Worlds are created through the stories we tell, the songs we sing.
The history we keep lives on when we regale.
None know this more intimately than the bards!

Welcome to the ancient world of Caledonia populated by an array
of astonishing creatures with a vibrant past ready to unfold.
Magic and mystery flow from the rocks themselves waiting
to be unlocked by paws who have not forgotten the once ways.
Sidh-wyverns, gryphons, dragons, unicorns, and horiequines weave
through forests and mountains where the gods themselves play
with the raw canvas of the world. If you think anything can happen ...
you're dead right!

About Ballads ...
Ballads of Ealaidh is a collection of short stories, a braided novel in the works. On this
site you'll find information about the series, news, and tidbits. Get the gritty on this
crazy ancient world!

Current short stories are titled:
Under the Weather
The Turning
Second paw-mischief
The final Candlemark
Iron Crossroads
Battle of the Bards
Forest for the Trees

More artwork will be posted including portraits of supporting characters and
critters ... like the mighty horiequine. More info and sneak peaks available
on the Facebook page! Click the avatar and LIKE!

Clans of Caledonia
The slan are a collection of anthropomorphic creatures. In total
there are five clans created by the god Cernunnos, though he never intended
them to be divided! 

Brucach are comprised of badgers, ferrets, martens, mink, and weasels
Cugar are comprised of lions and lynxs
Faol are comprised of various foxes and wolves
Mangan are the bears
Radan are the rats

Prior to the Great Rift there was no division, slanic society existed as shires
in the forest made of intermingled clans. The shires melded into the natural
surroundings using trees and caverns their dwellings are often hard to see.
Those that continued this life are called aruinnclair, these have not abandoned
their magic. All bards are aruinnclair.

The rift created a secondary population splintering off groups that live behind
firm stone walled structures. Inside these strongholds a more progressive,
segregated world has been growing. Each stronghold only has a single type
of slan population. Magic is strictly forbidden at the price of death. Bards
are only permitted passage due to the fear that their direct association
with the god Taliesin might bring dire consequences if they are harmed.
The beasts who embrace this new life are called foisluchd.

They all exist on the isle of Caledonia
*map will be updated as places are introduced

The Bardic Sect
Bardic society is a wee-bit complex, perhaps a reflection of their god Taliesin?
First and foremost a bard is a skilled keeper of words. They are responsible for
keeping the history correctly in word and song to pass down the ages. This
includes family history as well as the more epic tales that pervade the world.
In a society without written language this is a critical role.
But there are divisions within the bardic world ...

Novice Bard: these are bards in training. Still involved in schooling with limited
abilities both in linguistics and magic. Novices are rarely seen too far from a mentor.

Master Bard: any skilled musician can achieve master bard status with enough
work and wandering. Master bards can elect to stay in a territory if they desire,
but most who have earned this status wander far and wide in search of more tales.
Their skill levels include abilities that permit limited abilities to influence others.

True Master Bard: must be chosen by Taliesin himself, these bards answered the
call of the wren when they were just whelps. Since that time they were schooled
hard, receiving some special skills which include a kenaz. This is a special
rune marked stone that can manifest itself as any instrument they desire. Set to
wander the world True masters do not pass their emanation until they are over
100 years old. IF they pass they are gifted with immortality and charged with
keeping the history of the world. They are forbidden from settling anywhere
for long! These bards have increased magical aptitude and are capable of
compelling crowds into action. They are collectively known as Taliesin's Children

The god Taliesin is an amusing individual. Known for being a egotistical meddling trickster,
 it is a little odd to find that one of his rules forbids a bard from composing a ballad
about any incident they are directly involved in. Taliesin is a shapeshifter and can
appear in whatever form he desires. His favored is that of a brightly colored blue
wren. This small bird is often missed by an average observer, however the bards
never seem to miss the correlation between the feathered visitor and trouble!

There are dragons ... and then there are dragon-kin!
The god Io created a variety of children to amuse his ego. The trouble
with a full dragon is how long they take to mature. His idea was to create
a smaller version with more dexterity and faster maturity.
The geilt were born! Bi-pedal and representing all color variants of
dragons, the geilt soon made their meddling mark upon Caledonia.
Some of the grandest magical discoveries belong to this sect.
The other benefit to the geilt is that they are generally more approachable
than their monsterous relatives! Though they do have egos to match!

Wild Beasties
Up in the mountains there dwells a variety of amazing creatures.

Gryphons jealously guard their aeries from any who wish to approach.

Shadowy passes hide the mighty horiequine, a horselike beast with a generally
unpredictable demeanor ... you can count on them to stomp first and ask questions later.

In caverns lurk full grown dragons, wise and cranky they lay atop hordes of
precious metals and gems.

On the breezes in the woods sidh-wyverns stretch their wings, not much larger than a
falcon these brightly colored mischievous critters can be a source of amusement ...
or destruction.

Unicorns may be beautiful, but they have a temper! Many know how to use
their horns for more than just casting spells.
Underfoot and overhead a whole complement of wild beasties run and fly;
birds, small rodents, fish, wild boars and stags.

The Recurring Cast
Since Ballads is a collection of short stories, the cast is ever changing.
However, there are some key characters!

Ealaidh: narrator of the Ballads, Ealaidh is her 'true' name commonly she goes by Gorach which is the given name of her birth. Being a cross-fox makes her a faol. Having been called by the wren at the tender of age of five summers, her years in Caledonia through the Great Rift have opened her eyes to what the world can be like. Serving as a True Master Bard she seems to be Taliesin's favored one to send into some of the more troublesome areas of the world. Ealaidh has a natural skill for being able to sense the emotions and intentions of others, she also has a flare for illusionary techniques stemming from a deep understanding of how the mind works.
Sedrick: a faol red fox raised in a foisluchd stronghold, he became a knight. Upon crossing paths with Gorach he discovers a desperate secret and chooses a new path. Now Sedrick is learning about the once ways and struggling to undo years of filtered information.
Dileab: a golden geilt commonly known as Kinnon, an unusual friendship was forged in the bowels of a distant tale when Dileab returned something lost to Ealaidh. Ever since the two keep crossing paths in an array of interesting tales! Dileab is a scholar with a flare for transmutation.

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