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Ynys Celydonn - South
The ancient home of the kings of Camboglanna and the High Kings of Celydonn, originally a primitive hill fort, later a moat and bailey, still later a vast palace restored, renovated and added to by Cynwas. At Caer Cadwy, Siawn fab Sarannon rallied the last remnants of his cousin's armies and fought a losing battle against his enemies. The ruins still bear witness to that struggle. The castle overlooks the town of Treledig. In a meadow below Brynn Caer Cadwy an ancient burial mound marks a site sacred to the Old Ones. Caer Cadwy is the scene of much of the action in The Green Lion.
Camboglanna, Walgan, and most of Celliwig: grassy meadows and gentle rolling hills, sparsely wooded. Farmers and herders of all sorts, fishermen and traders in coastal villages, craftsfolk of most kinds, but bakers and brewers (the latter in Walgan especially) of particular reknown (grain being plentiful). A prosperous region. The folk not very imaginative, very practicial, suspicious of "foreigners," and somewhat smug. It is from the dialect of this region that the "High Celydonian" evolved, and other dialects are therefore considered rude, primitive, and outlandish; those who speak them (northerners and the Gwyngellach) are thought little better than barbarians.
Western Celliweg and Coill Dorcha: heavily forested areas of sinister reputation, formerly infested with outlaws and still harboring pagans and others misfits.
Throughout the southwest: harvest rituals, survivals of corn cults, interest in animal husbandry, respect for craftsmanship, a rising merchant class because travel became safe during the reign of Anwas, graves and sites named for ancient warrior kings (very different from their placid, slightly pompous descendents). The stones at Dol Tal Carreg are famous throughout the south.
Largely ruined fortress on the Isle of Aderyn, formerly a royal residence, later claimed by Elffin and his men, whose descendents continued to live there. Birthplace of Teleri ni Pendaren and also her home through the first ten years of her life.
Named for an ancient king of Gwyngelli this castle, built in the style of a broch but on a tremendously larger scale, is the principle residence of the Lord of Gwyngelli and his family. The site and fortification of Castell Maelduin are extremely defensible, but the formidable fortress has never been put to the test; the Gwyngelli hills themselves serve as the first line of defense, one which has never been breached by an invading army. According to the legend, the entire hill below is a labryinth of halls and passageways lined with gold. The actual storerooms and treasuries which the hill contains boast enough wealth to put the royal treasury of Celydonn, were it twice as extensive, to shame. But the Lord of Gwyngelli's fabulous wealth rarely provides a lure for adventurers, due to the mystique of the Lord himself, the legendary dangers of the hills surrounding him, the traditional association of his halls with otherworld dwellings of the sidhe, and, above all, the sorrowful fate of all foreigners who have entered the Gwyngelli hills univited. The castle is the birthplace and childhood home of Maelgwyn and Manogan fab Menai, Madawc fab Garan, and Fflergant and Tryffin fab Maelgwyn.
"The dark forest," extensive forest region of sinister repute. Formerly the lair of bandits and outlaws, still harboring pagans and other misfits. Like other isolated regions of Celydonn, Coill Dorcha is believed to harbor supernatural beings and strange, dangerous fauna. Birthplace of Rhufawn, longtime home of Glastyn and Anwas. Believed to be the site of Glastyn's disappearance (according to some stories he continued to stand, enchanted in the form of a tree, somewhere in the forest).
The pagans of Coill Dorcha select the Glas-tann, the "arch-druid" or High Priest of all Celydonn.
Ancient fortress on the Isle of Aderyn, in bad repair but still maintained as a royal residence. Anwas established his court there and Cynwas was crowned at Dinas Moren but moved the court to Caer Cadwy soon after. Morfudd, the Queen Dowager, continued to reside there because her stepson did not extend an invitation to join him at Caer Cadwy. Some attempts to restore the castle were made by Anwas but were abandoned by Cynwas who focused all his architectural efforts on Caer Cadwy. It was at Dinas Moren that the Princess Goewin, according to legend, met and eloped with her nameless lover.
Ruined guardtower half a day's ride from Caer Cadwy, one of a chain of towers and fortresses originally meant to defend the coast from pirate forays and foreign invaders. Who or what Trachmyr was, that the fortress should be named in his honor, is now unknown.
Dol Tal Carreg
"The Plain of Tall Stones," site of a vast prehistoric stone circle. Believed to be the work of fairies and their frequent meeting place, stone circles of this type exist throughout Celydonn, but none on a scale such as those at Dol Tal Carreg, which rivals Stonehenge. Actually the work of the prehistoric inhabitants of Celydonn, the stone circle has long been used as a temple by the pagans, and serves as a yearly meeting place for the pagan priesthood throughout Celydonn, usually at Midsummer.
Prosperous little town in southern Walgan, half a day's ride from Teirwaedd Morfa. Dyffynog's craftsmen are winning fame throughout the south, and the town, despite its inland and somewhat isolated locations, bids fair to become a major trade center.
