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SPOTLIGHT: The World of Eileanan

Thursday, June 01, 2017



The land was settled by thirteen witches who fled persecution in their own land, invoking an ancient spell that folded the fabric of the universe and brought them and all their followers to Eileanan in a journey called the Great Crossing. 

The eleven great clans of Eileanan are all descended from the First Coven, with the MacCuinn clan being the greatest of the eleven. The thirteen witches were Cuinn Lionheart, his son Owein of the Longbow, Ahearn Horse-laird, Aislinna the Dreamer, Berhtilde the Bright Warrior-Maid, Fóghnan the Thistle, Rùraich the Searcher, Seinneadair the Singer, Sian the Storm-Rider, Tuathanach the Farmer, Brann the Raven, Faodhagan the Red and his twin sister Sorcha the Bright (now called the Murderess).

When the First Coven had arrived in Eileanan from their home on the other side of the universe, they had built the Tower of First Landing on a rocky crag near the ruin of their ship. Often called Cuinn's Tower, the ancient stone citadel was built around the body of the greatest sorcerer of them all, Cuinn Lionheart, who died in the Crossing. On the barren flats around Cuinn's Tower a rough settlement was built as the four hundred or so migrants struggled to survive.

Unfortunately, the settlers did not understand the wide seasonal swings of the tide, affected by the contrary pull of two moons. Their first winter saw the settlement drowned in the rush of the high tide, many lives lost with it. Only the Tower, built on what became an island, survived. Owein MacCuinn crammed the survivors into the Tower and sat out the bitter cold and isolation, sharing out the meagre rations and guarding against disease so that surprisingly many of the people managed to live through that first great test. When spring at last came and the sea began to flow back, expedition parties were sent into the hinterland, following the shining curves of the Rhyllster high into what would become Rionnagan.

In Rionnagan they found what they were searching for - fertile lands, a plentiful supply of fresh water, and a building site that could easily be protected. For the new settlers discovered that seasonal tides, unfamiliar food and homesickness were the least of their problems. The native inhabitants of Eileanan were not all pleased at the invasion of humans from another planet, particularly the Fairgean, who arrived at their spring pastures to find them occupied. A brutal, warlike race of sea-dwelling nomads, the Fairgean did not give up their hold on the coast of Eileanan easily, and for the next two hundred years the First Fairgean Wars raged. Lucescere was built on a great pinnacle of rock thrusting between two waterfalls that plummeted into the Rhyllster below. The city was never broken, holding off the Fairgean and their allies for over a thousand years.



‘Touch not the thistle’ – MacFóghnan motto 

Brooch – a silver thistle

Plaid: Heather & purple

The Tower of Mists

- ruled by Iain MacFóghnan (m. Elfrida NicHilde of Tirsoilleir, father of Neil)

- descended from Fóghnan of the First Coven. 

- Fóghnan was depicted with a falling star above her head, symbolising her great prophecy which had led them to this world. Another showed her leaving the wrecked ship upon arrival, her face stern and proud, while Owein MacCuinn wept like a child over the dead body of his father and shook his fist after her as she refused to bend to his authority. In the background a tidal wave was beginning to gather, looming over the crowd of frightened migrants - the great tide that would kill so many of those that had braved the Crossing. All of those who went with Fóghnan survived, and thereafter no-one dared doubt the truth of her prophecies.

- Other tapestries showed the magical summoning of Tur de Ceò on an island in Murkmyre, deep within the shifting maze of the fenlands, and Fóghnan’s death at the hands of Owein MacCuinn's youngest son, Balfour. 

- The blood ran bitter between MacFóghnan and MacCuinn, who had learnt one did not touch the thistle without pain. Balfour too had died soon after, of a mysterious ailment that saw him frothing at the mouth, his body arching backwards in agony, his drumming heels tearing the earth up in great clods. Fóghnan’s twelve-year-old daughter, named Margrit as many NicFóghnans would be, had taken up her mother's staff and knife and assumed the duties of the Tower.

- Many years later, when Aedan MacCuinn had united the warring lands and peoples of Eileanan under the rule of the Lodestar, only Arran, Tìrsoillier and the Fairgean had refused to accept his authority. Years of war had followed, but not even the Lodestar could pierce the mysteries of Murkmyre and the ever-hungry marshes had swallowed up the armies sent against her. The Clan of MacFóghnan had survived, as it always would.

- the delicate spires of Tur de Ceò - the Tower of Mists - its sharp-pointed, scrolled towers rose out of the bank of mist like a palace out of a faery tale

ASLINN - deeply forested land ruled by the MacAislin clan. 

Motto: Grow and flourish.

Badge: the Summer Tree. 

Plaid: Dark green crossed with pale green.

The Tower of Dreamers

- ruled by Madelon NicAislin 

- The wild and bonny forests, where dreamers wander.

