This guide is mainly intended for writers of fanfic based on the novels of The Dark is Rising sequence, by Susan Cooper. It concentrates on things that I, as a fanfic writer, find myself wanting to know, but not always being able to remember - physical descriptions, character ages etc. PLEASE NOTE that it is based on the books, not the movie. I've not seen the movie, and don't intend to, but by all accounts it has done brutal murder to the book whose name it bears. If you're here for more information about the world of the movie, this isn't the site for you. If you've just watched the movie, and want to find out more about the books... Well, really, this isn't the site for you, either, since this whole guide is one enormous spoiler.\n\nThe site presupposes a knowledge of all the books in the series. It is not intended for people who have not yet read the books. While there are summaries of all the books, these are designed for people who want to quickly remind themselves of where they can find a particular episode, or who are unlucky enough not to have their copy of the books to hand. If you have never read the books, go right now and read them. Reading a story in a prosaic summary is no way to have your first experience of a wonderful book.\n\nI have no ownership of these books, and have written this guide purely to help other fans express their love and appreciation of Susan Cooper's works. \n\nI very much appreciate corrections and additions to this guide. Please go to [[How to suggest changes]] to find out how to contact me.\n\n''How to use this guide''\nThis guide has been done using TiddlyWiki. Everything is contained in one webpage, and clicking on links opens up entries in the same page, rather than in a different page. If you get overwhelmed with too many entries open at the same time, use the "close all" option in the top right, or else close individual entries by using the "close" button to the right of its title\n
The [[Rider]] - aka [[Mr Hastings]] - aka Mr Mitothin\nThe [[White Rider]]\nThe [[Grey King]]\n\n[[Maggie Barnes]]\nThe [[Walker]] - well, kind of.\n\n[[Polly Withers]]\n[[Mr Withers]]\n[[The painter]]\n\n''Humans who serve the Dark, whether knowingly or unknowingly''\n[[Bill Hoover]]\n[[Mrs Palk]]\n[[Caradog Pritchard]]\n[[Caradog Lewis]]\n\nMilgwn - grey foxes who serve the Grey King.\n\n\n\n
Alice is Will's mother, married to [[Roger Stanton]]\n\nShe was an only child, from a Buckinghamshire farming family. Rather than being overwhelmed by her husband's large family, she really liked the contrast with her own small family. \n\nShe is often seen in the kitchen, cooking for her large brood. To get extra money, she keeps chickens and rabbits, which helps fund all the Christmas presents. When a fox threatens them, she turns very fierce, and camps out in the garden for several days to protect them. \n\nHer cousin Jen (now [[Jen Evans]]) was close to her as a child, and they grew up as best friends, until Jen met a Welsh farmer while on holiday, and has lived there ever since. They exchange lots of letters, and Mrs Stanton's children call Jen "Aunt Jen"
''Birds''\nBirds can communicate with an Old One in emotions, not clear images. \n\nRooks seem to be easily led. In [[The Dark is Rising]], they several times act in ways that support the Dark. At the end, they are scattered by the Hunt, and are going to return sadder, and chastened.\n\nThe eagle is one of only five birds that can see the Dark. The oldest creature in the world is the Eagle of Gwernabwy. The three Elders of Britain are the Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, the Eagle of Gwernabwy, and the Blackbird of Celli Gadarn. \n\nThe [[Lady]] is several times associated with a wren. In folklore, though, the wren is the King of birds, and is hunted either on Boxing Day (26th December) or on Twelfth Night. It cannot be touched any other day of the year.\n\n''Animals''\nThe night before Will awakens to his powers, animals are afraid of him. However, after he is awakened, they are more friendly than normal, though the dogs do occasionally flinch as if he's charged with electricity. \n\n[[Rufus]] and [[Cafall]] are both special dogs, with abilities to sense magic. There is no suggestion that other dogs share these traits. \n\nMilgwn are grey foxes, bigger and stronger than regular foxes, that legend states live in the mountains. Most people can't see them, though Will and Bran can. The King fox has been given more powers than normal for his kind, through the power of the Grey King.\n\nPlume mothers - small, feathery and delicate - can carry memories away. \n\nMink and polecats both appear in [[Silver on the Tree]], associated with the Dark.\n\n
It appears that that are not. \n\nWill tells [[John Rowlands]] that "we" are not very different from men. "Only our masters are different," he says. As a Lord of Light, and Will's master, presumably Merriman is included in this, meaning that Merriman has more power than a normal Old One, but that Will classes himself as a normal Old One.\n\nThere are things that Will can do that other Old Ones can't do. Most of these relate to the quests he is particularly involved in. As Sign-seeker, only Will can do certain things involving the Signs, and only he can open "the oldest hills", in line with prophecy. As members of the Six, Merriman and Will have a special role in the final Rising, not shared by the other Old Ones. \n\nHowever, there are suggestions that Will can do things that other Old Ones can't do, quite apart from things related to his quests. When the Dark attacks the church, the other Old Ones tell Will that only he can place a protection over Paul and the vicar. In [[Greenwitch]], Will and Merriman act together as a double act, while Captain Toms spends most of his time sitting at home. Is this just the way the roles worked out in this quest, or did Captain Toms stay at home because he had less power than the others?\n\nThere is also a suggestion that Will will grow in power as he grows up. In [[The Grey King]] we learn that Merriman or one of the other Lords could transport the golden harp through time or space instantly, but Will can't do this, and has to go physically to get it. However, the word "yet" is used often when describing Will's limitations. The Rider, the Grey King, and Will himself all mention that Will can't do certain things "yet." After the other Old Ones go, what will Will's powers be like? They might shrink, since the prophecied battles are over and man is to rule his own world, but they might grow, since he is the only one left, and his human self is growing and learning all the time. \n\nIn [[Silver on the Tree]], Will meets [[Owain Glyndwr]], who is an Old One, but seems to be quite a pathetic one, to be honest. Will has previously told us that "we" can sense the proximity of the Dark, and that this is unmistakeable, and no-one of the Dark can disguise it. However, the White Rider and many others of the Dark are hanging out in Owain's camp, and he never notices them. Also, despite the fact that Old Ones exist in all times, Owain has no idea that the Circle extends as far as the twentieth century. He isn't even very good at speaking English. Really, he comes across as a very second-rate Old One... though perhaps I am being unfair. \n
Barbara is one of Will's sisters. Mary, James and Will are younger than her, and the other Stantons siblings are older than her. She is sixteen at the time of [[The Dark is Rising]] and seventeen at the time of [[Silver on the Tree]]. \n\nBarbara is trying to set up a village drama group. At the carol-singing, she corners Miss Hampton, the housekeeper, and Annie, the maid, who are "reluctant members" of the group she is trying to force into life.\n\nBarbara is pretty. (She is described once as "a pretty seventeen year old." While sunbathing in the garden, she joins in with Stephen in his verbal assault on the racist Mr Moore. Her tactic is irony, said in a "small polite voice."\n\nBy the time of Silver on the Tree, when she is 17, she can drive. She has taken the dogs to Eton to be clipped, and is picking up Mr Stanton afterwards.\n\nShe is sometimes called "Bar".
''Appearance:'' Barney has fair skin that burns easily, and very blonde hair - though not as fair as Bran's. In proper 70s style, his hair is longish, and tousles in the wind. He is a lot shorter than Simon. In [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], Simon steps into water up to his waist, while Barney steps in up to his shoulders. \n\n''Age:'' Barney's age is not stated, though he does seem to be at least two years younger than Jane, if not more. (See [[How old are the children in each book?]] for reasoning.)\n\n''Facts and figures:'' \n- Barney's proper name is Barnabas\n- Barney's stay in Trewissick gives him the ambition of owning a fishing boat and becoming a fisherman. His mother's art teacher, however, indentifies Barney as the one most likely to follow in her footsteps. By the following year, Barney is slightly mortified to find that he has strong urges to paint. \n- For a description of the Drew's house in London, see [[The Drew family]]. Barney is often woken up by scary noises in the night, but he always pretends to be asleep, rolls over again... and secretly peeps out into the room to see if there's a burglar standing there. There never is. \n- A sneak peek into Barney's pockets: A marble, a pebble, a sixpence and four farthings (early editions of the books), or 20p (later editions of the book), a headless lead sailor, a cleanish handkerchief, and a piece of wire bent at both ends, kept in case it came in handy one day. \n\n''Character:'' (Not an in-depth study, but rather just notes.)\n- Barney is a talkative child, quick to go up to strangers and bombard them with questions. "One day you'll ask too many questions," says Jane in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]]\n- Barney is very keen on King Arthur. Since he first learnt to read, his main reading matter has been tales of knights and quests, and he likes to imagine himself in the heroic role in noble quests. Although his traumatic encounter with "Mr Hastings" means that his heroic imaginings can never quite be the same again, he continues to be very keen on Arthurian tales.\n- He very much resents being treated as a baby by his older siblings. He often resents Simon taking over. (When they are in the painter's caravan, the text reads "for once he felt no resentment that Simon should be taking over.")\n- He is artistic and likes to paint. He isn't entirely happy to be struck with this urge, since he had wanted to go to sea, but he can't resist it. He feels that art is a "kind of magic", and that "something of himself was going out through his fingers." This feeling is still new to him at the time of [[Greenwitch]]\n- He is particularly drawn to Rufus the dog, more than the others are\n- He is particularly sensitive to magic and wonder, possibly because of his artistic side. It is Barney who is able to look into the Grail and see visions. In [[Silver on the Tree]], Will presumes that Barney is the one they have to watch most of all - even though it isn't. He several times states things with certainty, though he has no idea how he knew them - e.g. when they find the map in the attic, and he just knows that it wasn't hidden, but was thrown down. When the children are in Wales, Barney has a very strong feeling that he's been there before.\n- In the final journey to the rising, Barney feels the joy and wonder of it, and throws back his head and whoops. \n\n''What he does in the sequence''\nHere are a few particularly "Barney" moments in the books:\n- In [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] his interest in King Arthur means that he is often the first to reach certain conclusions - e.g. recognising the name "King Mark" in the map the children find; realising that Merriman is Merlin.\n- He stays behind when Jane and Simon go up onto Kemare Head at night, because of sunburn. This causes him to be the first to distrust [[Mrs Palk]]\n- He gets caught up in the carnival, and kidnapped by Mr Hastings, who puts him under a spell. After he is freed, he never again enjoys his heroic fantasies in quite the same way.\n- Because he is small, he is the one who goes into the cave and finds the Grail\n- In [[Greenwitch]], he is the first to notice the painter. He is used by the painter to look into the Grail, where he sees visions and speaks in a voice not his own. \n- In [[Silver on the Tree]] he is snatched by the White Rider, and taken into the past, as a prisoner for Owen Glyndwr.
Bedwin is very probably Bedivere, familiar from Arthurian legend - the one who carried Arthur to the barge so he could go to Avalon, and threw Excalibur into the lake. \n\nIn the account written some 900 years ago, we hear how Bedwin came to Cornwall, fleeing from the triumph of "the invader" and Arthur's defeat. He was "a strange knight" (meaning only a stranger), and he came with many others who fled from Arthur's defeat, to the western land where men still loved God and the "old ways." He brought with him "the last trust of Logres" - the grail made in the fashion of the Holy Grail, showing on its sides the true story of Arthur. "Evil is upon us," Bedwin said, "and so shall it be for time beyond our dreaming. Yet if the grail, that is the last trust of the old world, be not lost, then when the day is ripe the Pendragon shall come again. And at last all shall be safe and evil thrust out never to return." \n\nHe was wounded near to death from the last of Arthur's battles, so gave the grail to the men he was speaking to, to guard with their lives, and to pass the sacred trust on to their sons and their sons after them. \n\nHe dies, and was buried "over the sea and under the stone" - probably under the standing stones on Kemare Head, which locally are called the Gravestones.
Bill Hoover is a nasty Trewissick boy who is in the service of [[Mr Hastings]]. \n\nThe Drews run into him as soon as they arrive in Trewissick, when Jane steps out from behind a pile of boxes, and Bill Hoover, who's on his bike, collides with her. \n\nHe is tall and dark-haired, and on their first meeting, at least, he was wearing navy blue, with his trousers tucked into Wellington boots. He has a short, thick neck and "a strangely flat face." He speaks with a strong Cornish accent, and he swears at the children, using a word they've never heard before. \n\nHis "no-good" father is [[Mrs Palk]]'s brother, who lives in the tumble-down Pentreath Farm. Bill lives there, too, but doesn't often bother to go home. \n\n[[Polly Withers]] calls Bill their "right-hand man" on their yacht. Bill speaks up fiercely in Polly's defence, but she puts him down, icily telling him to mind his manners. \n\nAt Polly's command, Bill chases Simon all the way down from Kemare Head, trying to get the map, but Simon gives him the slip. Bill is seen reporting to [[Mr Hastings]]. When Barney is captured, Bill is there, but he's merely commanded to make sandwiches, then waved away. He is also present at the denouement. \n\nIt seems likely that he is not an agent of the Dark, merely a "no-good" local boy who has been recruited to serve them, possibly using Polly's charms as a lure. \n\n\n\n
Bill Stanton is Will's uncle. Will's father is the seventh son in his family, and Bill is the sixth. Bill was [[Roger Stanton]]'s favourite brother. He calls him Billy. \n\nHe is Will's godfather, and sends presents every year. Will always writes thank you letters, but never gets a reply. This doesn't bother him. Bill last saw Will when he was a newborn baby. Will likes Bill on sight.\n\nBill is small, balding and "rather rumpled". When Will first sees him, he is wearing a raincoat and carrying a battered holdall. He has a smooth round face with round eyes, "like a clever fish." His voice is soft and husky, with American vowels but English intonation. \n\nBill went to America 20 years ago and set up a successful pottery business. At the time of [[Greenwitch]], he has come to England to visit the Potteries in Staffordshire and the china clay works in Cornwall, where he has business. He lives in Ohio. He has a wife, [[Fran Stanton]], and two grown-up children, round about Stephen's age. This is only his second trip to England since he emigrated - the first presumably being about 11 years ago, when Will was small.\n\nHe is a friend of Merriman's. They met in Jamaica, where Merriman was supposedly working on some government survey. He visited them in Ohio the previous autumn when he was over lecturing at Yale.
Blodwen Rowlands is married to [[John Rowlands]]. They have no children. She is rosy and kind looking, and John says she has a caring heart. She likes shopping, and eagerly goes shopping in Tywyn, and at the end, they are heading on a shopping trip to Shrewsbury. Her voice is soft and musical. Jane likes her instantly, finding her face "gentle and warm and beautiful all at once, with a glow of kindliness."\n\nShe has played a big role in Bran's upbringing, filling the role of his absent mother in many ways.\n\nAll long, she has been the [[White Rider]], assuming this role in order to keep an eye on Bran. After she's been exposed, she tries to persuade John to rule in favour of the Dark, saying they can live as they've always lived and he can be happy again, but John says that he doesn't believe that anyone can be coerced or possessed. He believes in free will and free choice, and she chose to act as she did. \n\nAt the end, John goes back to his normal life, with no memory of his wife's true identity. He will believe she has died in some accident, and will mourn her.