Town on the coast of Celliwig, directly across the channel from Ynys Aderyn. The wives of the sons of Cadwr of Aderyn have chosen to live among their own kin, in Golchi, judging life on Aderyn too difficult.
The lowland Gwyngellach are very much like their neighbors on the other side of the river, but as one moves away from the Dyferdallben and toward the Gwyngelli hills the regional character becomes more pronounced—the hill-folk are the epitome of everything gwyngellach.
Regarded as amiable, somewhat amusing barbarians by most Celydonians, the hill-folk are gregarious, eloquent, sentimental, and flamboyant. Though they have a great love of material things they are also known for their generosity: they make a great display of their possessions but delight equally in giving them away. Most of them live in a primitive style, much as their ancestors did, but real want is unknown, for a family in need would be a disgrace to their village, a village in need a disgrace to neighboring villages, anyone lacking the necessities of life anywhere in Gwyngelli a disgrace to their Lord. Those who have share with those who lack, with no loss of status to those who accept charity (though those who bestow it do gain considerable prestige). All Gwyngellach have a love of the land bordering on the mystical, a loyalty to their family and to their Lord bordering on the fanatic, and any threat or insult to any of these makes them extremely dangerous; otherwise they are excitable but essentially harmless. They love children and wax extremely sentimental about childhood. As the well-being of their neighbors is their own concern they are very free with advice.
The lowlands are fertile and pleasant, the hills picturesque but dangerous. Hawthorne and birch forests dot the lowlands, white heather covers the hills in spring. Grass and wildflowers in the hills provide ample grazing for sheep and goats, the streams are full of fish, drought is almost unknown, but excessive rainfall sometimes brings flash floods in the canyons, landslides on the hills. The mines yield iron, gold, silver, and gemstones of high quality; miners, metal-workers, and jewelry makers are highly regarded, everyone else takes their living more or less directly from the land, each family or household weaving their own cloth, making their own furniture, constructing their own homes—none of these things with a high degree of skill, but no one rivals their metalwork or jewelry.
Tir Gwyngelli is the only place in Celydonn where the pagan religion is still practiced openly and without fear; tolerance has always been a feature of the gwyngellach character. The Lord of Gwyngelli, his family, and about two-thirds of the population are baptized Christians, most somewhat lax in their observances. But the Lord of Gwyngelli is placed in an interesting position religiously: as the Lord of all the people, pagan and Christian alike, he is obligated to love and see to their well-being, according to gwyngellach custom this does not include burning them up for the good of their souls, but as a Christian he is expected to convert the heathen. The pagan hill-folk are faced with a similar dilemma, for their religion bids them respect and obey their Lord in all things, but to become Christians, as he would no doubt wish them to do, would mean denying his position as the chosen of the gods. Thus is born the great gwyngellach social fiction: the Lord and his family pretend not to notice that many of their subjects are pagan; the people, while not actually concealing their religion, politely forbear from bringing it to his attention—what he doesn't know about, he isn't obligated to do anything about.
The gwyngellach have a (not totally undeserved) reputation as great liars. Certainly the tall tale is a feature of gwyngellach life, as is poetic exaggeration, and elaborate social fictions designed to spare the feelings of others. But to most of these the listener gives almost as much support as the teller; no one is really victimized, scarcely anyone is ever deceived; it is when a foreigner, not understanding the rules, is involved that unfortunate incidents sometimes occur.
The bards of Tir Gwyngelli have committed to memory over two thousand years (or so they say) of legend, prophecy, traditions, and history. The average hill man has also acquired an amazing proportion of this lore and is liable to recite or to refer to it at the slightest opportunity. For this reason, and because the hill-folk (and to a lesser extent the lowland Gwyngellach) are in the habit of speaking of events several hundred or a thousand years past as though they were occurances but a few days old, most foreigners find it difficult to make head or tail of the conversation.
Two customs, regarded elsewhere in Celydonn as barbaric survivals, shape the lives of the hill-folk: the geas, and the bloodless feud.
Geasa: In Gwyngelli, everyone lives under a multiplicity of geasa; some taboos are general, some personal; the more important an invididual, the more geasa he is likely to have attached to him—a matter of some pride as well as considerable inconvenientce. The Common Geas, which falls on commoner and prince alike, includes prohibitions peculiar to eldest sons, youngest sons, farmers, herders, miners, widows, orphans, and only children, to people born at certain times of the year, to whole families, and so on—no occupation, no rank or status is without at least one, and the prohibitions are as various as the situations where they apply. The Personal Geas is foretold at birth or bestowed by a god-parent at the child's christening (or naming, among the pagans); everyone has at least one, and princes of the blood may have as many as four or five. The supernatural penalty for violating a common geas is usually very light, but woe-betide him who violates a personal geas, no matter how silly or arbitrary! It is said that every geas, no matter how unlikely, will have to be faced sometime in the bearer's life. As geasa may be, under certain circumstances, contradictory, one is occasionally faced with a situation where it is impossible to not violate a geas.
