Saturday, October 6, 2012
A Tour of Cu Tailte
Hello again! I am Keena Mythweaver, guest blogger. Please check out the posts "The Faerie Who Lives Down the Block," "Faerie Among Humans," and "Culture Shock" if you're meeting me for the first time.
Today, I thought I would show you a map of my homeland of Cu Tailte and its neighbor, Baile Eile. Poor Ghost Sprite Grove isn't counted as a land, well not by Cu Tailte residents anyway. It's considered a "natural barrier" between Cu Tailte and the human world.
Please allow me to take you on a brief tour of the different places that make up The Five Lands (the English translation of Cu Tailte). First stop: my birthplace, Willowsong Woods. It's as pleasant and as safe as it sounds, filled with Willow trees as well as Holly, Hazel and Ash. It is a beautiful, peace-filled woodland. The animals and other residents live together in relative harmony and respect. Humans would recognize many of the animals that inhabit Willowsong Woods: squirrels, rabbits, deer, several species of songbirds, foxes, some free horses (humans would call them "wild" horses, but in truth, they are just free rather than conscripted to do work). Among the two-legged beings, by far the largest number of residents are Faeries. Now, as I've said before, there are different kinds of Faeries. Many of the Willowsong Woods Faeries come from the same species as my family--human-sized and without wings, but there are a handful of Wood Sprites who might remind humans of Disney's Tinkerbell. There are a few families that are middle-sized Faeries. They stand about two-to-three feet high and some humans might mistake them for dwarfs, but they are Faeries. The dwarfs up by the mountains just north of Cu Tailte so they can mine. Some Pixies live in Willowsong Woods too. These Pixies are not cute. They are mischievous and some are simply malicious. It's best not to have too much to do with them. The southeastern portion of Willowsong Woods is rumored to be the home of Wood Elves, but I have never seen one, so I cannot verify this. It is also rumored that the land of the Unicorn can be reached through a portal in Willowsong Woods, but no one can say exactly where the portal is.
To the northwest of Willowsong Woods is Nightshade Thicket. This wooded area is more dense, a bit darker and less safe than my home woodland. The land gets progressively darker and more dangerous the closer it is to Dragonsword Forest. Nightshade Thicket is home to numerous Tree Spirits who are basically good and benevolent--except to those who threaten their trees!
Shadow Ash Glade is a delightful place, dotted with Ash, Hazel and Rowan trees, a variety of flowering shrubs and a number of animals, some of which are magical. The Glade straddles the boundary between Willowsong Woods and Nightshade Thicket.
Silverleaf Meadow is a shining and peaceful open area at the center of the five lands.
Dragonsword Forest, in the North, is renowned for being treacherous and filled with evil beings. As Cay, the Unicorn says, it's not a place that one should wander into lightly or unprepared. No one has been known to return from there. At its northern boundary sits Shadowshield Mountain, home to the powerful Dragon King, Riordan. More about him another day.
You may have noticed two streams, one in the south and the other in the north. In the south is Ice Thistle Brook. It is fairly safe to cross on foot and is inhabited by a number of beings, most of whom are friendly. My niece, Siobhan, has a friend who lives in the brook. Her name is Kayla Reedtender and she is a Water Sprite. She's a tiny Faerie of the winged variety and she is joyful and full of life. Kayla also knows a good deal about healing, especially about how to use the leaves and berries from the Elder tree near the brook to make salves for healing and charms for protection. Moonbreaker Creek, in the north, is quite the opposite of Ice Thistle Brook. Its current is swift and changeable. Its riverbed is jammed in places with tree roots which will wrapped themselves around the feet of anyone who tries to cross the creek and hold the person prisoner. Some beings have died of fright, but most have been killed by some of the malevolent beings who live either in the creek or near it. The worst, to my mind, are the Glashtyns, water goblins who love to lure children into the creek then drown and eat them.
Well, that's my short tour of Cu Tailte. As I said, Baile Eile, which is a human town, and Ghost Sprite Grove are not a part of Cu Tailte. I will write about them next time. I hope you enjoyed this glance into my homeland. What do you think? Would you like to live in Cu Tailte? If so, where and why?