author of fantasy
Ynys Celydonn - Central
"Castle of Glass," legendary magical castle located somewhere in the north, exact location unknown. Actually a fort in northwestern Mochdreff, remarkable because some tremendous source of heat vitrified the entire structure without reducing it to the usual rubble.
Castle in southern Mochdreff, seat of the Lords of Mochdreff (and later, home of Triffin fab Maelgwyn, as royal Governor). Also known as "The Castle of the Silver Wheel," for its distinctive architecture. One of the most curious features of the castle—particularly in the opinion of foreigners—is the many "pattern spells" which allow a person to transport almost instantly from one location to another—often distant in both time and space.
Range of high hills dividing Camboglanna from Draighen. Full of abandoned tin, copper, and iron mines, now reputed to be the lair of goblins and spirits, hence the name. Strange, hitherto unknown creatures do occasionally come down out of the Coblynau Hills, but most of them are relatively harmless. Like the creatures in the Mochdreff forest, these are believed to be survivals from ancient days or mutations resulting from Gandwy's experiments.
Forest region inhabited by mutually independent tribes/clans, nominally under the dominion of Draighen in the old days but never entirely subdued by the Draighenach, with whom they have little in common but the dialect. More closely resemble the Rhianeddi and (especially) the Gorwynnach. It is characteristic of the folk in Cuan that they do not consider themselves Draighenach, nor is there any generic term for inhabitants of that region, the people prefering to identify themselves by clan alone.
Mostly wide grasslands, stone quarries near Findias (once a great seat of learning and wizardry, since lapsed into a mere trading center thought the principle one in the north). Horse and cattle breeders of great reknown, much rivalry between the north and south (Leths Scathach and Skellig), frequent cattle raids and horse stealing. The south is principally known for its cattle and affects to scorn the horsebreeders of the north, who in turn denigrate cattle breeders—in fact, both regions raise both kinds of livestock and take a lively interest in blood-lines. It is a curious quirk of the Draighenach that the southerners only steal the despised horses from the north, and the northerners only take cattle, rather than admit, even indirectly, that their rivals breed better cattle or horses respectively than their own. Besides horse and cattle breeders, tanners, saddle-makers, and cobblers, Draighen is known for its stone-cutters and masons (in the north), linen-makers (flax is grown in the south), and dyers. Books are copied and bound in Findias. The Lord of Draighen lives at Ildathach near Loch bel Dragon, keeping himself aloof from the north-south feuding.
The impact of Irish missionaries who converted that region (which can be seen throughout the north) was particularly strong in Draighen. Through most of Draighen, bards and harpers are greatly respected, but only the scruffiest and least talented (unable to make a living elsewhere) ever venture as far south as Dun Dessi—Forgoll is known for his stinginess.
For some reason, twins are a common occurence in Draighen: human, equine, and bovine. The birth of twin boys to a previously heirless landholder has frequently precipitated dispute, and sibling rivalries are often aggravated by the northern custom of fostering out children at an early age, thus fragmenting family loyalties. The north-south feud is said to have begun with identical twin princes, Scathach and Skellig, in the days when Draighen was a sovereign kingdom.
Estate in southern Draighen, residence of the Lord of Leth Scathach. Located in fertile farm and herding country, Dun Dessi is known for its exceptional cattle, its linen, and its fertile acres; despite this, no signs of prosperity can be spotted at the Hall itself, for Forgoll of Leth Scathach is as miserly as his sons, wife, and mistresses are extravagant. Though the occupants disport themselves in satins and velvets (in Forgoll's case, usually stained, rubbed, and faded), the roof leaks, the tapestries need beating, the other hangings want mending, and the bedding would benefit from a good airing. In short, the Hall is understaffed, and what staff there is is undernourished, shabby, and slovenly. The farmers, herders, and craftsmen, however, live on a more prosperous scale; Forgoll knows the source of his hoarded wealth and treats his people well. The contrast between living conditions at the Hall and elsewhere on the estate are the more marked because they are the exact opposite of conditions existing elsewhere.