''Appearance:'' Bran has a very striking appearance. He is slim, and very pale - not just a normal fairness, but with no colour in him at all. His eyes are tawny, and his eyelashes so pale as to be almost invisible. His eyes have a "cold unfathomable glitter". He often wears dark glasses. He often wears clothes that emphasise his strangeness - e.g. black clothes. \n\n''Age:'' Will thinks of Bran as being about the same age as him. If the baby Bran was a few months old when [[Gwen]] came to Wales in the middle of a winter storm, his birthday must probably be in the autumn or early winter. He is therefore 11, or just 12, during [[The Grey King]], and 12 during [[Silver on the Tree]]. Though, of course, he was born 1500 years before, just skipped instantly through nearly all of those.\n\n''Childhood:'' Until the end of [[The Grey King]], Bran doesn't know that [[Owen Davies]] isn't his father. He knows that his mother left, but tells Will that his mother is dead, since that's easier to believe. \n\nBran has a very strict, joyless life, not allowed to go to the cinema, not allowed to do anything on Sundays. When the warestone is exaggerating his thoughts, he feels as if he's spent his life locked up in jail. His father has made him different.\n\nThe other boys at school also treat him differently. They call him Whitey, or Paleface, and some make the sign of the Evil Eye against him. In local legends, people this fair are the dangerous, otherwordly fairy folk, and no-one actively believes this, but aren't so sure sometimes on dark nights. \n\nHe has spent a lot of his childhood at [[John Rowlands]]' house, where [[Blodwen Rowlands]] has taken on some of the roles of a mother. He and Owen also eat supper in the Evans' farmhouse every weekend.\n\nHe has always been drawn to the cottage where Owen used to life (though he doesn't know that Owen used to live there.) He often came there to shelter from the rain, or just to sit, and sometimes he pretended it was his own house.\n\nOwen has never told him anything about his mother. The little that he knows he knows from Mrs Rowlands.\n\n''Facts and figures''\n- Bran is the Welsh for crow or raven. It is also the name of a figure from Celtic mythology - Bran the Blessed, who was a giant. (After his death, his head was buried at the Tower of London, to keep Britain safe from harm:\n- For the last year, Bran has gone to Tywyn grammar school by bus\n- His dog is [[Cafall]], of course\n- He can play the harp well. John Rowlands has been teaching him. He sometimes goes to play in competiions at eisteddfodau (i.e. traditional Welsh arts gatherings)\n- When he was a child, John took him to see a festival that included the Mari Llywd - a man with a horse skeleton. This terrified him badly, and still haunts his nightmares.\n- He is sensitive to light. He wears dark glasses in sunlight, and is very bothered by the bright light in the maze of mirrors in the Lost Land.\n\n''Character''\nNot a full character study, of course, but a few snippets\n- Jen Evans describes him as "a lonely boy", though Bran would never do the same. It is very possible that Will is his first real friend.\n- Even before he learns about his role as Arthur's son, there is a certain pride and arrogance to him. When he's talking about how people make the sign of the Evil Eye as he passes, Will doesn't like the "crafty arrogance" such talk puts on Bran's face, which he thinks "isn't necessary", and "one day he would take it away."\n- He claims not to have a chip on his shoulder about Welsh superiority. Why should he, he teases, when the Welsh are so clearly superior?\n- He sometimes seems quick to anger, though he doesn't seem to hold grudges. After Cafall dies, he shouts at Will, telling him to go away, but later he comes to Will for help, and nothing more is said about their falling-out. When he first meets the Drews, he has a big fight with Jane, but afterwards they both offer a silent apology, and talk as if nothing has happened.\n\n''As the Pendragon''\nBran is, of course, the Pendragon - Arthur's son brought through Time to be brought up in the modern world. See [[Gwen]] for more about the circumstances of this.\n''Does Bran have powers before he discovers who he is?''\nWhen Bran is asked a riddle in the quest for the harp, he comes up with the answer, as if it is something deep inside him. He also feels a sense of familiarity about Arthur. \n''Is Bran always aware of his powers?''\nWill says that sometimes he thinks Bran has forgotten completely about his other role, but other times he is very aware of it. \n''What powers does he have?''\nBran says he is not a "dewin", a wizard, like Will, "with all his tricks." He is not an Old One, and doesn't do magic. However, he can sense the Dark, as Will can. He has similar senses of premonition. Most of his powers come from his prophecied role - e.g. gaining the sword; driving the afanc away, by reminding it that Arthur had previously banished it; cutting the silver blossom from the Midsummer tree. \n\nOnce he has awakened into his powers, it seems to be hard for the Dark to work their magic on him. He breaks the power of the warestone effortlessly. However, he can still be affected by the magic of the Lost Land - e.g. his terror at the Mari Llywd. \n\nUntil he gets the crystal sword, he has not fully come into his role as the Pendragon.
Bran lives in west Wales, near Tywyn. Most of the places are real, though Susan Cooper says in her notes that she has taken liberties with the geography of the valley, and that there are no real farms where she had put her farms. \n\n''Tywyn''\nTywyn is a real place, so can be Googled for information and pictures. \n\nWill walks along the High Street, which is narrow and curving, with shops, houses and a cinema - once a Victorian Assembly Rooms. He goes into a newsagent to buy postcards and a guide books. He finds the Church of St Cadfan, which has a porch that is low-roofed and "deep as a cave". Inside, the church is shadowy and cool, with white painted walls and massive white pillars. At the rear of the church is a grey stone, incised with deep marks. You can see a picture of the Tywyn stone on this page - - where it is picture no. 5. (Picture no. 4 is called the Cadfan Stone, but is somewhere else.)\n\nSaxons settled in Tywyn in 516 AD, round the church built by St Cadfan of Brittany. The carvings on the stone read "The body of Cyngen is on the side between where the marks will be. In the retreat beneath the mound is extended Cadfan, sad taht it should enclose the praise of the earth. May he rest without blemish."\n\n''The journey from Tywyn''\nWe see the journey to the farm through Will's eyes, after Rhys picks him up from Tywyn station. They drive through the town, then the road widens. He turns inland, towards the mountains. The road gets narrow again, with high banks and looming hedges. Whenever there's a gate in the edges, Will can see the green-brown bulk of hillsides beyond. Beyond the hills are grey mountains. \n\nThe road crosses a bridge, which is where the landrover loses a tyre. Afterwards, the road crosses the valley, and there is a good view of Cader Idris - the Grey King. \n\n''Clywd Farm''\nThis is the farm that belongs to [[David Evans]] and his family. The farm is fairly low in the valley, and the hill farmers send their young sheep down to it for the winter. Its land spreads across most of the valley floor. Some of its land is marshy, near the river, and some stretches up the mountain. Most of it is lowland, though - some used for crops, and the rest for pasture, for sturdy Welsh Black cattle. Above the higher slopes, nothing grows but bracken. \n\nIn the low lands, the fields are separated by hedges - Will comes across John Rowlands hedging at one point - but higher up there are stone walls topped with slates, and broken by stiles. The slope is mostly bracken, broken with patches of gorse\n\nThe kitchen is long, with a blue state floor. There is an enormous black dresser, with willow pattern china in it. There is a stove, with a shelf above it, with Toby jugs. This doubles as a living room, and most of the life of the farm happens here.\n\nA small door leads into a parlour - a very tidy "Best Room." It is very cold in winter. There is a harp in this room - one of two on the farm. John Rowlands has the other, in his cottage on the farm.\n\nThe road past the farm leads up to the head of the valley. Very few cars pass on this road.\n\n''The cottages''\nThere is a row of three cottages on Clywd Farm, across the farm yard from the main farmhouse. A small rutted path leads down from the farmhouse to the cottages. One of the three cottages has been converted into a garage. John lives in one of the others, and Owen in the other.\n\nJohn has a harp in his cottage.\n\nWhen you go through the door of Owen's cottage, you're in a room with a table. The kitchen appears to be part of the same main room. \n\n''Cadfan's Way''\nSt Cadfan founded the church in Tywyn, and also had a holy well. He also founded a monastery on Enlli - Bardsey Island. An old pilgrims route stretches from Machynlleth to Tywyn. \n\n''Craig Yr Aderyn''\nCraig Yr Aderyn is a sticky-out lump of rock visible from Clywd Farm. It is called Bird Rock in English, and is the only place where cormorants nest inland - it is four miles from the sea. Bran leads Will there following a short cut off the road, taking them across Pritchard's land. \n\n''Pritchard's Farm''\nThe boundary between Clywd Farm and Pritchard's Farm is at the Bird Rock end of Clywd Farm. \n\n''The old cottage''\nThe cottage that Owen used to live in is set back from the road, slate-roofed, sturdy-looking. It has two small windows, which are broken now. The land outside the cottage is all grass and bracken and gorse. A small stream nearby leads down to the river brlow. \n\nJohn Rowlands leaves an injured sheep here, which vanishes. \n\n''Cader Idris''\nCader Idris is also known as the Brenin Llwyd - the Grey King. When the cloud is all tattered on the top of the mountain, it is known as the breath of the Grey King. There are forests of spruce trees lower on the mountain, but the top of bare and grey. \n\n''Tal y Llyn''\nJen Evans calls Tal y Llyn the loveliest lake in Wales. When Will sees it, on a gloomy morning, he thinks it looks sinister. It fills the valley floor, at the foot of Cader Idris. Idris Jones Ty Bont lives on a farm above Tal y Llyn. There is an anglers' hotel on the lake, and people go out on the lake in small dinghies. The lake is also called Llyn Mwyngil - Pleasant Lake. \n\n''Llyn Barfog and area''\n''Cwm Maethlon'' is Happy Valley. The children climb here from Aberdyfi, walking up the road. As the children climb up the valley, they can see the silver ribbon of the river Dyfi down below them, leading to the large expanse of golden sands of the estuary. The land is enclosed by high grassy banks, littered with flowers - Ragwort, hawkweed, yarrow and foxgloves. There are hazel, bramble and hawthorn hedges, and honeysuckle. Then the road opens out, and they're on the edge of a magnificent valley, with bracken slopes stretching down beneath them, and the grey mountains on the far side of the valley. The path is called Panorama Walk.\n\n''Carn March Arthur'' is a mark in a stone on the mountain above the valley, that folklore says was left by Arthur's horse when he was riding away after banishing the afanc from Llyn Barfog. The stone is a grey outcropping, identical to many others, but a slate marker labels it as Carn March Arthur. The mark is vaguely hoof shaped. Will and Bran say that the story is just a legend. \n\n''Llyn Barfog'' is the Bearded Lake. It is barely larger than a pond, and most of its surface is covered with white water lilies. When this is no rain, the lake shrinks until only the liles remain, like a beard around its edge. John Rowlands, though, says that possibly once in the past the lake was fuller, and would spill down the valley in a waterfall. \n\nAbove the lake is a place where there is a very good echo. This is a flat area about fifty yard across, looking a bit like the site of a dried-up lae. It has reeds in it, showing that it's marshy. \n\n''Aberdyfi''\nAberdyfi is a seaside resort four miles south of Tywyn, with its beaches facing into the broad, sandy Dyfi estuary. There is a square in the middle of Aberdyfi, called Chapel Square - or just "The Square." John Rowlands takes the children down to the sea front, past the Outward Bound Sea School, down past the yachts of the Aberdyfi Yacht Club. They walk across the wharf and down a jetty. John says that it was a different jetty when he was young - great black beams of creosoted timber. There's a long terrace of three-storey Victorian houses facing the sea, and he says he was born in the middle one, which is painted green. \n\nThere are lots of dunes on the beach just outside the town.
Cafall is Bran's dog. He looks like a normal sheep dog in shape, except that he is silver-white in colour, and has grey eyes. His are the "eyes that can see the wind", from the verse. He has a black patch on his back, like a saddle. \n\nCafall herds Will onto Cadfan's Way, thus causing him to regain his memory. He attacks the milgwn - the grey foxes - when Will and Bran are on Bird Rock. When they emerge, he stops them going out into the deadly wind raised by the Dark. \n\nHe is shot by [[Caradog Pritchard]], who has become obsessed with the thought that Cafall is killing sheep. At the time, Cafall is leaping around like a mad thing, fighting the grey foxes that no-one else can see. Everyone else agrees that Cafall must have turned into a killer, though they think that Pritchard over-reacted by shooting him.\n\nBran calls Cafall the best friend he has ever had, and they are inseperable. When Bran first went to grammar school, Cafall tried to follow him, and used to sit at the gate every day, waiting for him to come back. He was originally one of Owen Davies' working dogs, but he gave him to Bran. \n\n[[King Arthur]] had a dog called Cafall. When Arthur meets Cafall under the mountain, he recognises him, and Cafall clearly recognises him back, and greets him, though makes clear that he belongs to Bran now. This suggests that Cafall, in a way, really is Arthur's dog, and isn't merely another special dog who shares the same name.\n\nOwen always deep down knew the truth about Bran's parentage, which is why he names the dog Cafall.\n\nCafall is buried on the lower slopes of the mountain, with a heavy stone over the grave
Captain Toms lives at the [[Grey House]] in Trewissick. He is an Old One. \n\nHe is absent during [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], but appears in [[Greenwitch]]. He is described as a "stout elderly man with a short grey beard, leaning on a stick." His dog is [[Rufus]]. He smokes a "friendly-smelling" pipe. When he's sitting puffing on his pipe, his grey hair wisps around his bald head "like the tonsure of some genial old monk."\n\nHe is sometimes afflicted with gout. "Kicks up now and then," he tells Will. "Signs of a misspent youth, they say." When he uses his powers on the Drew children, it looks as if he's standing tall without needing his stick, but he tells Will, without any mortals listening, that his gout immobilises him as effectively as the Dark can do. This is Confusing, and raises questions about Old Ones and their susceptibility to human injury. \n\nOne of Captain Toms' ancestors was [[Roger Toms]]. However, since Will is the first Old One born for 500 years, Captain Toms must have been alive for over 500 years, so this is Confusing, too. Was Roger Toms actually one of Captain Toms' descendants?
Caradog Lewis is a red-headed boat builder in nineteenth century Aberdyfi. The Drew children see him when the Dark sends them back in time. \n\nHe works as a sawyer on the boatyard of John Jones. When several ships built here sink, people start to suspect that Lewis is sabotaging them. [[Evan Rowlands]], John Rowlands' grandfather, and some other captains go to confront him. Evan tells Lewis that he is different, serving in some dreadful way a cause that is not that of men at all. When Lewis glares at him, it reminds Jane of the painter in Greenwitch. This malice is far more scary in coming from an ordinary man than from a lord of the Dark. He attacks Rowlands, and there is a fight. When Simon intervenes, he is thrown in the water, where he would have drowned had Merriman not come to save him.\n\nAfterwards, Merriman turns to Caradog Lewis and freezes him, and sends him back to Dinas Mamddwy, where he came from, to where the Grey King lurks in Cader Idris. Others are here, Merriman says, who have also sold themselves to the Dark. Because he's failed here, the Dark will come for him - if not for him, then for his sons and the sons of his daughters.\n\nIt is very probable that Caradog Lewis is a forefather of [[Caradog Pritchard]].
Caradog Pritchard owns Pritchard's farm, higher up the hillside than the Evans' Clywd Farm. He seems to hate everyone. Will first encounters him when he stops to gloat after [[Rhys Evans]] loses a tyre, and to ask questions about Will. Rhys Evans says there is are existing issues between them. "His hobby is to make people uncomfortable," he says. "Nobody likes him, except his dogs, and he doesn't even like them."\n\nHe is chunky and thickset, and he is grinning unpleasantly when Will first sees him. He has reddish hair. He drives a battered grey van.\n\nWhen he was young, he once spent a whole night on Cader Idris, because he wanted to be a bard. Legend has it that someone who spends the night on the mountain will either be a bard, or come back mad. Later, Will is able to disarm him for a little while when he calls Caradog a poet. \n\n[[Owen Davies]] used to work on the Pritchards' Farm, before the old Mr Pritchard died. He was living on a cottage on their land when [[Gwen]] came to his door. Caradog heard her harp playing, and went in and found her. He tried to have his way with her, claiming that she was obviously a loose woman, to be staying with Owen. Owen came back and fought Caradog, breaking his nose. [[John Rowlands]] stopped the fight. \n\nCaradog, it turns out, has always hated everyone involved in this. He thinks that Gwen could have lived happily with him, and that he could have brought up Bran better than Owen. \n\nHe spends a lot of his time stamping around obsessing about dogs worrying his sheep. He shoots [[Cafall]] and wants to shoot Pen, John Rowlands' dog. The Dark is able to take advantage of his obsession, and feeds it. While he is not of the Dark, his unpleasantness and hatred serve the Dark. The Grey King possesses him in the end, channelling his own powers through Caradog. This is enough to break his mind. \n\nCaradog Pritchard is almost certainly a decendant of [[Caradog Lewis]]. They both have red hair, and Lewis is banished up to the hills, and told that the Dark will one day doubtless come for his children or grand-children. \n\nIt is reported that Pritchard gets his red hair from his forefathers - a bad lot family from along the valley.