- fur-trappers, charcoal-burners, foresters and miners - base metals to make ploughshares and charcoal for whisky vats and timber for the building of new crofts and ships

- Great mountain ash trees towered above the floor of the valleys, with crystal waterfalls splashing down from the mountains to form meandering streams and pools below. Song birds darted through the clear air, trilling madly, and once Lilanthe saw a bhanais bird flying through the canopy, trailing its crimson and gold tail which was more than three feet long. She travelled more slowly, but could not find her perfect clearing. Small lochan abounded, and on a clear day the backdrop of snow-tipped mountains and green hills was as beautiful as any daydream.

- the Tower of Dreamers was made of white stone. Once it would have been topped with delicate spires and a crystal dome. Now only two spires remained, and the entire west wall was tumbled down, littering the hill with blocks of marble. Enough of the original grandeur remained to move her - delicate columns holding up arched ceilings, walls carved in intricate patterns, with here and there the design of a flowering tree. The staircase was wide enough for seven men to walk up it abreast.

- a stone shield emblazoned with stars and faint runes of writing, and below it a device of two masks, one weeping, one laughing. 

BLÈSSEM – The Blessed Fields. Rich farmland ruled by the MacThanach clan

Carry the Yoke – MacThanach slogan

Badge: scythe and wheat sheaves.

Plaid: green and yellow. 

The Tower of Blessed Fields

- ruled by Melisse NicThanach (has four daughters and a son, Fymbar)

- She knew the laird of the MacThanach clan was concerned about how he was to sell the yields of his rich fields after he harvested in late autumn. Traditionally, the land of Blèssem shipped its grains and fruits round Eileanan's coastline to the other countries and across the eastern seas to their neighbouring islands. Eileanan had a monopoly on grains such as wheat, corn and barley because, according to the old stories, the seeds for such crops had been brought to this planet by the First Coven, and were not native to the islands.

The Tower of Blessed Fields was more of an agricultural college than an initiator into arcane mysteries

CARRAIG – Land of the Sea-Witches, ruled by MacSeinn clan

I die singing – MacSeinn slogan

Badge: crowned Harp.

Plaid: dark blue crossed with pale blue. 

The Tower of Sea-Singers

- ruled by Douglas MacSeinn (daughter Nathalie NicSeinn)

- The Yedda of Carraig had been for centuries the only weapon the islanders had against the Fairgean, having the power to mesmerise the sea people with song. However, the destruction of the Tower of Sea-Singers in Carraig had meant there were no Yedda left to sing the trading ships to safety.

CLACHAN AND RIONNAGAN – ruled by The MacCuinn Clan 

Wisely and boldly – MacCuinn slogan (Sapienter et Audacter)

Brooch - a leaping stag carrying a crown in its antlers (stag rampant)

Tartan - blues and greens, red running through like a line of fire.

The Tower of Two Moons

The Tower of First Landing 

- the most powerful family of witches in the land.

- live at Lucescere Palace

- descended from Cuinn the Wise, who died in the first crossing

- succeeded by Owein MacCuinn, he o' the Longbow. He was the first Keybearer. He wrought the Key in the sacred symbol of the Coven - a star contained within a circle.

- The Key: worn by the Keybearer, meant to be the strongest and bravest and most compassionate of all the Coven. Its history is no' all kind or true, however. No' all the Keybearers were the witch they should have been. Like many in a position o' power, some abused their trust, and battles were occasionally fought over the right to wear it. Nonetheless, the Key is an artefact o' great power, having been wrought by Owein MacCuinn and always worn by those with exceptional Talent.'

 - Owein’s youngest son Balfour murdered Fóghnan of Arran 

- Aedan MacCuinn, called Whitelock, united all of Eileanan under his rule – he forged the Lodestar at the time of the two moons crossing.

- Lodestar: whoever holds the Lodestar shall hold the land …’

The heritage of all the MacCuinns, the Inheritance of Aedan. When they are born their hands are placed upon it and a connection made. Whoever the stone recognises is the Rìgh or Banrìgh of Eileanan. A glowing white stone, about the size of an apple, only perfectly round, that responds with the sound of music when touched. 

- the heir has always needed to be favoured by the Lodestar, which responds to the inner character o’ he who holds it. Civil war once when the youngest son was named as heir by the Lodestar and the eldest son challenged him for the throne. He was a cold, ambitious man, no’ concerned with the welfare o’ the people the way the Rìgh or Banrìgh should be 

- The Tower of First Landing on a rocky crag near the ruin of their ship. Often called Cuinn's Tower, the ancient stone citadel was built around the body of the greatest sorcerer of them all, Cuinn Lionheart, who died in the Crossing. On the barren flats around Cuinn's Tower

- The Tower of Two Moons - Only at Two Moons was there training in all different facets of witchcraft, and research into magic's many manifestations. Even those with minor abilities found themselves a place at Two Moons, and there an increasing diversity of Talents was explored and celebrated.

