The Last Hurrah
Average height, slim build, reddish-brown hair
Glynn is the youngest of the Owain family, Welsh farmers who moved to a small plot of land south of Knill in Herefordshire in the early 1880’s. The Owain family was small, just Glynn’s Grandfather (Dyffed) – a man full of stories about the lands of the fey folk, whom he even claimed to once have helped; Glynn’s father, William a strong but warm-hearted man; his mother, Anna a loving woman but not one to believe in ‘silly’ folk tales; and Glynn’s older brother, Eian – a bright young man who always had his nose in a book and who could have become a great scholar but for the lack of money to send him to a proper education.
Many heroes’ stories start with conflict and heartache but Glynn’s early life was full of joy and love and he soon became a capable, highly likeable young man who had a great empathy for animals. Although not as clever as his brother, Glynn did manage to complete his education (all the way up to 14) and wanted little out of life except to stay working on the farm and one day start his own family.
One evening though, shortly after his 15th birthday, Glynn realised that one of his sheep had not returned. Normally not a problem, he had a sense that the weather was about to turn and so he headed out to the evening gloom to search for it. He soon located tracks heading west which he followed but, as he walked, he soon found that he too had lost his way. As the rain started he fall he made a makeshift camp, built a fire and decided to stay put until first light.
The scream awoke him. At first he thought it the howling wind in the trees but when it repeated he knew that someone was in trouble. Not fearing for his own life he got up and called back into the darkness. A voice pleaded for help and Glynn, the compassionate, went to assist. He found a young girl who had fallen into a hole – not a deep one but one that she could not climb out of. Not having a rope and not being able to reach her by hand he decided to jump into the pit himself and allow the girl to stand on his shoulders to climb out.
The little girl climbed out, thanked Glynn for taking her place, and ran off. It was then that Glynn recalled one of his grandfather’s stories about the souls of the dead, caught in the space between the earth and Annwn, the Celtic underworld – neither alive nor dead, unless freed by a selfless act. Glynn panicked and tried desperately to climb out of the pit but to no avail. He sat down, cried a little, and then offered up a prayer to Arawn to spare him. If he were to do that then Glynn would be his servant in the world, helping to shepherd souls to the underworld. In the darkness a quiet voice said “I accept.”
Daylight came and Glynn awoke to find himself outside the pit, wet and tired but dressed in a fine silk shirt and leather breeches. He walked east, as best he could tell, and some hours later spied his home. He ran to the door, and knocked as hard as he could. His mother opened it but something was different, she looked older and unwell. He stared, called for William, and then fainted. His father ran in and then stood there, looking as if he had seen a ghost. And in many ways he had, for Glynn had been gone for seven years and a day and had long been presumed dead.
Much had happened in his absence. His grandfather had died (leaving Glynn his trusty pocket-knife), his brother had married and moved to Kington and the world of 1912 was a much different one than he had known. Glynn knew he couldn’t stay and so headed off to seek his destiny.
He still doesn’t know what happened in the seven years he is missing. In many years he is mentally still a teenager but he has knowledge of strange things, mythology, magic, how people think (and can be manipulated) that he can’t explain. These ‘gifts’ have brought his to the attention of some interesting people…
Rage Stimulus: Intolerance
Fear Stimulus: Industrialisation
Noble Stimulus: Preservation of wildlife
Arawn, King of the Underworld
The Welsh ‘pantheon’ is derived from the oral tradition of folk tales that date back to around the Roman occupation of Britain but did not get documented until the 14th century. As such they contain many elements of pre-Christian and Christian-inspired stories that make it hard to give a concrete definition of the belief system (if it can even be called that). Additionally, much of the Celtic oral history merges into Arthurian tradition which has more ‘accessible’ hero figures.
Arawn (pronounced “Ah-ron”) is the king of Annwn (pronounced “Ann-whn”), described alternately as a land of peace and plentiful food and then as a land of sorrow and monsters. Annwn itself is said to be placed geographically in the county of Dyffed in SW Wales. It is located either underground or on an island. In the ‘island’ version this land is effectively “Avalon” where King Arthur was transported after his death.
Arawn himself is most often portrayed as a king or a hunter, the master of the “Wild Hunt” and is sometimes depicted as the embodiment of terror. In the tales where he appears as a ruler, he follows an ill-defined code of honour but always keeps his word. In D&D terms he is generally considered to be LE (and was listed as such in the 1st edition Deities and Demigods) but he actually has little concern for world of men unless they threaten his realm in some way.
Arawn’s prized possession is a huge cauldron that will never boil for a coward. Arawn and his cauldron were the basis for the Disney film “The Black Cauldron”.