Follow the links below to find out about any of the characters in the sequence. If you can't work out which section any particular character will be in, don't worry. Most characters appear in more than one section.\n\nFirstly, because I have to: [[What pairings are there?]]\n\n[[Merriman Lyon]]\n[[Will Stanton]]\n[[Bran Davies]]\n[[Simon Drew]]\n[[Jane Drew]]\n[[Barney Drew]]\n\n[[The Stanton family]]\n[[The Drew family]]\n\n[[Old Ones and other agents of the Light]]\n[[Agents of the Dark]]\n[[Other magical beings]]\n\n[[Characters in Cornwall]]\n[[Characters in Wales]]\n[[Characters in Buckinghamshire]]\n\n[[People from the past]]
Here are the named characters from Will's home territory:\n\n[[The Stanton family]]\n\n''Old Ones''\n[[Farmer Dawson]]\n[[Miss Greythorne]] \n[[Old George]]\n[[John Smith]]\n[[Mrs Smith]] \n\n''People involved in the quest''\n[[Maggie Barnes]]\nThe [[Rider]] - aka Mr Mitothin\n[[Hawkin]]\nThe [[Walker]]\n\n''Villagers''\nDr Armstrong - the doctor, called out to see the [[Walker]], Mrs Stanton's injury, and Will's hepatitis\nBates - [[Miss Greythorne]]'s butler - tall, lean and morose, fond of discussing his arthritis with Mrs Pettrigrew.\nMiss Bell - the retired village schoolmistress, who taught all the Stanton children before they went on to other schools. She is "tiny" and can ill afford to give money to carol singers, but does. She also hugs them all.\n[[Mr Beaumont]] - the rector\nMrs Dawson - Frank Dawson's wife. She doesn't appear to be an Old One. There is also a married daughter, and a grandson.\nMrs Horniman - described as "lugubrious" and foretells doom all the time. She "does" for Mrs Stanton once a week. Born and bred in the East End, but came to Bucks. after her house was bombed. She always gives the carol singers a silver sixpence, which she hoarded before they ceased to be legal tender. (Februrary 1971)\nMr Hutton - fat and jolly businessman, living in a new mock-Tudor house at the end of the village. He's a retired director.\nMrs Hutton - jolly, and "a galleon in full furry sail"\nRichie Moore - racist bully\nJim Moore - his racist bullying father. Works in personnel in Thames Manufacturing. Red-faced and jowly, with a "stubbly" head.\nMiss Pettigrew - the widowed postmistress, who dyes her hair with tea leaves and keep a small limp dog that looks like a skein of grey wool. She flaps and twitters with fear when the cold hits, and is very panicky.\nFred Pettigrew - her fat son, who helps her run the store\nMrs Randall - mentioned as someone suffering in the cold, "without a piece of coal", and with a sick baby\nManny Singh - the boy the racist bullies were picking on. His family are Sikhs and come from India, and lives at the other end of the village, in a new estate. He plays the piano\n\n''Will's friends - never seen''\nAngus Mcdonald - a friend of Will's, though never seen, and seldom mentioned\nMike - another friend of Will's, who's spending Christmas with his granny in Southall.\n
These are the named characters encountered in and around Trewissick\n\n[[Mr Hastings]]\n[[Miss Hatherton]]\n[[Bill Hoover]]\n[[The painter]]\n[[Mrs Palk]]\n[[Mr Penhallow]]\n[[Mrs Penhallow]]\n[[Rufus]]\nMr Smith - the real, live vicar\n[[Captain Toms]]\n[[Roger Toms]]\nP.C. Tregear - the only policeman in the village. He has a motorbike. \nJim Tregoney - handsome young man (presumably) mentioned as desirable by young women at the Greenwitch ceremony\nVayne - the skipper on the Witherses' boat, and an excellent chef\n[[Mr Withers]]\n[[Polly Withers]]
All of these characters speak Welsh naturally to each other, and tend to only switch to English if someone English is there. \n\n[[Bran Davies]]\n[[Owen Davies]]\n[[Gwen]]\n[[Cafall]]\n[[John Rowlands]]\n[[Blodwen Rowlands]]\n[[Evan Rowlands]]\n[[David Evans]]\n[[Jen Evans]]\n[[Rhys Evans]]\n[[Caradog Pritchard]]\n[[Caradog Lewis]]\n[[Idris Jones Ty-Bont]], and Megan Jones, his wife\nTom Ellis - a tall thin farmer who is at Clywd Farm when the fire breaks out.\nLlew Owen - a farmer who farms near Aberdyfi. The children are driven here by polecats, and meet Mrs Rowlands there. \n
Here you can find some wonderings about how old Merriman is, some musings on the date that the books are set, plus a slightly less vague chronology of events both before and during the books, and a guide to how old the child characters are. \n\n[[How old are the children in each book?]]\n[[When is the sequence set?]]\n[[Time-line of the books]]\n[[Time-line before the books]]\n[[How old is Merriman?]]
David Evans is the husband of [[Jen Evans]], and farms Clywd Farm. Will calls him Uncle David. He is the father of [[Rhys Evans]], and also has another son.\n\nHe is small and neat. His voice is always precise (though Will later realises this is the local accent, shared by most people in the area). He is sharp-featured, but with a vague, reflective look in his dark eyes. \n\nA man at Tywyn station tells Will that David Evans is "a nice dreamer", and that he will be late even when the Last Trump sounds. \n\nHe drives a Landrover.\n\n
[[About this guide]]
Not always, no.\n\nMerriman tells John Rowlands that an Old One, when he lives as a human, lives a real human life. He has emotions and he can be hurt. However, there is another part of them - things they see and things they know - that sets them apart. Ultimately this is more important. \n\nThere are times when Will seems incapable of thinking like a normal person would think. Under Bird Rock, he is an Old One, involved in the affairs of the Light, and "nothing else had very much relevance." When Cafall dies, he wants to comfort Bran, but he can't think how to do it. All he can think of is the wisdom of an Old One, not the human sort of comfort Bran needs. When the racist Mr Moore comes to the Stanton house, Will sees the whole encounter through the eyes of an Old One, thinking that this is what will happen if the Dark wins. When Will realises that the Light made him ill, he doesn't give it another thought - such things weren't important to an Old One. \n\nHowever, when Will is not going about the business of the Light, often he thinks just as a normal person would think. At the start of [[Greenwitch]], he is bored and lonely boy, whose family has gone away. Even in the middle of a long summary of the events so far, Old One to Old One, he breaks off to enthuse, boy-like, about Rufus. At the start of [[Silver on the Tree]], he refers to his Old One life as having been "sleeping" since the last adventure. \n\nSometimes it almost seems as if Will has an Old One / human switch in his brain. Merriman several times reminds Will that he knows the answer to the question he's just asked, if he only paused to think about it. Several times, Will wonders about something, pauses to access his knowledge of Gramarye, then remembers the real answer. (This is a possible answer to the question of [[Why doesn't Will know Welsh?]] - that he does know it, but wasn't working in Old One mode at the time. \n\n\n\n
Dr Drew is the father of [[Simon Drew]], [[Jane Drew]] and [[Barney Drew]]. His wife is [[Ellen Drew]] His name is Dick. \n\nHe is a doctor.\n\nHe used to be in the navy - though we don't know for how long for. \n\nHis hobbies include fishing and golfing. He takes his fishing rods to Cornwall, and spends their holiday in Wales playing golf. \n\nThe children call him "Father." \n\nHe sometimes speaks fairly sarcastically\n\nHe likes the sea and boats, and goes out fishing in Cornwall. He is "as excited as a schoolboy" when Miss Hatherton offers to take him shark fishing.\n\nHis grandmother was born in Wales, in Aberdyfi.
Eirias is the crystal sword, the last of the Things of Power to be attained. The word Eirias means big blaze.\n\nEirias was made by [[Gwyddno Garanhir]], King of the Lost Land. It was made at the request of the Light. Gwyddno knew that it would be the finest work of his entire life, the crowning glory of his craftsmanship, but also knew that the Dark would visit a terrible revenge on his Land if he went ahead and made it for the Light. He asked all the other craftsmen if he should proceed, and they said yes. However, the Dark took its revenge by feeding all his doubts, until he was so overcome with despair that he locked himself into his castle, alone with his despair and the crystal sword. \n\nBran persuades the King to give him the sword by reciting the words that will command the sword:\n\nI am the womb of every holt\nI am the blaze on every hill\nI am the queen of every hive\nI am the shield for every head\nI am the tomb of every hope\nI am Eirias!\n\nThe sword is made of crystal, with a thin core of gold running its full length. The hilt is ornate, inlaid with mother-of-pearl.\n\nIt shines when the Dark is near. \n\nWhen sheathed, no normal person can see it. \n\n
Ellen Drew is the mother of [[Simon Drew]], [[Jane Drew]] and [[Barney Drew]]. Her husband is [[Dr Drew]]\n\n[[Merriman Lyon]] was a friend of her father's, and she (presumably) used to call him Uncle Merry - hence her children calling him Great-uncle Merry. Merriman "treated her always as though he had forgotten that she had grown up."\n\nShe is an artist - "a real painter, not just a hobby one", with shows in galleries etc. She spends much of the family holidays working on her art. When she arrives at the station at the start of [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], she has a "bunch of paint brushes that sprouted from her pocket like a tuft of celery." In the [[Grey House]] she works in a room off the first floor landing, and in Wales she wanders off into remote hills and valleys to paint scenery. \n\nWhen her work isn't going well, she looked tired and depressed.\n\nPresumably she likes the sea and boats since Jane is described as "the only member of the Drew family who disliked the open sea."\n\nShe often calls her children "Darling" - e.g. "Darling, no", "Darling, be careful." \n
Captain Evans Rowlands was the grandfather of [[John Rowlands]], and captain of the Sarah Ellen. He lived in a green-painted house in Aberdyfi - the same house that John was born in.\n\nWhen the Dark sends the children back in time, they see Evan - though it is almost as if it is John Rowlands, really, acting out the role his grandfather played. Evan and two other captains - Humphrey Edwards and Ieuan Morgan - go to John Jones' boatyard, to find out why so many of his boats are sinking - including one that has recently sunk, with Evan's brother on board. This was the Sarah Ellen, that sunk near Skye, in Scotland. \n\nThe captains accuse [[Caradog Lewis]], a sawyer at the boat yard, and Evan says that Lewis has always been different, as if he is serving a cause that is not of man. They fight, and Simon, who intervenes, falls into the water, where Merriman saves him.
Farmer Dawson is one of the several Old Ones who live in Will's village, presumably gathered there to watch over him before he comes into his powers, and to guide him on his quest. \n\nFarmer Dawson's name is Frank. It is clear that the Stanton family have interacted with him closely over the years. They get hay for the rabbits from the farm. Whenever they had a child, Farmer Dawson carved their initial in wood as a birth sign. Only Will has no birth sign, but has the Sign of Light carved instead. \n\nFarmer Dawson gives Will the Sign of Iron that starts him on his quest. \n\nFarmer Dawson has dark eyes - "strange, in their blue-eyed county". His face is weathered, "creased by decades of peering into the sun and rain and wind."\n\nIn common with all the other Old Ones of Will's village, Farmer Dawson is present when the Dark attacks in the church, and helps Will fight it off. He is also at the Manor when the Dark attacks with cold, and also in the past, when the Old Ones fight the cold there. \n\nHe has a wife - Mrs Dawson - and a married daughter, and a grandson. She doesn't appear in the massed ranks of Huntercombe Old Ones, suggesting that she is a normal mortal he has married in his modern day identity. \n\nFrank Dawson says "in all my days since the grail disappeared" suggesting that he has been around for at least 900 years, or so, which is when the grail was hidden.
Twelfth Night - The Hunting of the Wren ceremony is something associated with Twelfth Night (and also associated with the 26th December elsewhere.) There are several folk songs associated with this tradition. In some of them, the wren is called "the King", since the wren is king of the birds (though in the Sequence, it is associated with the [[Lady]].) \n\nMay 1st is May Day. Although the Greenwitch ceremony takes place in April, it feels very close to traditional May 1st ceremonies, since as Jack in the Green. Jack in the Green is a large figure made of leaves over a framework of wood. A man wears it and dances through the streets, to bring fertility and good harvests. At the end of the festival, Jack is ceremonially destroyed. \n\nLammas - Lammas is August 1st, and is the festival of the first wheat harvest. Will calls the carnival in Trewissick "the Lammas carnival". \n\nHalloween. In Welsh, Halloween is Nos Galan Gaeaf, meaning the first day of winter. In old tradition, it was perhaps the last day of the year - as suggested by the "The Day of the Dead when the year too dies" part of the verse. \n\nDecember 21st - The winter solstice. Most cultures across the world have a midwinter festivals of light, because Midwinter is the time when the darkess is strongest... but is also a time of hope, because it's all going to get better after this point. The light triumphs over the dark at midwinter, and stops its advance.\n\nThe Mari Llwyd is a Welsh midwinter/New Year tradition. A figure looking like the skeleton of a horse dances in the streets, as Bran tells us. You can see a picture of it here:\n
Fran Stanton is married to Will's uncle [[Bill Stanton]]. She is American, and calm and fair, a tall, slow-moving person. Will thinks she doesn't look at all like how he would have expected an American to look. \n\nShe is a member of a travel club back home, and they meet once a month, and take it in turns to give a talk about where they've been, with slides. Fran plans to talk about Cornwall, where she especially likes the china clay works. She has never had somewhere unusual to talk about before, except for Jamaica, but everyone else has been there. \n\nJane says that she's "rather sweet really."
Several gods are mentioned, from various mythologies:\n\nThe [[Lady]] uses the name Juno for herself. Juno is the Roman name for Hera, and is an all-purpose mother goddess, associated with many things, but especially childbirth. \n\n[[The painter]] talks about Anubis. Anubis was a jackal-headed god of the Egyptians, associated with death.\n\nThe painter also calls the Greenwitch the child of Tethys, Poseidon and Neptune, referring to the Greek and Roman names for the gods of the sea. \n\n\nThis implies that in the world of the sequence, all the gods from all the various mythologies of the world are real.