- salt was one of Clachan’s principal exports, used to cure fish and pickle vegetables, preserve hides, and make glass and enamelled jewellery. It had even become fashionable for fine ladies to add seasalt to their baths in imitation of Maya, and so had been sold at the markets in little canvas bags, with rose petals or sweet herbs mixed through.

RAVENSHAW: deeply forested land, ruled by the MacBrann clan, descendants of Brann the Raven. 

Motto: Sans peur (without fear).

Badge: the Raven

Plaid: black and green

- ruled by Dughall MacBrann, with an adopted heir Owen

- live at Ravenscraig

RURACH: wild mountainous land, lying between Tìreich and Siantan. Ruled by MacRuraich clan, descendants of Rùraich, one of the First Coven of Witches. 

Motto: I find and I hold. 

Tartan: black crossed with green and gold. 

Shield: black wolf guardant. 

Tower of Searchers

- ruled by Anghus MacRuraich of Rurach (m. Gwyneth NicSian, have 3 children: Fionnghal, Aindrew and Barney)

- Tabithas the Wolf-Runner had a wolf as her familiar, a great grey beast that, like his mistress, had been more comfortable in the forests and mountains of Rurach

‘The MacRuraich clan find anything they search for. That is their Talent.'

SIANTAN: north-west land of Eileanan, between Rurach and Carraig. Famous for its weather-witches. Ruled by MacSian clan, descendants of Sian the Storm-rider. 

Plaid: Blue and grey crossed with white. 

Badge: a tower struck by lightning. 

Tower of Storm

- ruled by Brangaine NicSian 

- Sian the Storm-rider: one of the First Coven of Witches. A famous weather witch, renowned for whistling up hurricanes.

- from Siantan, a wagonload of rare timbers, sacks of charcoal, and luxuriant snow-lion furs

TÌREICH: land of the horse-lairds. Most westerly country of Eileanan, ruled by the MacAhern clan. 

Motto: Nunquam obliviscar (I shall never forget).

Plaid: brown, red and yellow. 

Badge: a rearing horse. 


- ruled by Kenneth MacAhern 

- the famous flying horses. It was a deep-chested, honey-coloured animal, with rainbow-tinted wings and a pair of spreading antlers. The MacAhern rode without saddle or bridle, as all thigearns did.  One did not tame a flying horse with such constraints.

TÌRLETHAN: Land of the Twins; once ruled by Faodhagan and Sorcha, twin sorcerers. Called the Spine of the World by Khan’cohbans. 

Motto: Those who would gather roses must brave the thorns.

Plaid: white crossed with red and blue. 

Badge: the dragon rampant, surrounded by roses and thorns. 

The Towers of Roses and Thorns

- ruled by Khan’gharad Dragonrider (m. Ishbel) two children Heloise and Alasdair (19)

- Lachlan, had arranged for five hundred refugees to accompany Khan’gharad and Ishbel back to the Towers of Roses and Thorns. These included stonemasons and carpenters to help rebuild the ruined towers; gardeners and farmers to plant the land about with grains and vegetables; weavers, seamstresses, cooks and house servants to help in the running of the castle; scribes and apprentice-witches to study in the library; and miners to look for lodes of precious metals in the mountains. There was also a retinue of the younger sons of the nobility eager to carve out a life for themselves in service to the newest of the prionnsachan.

TÌRSOILLIER – ruled by the MacHilde Clan

The Bright Land or the Forbidden Land. Northeast land of Eileanan, once ruled by the MacHilde clan, descended from Berhtilde, one of the First Coven of Witches. However, the Tìrsoilleirean rejected witchcraft and the ruling family in favour of militant religion. 

Motto: Bo Neart Gu Neart (From Strength to Strength)

Plaid:  Red crossed with yellow and black; 

Badge: hand holding a sword; 

The Tower of Warriors

- ruled by Elfrida NicHilde (m. Iain of Arran, one son Neil)

- the Tìrsoillierean had rejected the philosophies of the witches, believing in a stern sun-god that punished them mightily for any digression. Unlike the witches, who thought that all gods and goddesses were different names and faces for the one life-spirit, the Tìrsoillierean believed in one god with one name. They thought their beliefs were the only true faith, and that other people must be forced to worship as they did. Many times they had tried to convert their neighbours. When missionaries and travelling preachers failed to win the people to their religion, they tried force. 

- no-one from the western lands had been near the Tower of Warriors since the warrior-maids had closed their borders four hundred years earlier. Tìrsoilleir had been a land of mystery ever since.

- the Fealde and the General Assembly 

the Fealde and the Kirk

Deus Vult: war cry of the Bright Soldiers, meaning ‘God wills’.

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