When I originally conceived this series of Avalon posts (part 1, part 2), I planned to include a deleted scene from my first book to give you the back story. But now I’m saving deleted scenes for after the book is published – as bonus material – because, well, they were deleted for a reason. And then when I wrote out the back story in its entirety, I realized I had a partial synopsis for another potential book on my hands, so I can’t give you as much detail as I really want to. Without that detail, it be seen as similar to that of other authors. But here’s what I can say:
The Avalon in my books has its roots in the enigmatic island of Atlantis. Its leaders and priests saw the disaster that was to come just in time to load up a few ships with people and supplies. After a perilous journey, one group landed on the western coast of what would come to be known as Britain.
There they did their best to replicate their lives on Atlantis, but found that their power was not nearly as strong. Still, they did what they could, learning from the native people, raising stone circles along the ley lines and carefully preserving the ways of their homeland. This mix of native and Atlantian beliefs eventually formed the religion of the Druids. (This is only for my books, not my true belief in the origins of Druidism.) As the population grew and some of the people became restless, groups set off to form new communities in other parts of Britain and as far away as Brittany.
Even the beginning of the Roman occupation meant little change for the descendants of Atlantis. But slowly, they began sensing a threat. The Romans were jealous of the power the Druids held as judges and priests, and became increasing hostile. So, the Druids retreated to a small island called Mona, just off the coast of the kingdom of Gwynedd (Wales).
In 65 AD, everything changed. The Roman governor, Paulinas, who was well-known to be poisoned by a desire for power, was greatly angered by what he viewed as blatant disrespect to Rome. In a fit of madness, he ordered his army to attack the small island. Hundreds of heavily armed soldiers stormed the sacred isle and slaughtered the defenseless priests and priestesses living there. The battle, if a one-sided attack could be called such, became known as the Rape of Mona. (This whole paragraph is based on historical events.)
But as with the destruction of Atlantis, a few of the priests and priestesses survived. They split up – some went north and taught the tribes of the Picts, while the rest went south – in order to assure that if one community was attacked, others could continue to pass on the old ways. Those who went south separated into two groups, the men following the Archdruid to the Temple of the Stars, the women following the newly elected High Priestess who founded Avalon in the marshy area of Somerset called Glastonbury.
By 491 AD, nearly a century after the Romans left Britain to fend for herself, the inhabitants of Avalon were so many generations removed from Atlantis that few really cared about their ancestry. But it was a requirement that all students of the isle, whether they were to be consecrated priestesses or receive instruction only, learn the history. Still, few realized the Lady of Lake bore the responsibility of guarding precious artifacts from Atlantis. The others were the responsibility of the Archdruid and his community of men who lived in their own sacred space east of Avalon.
I can’t tell you who from Arthurian legend figures into life on Avalon or who is involved with the Archdruid, but suffice it to say many characters you wouldn’t normally think of are associated with this back story. And you’ll begin your discovery of Avalon and its inhabitants, mysteries and intrigue on the very first page. I can’t wait to make it available to you.
Explanation of image: I have such a strong mental image of Avalon that I could probably draw you a map, if I was so inclined. But I decided instead to try to show you what it looks like through Photoshop. In the foreground is the lake, with the boat that transfers you to and from the isle. Directly beyond are the small cluster of houses that make up the living and working quarters. Behind them are gardens where herbs and food are grown, and the famous apple orchards of Avalon. To the right, you see the Tor, base ringed by a small inland lake and tip ringed with standing stones (Stonehenge was the easiest thing for me to use; I don’t actually picture the stones exactly like that). Out of Tor runs the white spring. Chalice Hill is in near the top of the image, with the red spring flowing out of it. Where the two springs meet is a grove of yew trees. Beyond Chalice Hill are the Mendips, a mountain range that protects the small strip of Avalon not protected by the lake from the rest of the world. And yes, if you look closely, the mists are there as well.