''Chapter one''\nThe grail, found by the Drew children in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], has been stolen from the British Museum. Merriman (who, so the family believe, has been in Athens for the past year) turns up. He says that the Dark has taken the grail to help them on their way to something else. The children want to help, and Merriman says he will fix it for them to go to Trewissick during the Easter holidays. \n\nEaster comes. Will is a bit bored and lonely, since the siblings nearest to him in age are away. His uncle, [[Bill Stanton]], arrives out of the blue, and invites Will to go to Cornwall with him and his wife, [[Fran Stanton]]. Will is keen... even before he hears that Uncle Bill's friend "Merry" is going, too. \n\nOn the way to Cornwall, Merriman and Will talk about the theft of the grail, which Merriman says has been timed to coincide with the making of the Greenwitch. Will is to tell the Drews about the Greenwitch, Merriman says, but casually, because the Drews are not to know about who Will really is. Will realises that the Drews will dislike him, but Merriman says that feelings are nothing compared with the urgency of the quest. \n\n''Chapter two''\nThey are not staying in the [[Grey House]] this time, but in a rented house made of two cottages knocked together, owned by [[Mr Penhallow]]. The Drews are in one half, and the Stantons in the other. The Drews hear Will knocking on the wall in code, but ignore him. Jane wants to be friendly, but the boys resolve to let him know he's not wanted. \n\nOver supper, the Drews bombard [[Mrs Penhallow]] with lots of questions, taking pains to show Will that they know "everyone" here. ("They stayed for two weeks last year," Merriman says, squashing them a bit.) Will casually manages to tell them about the Greenwitch - a leaf image thrown into the sea. Mrs Penhallow is reluctant to talk about it, but Merriman tells them more the next morning. Only women can see the ceremony.\n\nBarney, who has recently discovered an urge to paint, goes out to sketch the harbour. He notices a dark man painting a wild abstract painting in crude colours that Barney feels strongly are all wrong. [[The painter]] snaps at him, telling him to go away. Barney settles down to sketch, but suddenly the other painter tears his sketch out of his pad and runs off with it. Giving chase, Barney bumps into Will, who acts oddly ("Stupid of me... just not properly awake"), then mutters inanely a bit. He vaguely tells Barney that the painter had a red setter dog in his car. Just then, a man - [[Captain Toms]] - comes out of the [[Grey House]], calling for Rufus. As Barney talks to him, he notices that both Captain Toms and Will seem to be staring intently at nothing, as if they listening to a different conversation. They find a note telling Captain Toms to stay awake from the Greenwitch, or the dog will die.\n\n''Chapter three''\nThe sun sets. The fishing boats go out, and two beacons are lit, one on each headland. Earlier, Mrs Penhallow shyly invited Jane to watch the Greenwitch ceremony. No outsiders are normally allowed, she says, but Jane is close enough to "the perfessor" (i.e. Merriman) for it to be allowed. Fran Stanton can't come because she's a "furriner." \n\nThe women of the village make the Greenwitch by weaving branches together. Jane watches, both fascinated by the Greenwitch, and afraid of it. It seems to hold all the power of the earth - of storms and earthquakes - outside Time, and beyond good and evil. She also feels a great sense of its loneliness, because "great power was held only in great isolation." The leader of the women notices that Jane is feeling the power of the Greenwitch, and says that very few people do. She attributes Jane's sensitivity to having held the Grail. \n\nWhen the Greenwitch is finished, near dawn, all the women make a wish. Looking at the Greenwitch, Jane says, "I wish you could be happy." "A perilous wish," says the leader of the women, "but some good may come of it."\n\nThe fishing boats come back, and all the men of Trewissick join the fishermen in procession up to the Greenwitch. Jane sees Merriman there. The men take the Greenwitch and drag it to the cliff, where it is to be thrown over to bring a good harvest of crops and fish. A dark-haired man ([[The painter]]) is trying to jostle in on the ceremony, but is kept away. Merriman has vanished. \n\nAfter the Greenwitch has fallen, and the crowd is dispersing, Jane sees Will, staring fiercely out to sea, but he smiles when he sees her. She admits to Will that Simon and Barney have been trying to avoid him, but realises that Will doesn't mind at all. He questions her about the dark-haired man, and about when she saw Merriman. Simon and Barney arrive, and Will vanishes. Jane then realises that Will had called Merriman "Merriman", "just as if they were both the same age."\n\n''Chapter four''\nThe morning starts misty, then dark clouds move in. Neither Merriman nor Will have been seen since the Greenwitch ceremony. \n\nMeanwhile, Merriman and Will are discussing the painter, who they decide is not a great lord of the Dark, and Will reports to Merriman everything that has happened. By stealing Barney's picture, the painter has thwarted some plan of Merriman's. By stealing the dog, he managed to keep Captain Toms away from the Greenwitch, because Barney would think him a murderer if he went. They go to the Grey House, where Captain Toms joins their discussions. They conclude that the painter has plans for Barney in particular - perhaps to get him to look into the grail - "the old scrying." The painter is nearby, but they can't tell where. He had clearly hoped to get close to the Greenwitch before the throwing, and if he'd done so, the Greenwitch "might have responded."\n\nRufus returns. Drawn by his barking, the Old Ones leave the Grey House, just as the children are approaching it, searching for Merriman. The painter appears, striking Rufus down, then raising his hand towards Barney. Simon, who had tripped over Rufus and fallen heavily, gets an impression of three towering white figures of light, but afterwards is never sure if he really saw it. Jane and Barney only see the painter suddenly reel back, fighting a battle with nothing, then fleeing. Afterwards, Merriman refuses to confirm with suspicion that the painter comes from the Dark, diverts their questions, and tells them to go home. \n\nJane dreams that she's falling off the cliff into the sea, then further down, to where the Greenwitch is. "I have a secret," the Greenwitch says. When Jane promises not to tell, the Greenwitch shows her the secret, which is a small glowing stick. Then the Greenwitch turns on her, saying she'll tell. Jane wakes up to find Merriman there, and she ends up telling him about the dream, but he dismisses it, saying she was just overexcited from the day.\n\n''Chapter five''\nBarney wakes Simon up early, to go out before anyone else is awake. They meet Rufus, who seems to want to tell them something. Hoping they can find a vital clue to present to Merriman, they follow. Rufus leads them out of the village, up onto the moors, then to Pentreath Farm. Simon feels a sense of foreboding, as if he's been there before. They approach under cover of the trees, and peer out to see no farmhouse at all, but an old-fashioned gypsy caravan. \n\nThe painter emerges from the caravan, sees them despite their hiding place, and commands them to come out. They have to obey, but then manage to shake off the spell. Barney asks for his sketch back, and the painter says that he no longer has need of it, and asks Barney to come in to the caravan to get it. Barney does so, and Simon follows, even though he has strong doubts. Inside, strange pictures make Barney nervous, but whenever either of them get scared, something happens, causing them to think their fears ridiculous. The painter offers them drinks, telling Barney to get cans out of the cupboard. Barney drinks, but Simon only pretends to. \n\nThe painter hands Barney a boy, saying it contains his painting, but the grail is also in there. Barney sees everything turn black, and the paintings on the caravan roof glow green and evil. The grail glows yellow. The painter - who denies that the Dark is his friend ("I have no friends") - tells Simon he wants to take advantage of a talent Barney has. He will pour some water into the grail, Barney will look into it, and tell him what he sees. Simon and Barney start to think that the painter isn't from the Dark at all, but is just a harmless madman, so decide to humour him. Barney looks into the grail... and darkness takes hold of his brain like sleep.\n\n''Chapter six''\nJane is worried to find that Simon and Barney are missing, but Merriman and Will both reassure her. The Dark has them, Will says to Merriman, and Merriman says yes, "but without harm, and perhaps to our gain."\n\nBarney is talking to Simon about getting drinks from the caravan, as if the last few minutes have never happened. With difficulty, Simon bluffs his way through it. The painter gives Barney his painting, and orders them both to go. They walk back to the village, Barney chattering away with no memory of what's happened, and Simon very strained. \n\nMerriman, Will and Jane go to Kemare Head to look for Simon and Barney. Rufus rushes up, then Simon, Barney and Captain Toms come up from the village. Simon tells them what happened - with Barney loudly protesting that none of it happened, until Merriman shuts him up. After Barney looked into the grail, the van went "cold and horrible", then Barney started talking in a voice that wasn't his own. Simon didn't understand much of it. He spoke about Anubis, and making things ready for the great gods. "They are here," he said.\n\n"Who has it?" the painter asked. The answer was: the Greenwitch, in the great depths, in the realm of Tethys, out of reach. It will be commanded by the spell of Mana and the spell of Reck and the spell of Lir, but none of these will work if the Tethys is against you. The painter asked if he was observed, and was told that he would safe if he kept from using the Cold Spells. But he had to make haste. Unless he found the secret now, the grail would go back to the Light. He had to make haste before the Greenwitch went to the great depths. \n\nAfter that, Barney slumped in his chair, and Simon shouted to the painter that Merriman would stop him, so the painter snapped his fingers to make them forget. Barney did, but Simon didn't, though he pretended to. He presumes that this was because he hadn't drunk anything. ("Clumsy," says Merriman to Will. "Old-fashioned. Interesting.")\n\nMerriman and Will race to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Captain Toms makes the children forget this. \n\n''Chapter seven''\nWill and Merriman plunge into the water, and move far faster than any fish. They go past wrecks, and down into the deep sea, where there is no light, and life is made of flight and terror and attack. "No light," Will says. "No joy in anything. Nothing but fear." All the way, they know they are watched by Tethys' subjects, for Tethys is the Lady of the Sea, older than the land, older than the Old Ones, older than men - alone, and absolute. She does not appear visually, but as a presence - as of the sea itself. \n\nTethys calls them "Old Ones of the earth", and says she hasn't seen their kind for 1500 years, when Merriman came with "one other, greater." She calls him Hawk. Merriman says he has come to ask a favour and give a gift. The gift he gives is Barney's picture of the harbour, showing the boat, "The White Lady." She accepts it, pleased - "the fishermen do not forget." Merriman reminds her of the Greenwitch, made by the fisherman as a gift to her. She coldly says that it's hers, and Merriman accepts this, but says that the Greenwitch has got possession of something belonging to the Light. She doesn't care, and turns menacing. Merriman tells her that the Wild Magic has neither allies not enemies, so Tethys must not aid the Dark. She says that this means she can't help the Light, either, but Merriman subtly reminds her of the gift. She agrees to a bargain - the Old Ones can approach the Greenwitch any way they want, before it comes to the depths, and she will not interfere, and neither will the Dark. But after the Greenwitch comes to the depths, it, and the secret, are lost to them. \n\nTethys orders them out, and they go to seek the Greenwitch, to talk to us using the spells Barney spoke about while looking into the grail, but the Greenwitch is gone.\n\n''Chapter eight''\nThe painter is back, painting on the quay. The children find Captain Toms watching him through a telescope. Barney guesses that captain Toms is "the same kind" as Merriman - "a wierd kind. A super kind. The kind that belongs to the Light." The children notice that the painter isn't looking at the view in front of him while painting, so he may as well be anywhere else, so why is he here? Captain Toms says he can't work it out. \n\nThey watch the painter all day, from the Grey House. As they do, Captain Toms tells them the story of one of the pictures on his wall. 200 years ago, when smugglers worked out of Trewissick, one of Captain Toms' ancestors, Roger Toms, worked on a smuggler ship called "The Lottery." One day, in a run-in with a customs' ship, a Revenue man was killed. Roger Toms turned King's Evidence, and gave himself up, telling them that a shipmate called Tom Potter fired the shot. Potter was hanged, but some people believed that Toms fired the shot. No-one knows the truth, but Toms never dared return to Cornwall again. \n\nDark falls, and the painter is still painting. Outside, the wind rises. Captain Toms tells them about beacon fires, lit to warn of the last rising of the Dark. The Dark was thrown out to sea, but the Lady sent a wind and scattered them on the shore and broke them. The first Old One prophecied that the Dark would one day rise again from the same sea and shore. When Simon asks if the Dark is rising now, Captain Toms says he doesn't know. He doesn't think so, but something is happening that he doesn't understand. \n\nThey go outside, where they see that the painter's painting is glowing in strange and horrible colours. Captain Toms realises that he's painted the spells of Mana, Reck and lir into his painting, but he realises it too late. The painter shouts out strange words, and the sea surges up, bearing a towering dark shape, twice as high as man. The painter commands it to stay. "Watch for the Greenwitch," says Captain Toms.\n\n''Chapter nine''\nThe children watch, and Jane recognises the dark shape as the Greenwitch, though it is much grown now. The painter says he called her out to ask a favour, but the Greenwitch says the Law forbids it from having dealings with Dark or Light. The painter says it has part of a Thing of Power, that no creature of the Wild Magic should have, but the Greenwitch cries that this is its secret, and its for always. The painter tries to command it, but the Greenwitch refuses, saying that the painter doesn't have the full power of the Dark. He was sent on one small mission, but is gambling, trying to make himself a great Lord, one of the masters. The Greenwitch looks huge and green, throwing the painter to the ground, then vanishes, fading away. Captain Toms tells the children that the Greenwitch is angry, and has spread through the whole village. They have to go home, because their cottages, like the Grey House, are protected. \n\nA car drives up, and Bill and Fran Stanton get out. Captain Toms draws their attention to the fallen painter, and suggests they drive him to the hospital in St Austell. Bill asks where Will is, and no-one can answer, but then Will appears. \n\n''Chapter ten''\nMerriman hurries the children home, telling them that Trewissick is under possession, full of the power of the Wild Magic, that has no discipline or pattern. Only the Grey House and the cottages are protected by the Light. Simon tries to pick a fight with Will, but Wil deflects him, prompting Jane to wonder just who he is. To their outrage, Merriman sends the children to bed, where Simon and Barney soon fall asleep. \n\nJane stays awake. She asks Merriman if he's "magicked" the others, and he assures her that nothing has been done to any of them. Later, she watches out of the window as darkness hangs over Trewissick. The figure of a man seems to slide out of the water and enter the village. Then she sees two cloaked figures leave the house, and recognises them as Will and Merriman. "They are of the Light," she thinks, as she realises for the first time what this means.\n\nShe sees a a variety of scenes from the past - villagers rushing to help with a wreck, and then red-haired raiders attacking the village. She sees Trewissick burning, but still Merriman and Will stand still and watch. The flames vanish, and in the darkness she hears a man's voice chanting, "The hour has come but not the man." A dog howls, and villagers start shouting about The Lottery and Roger Toms. A phantom ship sails in from the sea, through the village, and up onto the moors, and the crowds vanish. Jane watches a third figure join Merriman and Will, and sees Merriman raise his hands against a wave of rage and darkness. \n\nTerrified, Jane hides under her covers, and soon falls asleep.\n\n''Chapter eleven''\nMerriman calls to the darkness in Trewissick, using the spells of Mana, Reck and Lir. The Greenwitch, shouting in the wind all around, begs them to leave her alone. All three Old Ones try to persuade the Greenwitch to give up its secret. The Greenwitch doesn't care about Light or Dark, though Merriman says that if the Dark wins, it might yet care, for things will go badly with the world of men. When it says that men have nothing to do with her, Will says that men make her, but it denies this, saying they make only an image. The Greenwitch has only become more this year because the Dark drew it out to earth. No-one cares for it, and it cares for no-one.\n\n"No-one?" Merriman asks, and the Greenwitch remembers Jane, and softens. The painter appears, telling the Greenwitch that Jane was being self-serving, and reminding the Greenwitch that his spells summoned it, not the Old Ones'. He tries to command the Greenwitch, threatening it with the full power of Dark. Suddenly, a voice calls again - "the hour has come but not the man" - and the past folk of Trewissick are back, shouting for Roger Toms. Furious, they descend on the painter, shouting the name of Roger Toms. The phantom ship sails back from the moor, piloted by the drowned figure Jane saw climb out of the harbour, and the crowd drag the painter onto the ship, before it sails away.\n\nJane sleeps, and sees the Greenwitch. It tells her that all these things are the Wild Magic, and this is how it works in the minds of men - calling up past horrors, and their forefather's fears. The Greenwitch was angry, made so by the man of the Dark, but now that is passed. The painter has been taken out of Time by the Wild Magic, and none of his Dark masters have protected him, because he was acting alone, trying to betray him. Jane asks about "the secret", saying how desperately important it is to her, and the Greenwitch hands it over, in thanks for her wish. Jane says she will give the Greenwitch a better secret, but the Greenwitch says it's too late. \n\nJane awakens to find the lead case in her hand.\n\n''Chapter twelve''\nJane shows everyone the case. Merriman opens it, taking out the parchment inside, and tells the children it's written in the ancient language of Ogham, but is meaningless without the grail. \n\nBill Stanton reveals that the painter ran away on the way to the hospital, after his car hit some animal he wasn't able to find afterwards.\n\nMerriman takes the children to Pentreath Farm, despite Simon and Barney's uneasiness that they will encounter the painter. When they get to the place where the caravan stood, they find it gone. They go on to where the ruined farm buildings stand, but decide the painter probably hadn't entered those. He was a "separate" sort of man - acting alone from the Dark, while they were preoccupied and distracted from the defeat they suffered at midwinter. Barney, following Rufus, crawls through a small gap into a ruined barn, and comes back, asking Simon to come with him. Will asks if he can come to, and Simon agrees. \n\nIn the barn is a ruined caravan. Will takes charge - Simon is surprised to realise that he accepts this - and gets Simon to remember where the painter kept the grail in his caravan. And there, in a damp and mouldy box, they find the grail. \n\n''Chapter thirteen''\nOn an old mill wheel in the farmyard, Merriman unrolls the manuscript again. The Old Ones are able to put together the manuscript and the carvings on the grail, and make out a poem - "On the day of the dead..." (see [[Verses]] for the words.) Afterwards, the manuscript crumbles into dust. The children are horrified, but Merriman says that the Old Ones will remember. The next part of the quest, he says, will be in Wales.\n\nLater, everyone is on the beach, after a picnic. Jane wanders off, and prepares to throw her bracelet into the sea, but Will stops her. She tells him she wants to give the Greenwitch another secret, but he says that her bracelet will rust. In its place, he gives her a strip of gold, engraved with the words, "Power from the green witch, lost beneath the sea," encased in the lead case. He engraved it himself, he says, in his father's shop, which leads Jane to realise that he must have done this before he came to Cornwall. "You aren't quite like the rest of us," she says, and he says, "not quite", and tells her they will meet again.\n\nAfter everyone has left Cornwall, Mr and Mrs Penhallow talk. Mrs Penhallow thinks it's no coincidence that Merriman and Captain Toms were both around at Greenwitch time, and also tells her husband how, the morning after the wild night of bad dreams, Jane's bedroom was full of twigs and leaves, and everywhere a great smell of the sea.\n
The Grey House belongs to [[Captain Toms]]. The Drew children stay in it during [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], though Captain Toms is back in residence by the time of [[Greenwitch]].\n\nThe Grey House is reached by a steep road from the harbour, lined with a grey wall, covered with red and pink valerian. The Grey House is the middle of a terrace of houses on the hill, larger than the others ("rising up like a tower.") It is tall and narrow, with three storeys and a gabled roof. It's a "sombre house", painted dark grey, though with a white door and white-framed windows. The roof is stale - "a high blue-grey arch facing out across the harbour to the sea."\n\nThere is a back way out of the house, that leads onto a little lane, and then onto the headland. \n\nInside, the decor is very nautical. There are nautical prints on all the walls, and nautical books and charts on the shelves - though the Drews are not allowed to touch them, and cabinets are kept locked.\n\nThe house is built in "an odd way", as Simon says - "all little bits joined together by funny little passages. As if each bit was meant to be kept secret from the next." The walls are half-panelled. \n\nThe ground floor has a kitchen, a drawing room, and a room they eat in. There is a bell to summon the Drews to dinner. The kitchen is reached by a "little dark passage." \n\nThe first floor landing is long and dark, lit by one small window. There is a big wooden chest in one corner. Merriman's bedroom is off this landing, with Mrs Drew's painting room on one side, and a bathroom on the other. At the far end of this landing is a small door, hidden in the gloom. Beyond the door is another small passage, with a few steps down, which is carpeted and hung with maps. At the end is a room that looks like a cabin - small, bare, and with a rounded window that looks inland. It has no carpet. It has a bed (red and white gingham pattern, if you want to know), a wooden chair, a wardrobe, and a wash stand with a large willow pattern bowl and ewer. The children conclude that this is Captain Toms' bedroom. \n\nThe second floor has three bedrooms, and a bathroom. All the Drew children sleep on this floor. However, there is no door above where the hidden door was on the floor below, leading the children to find a hidden section of the boys' bedroom, concealed by a wardrobe. This contains a door, which leads to a staircase - more like a ladder - that goes up to a hatch. \n\nThrough the hatch is an attic that stretches the full length of the house. It has grubby windows in its sloping roof, and is packed full of stuff - a brass bedstead, a grandfather clock, piles of magazines, boots... all sorts of junk. And what is where they find their map...