The Feud: The Gwyngellach feud as readily as they exaggerate, but, at least among themselves, their feuds are practically always bloodless. In fact, perfect vengeance is only achieved by some act, word, or contrivance which causes the victim embarrassment, rather than physical pain or discomfort. As the Gwyngellach are an eloquent people, verbal abuse is a common feature of most feuds, but a more subtle form of revenge lies in praising your enemy, extolling his virtues and reciting his many (usually imaginary) exploits so that he is forced to wear himself out trying to live up to his reputation, or suffer considerable humiliation when he is found out. When a feud turns violent, however, the Gwyngellach are known to practice seventy-seven distinct forms of revenge.
Lake just south of the Coblynau Hills between Camboglanna and Perfudd. The region around Loch Argadh is virtually the only pleasant part of the degfed, though the northern shore is only sparsely inhabited, due to its proximity to the Coblynau Hills. The western shore, situated as it is between Coill Dorcha and the hills, is also largely uninhabited.
Pefyn is a legendary hero who apparently traveled ceaselessly during his lifetime and may (if the evidence is to be believed) have continued as an itinerant even after his death. Throughout Celydonn, sites are named for him and his alleged deeds in each locale. Besides numerous Pefyn's Seats, Pefyn's Couches, Pefyn's Wells, Pefyn's Bridges, Pefyn's Forts, Pefyn's Drinking Cups, etc., etc., at least three different burial mounds have been designated Pefyn's Grave.
Moorland, mostly unappealing and difficult to farm, little grows there of itself but gorse, heather, and sparse grass, and allows sheepherding, wool trade, weaving, and little else. Conditions are a little better by Loch bel Dragon and down by Loch Argadh and the Arfondwy River. This area long remained independent because no one else wanted it. Silent, suspicious folk, similar to the Mochdreffi, with whom they have long been allied.
It was Gandwy of Perfudd, in alliance with Corrig of Mochdreff, who brought down the royal line of Celydonn and plunged the realm into chaos for over a century. Gandwy was one of the great adepts but he began and ended corrupt and his magic was even employed toward evil ends. His dragon, really an Afanc from Loch bel Dragon, scattered Cynwal's armies before engaging in mortal combat with the king himself. But the Perfuddi people, who had long suffered under Gandwy's oppressive rule, brought him down in the end; that endurance which had kept them silent for so long, along with their inherent stubbornness, led them to defy him at last, despite all consequences.
Extensive marshland to the south of Walgan, not generally considered part of Walgan itself. The marsh has acquired a sinister reputation over the years and, indeed, is full of perils and traps for the unwary—both natural and supernatural. The river Arfondwy, known elsewhere as "Gentle Arfondwy," which flows through the heart of the marsh, is also supposed to be the heart of the danger.
Teirwaedd Morfa's unwholesome reputation comes, in part, from rumors that the marsh reaches out and ensnares travelers who stray too near the boundaries. Actually, this is the result of perfectly natural phenomena: at different seasons of the year and under different conditions (tides, rainfall, or the lack of it) the contours of the marsh change: what was dry land but a few days ago becomes wet and marshy, the dry comfortable campsite of last summer is today's perilous marshland. But to a small remnant of pagans, close relatives of the hill-folk of Gwyngelli, the marsh is both refuge and home. Experience has taught them how to avoid the dangers of the marsh and those same perils serve to keep unfriendly strangers at a safe distance.
Large town in southern Camboglanna, adjacent to, and overlooked by Brynn Caer Cadwy, the site of Cynwas's restored residence. A bustling community, grown up out of a simple fishing village, parts of Treledig are very old. The town, like the castle above, is a fascinating conglomeration of periods and styles, with no apparent plan or structure.
Island off the coast of Celliwig. The land is rocky; what soil the Atlantic winds have permitted to remain is very poor, except on the grassy central plateau, which is partially shielded by a high ridge on the west. The island is mainly inhabited by seals and birds (gulls, pelicans, etc.), several herds of ponies that roam the central plateau, and a few humans. A small tin mine provides many of the islanders with work. The others are mostly fishermen, and a few keep goats and cattle. The cattle of Aderyn are tiny in size and shaggy, like the ponies
Ynys Aderyn has, from time to time, been the retreat of the Kings of Celydonn, particularly when unrest made life on the mainland unsafe. Two castles were built there: Dinas Moren, which has continued as a royal residence, and Castell Aderyn, which was later claimed by the self-styled Lords of Aderyn.
One of two large islands off the coast of Gwyngelli (the other is Ynys Isaf). The islanders are more closely related to the Camboglannach people than they are to the Gwyngellach, with whome they have almost nothing in common. Despite its name ("The Isle of Stone"), derived from its forbidding northern coastline, Ynys Carreg boasts lush forests and fertile farmlands. Birthplace of Prescelli, Seelie, and Iain Og.
One of two islands off the southern coast of Gwyngelli (the other is Ynys Carreg), once believed to be the most southerly of all the Celydonian islands, hence the name ("The Lower Island"). Governed by Ynys Carreg, this small island is green and fertile. Like the people on Ynys Carreg, the Isafi bear little resemblance to the neighboring Gwyngellach, and are more closely related to the folk of greater Camboglanna.