City on Loch bel Dragon. The Lord of Draighen resides in Ildathach, keeping himself aloof from the warring factions that divide Draighen into two parts, Leths Scathach and Skellig.
Along with Leth Skellig, one of two competitive and sometimes warring divisions of Draighen. The men of Leth Scathach pride themselves on the excellent cattle they breed.
Along with Leth Scathach, one of two competitive and sometimes warring divisions of Draighen. The men of Leth Skellig breed horses of exceptional beauty, spirit, and stamina.
Loch Bel Dragon
The long lake on the Argaduisge between Draighen and Perfudd, named for the serpent (really an Afanc) that dwelled in its waters for so many years. The region around Loch bel Dragon is extremely pleasant and fertile, and the residents were unwilling to abandon the area when the creature first made itself known; accordingly, steps were taken to appease the Afanc, which caused little trouble until roused by Gandwy of Perfudd, who hoped to use the creature in his schemes for power. The city of Ildathach is located on the southwestern shore of the loch, where the Lord of Draighen makes his home.
"Blue Lake," on the river Teinne, which divides southern Rhianedd from northern Mochdreff. Sovereignity of this pleasant region has been often disputed by the rival degfeds, and it is said that Loch Gorm has oft turned red with blood as a result of their fierce disputes.
Traditionally the "bad guys," divided in the old days from the rest of Celydonn by religious differences and fierce independence, later by a mutual distrust bordering on hatred, the Mochdreffi have their virtues, but they are not such that their neighbors (except the Perfuddi) would be likely to appreciate them.
Not a welcoming region: moors, bogs, and dark forests. The people are small, dark, and secretive, physically but not tempermentally resembling the Gwyngelli hill-folk. The typical Mochdreffi is an uncomplaining fellow, taciturn, given to minding his own business; his sense of humor has a grim turn to it. Though a man may feel some affection for his own individual plot of land, he regards himself as continually at war with the landscape and with nature in general. The Mochdreffi are strictly exogamous—even distant kin are forbidden by custom to wed, so lords seeking brides of equal rank are forced to look far afield--and acknowledge no authority or status outside the family or clan. Corfil and his ancestors were of mixed blood (even more so than the other nobility) and never assimilated into the culture around them; hence they share little in common with the typical Mochdreffi, being inveterate meddlers, complainers, and troublemakers. Other Celydonnians, ready to ascribe any unpleasant characteristic to the Mochdreffi, have come to regard these features as typically Mochdreffi, despite the fact that they contradict everything else that is known (and often despised) in the regional character.
Malignant magic is not so widespread in Mochdreff as is commonly supposed, but the use of minor magics to ward off or appease hostile nature spirits is universal; prophetic gifts and healing run in some families. Old women, particularly matriarchs presiding over large families, are expected to be proficient in witchcraft; among men, premature birth or minor physical defects reveal predisposition toward warlockery. This is not limited to congenital defects but includes the effects of disease and injury. Thus those wishing to acquire magical powers sometimes inflict damage on themselves or seek pain and suffering as roads to power. But serious defects, sich as blindness or crippling diseases, hunchbacks, or cretins are not signs of power in the individual but are regarded as the work of witches, warlocks, or supernatural beings exercising a grudge against the victim's family. Because of poor diet and living conditions, such problems are widespread, but the victims are regarded as "unlucky" as well as unfortunate, and, while not actively mistreated, are kept out of sight and contact with others. There is little interference with magic-workers, less from fear than from the custom of minding one's own business.
The people are swineherds, peat-cutters, charcoal burners, and fishermen (in coastal areas); nearly everyone else scratches out a subsistance living from the soil. Sod houses are common. Physical endurance is highly regarded. In the forests on the western border live strange hybrid creatures unknown elsewhere (some, perhaps, the results of Gandwy's experiments). There are many survivals of ancient pig cults; these are often linked to albinism ("marked by the white sow"), which turns up infrequently but is totally unknown in other regions. The feud with Gwyngelli is said to have originated over "a matter of wild pigs." It is a totally unsubstantiated rumor that talking swine are occasionally born in Mochdreff.