According to old stories the Brenin Llwyd - the Grey King - lives in Cader Idris, the highest mountain in Bran's part of Wales. When the cloud is all tattered around the top of the mountain, people say it is the breath of the Brenin Llwyd. \n\nThe Grey King has made his home in what was once a happy valley, instead of in a dark and remote fastness, like "most of his line." This is because he wants to be close to where the Sleepers are - and also, perhaps, to be close to Bran. (However, later it says that he's been in Cader Idris since the beginnings of time.)\n\nHe is a Great Lord of the Dark, and he is the most dangerous and powerful one. However, because he's always been hanging out in the mountain, never coming down, none of the Old Ones have encountered him, or really know what his powers are. When he comes face to face with the Grey King, Will realises that this is the most powerful being he has ever encountered. \n\nWhen he confronts Will, he appears in the form of mist. A shape appears in the mist, wider than the field, and high into the sky. It has shape, but not recognisable earthly shape. Will can see the outline from the corner of his eye, but when he looks at it, nothing is there. Its voice is "sweet and terrible", and fills the air like mist. Will can't tell what language it's speaking. It speaks into his mind, but he doesn't know if it is also speaking out loud, for others to hear.
Gwen was Bran's mother. She was small, and "one of the prettiest things you will ever see." She had clear fair skin and black hair, blue eyes like speedwell, and "a smiling light in her face that was like music." She played the harp very well.\n\nOne stormy night, eleven years ago, a young woman knocked on [[Owen Davies]]' door, worn out from carrying her baby. Owen took her in and nursed her to health, and fell headlong in love with her almost instantly. The next day, he went to get milk, overjoyed and babbling about how wonderful she was, but came back to find her struggling with [[Caradog Pritchard]]. Owen attacked Caradog and threw him out. The next day he asked Gwen to marry him, but on the fourth day, he woke up to find her gone. She left the baby, and a note reading, His name is Bran. Thank you, Owen Davies."\n\n[[Jen Evans]] tells Will that she thinks that Gwen was in a very bad situation, and wanted Bran to have a better life, free of it. She knew she didn't love Owen enough to marry him, and the only kind thing to do was to go away. Gwen said to Jen, "If you have once betrayed a great trust, you dare not let yourself be trusted again, because a second betrayal would be the end of the world."\n\nGwen is Guinivere, Arthur's wife. She had betrayed Arthur with another man, and feared that Arthur would not believe that her baby was his own. She asked Merriman to help her, to take the baby somewhere where he would be safe. Merriman took her to modern day Wales, and pointed out Owen's cottage to her. Afterwards, he met her again, and took her back to her own time, and Arthur's side.
Gwen is Will's oldest sister. She is younger than Max, and older than Robin and Paul. \n\nGwen is usually seen cooking, or helping her mother in the kitchen. She ices the Christmas cake. She also made the cauliflower cheese at James' last birthday. \n\nHer siblings sometimes call her "Gwennie".\n\nShe doesn't go carol-singing with the rest of the family. Allegedly this is so she can wash her hair in case Johnnie Penn calls round.
Gwion guides Will and Bran through the Lost Land. As an inhabitant of the Lost Land, he is not supposed to aid either Light or Dark, but he decides to aid the Light, and accept the consequences. \n\nHe is a very loyal subject of King [[Gwyddno Garanhir]], and very devoted to him. When the Lost Land is drowned, Gwion stays with the King, and is drowned with it. When the king awakens from his despair, he gives Gwion a harp. \n\nHe is described as a smallish man, not much taller than Will and Bran, with a strong-featured face creased by humour at the eyes and mouth. He has grey hair, tightly curled like a mat, and a neat, crisp curling grey beard, with a dark line down the middle like a stripe. He has a dark stone ring on his fourth finger, carved with the leaping salmon which is the king's crest/\n\nHe knows Merriman, and was once very close to him.\n\nThe Rider calls him "minstel", and Bran thinks that he is "a maker." Then the Rider calls him Taliessin, which allows us to put together a lot of his backstory. Taliessin was a real Welsh bard active in around the sixth century, some of whose works remain. Later traditions put him as the bard of Arthur himself. \n\nThere are also stories about him as a folklore character, in which Gwion was his childhood name. The witch Ceridwen put him to work stirring the cauldron in which she was making a brew that would give great wisdom and insight, but he sucked his finger after he got splashed with it, and received the wisdom himself. The witch gave chase, each of them turning themselves in turn into various animals, until he turned into a grain of corn, and she turned into a hen and ate him. \n\nNine months later, she gave birth of a beautiful son. She couldn't bring herself to kill him, so threw him in the ocean in a bag. Later, he washed up in a weir, and was found by Elphin, son of Gwyddno Garanhir. "Tal Iessin!" he exclaimed, meaning "radiant brow", and the boy said that this would do very nicely as a name, and then proceeded to spout poetry. \n\n\n
Gwyddno Garanhir is a real character from legend and folklore, where he appears, in real legend as in the sequence, as king of the drowned "lowland hundred."\n\nHe has a thin face, with high cheekbones, and lines carved by sadness. His eyes are shadows, and deep lines run from his nose to his jaw. His crest is blue, with a golden salmon leaping between three silver roses. He wears this on a dark-stoned ring. He is wearing a white robe with a green surcoat over it, marked with the crest.\n\nIn the sequence, he is shown as a man lost in despair. Once, though, he was the best maker in a whole land full of amazing craftsmen. He made [[Eirias]], the crystal sword, intending it for the Light. However, the Dark got wind of it, and demanded that it not be made, for they knew that in the end if would aid the Light in the last great rising. He called all the craftsmen together and said that he had this work in him - the greatest work that he would ever make - but the Dark is trying to prevent it. They all said that he should make it. \n\nThe Dark was furious, for they cannot destroy a work created for the light, or steal it, or harm its creator. But they did what they could, which was show the craftsman his own uncertainty and doubt over whether he should have made the sword at all. This led to fear, which led to despair. He made the sword, but fell into despair, and is still held prisoner by it. \n\nHe tells Bran and Will that the only thing keeping him sane has been his dreams, most of which are wonderful, though some of them are terrible.\n\nWhen Will and Bran find him, only Bran is able to break through his despair, in his role as the son of King Arthur. He says that sword is his birthright, made at his father's command. The king says he had seen Bran in a dream, speaking the verses that describe Eirias. When Bran speaks the verses, the king allows him to have the sword. He also gives him a scabbard, gives [[Gwion]] a harp, and also gives Will and Bran a blue stone each, though he says that are worthless - things he was going to make something out of once, but has now forgotten about.\n\nHis despair is broken, but the Dark comes for the Lost Land, and he, and it, are swamped. \n\nHis castle is Caer Wyddno - the Castle of Glass - surrounded by seven clumps of trees, and protected by a spinning wheel.\n\nIn real legend, the Cantref Gwaelod - the Drowned Hundred - was the name given to the supposed drowned land in Cardigan Bay. Gwyddno Garanhir was its king, but it was swamped not through any magical malice, but because a careless gatekeeper forgot to close the floodgates.\n\n\n
Hawkin was a man from the thirteenth century. Orphaned, he was taken in by Merriman who reared him and loved him as a son, and Hawkin loved Merriman as his lord and master. He is small, not much taller than Will, and his face is thin and lively, "almost triangular, thickly lined yet not old, with a pair of startlingly bright eyes." He is very fond of the green coat he gets to wear in the nineteenth century\n\nMerriman brought Hawkin through Time to 1875, and told him certain things about the Old Ones. He also appears to know the Old Speech. The Book of Gramarye is concealed in a clock, and the protection on it is that if the clock is touched in retrieving the book, the person touching it will cease to exist. As an extra protection, Merriman made it so that he would need to be touching Hawkin with his other hand. If anything ever went wrong - Merriman was tricked by the Dark, for example - the other Old Ones could kill Hawkin, and secure the book. Hawkin accepted this risk, because he loved Merriman, but when the time came, it was too much for him. Merriman committed the greatest mistake an Old One can create - to put more trust in a mortal than he can cope with.\n\nHawkin was thus a good target for the wiles of the Dark. [[Maggie Barnes]] came to him, saying how the Dark is a kinder master, and will not risk his life. Hawkin thus invites the Dark into the gathering. As a result, he is condemned to be the [[Walker]], sent back to his own time with the Sign of Bronze, and forced to carry it through the centuries, hounded always by the Dark.\n\nDespite a second betrayal, Hawkin repents at the very end, and dies as himself. He is taken back to his own time to be buried, and his grave has existed in the local church for 600 years. \n\nAt the very end, Will sees Hawkin on the ship going out of Time.
Herne is also called The Hunter. He appears at the end of [[The Dark is Rising]], in Windsor Great Park. He is waiting under a great oak - Herne's Oak. Every year, on Twelfth Night, he rides with his Hunt.\n\nWill sees him first as an immense shadow, which gives him a sense of enormous power, that makes Will feel small and insignificant. Will cannot see the shadow's face clearly. He gives it the carnival mask, which the Hunter puts on. Afterwards, it is as if the mask has come alive. Like the mask, the Hunter now has the antlers of a stag. He has tawny eyes, like an owl's, with a bird's feathered eyelids. The face is the face of a man, even though the skull is shaped like a deer's. He has a beard. He can smile, but his face looks cruel. Will realises that this is because nature is indeed cruel, not from malice, but from the way of things. \n\nThe Hunter looks at the Signs, and chants the "When the Dark comes rising" verse, adding the third verse. Then he rides off on the Hunt, riding the white stallion of the Light. Although he has no horn, he shouts with his own voice in a sound just like the sound of a hunting horn. As he does this, thousands of hounds appear from the park - white dogs with red eyes and red ears. They leap up into the air, hunting the Dark.\n\nThe Hunter feels very much as if he belongs to the [[Wild Magic]], which is the magic of nature and its wild, unpatterned forces. However, while the Wild Magic cannot aid either Light or Dark, Herne and his hounds chase the Dark to the very ends of the earth, which is definitely serving the Light. He also appears in the final battle, when he joins the Six Sleepers, and together they drive the Dark out of the sky. \n\n\nHerne the Hunter is a real English legend, though one not found outside the area of Windsor and its surroundings. Folklore claims that he was originally a huntsman during the reign of Richard 2, but the figure of Herne very probably grew out of dimly-remembered pre-Christian religions. Some claim that he is linked the Cernunnos, the horned gods, and others that he grew out of Woden, worshipped by Anglo Saxon settlers.\n\nHerne's Oak is a real tree, though the modern-day Herne's oak was planted by Edward VII, and it's not entirely clear where the medieval one stood.\n\nUnlike Herne himself, the Wild Hunt is found is legends across Europe, where it is led by other leaders than Herne. Arthur himself leads it in some places. \n\nThe white dogs with red ears closely resemble the Cwn Annwn, the Wild Hunt dogs in Welsh mythology, which you can read about in the Maginogion. Migrating geese are associated with the Cwn Annwn, since the sound they make - as in the Sequence - sounds like baying hounds. These dogs are called by different names in different parts of Britain. Yell Hounds, used in the Sequence, is a name used in various places.
The High Magic is the oldest magic in the universe. It is a universal magic, not a magic of this earth (unlike the [[Wild Magic]], which is bound up with the earth.) \n\nLight and Dark are two poles "beneath the High Magic". The Old Ones serve the High Magic, and are bound by it. However, the High Magic is "beyond Light or Dark or any allegiance - the strongest and most remote force in the universe."\n\nThere are Laws in the High Magic that Light and Dark are bound by. When the Dark appeals to a Law, challenging Bran's right to be involved in the final battle, the High Magic decrees that the challenge be heard. \n\nWhen Will comes for the harp, it is the High Magic that holds it. Merriman, the [[Rider]] and [[King Arthur]] all test him, serving as Lords of High Magic, without it mattering that one is of the Light and one of the Dark.\n\nThe Lady seems particularly bound up with the High Magic.\n\nWhen Will and Bran go underneath Bird Rock, Will says "first the moon, then the stars, and, if all is well, a comet, and then the dust of the stars. And at the last, the sun." This, he says, "is the order of things, by which the High Magic shall be known."
We can only speculate on this. \n\nIt is certainly not the case that all Old Ones look old. Stephen comments on this, saying that one of the people who brought him messages didn't look old, even though Will knows that he was one of the oldest of the Circle. \n\nDoes an Old One appear to age normally, until he reaches a certain age that is right for him, and then stops? Merriman appears in the form of an old man consistently through all the ages. Did he age normally for the first 60 years of his life, then stay like that forever? And, if this is so, what determines the outward age of an Old One? Is it something he has control over? Merriman often plays the role of wise mentor, so an old appearance suits that role. Another Old One might play a different role, and it might suit them to look forever 30 or 40 or 90, or whatever. \n\nCan Old Ones change their appearance at will? A Lord of the Dark can, as witness the [[Rider]], who looks very different as [[Mr Hastings]] from the way he looks as Mr Mitothin, and the [[White Rider]], who manages to pass himself off as a middle-aged Welsh woman called Blodwen Rowlands. If the Dark can do it, surely it's reasonable to assume that the Light can do it? Or do they refrain from doing it, because it's cheating? \n\nWhy does [[Miss Greythorne]] look young in 1875 and old in the 1970s? Before Will, the last Old One was born 500 years ago, so she is already at least 400 years old in 1875. Does her outward appearance age until she's old, then "die", so she is "reborn" as her own daughter/grand-daughter? \n\nHow will Will age? Will he still look youthful even when he's 50? Will he age normally, until he reaches old age, and all his family start dying, whereupon he will start a new life under a new name, and looking young again?
I really don't want to get into a discussion about religion, but here are a few points to consider:\n\n- When the Dark attacks in the church, Will thinks that any church of any religion is vulnerable to the Dark's attack, because they are the places where men give the most thought to the matters of Light and Dark. However, the Signs don't go cold with warning, so he thinks the church is a kind of no-man's land. No harm can actually enter its walls, even though it can amass outside.\n\n- After the attack in the church, the rector sees the cross shape in the Signs, and says that the cross drove back the Dark. "Made a long time before Christianity," says [[Old George]], of the Signs. "Long before Christ." "But not before God," said the rector. The Old Ones look at him. "There was no answer that would not have offended him, so no one tried to give one." Will then does answer him, saying that before and after don't matter. Everything that matters is outside Time. "And all Gods are there, and all the things they have ever stood for. And the opposite, too."
Well, except for the obvious:\n\n''Origins''\nThe Old Ones are born to their destiny and cannot change it. \n\nThe Dark chooses to become what they are. New Lords of the Dark appear whenever a man chooses to be turned into something greater and more dread than his fellows.\n\n''Aggression''\nThrough the whole history of Dark and Light, the Dark has always been on the offensive, driving into the lands of men who are protected by the Light. When Will enters the territory of the Grey King, he thinks that this is the first time that pattern has been reversed.\n\n''Powers''\nOnly the Light can use the Book of Gramarye.\n\nThe Dark can speak the Old Speech, but with an accent.\n\nIt seems as if the Dark can't use the power of the Old Ways. Many other things can, it seems, be done by both Light and Dark. There are some things that the Light can't do, that the Light can do. Most of these involve doing nasty things to people. See [[What can't an Old One do?]] and [[What can the Dark do?]]\n\n''Organisation''\nThe Light has a large Circle of Old Ones, plus some higher powers such as the [[Lady]]. There don't seem to be any lesser beings serving the Light. The Dark seems to have a much more fluid career structure. There are Lords of the Dark, but there are also lots of people who possess magic, but are lesser beings - e.g. [[The painter]]. All the Lords of the Dark were originally men. \n\nThere might perhaps be 9 Lords of the Dark. At any rate, after the [[Walker]] cries "masters of the Dark, I bring you in," there are 9 flames of the Dark approaching the Old Ones. \n\n''Intention''\nThe Dark wants to dominate man. The Light wants to stop the Dark from doing this, and preserve freedom of choice. (See [[What would the world have been like if the Dark had won?]])\n\n''But John Rowlands says...''\n\nHowever, as John Rowlands likes to point out, the Light has a coldness at its heart, which, in his opinion, makes it almost as dangerous as the Dark. There's a fierceness fo the power of the Light, he says, like the burning of the sun. Charity, humanity and mercy don't come first for the Light. Sometimes they exist for them, but the main concern of the Light is absolute good. "At the centre of the Light there is a cold white flame, just as at the centre of the Dark there is a great black pit bottomless as the universe." \n\nWill says he understands, but John is misjudging them. The Old Ones are here only to save the world from the Dark. If the Dark won, there would be no charity, mercy of cold absolute good, because nothing woudl exist in the world or in the heart of men but the black bottomless pit. The Old Ones are fighting a life and death stuggle with the Dark - though not for their own life, for they cannot die, but for men. It is not always possible to make things happy for one human, because that might cost the world for all others.\n\nJohn says the world of the Old Ones is cold, and he would take one human life over a principle all the time. Wills says he would do so, too, and would feel happier inside him if he could, but it doesn't always work.
