly a month earlier, it failed to sparkle in the late afternoon sunshine. The Cysgoda Forest to the north and the fringes of Tiroedd Afon to the south also bore the scars of the creature’s destructive aura, the fruit stunted and rotted, the green things of the world browned and withered. The people had managed to clean up the bodies of animals and Rheyfelwr alike but there was a long way to go for the realm to recover.
“Do you know what Nirgelwch means?”
Standing behind her, Josse shook his head. “No, your ladyship.”
“Mystical. Lake Nirgelwch is the home of Ynys Afalau. It is the Lady of the Lake who rules the island.”
There was a soft clank of armor as the Defender took a step closer to the wall. “I see no island, your ladyship.”
“Because when Arswyd disobeyed the advice of the Morgens and continued to slaughter the Ejo Eniyan, they brought the wrath of the Gods down on themselves in the form of the Curse. In retaliation, Arswyd declared the Gods anathema and turned on the Old Ways and the Old Religion. To protect the priestesses of the isle from Arswyd’s Purges, the Lady of the Lake drew Ynys Afalau back into the Veil until the day when just rulers rule once more and it is safe for us to return.”
“Your ladyship…if I may ask…what is this Ynys Afalau?”
Morgan glanced at Josse and he immediately stepped back with his gaze averted as if he’d spoken out of turn or committed some unforgivable sin. If she didn’t know any better, she would have thought he was expecting a punishment.
“Forgive me, your ladyship, it wasn’t my place to question -”
“It’s alright. I don’t mind.” Giving him a confused glance, she turned away from the wall and headed for the stairs that would take her down to the west courtyard and gate. “’The Isle of Apples’ or the ‘Blessed Isle’ is a sacred center of worship of the Five Goddesses of the Isle – Arianrhod, Blodeuwedd, Branwen, Ceridwen and Rhiannon and a place of healing. It’s inhabited entirely by women, priestesses of varying levels of training known as Sisters, and led by the Nine Morgens, High Priestesses of the Old Religion. A place within the Veil Between Worlds, it is both a place of the Living and of the OtherWorld. Men are not permitted on the isle except in rare instances. Those men allowed to set foot on Ynys Afalau are destined for great things and often enjoy the blessing and guidance of the Goddesses, the Morgens and the Sisters.”
“A sacred place” Josse remarked, carefully moving past her on the stairs to reach the bottom first. “And one of great power.”
“Power many people would love to get their hands on.” Her Defender had stood to the side, standing at attention to let her pass and she stopped in front of him. “It was the Lady of the Lake who forged the magickal sword, Caledfwlch. The sword given to the first king of the One Realm and was passed on until the realm broke into the four we have today.”
Josse’s gaze dropped to hers and she was surprised to find interest in his eyes. Apparently he loved a good story.
“What happened to the sword after the One Realm broke apart?”
“The Lady of the Lake took Caledfwlch back. It was not that the One Realm became four, but that realm turned against realm and the ForeverGreen was bathed in blood. The Lady of the Lake continues to hold the sword until the day when one proves himself worthy of it by bringing true peace back to the ForeverGreen.”
“By uniting them as one?”
Morgan shook her head. “Peace doesn’t mean conformity. It means acceptance and understanding. The four realms have diverged so greatly that while we are the same race, we are no longer the same people.” She waved a hand dismissively. “But that is a matter for another time. Probably long after our own. Right now, my concern is the survival of the people in my care. I need you to do something for me.”
“Anything, your ladyship.”
“I need you to take me to the Heart of the city.”
~ Excerpt from “The Seers’ War Part One – The Weaving of the Web” copyright AJ Culpepper 2014
~ Image courtesy of http://www.paganspace.net- Artist Unknown