The only concrete age we are given is [[Will Stanton]]'s. As everyone knows, Will has his eleventh birthday at the start of [[The Dark is Rising]]. Will is therefore 11 during The Dark is Rising, [[Greenwitch]], and [[The Grey King]], and 12 during [[Silver on the Tree]]\n\nWhen Will meets [[Bran Davies]], he thinks of him as being "about the same age" as him. When Bran's mother brought him to [[Owen Davies]], it was winter, and Bran was "a few months old." Presumably, then, Bran's birthday is in late autumn or early winter, and he's almost exactly the same age as Will. Presumably his exact birthday isn't known, but a random date was chosen - or would Owen have chosen the date Bran came to him as being Bran's "birthday"? Who knows. Still, Bran is almost certainly 12 during Silver on the Tree, and either 11, or just 12, during The Grey King.\n\n[[Simon Drew]] is almost certainly 13 at the end of the sequence. When Will first sees Simon, he thinks Simon is "a little older than himself." More conclusively, in Silver on the Tree, Simon talks about going to boarding school after the holidays, and British boarding schools start at 13. (Well, prep. schools start at 9, but he's clearly not 9, therefore he must be 13.) If he's not 13 yet, he will be 13 before August 31st, in order to be in that year's school intake, but it's most likely that he's 13 already. Therefore, Simon must be 11 during [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], and 11 or 12 during Greenwitch, depending on when in the year his birthday is. \n\n[[Jane Drew]] is 11 months younger than Simon (see the end of chapter six in Over Sea, Under Stone.) This means that she is very probably 10 during Over Sea, Under Stone, 10 or 11 during Greenwitch, and 12 during Silver on the Tree. We don't know when her birthday is. \n\n[[Barney Drew]]'s age is never given. Jane and Simon tend to act as if they are the "big ones", and Barney is the baby, which suggests a gap of more than just a year. He is often called a "small boy." When Simon steps into the water up to his waist, the same water comes up to Barney's shoulders. However, he can't be too young, or it isn't likely that his parents would let him run so freely with his older siblings. In Over Sea, Under Stone, we learn that he has been able to read for a while - long enough to be able to read the stories of King Arthur for himself. He is probably two or three years younger than Jane, but we have no more information than that.\n\nSo, in summary:\n\n[[Over Sea, Under Stone]] - Simon is 11, Jane is 10, Barney is probably 7 or 8?\n[[The Dark is Rising]] - Will's 11th birthday is a major feature of the plot\n[[Greenwitch]] - Will is 11, Simon is probably 12, Jane is probably 11, and Barney is 7, 8 or 9\n[[The Grey King]] - Will is 11, though nearly 12. Bran is almost exactly the same, though a month or two different in either direction.\n[[Silver on the Tree]] - Will is 12, Bran is 12, Simon is 13, Jane is probably 12, Barney is probably 9 or 10\n\nIn school terms, Will, Bran and Jane are probably all in the same school year, Simon is one year ahead of them, and Barney two or three years behind them. \n\n
Merriman is the first of the Old Ones. He says he has existed in every age of men. It is stated that the Circle of the Old Ones has been growing for 4000 years. So does this mean that Merriman is 4000 years old? It could do. Equally, it could mean that Merriman existed alone for a long time before that, and the Circle only started growing when a second Old One appeared.\n\nAnd, of course, if Merriman was "born" 4000 years ago, this only means that he was born into his human form then. He exists outside Time, and existed before his human birth, just as he will exist after he leaves the earth and his current mortal form.
A resource like this will never be complete. It was a big job to do it, and I have doubtless made mistakes. If anyone finds anything that's wrong, or comes across something that ought to be included but isn't, please let me know. \n\nEmail me at:
Huntercombe Manor is where [[Miss Greythorne]] lives. Apparently, this is based on Dorney Court, the manor house in the village where Susan Cooper grew up. \n\nThe Manor grounds run next to Huntercombe Lane, opposite Will's house. They are bordered with wrought-iron railings, and old stone walls, the two alternating. There is an almond tree in the grounds. Miss Greythorne once caught Stephen climbing it, when he was a boy. \n\nExcept when carol-singing in the dark, Will has never been to the Manor, or see it clearly. All you can see through the trees is a vague impression of Tudor chimneys. Since he was a child, Will has slipped through the railings in spring to find a secret glade of flowers. \n\nThe is a clanging bell. Inside, there is an entrance hall, where Miss Greythorne greets the carol singers. There are no Christmas decorations inside, except for one large branch of holly. \n\nWhen Will goes into the past, he finds himself in a room with a high ceiling, painted with pictures of trees and woods and mountains. The walls are panelled in shiny gold wood, and it is lit with gas lights. There is a large fire place, in which the fireplace, the overmantel and the panelling are all carved from the same plain golden wood. There are no curves and flourishes, but only occasional four-petalled roses set in squares. It is is one of these roses that the Sign of Wood is hidden. \n\nIn the modern Manor, all the panelling has been removed and the walls painted whie, brightened here and there with "improbably" sea scapes, painted by Miss Greythorne's father in the West Indies, or so they are told. He also collected musical instruments, which are kept in a glass cabinet. \n\nHawkin leads him through a side door into a small room, wood-panelled, with floor to ceiling book cases in each wall. The only furniture is an armchair, a table, a step ladder... and a grandfather clock in the corner. The armchair is leather, and there is a three-candle holder beside it. The books are a great collection of human books on "magic". This is where Will reads the Book of Gramarye. \n\nThere is no library is the modern house, for it was burnt a hundred years ago, struck by lightning. The door from the fireplace room to the library is no longer there.\n\n
This verse contains the words that will command Eirias. Will and Bran piece it together line by line, seeing the lines written on various things in the Lost Land.\n\nI am the womb of every holt\nI am the blaze on every hill\nI am the queen of every hive\nI am the shield for every head\nI am the tomb of every hope\nI am Eirias!\n\n\nExcept for the last line, this is also a genuine Irish verse. It is taken from the Song of Amergin, as translated by Robert Graves: \n\nI am a stag: of seven tines,\nI am a flood: across a plain,\nI am a wind: on a deep lake,\nI am a tear: the Sun lets fall,\nI am a hawk: above the cliff,\nI am a thorn: beneath the nail,\nI am a wonder: among flowers,\nI am a wizard: who but I\nSets the cool head aflame with smoke?\n\nI am a spear: that roars for blood,\nI am a salmon: in a pool,\nI am a lure: from paradise,\nI am a hill: where poets walk,\nI am a boar: ruthless and red,\nI am a breaker: threatening doom,\nI am a tide: that drags to death,\nI am an infant: who but I\nPeeps from the unhewn dolman arch?\n\nI am the womb: of every holt,\nI am the blaze: on every hill,\nI am the queen: of every hive,\nI am the shield: for every head,\nI am the tomb: of every hope.\n\n\nIt is probably describing the huge powers of the bard.
Idris Jones is a farmer who farms above Tal y Llyn. He has enormous and prominent dark eyes, that Will thinks makes him look like a bush baby. He is small and neat, and his dog, Lala, is Pen's sister. His voice is light. \n\nHis wife is Megan, who is "stout and smiling" - almost twice the size of Idris. She is very talkative, and fusses over Will after he's fallen and hurt his arm. \n\n[[John Rowlands]] takes Pen to Idris when he wants to keep her safe from [[Caradog Pritchard]]. Idris tells John about the dead sheep he has seen on the ledge. Will talks openly in front of Idris about certain things, causing Idris to look "totally bemused, as if he had just heard a sheep bark like a dog and were trying to find a way of believing what he had heard." \n\nIn [[Silver on the Tree]], John uses Idris as a cover story to explain to his wife where Will and Bran have gone. He says they have gone with Idris to watch some sheepdog trials.
James is Will's brother, the nearest to him in age. He is one year older than Will. (In [[Silver on the Tree]] he says he has studied history at school for one more year than Will has.) Stephen calls him "Jamie" at least once.\n\nJames, like Will, has a good singing voice, and sings in the church choir. They also both sing in the school choir, and the music teacher puts them in to arts festivals and competitions. Will came top of his class in a London festival, while James came fifth in a different class. However, Merriman tells James that his voice will be a lot better than Will's after their voices break. James will be a tenor, almost professional standard. \n\nAt the time of [[The Dark is Rising]], James and Will go to the same school, although their respective ages ought to mean that they don't. (In most British State schools, Will, aged 10 at the start of the school year, would be in the top year of junior school, and James would be in the first year of secondary school. However, in some areas, there are Middle Schools for children aged 9 - 13, so presumably that's what Will and James go to. The alternative - that they go to a private school - doesn't seem that likely, given that Mrs Stanton has to scrimp and save for Christmas presents.)\n\nJames is plumper than Will, but no taller. Strangers don't usually recognise him as being the "superior older brother", so he is very gratified when Merriman does. \n\nJames is a member of the boy scouts, and tends to go off on scout camps in the school holidays. \n\nJames is described as "a fair-minded boy; he genuinely preferred reality to daydreams." (This is when he says that Will has a better singing voice than him.)\n\nJames chose cauliflower cheese for his birthday dinner.\n\nJames and Will seem to hang out together quite a bit, due to being similar in age, though Will actually seems closer to Stephen and Paul. He is never tempted to confide his secrets to James, for example. They seem to have a friendly kind of rivalry, and tease each other quite a bit. In fact, he seems to like teasing people in general. He likes teasing Max about Maggie Barnes - a fact that Will is able to use to his advantage when he wants to get information about her. \n\nJames often goes off on tangents: "James' mind had taken off on a tangent, as it frequently did."\n\nJames and Will used to share a bedroom. Now James keeps Will's old bed covered with op art cushions, and calls it his chaise longue.\n\nHe's "stoical"... although he almost cries when Mary disappears.
''Appearance:'' When Will first meets the Drews, he notices that Jane is about the same height as Simon, who is several times described as "tall." She has long hair tied in a pony-tail, which she fastens with a ribbon. By the time of [[Silver on the Tree]], Simon is a lot taller than her. Bran decribes her a "pretty", and Will, intitally surprised, agrees that she is.\n\n''Age:'' Jane is very probably 10 at the start of the sequence, and 12 at the end. (See [[How old are the children in each book?]] for reasoning.)\n\n''Facts and figures:'' \n- Jane does not like boats or the sea, although she can swim. \n- Jane gets travel sick - on trains, at least. She thinks she would get seasick, too.\n- By the time of [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], Jane hasn't started learning Latin. This fact seems to annoy her - especially as Simon has been learning it for two years, and boasts about the fact. \n- A sneak peek into Jane's coat pocket: A handkerchief, two hair grips, two pencils, a box of matches, money, a button and a reel of cotton\n\n''Character:'' \nThis is not intended as an in-depth character study. Read the books for this. But here are a few notes:\n- She often acts like a "big sister" (almost "mother") when in the company of her brothers. She is concerned about keeping Barney safe, and she is concerned with how they all appear to the adults around them. e.g. the way she explains thing to "[[Blodwen Rowlands]]" in [[Silver on the Tree]].\n- She seems to be the most law-abiding of the Drew children - e.g. when she says "it's not ours, put it back" when Simon picks up the telescope case. (He scowls at her.) In the attic, she is horrified at how dirty Barney's hands are, and tells him to wipe them, and her initial reaction to finding the map is that they should tell their parents.\n- Unlike her brothers, Jane doesn't shun Will in [[Greenwitch]]. She feels bad about their treatment of him, and she is probably the first one of them who realises that he isn't who he seems. Is this her being perceptive, or just her being kind?\n- She is sensitive to magic - more so than Simon, at least. She feels the power of the Greenwitch, and is quick to feel uneasy in the presence of the Dark.\n- She reacts very jealously when Bran appears, resenting his intrusion into the relationship they have with Will. She picks a fight with him, and hates the situation in general. Apparently she has often been moody in recent months (she is going on 13 by now, and becoming a teenager)... but in this case it leads to her seeing the Lady. "Black dog on my shoulder" is the family term for these moods.\n- When [[Bill Hoover]] knocks her over, and she hurts her knee, she doesn't cry, though there is strain in her voice.\n- At the time of [[Silver on the Tree]], she has started to react to Simon differenly, more as if he's a grown-up and his opinions matter more.\n\n''What she does in the sequence''\nHere are a few particularly "Jane" moments in the sequence:\n- She doesn't trust the Withers family from the start, and doesn't go on the boat trip with the rest of her family. Staying behind, she seeks out the "vicar", and encounters [[Mr Hastings]]. He makes her feel uneasy\n- When she goes to Kemare Head with Simon and Merriman, she is overwhelmed with fear\n- In [[Greenwitch]], her pity for the Greenwitch is of course a major part of the plot\n- She is in a very bad mood as the walk to Carn March Arthur, but this leads to her seeing the Lady. After this, she has a special bond with the Lady, who looks more lingeringly at her than at the others, in the final farewell\n- When Merriman tells the children to be at the beach at sunrise, she feels that the message is particularly for her\n
Jen Evans is a cousin of Will's mother. She was brought up in Buckinghamshire, close friends with Mrs Stanton. As a young woman, she went on holiday to Wales, fell madly in love with a young farmer, [[David Evans]], and never went home. She still exchanges lots of letters with Mrs Stanton. She now sounds Welsh. Will calls him "Aunt Jen."\n\nShe is small, and spends a lot of time bustling around in the kitchen.\n\nShe is the mother of [[Rhys Evans]], and also has another son. These sons are as old as Will's oldest brothers.\n\nIn the very brief time she spent in this time, Bran's mother [[Gwen]] confided in Jen, telling her how she had once betrayed a great trust, and couldn't let herself be trusted again. Jen says that as a woman, she has a certain understanding for Gwen, who knew she couldn't love Owen the way he loved her, and it was no use to try.
John Rowlands is "the best man with sheep in Wales." He works on [[David Evans]]' Clywd farm. \n\nHe has "a lean face, with cheekbones carved high in it, and many lines everywhere, creased upwards now round the eyes by smiling. Dark eyes, brown as coffee; thinning dark hair, streaked with grey at the sides; the well-shaped, modelled mouth of the Celt." He is not big, but there is a "curious indefinable strength" about him. When Will finds him hedging, his shirt is half open, and he has a red kerchief tied around his neck. His voice is described as "velvet".\n\nHe lives in a cottage on the farm, with his wife [[Blodwen Rowlands]]. They have no children.\n\nHe has two dogs called Tip and Pen. Tip is dappled, with white splashes on his muzzle and the end of his tail, and Pen is larger and more formidable-looking, with a black long-haired coat, and a crooked ear, torn in a fight long ago.\n\nHe is excellent at the harp, and is teaching Bran to play. Bran has spent a lot of his childhood at the Rowlands' place. \n\nHe smokes a pipe.\n\nHe has been friends with [[Owen Davies]] since Owen was a boy, although John is older than him. \n\nJohn was born in Aberdyfi, from a seafaring family. He was born in a green-painted three-storey house by the sea, and used to play all over the sea and the wooden jetty. His father drowned when he was six, and he and his mother moved to stay with her parent in the hills, near Abergynolwyn, and he's been working with sheep ever since. His grandfather was Captain [[Evan Rowlands]] of the "Ellen Davies." The Dark takes them all back in time, where John effectively becomes his grandfather, reliving the confronting of [[Caradog Lewis]]. \n\nWhen John was a child, he saw Merriman, riding on the wind. Merriman let him keep the memory, knowing that no-one would believe it. All his life, he says, he has heard tales about the Old Ones. He is quick to recognise that Will is an Old One. He thinks he ought to be helping Will in any way he can... but he doesn't want to know anything more. Will later calls John "special", telling the Drews that they can trust him always. \n\nSeveral times, John expresses the opinion that the Light is cold, and that it shouldn't be interfering with the lives of men. There's a fierceness fo the power of the Light, he says, like the burning of the sun. Charity, humanity and mercy don't come first for the Light. Sometimes they exist for them, but the main concern of the Light is absolute good. "At the centre of the Light there is a cold white flame, just as at the centre of the Dark there is a great black pit bottomless as the universe." He urges Will to remember that there are people in the valley who can be hurt by the Light. \n\nWill says he understands, but John is misjudging them. The Old Ones are here only to save the world from the Dark. If the Dark won, there would be no charity, mercy of cold absolute good, because nothing woudl exist in the world or in the heart of men but the black bottomless pit. The Old Ones are fighting a life and death stuggle with the Dark - though not for their own life, for they cannot die, but for men. It is not always possible to make things happy for one human, because that might cost the world for all others.\n\nJohn says the world of the Old Ones is cold, and he would take one human life over a principle all the time. Wills says he would do so, too, and would feel happier inside him if he could, but it doesn't always work.\n\nLater, John Rowlands tells the Drew children much the same, saying that they aren't like the Old Ones, and shouldn't get too tangled up with them. \n\nNear the end, it is revealed that Blodwen Rowlands is really the [[White Rider]], concerned only with keeping an eye on Bran and watching what he's doing. John, bitter and hurt by this, asks Merriman if any of it was real, and Merriman says that it was real, in a way, but another part of her was stronger than the human part. John says he's been living a lie, and curses Light and Dark. "Why couldn't you leave us alone?" \n\nThe Dark chooses John to decree whether Bran should go back to his "proper" time. "Blodwen" calls to him, saying she was possessed. If John helps the Dark, they will free her and they can resume their life together. John says that he doesn't believe in possession. He believes in free will, and free choice. She chose to ally herself with the Dark, or else isn't really human, and is of the Dark. And as for Bran, he has those loving bonds with people here, in this world, and that is more important than any question of how and why he came here. Also, Bran has chosen by free choice of aid the Light, and John will respect that choice. Therefore he rules that Bran belongs in this quest.\n\nAt the end, the Lady makes it so that John will forget his wife's true nature. He will go back home, and know that his wife has died in some accident. He will mourn her, but he will forget everything he knew about Light and Dark.
John Smith is an Old One, though a bit different from the others. \n\nWhenever John Smith, [[Farmer Dawson]] and the others are gathered together, they are collectively called "The Old Ones." John Smith is there whenever the Old Ones of Will's village are fighting the Dark. He is there on the ship at the end. \n\nHowever, Merriman says that when Will spoke to John Smith in the Old Speech, it forced him to speak the same language in return, forcing him to risk getting labelled as an Old One, although the craft of the smith is outside all alliegances. Although he is an Old One, his role as a smith means that he has a degree of neutrality that the others don't have. When asked, he shoes the Rider's horse.\n\nWill calls him John Wayland Smith - Wayland being an old name often applied to smiths. (An old burial mound in Oxfordshire is called Wayland's Smithy.) \n\nJohn Smith forges the Signs together onto a chain. He works in a Smithy that ceases to exist some 500 years before Will's time. The manor, built in Tudor times, has a gate called Smith's gate, standing where the smithy used to stand. \n\nIn modern life, he is just described as "one of the men on the Dawson's farm." [[Old George]] is his father. He is broad-shouldered.
I hardly need to write up who Arthur is!\n\nIn the Sequence, we're firmly in the realm of historical/Welsh Arthur, not the chivalric king of Chretien de Troyes or Malory. He is a war-leader leading the people of Britain against the "barbarians" - the Anglo Saxons and similar. Susan Cooper doesn't come down firmly on any side on the constant debate on where Arthur had his base, if indeed he lived, or which of the many possible suggested sites for Badon is true. \n\nArthur appears as a bearded man, with a strong and noble sun-tanned face. His beard is grey, but his hair is brown, only lightly streaked with grey. He seems a man in the middle of his years, but still with the vigour of a young man, even as he has the wisdom of an old one. But, Will thinks, "he is not a man at all." His eyes are clear and blue. He is a head shorter than Merriman. \n\nHe was active around 1500 years ago. \n\nWhen Arthur was 7, he saw all the best men of Britain slaughtered at a single gathering, stabbed, clubbed or strangled, after one man gave a sign. Arthur's father died then. This started the rising of the Dark.\n\nMerriman was his Merlin - "my lion," as Arthur refers to him sometimes. Arthur is fully aware of Merriman's role as an Old One. The fact that they are fighting the Dark seems to be known by his men, rather than being a huge secret, as in the modern day rising.\n\nArthur's wife did betray him in Susan Cooper's version of the story, foreshadowing the Lancelot story that appears fairly late in the legend. Although Bran is indeed Arthur's son, she fears that Arthur won't believe this, or that enemies will whisper and force him to repudiate the child. This is why she asks Merriman to take her somewhere safe to have the child. Until he sees Bran in [[The Grey King]], Arthur didn't know he had a son. \n\nWith Merriman, Arthur once travelled to the realm of [[Tethys]]. \n\nArthur had a dog called Cafall. Bran's [[Cafall]] acts as if he knows Arthur, implying that they are the same dog, or else that Bran's dog is a king of reincarnation of Arthur's.\n\nArthur is a lord of High Magic, and is several times stated as being of greater stature even than Merriman. He is not an Old One, though, and doesn't do spells and magic. He is one of the guardians of the golden harp.\n\n[[The Grail]] shows scenes from Arthur's victories over the forces of evil. Historians see a strong Roman influence in the costume and the art, thus supporting the "Arthur as Romano-british chieftain" theory. \n\nAlthough Will doesn't collect the Signs until the twentieth century, Arthur is able to take them back 1500 years and use them to achieve his victory at Badon, which held back the Dark for barely a dozen years, before evil triumphed and Arthur was lost. (See for information on Badon.)\n\nMerriman speaks to Will about a ship burial of the greatest of all kings, implying that Arthur was buried in his ship. He has been sleeping, it seems, for 1500 years - though he is able at the same time to be beneath the mountain with the golden harp, since that place exists outside Time. He appears at the final rising with his ship, Pridwen, and after this he is going to go out of Time forever, "to the castle at the back of the North Wind."\n\n
The Lady is described as "the one essential" to the Circle of Light. She doesn't seem to be an Old One, as such, but something a bit different, and even greater. Merriman calls her "Madam." She is beyond any power, he says. \n\nShe tells Will just to call her "the Lady." "The lady is very old," she says, "and has in her time had many, many names."\n\nWhen Will first meets her, she is in the form of an old lady. However, in the Lost Land, he and Bran see a picture of her as a beautiful young woman, with fair hair and a heart-shaped face. However, she is most often seen as an old Lady in the Sequence. \n\nShe is always seen wearing a ring with a rose-coloured stone, which is "huge" and as round as a marble. She is often seen wearing blue.\n\nWhen Will first meets her, her voice is soft and gentle, yet rings through the hall like a bell. Her hand is thin. She is very small, "fragile as a bird", but upright and alert. Will gets an impression of great age when he looks at her, even before he can see her face. When she smiles, her face is a "cobweb of wrinkles." Her voice, though, is young. Jane sees her as having a fine-boned face, "kindly yet arrogant", with clear blue eyes that look strangely young in her old face. \n\nWhen she uses her powers, she looks taller, bigger and more erect, with a golden haze around her figure. She is able to "speak" without words, both to the Light and to the Dark. Will hears it as silent music in his mind.\n\nIn [[The Dark is Rising]], she uses too much of her power to defeat the Dark, and has to go away somewhere to recover. Will later sees the winter ceremony of the hunting of the wren, with the wren carried on a bier, but the wren seems to change and become the Lady. She is restored by the end of the book.\n\nWe next see her in [[Silver on the Tree]]. For reasons unknown, she doesn't come to the summoning of the Circle. "The mountains are singing, and the Lady comes," says the prophecy, and when Will sings into the echoing rock, the Lady appears to Jane. She says that some messages can only be passed on from like to like, meaning that she is able to speak to Jane (both female), and then Jane can speak to Will (both young.) \n\nWhen she speaks to Jane, she calls herself by several names, including Juno, suggesting that she is to be seen as the mother goddess of the world's mythologies.\n\nIn the final rising, the Lady appears as the spokesperson for the will of High Magic. When the Dark makes it challenge, she takes charge, acting more as an impartial higher power, the as one of the Light. \n\nEveryone who sees her seems to be affected emotionally by the encounter. Will always talks about her with awe and love, and has a brief moment of jealousy when she hears that Jane has seen her, and not him. In their first meeting, he feels happiness just at the sound of her voice.\n
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This section contains the verses that appear in the sequence, and information about lore - e.g. the symbolism of trees, the nature of rooks etc. Most of it is taken from the sequence, but some additional bits are added as background. \n\n[[Verses]]\n[[Trees and flowers]]\n[[Animals and birds]]\n[[Triads]]\n[[Spells]]\n[[The names of the Dark]]\n[[Gods]]\n[[Other lore]]\n\n[[Festivals and folklore]]\n\n[[Research]]
Maggie Barnes is the "round-faced, red-cheeked" dairy maid on [[Farmer Dawson]]'s farm. She has always reminded Will of an apple. She always asks after Max, and it is a family joke that she has a thing about him. She has a Buckinghamshire accent.\n\nShe is really one of the Dark. Merriman calls her "a witch girl." When Will, his powers still raw and untutored, calls fire on the Old Way, she comes, and is able to trap him so he cannot move. Merriman saves Will then. Later, she comes into the 1875 gathering in the Manor, and speaks temptingly to [[Hawkin]] about the lure of the Dark. \n\nMaggie Barnes is not her true name. Merriman is able to drive her away by speaking her true name, which is long and strange, and that Will cannot keep in his mind.\n\nGiven that the Old Ones can sense the Dark, and that Hawkin's betrayal has already happened, presumably Farmer Dawson knows that she is of the Dark. Why is she allowed to work on the farm, then?
This is no clear-cut answer on a lot of magic-related issues in the sequence. What happens if an Old One is beheaded? What are the limits on an Old Ones' magic? Why doesn't Will know Welsh? All I am doing here is trying to record some of the evidence. \n\n[[Who are the Old Ones?]]\n\n[[What magic can an Old One do?]]\n[[What can't an Old One do?]]\n[[What can the Dark do?]]\n\n[[What happens if an Old One is hurt?]]\n[[How does an Old One age?]]\n[[Are all Old Ones equal in power?]]\n\n[[Why doesn't Will know Welsh?]]\n[[Does an Old One always think as an Old One?]]\n\n[[How is the Light and the Dark different?]]\n[[What would the world have been like if the Dark had won?]]\n\n[[How does religion fit in?]]\n\n[[High Magic]]\n[[Wild Magic]]\n[[Old Magic]]\n
[[Characters]]\n\n[[Places]]\n\n[[Chronology]]\n\n[[Objects]]\n\n[[Summaries]]\n\n[[Lore]]\n\n[[Magic and other debatable questions]]
Mary is one of Will's sisters, and the third youngest in the family. (Only James and Will are younger than her.)\n\nShe is 14 at the time of [[The Dark is Rising]]. (When she is talking about her eleventh birthday, it is observed that this was three years ago.)\n\nMary has long hair, described as "golden". On the evening before Will's birthday, she is wearing it in a ponytail, but it is loose when the Rider visits on Christmas Day. He admires her hair, and later he is able to use one of her hairs in his magic. She preens when he admires her hair, and is accused of always showing it off. After he's praised her, Mary flirts with him, taking him by the hand and leading him to see the tree. \n\nMary is described as "plump." James teases her about this, after she tells him he'll get fat if he eats too much. It is observed that Mary's "plump form has recently become her most gloomy preoccupation."\n\nAt 11, Mary was "a very young eleven." On her birthday, she was spanked and sent to her room (or "beaten and sent to bed", as she tells it.) She also seems to be notorious in the family for trying to avoid housework. At the end of The Dark is Rising, Mary makes breakfast for the others, prompting Paul to remark about her turning over a new leaf. \n\nShe is "a hoarder", keeping ribbons and wrapping paper and things, adding them to her hoard. She is also fond of requesting presents. When she sees the Signs of Will's belt, she quickly asks him to make her a brooch. "Mary's curiosity was never much to worry about; it always led to the same place."\n\nAt the time of [[Greenwitch]], Mary has recently had mumps. She is sent off the Wales to recuperate, though there is no evidence that she met Bran while there. \n\nMary features near the end of The Dark is Rising, when she goes out alone and is found by the Rider, who enchants her, using her life as a lever over Will. Afterwards she has no memory of this.
Max Stanton is Will's next-to-oldest brother, and second oldest in the family. (This is revealed when Barbara arranges the birth signs in age order.)\n\nMax is studying at art school in London, where he is deeply involved with a blonde girl called Deb, whose family lives in Southampton. In the holidays, long letters come from her every day, in blue envelopes.\n\n[[Maggie Barnes]] asks Will about Max whenever she sees him, and it is a Stanton family joke that she has a thing about Max. James is fond of teasing Max about this. Max, however, is uninterested in local girls, due to his relationship with Deb. \n\nMax is tall - taller than his father and his other brothers. At the time of [[The Dark is Rising]], he has long hair - "looks like a girl," Will tells Maggie. He has grown his hair quite recently.\n\nReflecting Max's artistic interests, Will's Christmas present to Max is "super-special" felt pens. \n\nMax doesn't go carol-singing with the rest of the family, preferring to stay in and write a letter to his girlfriend. He had planned to leave the Stanton home shortly after Christmas, to go and visit Deb's family in Southampton.
''Appearance'': Merriman is described as tall and straight. He has a lot of very thick, wild white hair, that's wiry, and is "springing back from a high foreheard." "In his grim brown face the nose curved fiercely, like a bent bow, and the eyes were deep-set and thick." Later he is described as "tall and hollow-eyed under the thatch of white hair." He has a jutting chin and bristling brows. When he smiles, a fan of lines wrinkles on either side of his eyes. Unsmiling, though, he is usually described as having a "grim" or "fierce" face. \n\nThere is something about him that is "like the hills, or the sea; something ancient, but without age or end." He "always gave the impression of being far too big for any room he was in."\n\nHis voice is deep. He is very tall - a head taller than Arthur.\n\nHe is particularly fond of wearing a blue cloak. \n\n''Age:'' see [[How old is Merriman?]]\n\nFor Merriman's role and powers as an Old One, see [[Magic and other debatable questions]]\n\nInterestingly, as Merriman tells Will, Merriman Lyon is not his true name - just as, presumably, Will has his own true name, that we never know. \n\n''Merriman's cover story''\n- Merriman has had a role in the human world of every age. In the thirteenth century, he was a lord, with [[Hawkin]] as his liegeman. \n- In the modern world, he is a professor at Oxford - "Brilliant brain, but I guess you'd call him kind of odd," says [[Bill Stanton]]. The archaelogist at Caerleon knows of him, and is honoured to meet him. "Merriman Lyon is a name much honoured in my country," says a scholar at the British Museum.\n- He ups and vanishes into distant countries, and returns with new that he has found a lost valley in South America, a Roman fortress in France, or a burned Viking ship on the south coast of England. At least some of these trips might well be fake. The Drews think he's been in Greece ever since they last saw him, but we know that he was in Buckinghamshire for at least some of that time. \n- When he visits the Drews, he tends to vanish without warning, sometimes overnight. They have a family rule never to ask him anything about himself.\n- Bill Stanton says that Merriman is a "shy character." Hawkin says that Old Ones always manage to keep their name out of the limelight.\n- Bill Stanton met Merriman in Jamaica, when he was supposedly there on some government survey. In the autumn before [[The Dark is Rising]], he visited them in Ohio, while over in America giving a lecture at Yale.\n- In [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] he is driving a car he's rented from a farmer - a "vast battered estate car, with rusing mudguards and peeling paint." It roars and thunders and lurches. In [[Greenwitch]], he drives an "enormous elderly Daimler"\n\n''Character traits''\n(Many of them relating to how he seems to people who don't know his secret)\n- He can "become very deaf when he chose not to answer a question." \n- He tends to greet questions with a "amiable-obstinate expression."\n- Bill Stanton says that Merriman is a "shy character." \n- When Merriman smiles after the children show him the map to the grail, Jane thinks "it's a sad face usually, and that's why there is such a difference." \n\n''Other snippets''\n- When Merriman puts a thought into Will's mind, just to prove that he can, Will sees a grassy hillside over the sea, and a strip of golden sand next to a dark blue sea. There's a headland, and distant misty hills. "You're homesick for wherever it is," Will says. \n
Miss Greythorne owns [[Huntercombe Manor]]. She is prone to looking imperious. She is thin-faced and bright-eyes, with her grey hair swept on top of her head in a kind of knot. \n\nShe cannot walk, as a result of a riding accident as a young woman - a horse rolled on top of her - but she refuses to be seen in a wheelchair. However, in 1875 she looks a lot younger, and can walk. Since she is at least 400 years old by then (no Old One has been born for 500 years, until Will), this raises questions. Is her injury real, or just faked, to suit the role she is currently playing? Why has she aged so much in a hundred years? Does her outward appearance age until she's old, then "die", so she is "reborn" as her own daughter/grand-daughter? If she has really lived in the same place for a few hundred years, surely something like this must be happening, or the villagers would notice something, at least.\n\nIn the Manor there is a large collection of books on magic (Merriman says it's all foolishness) and musical instruments, some of which were "collected by her father." Given that she is at least 500 years old by then, this is unlikely. \n\nIn the Manor, she has a butler called Bates, and various servants. She always invites the carol singers in, and gives them mince pies and punch. She once caught Stephen climbing a tree in her garden, and spoke about powder monkeys, prompting Stephen to wonder much later if she knew he was going to go into the navy. \n\nShe gives Paul a flute, that has a sound that reminds Will of the music of the Old Ones, and gives Will the hunting horn he uses twice in [[Silver on the Tree]] - once to summon the Six, and once to stop the wheel, letting them enter the castle in the Lost Land.
Miss Hatherton is a sculptor who lives in Penzance. She is small, bright and bouncy, with cropped grey hair and twinkling eyes, and she used to teach Mrs Drew art. She is also keen on fishing, especially catching sharks.\n\nDr and Mrs Drew meet her in the harbour at Trewissick, and she comes round for dinner. The next day, Dr and Mrs Drew go to her studio in Penzance, and stay the night.\n\nShe predicts that Barney will be the one to follow his mother's footsteps and become a painter. She says she will buy his first painting.\n\nShe has a small beetle-shaped car.\n
Mr Beaumont is the rector in Huntercombe, Will's village. \n\nHe is interested in music, and talks enthusiastically about it to Paul after the church service. \n\nHe rides a motorbike.\n\nWhen the Dark attacks the church, Paul is quicker to notice it than Mr Beaumont is. When the rector notices it, he grabs a cross and tries to exorcise it. Will puts him behind a protection, so he can't see the battle that follows. When he is freed, to sees the Signs on Will's belt, and says that the crosses there were what defeated the evil. Will says something deep about time, and Mr Beaumont says he's not sure if he should exorcise him, or ordain him. When Will notices the look on Paul's face, he makes them both forget.
Mr Hastings is the role adopted by the [[Rider]] in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]]. \n\nJane first encounters him when she goes to consult the vicar about the guide book she has found. She is directed to the old vicarage, so assumes that the man she meets there is the vicar - an assumption he encourages. He is described as "tall and dark, untidy in an old sports jacket, but at the same time forbidding, with the thickest black eyebrows that Jane had ever seen growing almost straight across his brow without a break in the middle." Even though he tries to act like a real vicar would, he clearly can't act entirely human or non threatening, for Jane feels uneasy as she talks to him. \n\nHe tells Barney that he represents a museum, and it trying to get the grail to be displayed to all, whereas Merriman only wants it for his own fame and glory. He speaks in a "silky and gentle" persuasive voice, trying to turn Barney against Merriman. \n\nHis minions and followers call him "sir." \n\nOutside, he wears a wide-brimmed black hat.\n\nMerriman tells the children that he will change his name and his appearance before he resurfaces. When the Rider appears at the final rising, every one of the Six sees him differently. The Drews see him as Mr Hastings.
Mr Penhallow is a fisherman in Trewissick. His name is Walter. He is described as "small and wizened", and the children first encounter him when he shouts at [[Bill Hoover]]. He wears a navy blue jersey and trousers, with long boots - typical fisherman gear. He speaks with a strong Cornish accent, and he smokes a pipe. \n\nHis boat is called the White Heather. Mr Penhallow brings Merriman by boat to the final encounter in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], when "Mr Hastings" is trying to get the Grail. \n\nWhen the children first meet him, he says that it's going to rain the next day, although there is no sign of rain in the sky. As someone who spends all his time outside, he is aware of such signs and clues about the weather. (Or maybe he just listened to the Shipping Forecast.)\n\nThe Penhallows have children, though we don't know how many. At the time of [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], the youngest is sixteen, and on leave from the Merchant Navy.\n\nThe Penhallows seem to be friends of the Light, though unwittingly. They own the cottages that Merriman and the children stay in in [[Greenwitch]], and these cottages are protected by the Light. However, while [[Mrs Penhallow]] seems to realise something of what is happening during that book, Mr Penhallow is much more sceptical. Mrs Penhallow thinks that "the perfessor" is in Trewissick to look for the grail, but Mr Penhallow says it's just coincidence that he was here at Greenwitch time. \n\nThe cottages have been in the Penhallow family for years. A Victorian picture of Mr Penhallow's grandfather stands on the fireplace.
Mr Withers, whose name is Norman, appears as a wealthy yacht owner in Trewissick, who approaches [[Dr Drew]], befriending him with talk of their common residence in London. He claims to be an antique dealer in Marylebone High Street. His boat is called Lady Mary, and it's elegant and expensive-looking, and all white, with a white sail. The skipper is called Vayne.\n\nHe is dark-haired and sun tanned and well dressed. When the children first encounter him, he is wearing white flannel trousers and a blazer, with a dark scarf tucked neatly into his white shirt. He claims that he and his "sister", [[Polly Withers]], are yachting around the coast, and are in Trewissick just for a few days. \n\nJane notices that he has a very old fashioned way of speaking. When he says goodbye, he nods in a peculiar way. Jane later sees [[Mr Hastings]] do the same, but thinks that Mr Hastings is doing the real thing, and Mr Withers is just trying to copy him. \n\nIt isn't clear if the Witherses are properly of the Dark, or are merely human who are choosing to serve it. It is probably the former, even though we don't see them wield any powers. Merriman refers to the woman who is "calling herself" Polly Withers, implying that he elsewhere, and she talks about having encountered Merriman once or twice "in another sphere than this.".has encountered her \n\nMr Withers dresses as a sheikh in the carnival, and helps kidnap Barney and bring him to Mr Hastings.\n\n
Mrs Palk is the woman employed as housekeeper/cook in the [[Grey House]], for the Drews' stay. She comes in every day to help with the cooking and the cleaning.\n\nHer first name is Molly. \n\nLike many people in Trewissick, she calls Merriman "Professor."\n\nShe is described as a "beaming red-cheeked village woman". She appears good humoured, cooking the children Cornish delicacies and boasting about how they won't find things like this in London. She is rather fat, and "waddles" when she walks. "Getting too fat for they stairs, I am," she says cheerfully once. \n\nShe sings hymns as she works, in a "rich rolling contralto." Dr Drew comments irritably about the "devotions at every meal." She tells Jane that she's chapel, not church. \n\nHowever, Molly Palk's "no-good brother" is [[Bill Hoover]]'s father. She helps the Dark, by drugging Merriman's tea, and sneaks around Barney's room while he's asleep, attempting to find the document. Later she lies to Merriman about the children going to St Austell, which leads Merriman to rush off in the wrong direction just as the children need him.
Mrs Penhallow is the wife of [[Mr Penhallow]], a fishermen in Trewissick. When Will first meets her, he likes her face instantly. "All its lines seemed carved by smiling."\n\nThe Penhallows have children, though we don't know how many. At the time of Over Sea, Under Stone, the youngest is sixteen, and on leave from the Merchant Navy.\n\nThe Penhallows seem to be friends of the Light, though unwittingly. They own the cottages that Merriman and the children stay in in Greenwitch, and these cottages are protected by the Light. At the very end of [[Greenwitch]], it is clear that Mrs Penhallow is at least a little aware of what has been happening. She thinks it is no coincidence that [[Captain Toms]] and Merriman ("the perfessor") are back in the village at the time of the Greenwitch ceremony, and suspects that they were looking for the Grail. She also notices the smell of the sea in Jane's room. Earlier, she is the one who invites Jane to the Greenwitch ceremony, though she refuses to speak about it to [[Fran Stanton]], "a furriner".\n\nWhile Merriman and the children are staying in the cottages the Penhallows own, Mrs Penhallow does the cooking and serves their food. \n\n
[[John Smith]]'s wife, and an Old One. She is a quiet lady, with very blue eyes. Her voice is soft and gentle, with a strong country accent. \n\nWhen Will awakens on his first morning as an Old One, and sees John Smith in his smithy, a blue-eyed lady called Martha brings out bread. This is presumably the same lady, though it's strange that he doesn't recognise her.
Here are some of the objects from the sequence:\n\n[[The Signs]]\n[[The Grail]]\n[[The golden harp]]\n[[Eirias]]\n[[The Book of Gramarye]]\n[[The map leading to the Grail]]\n[[The hunting horn]]\n
Old George is the cowman on [[Farmer Dawson]]'s farm. He is toothless, and very observant. "He could see a hawk drop from a mile away." He is also an Old One.\n\nHe is the father of [[John Smith]]. \n\nOld George is present with all the other Old Ones in all the big battles during [[The Dark is Rising]]. His particular role comes near the end, when he rides up to Will on large shire horse, Pollux, takes Will where he needs to go, and the rides off the raise the Hunt. \n\n
We learn very little about the Old Magic. When Will is telling Stephen the truth, he says that they live in the world of ordinary men, and "although in it is the Old Magic of the earth, and the Wild Magic of living things, it is men who control what the world shall we like."
[[Merriman Lyon]]\n[[Will Stanton]]\n\n[[King Arthur]]\n[[Bran Davies]]\n\nThe [[Lady]]\n[[Farmer Dawson]]\n[[Miss Greythorne]]\n[[Old George]]\n[[John Smith]]\n[[Mrs Smith]]\n[[Captain Toms]]\n[[Owain Glyndwr]]\n\n[[Other Old Ones]]\n\n[[Hawkin]]\n[[Gwion]]\n[[Gwyddno Garanhir]]
On the day of the dead, when the year too dies,\nMust the youngest open the oldest hills\nThrough the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.\nThere fire shall fly from the raven boy,\nAnd the silver eyes that see the wind,\nAnd the Light shall have the harp of gold.\nBy the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,\nOn Cadfan's Way where the kestrels call;\nThough grim from the Grey King shadows fall,\nYet singing the golden harp shall guide\nTo break their sleep and bid them ride.\nWhen light from the lost land shall return,\nSix Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,\nAnd where the midsummer tree grows tall\nBy Pendragon's sword the Dark shall fall.\n\nY maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu, ac y mae'r arglwyddes yn dod\n(The mountains are singing, and the Lady comes.)
There are Old Ones all over the world - which does seem to be rather hard luck for most of them, since all the interesting action happens in Britain.\n\n[[Stephen Stanton]] meets two of them. Will says that these are two of the oldest of the Circle. They are:\n- An old man in Jamaica, who is the spokeman for "the Old Ones of the ocean isles". He is the one who gave Stephen the carnival mask, saying that he recognised Stephen because there is a look that the Old Ones have, and their families share it. His is a "very impressive old man", with very black skin and very white hair. \n- A younger man in Gibraltar, very tall and slim, and looking like an Arab. He tells Stephen to tell Will that the Old Ones of the south are ready.\n\nThere is a Welsh Old One called Dafydd, who speaks the line about the mountains singing and the Lady coming. He has a deep and beautiful voice, rich and smooth as velvet.\n
Bran says that the north wind is called Gwynt Traed yr Meirw - the wind that blows round the feet of the dead. It brings storms. "And worse, sometimes."\n\nWill refers to the Wild Magic being as invincible as the Boar Trwyth. This refers to a boar hunted by Arthur in the tale Culhwch and Olwen. \n\nWhen Will looks at the stars, he sees them in constellations, almost personified. He has flown through the stars and thinks of them as friends. Strange, then, that the constellations - accidental arrangements of stars as seen from earth - should appear to be entities in themselves. \n\nThe Mari Llwyd is a Welsh midwinter tradition. A figure looking like the skeleton of a horse dances in the streets, as Bran tells us. You can see a picture of it here:\n\n
[[Herne]]\n[[The Greenwitch]]\n[[Tethys]]\n\n[[Gwion]]\n[[Gwyddno Garanhir]]\n\nThe [[Sleepers]]\n\nThe [[afanc]]\n
''In the Book of Gramarye''\nThe Book ends with the verse:\n"I have plundered the fern\nThrough all secrets I spie;\nOld Math ap Mathonwy\nKnew no more than I"\n\nMath ap Mathonwy is a powerful magician from Welsh mythology. This verse is taken from a poem called "The Battle of the Trees" - Cad Goddeu - supposedly written by Taliessin, or [[Gwion]]. This is actually the "translation" by Robert Graves, in "The White Goddess" ("translation" but in inverted commas since Graves dissembled the poem, reassembled it, filled in various gaps, and in general treated it very creatively.) Graves suggests that the poem is actually several poems interwoven, and he extracts certain lines - including these ones here - which he claims stand as Taliessin's own statement of his own powers and wisdom. \n\n''White in the moon...''\nWill sings this poem when the villagers are snowed in in the Manor. It's by A E Housman. It's included here because the [[Walker]] reacts to it very emotionally, drawn to the song with unhappy longing.\n\nWhite in the moon the long road lies, \nThe moon stands blank above; \nWhite in the moon the long road lies \nThat leads me from my love. \n \nStill hangs the hedge without a gust, \nStill, still the shadows stay: \nMy feet upon the moonlit dust \nPursue the ceaseless way. \n \nThe world is round, so travellers tell, \nAnd straight though reach the track, \nTrudge on, trudge on, ’twill all be well, \nThe way will guide one back. \n \nBut ere the circle homeward hies \nFar, far must it remove: \nWhite in the moon the long road lies \nThat leads me from my love.\n\n
''Chapter one''\n[[Simon Drew]], [[Jane Drew]], [[Barney Drew]] and their parents, [[Dr Drew]] and [[Ellen Drew]] arrive by train at St Austell station. At the station, they meet [[Rufus]] the red setter dog, closely followed by [[Merriman Lyon]], or "Great-uncle Merry", an old family friend of Mrs Drew. They all pile into Merriman's hired car, and he drives them to Trewissick. Trewissick is described (see [[Trewissick and area]]), and King Arthur mentioned. (Merriman calls Cornwall "Logres".) The children wander down to the harbour and Simon and Barney admire the boats. Jane collides with a [[Bill Hoover]], a nasty boy on a bike, and the children meet [[Mr Penhallow]], a friendly fisherman. There is a mysterious and expensive white yacht in the harbour, which arrives in the afternoon, and disappears in the evening. Merriman has also disappeared in the evening. \n\n''Chapter two''\nMerriman appears at breakfast. Barney breaks the family rule - never ask Merriman about himself - and asks him if he's found what he's looking for. "I didn't find it this time," he says. It starts to rain, and the children are confined to the house - which is described in detail in this chapter. (see the [[Grey House]]). They decide to play explorers, which results in them finding a hidden door, obscured by a wardrobe. This reveals a ladder into an attic.\n\n''Chapter three''\nThe attic is very cluttered, and they explore its contents for a while. Barney finds an old apple core in his pocket, and throws it away, but the other children tell him it will attract rats, so he goes to get it back. This leads him to a small hole, and in it is a tattered scroll of parchment, clearly very old. It has a kind of map on it, and words written not in English. Simon is able to read one or two words in Latin, enough to make Barney realise that the document is about King Arthur. They conceal the document in a tubular case, like a telescope case, and decide not to tell their parents about it.\n\nAfter a slightly short-tempered supper, they have visitors - [[Mr Withers]] and his sister, [[Polly Withers]]. Dr Drew had met Mr Withers earlier in the day, and they'd got talking. Mr Withers invites the Drew family to spend a day on his yacht, and the Drews accept (except for Mrs Drew who wants to spend the day painting.) Mr Withers and Polly ask questions about the house, looking at the maps, and even asking the children if they've found any secret passages. After a while, the Drews notice that Merriman disappeared the moment the visitors appeared. Jane feels uneasy, and decides not to go on the boat trip.\n\n''Chapter four''\nSimon, Barney and Dr Drew go on the boat trip. Jane is entrusted with the document, hidden in a sock. Jane wanders around aimlessly for a bit, then studies the document, hoping to have a breakthrough. One name on the map appears to be "Ring Mark Hede." She finds a guide book to Trewissick, written by the vicar, and looks at the map of Trewissick and its surroundings. The nearby headland - now called Kemare Head - is labelled "King Mark's Head", so Jane realises that the map in the old document shows Trewissick, although the shape of the coast looks very different. \n\nSince the vicar wrote the guide-book, she decides to go and find the vicar and ask him about the discrepencies. She asks directions to the vicarage, where she meets a dark-haired man who calls himself [[Mr Hastings]]. She shows him a rough sketch of the map in the document, and asks him if the coast-line used to be different. He asks questions about where she got the map, and about the books in the Grey House. Feeling a bit uneasy, Jane leaves.\n\n''Chapter five''\nSimon and Barney return from the boat trip, chattering and excited. She tells them about her trip to see the vicar, and about her discoveries about Kemare Head. \n\nThey wake in the morning to find that the house has been burgled, and lots of maps taken. The police conclude that the burglars were looking for something. (Jane slept with their own document in her bed, so it wasn't taken.) Jane remembers how Mr Hastings asked questions, and Barney reveals that Mr Withers was also asking a lot about maps. Jane wants to tell their parents, but the others don't want to - Simon because their mother would worry, and Barney because "it's my quest." They then decide to tell "Great-uncle Merry".\n\n''Chapter six''\nThe children go for a walk with Merriman, asking to go somewhere remote, where they can talk. They climb the headland - not Kemare Head, but the other one. They tell him everything, and show him the document, which clearly is an enormous relief to him. He tells them that fairy stories and legends are real - that good and evil are indeed fighting in the world. Good and evil have always fought, he says, but sometimes the ancient battle almost comes to a peak, and evil almost wins. But there is always a great leader in the world who can reverse the flood of evil. [[King Arthur]] was one such man, but since his time, evil has slowly been gaining ground again, and most people have forgotten what Arthur stood for. "Those who remembered the old world" are searching for its secret - and evil men are also searching, to destroy it. He, Merriman, has been searching for many years. \n\nThe manuscript was written 600 years ago, a copy of one written more than 900 years ago. In medieval Latin, a monk writes that an old manuscript had been found, and that he's now copying it out, to preserve it. The older manucript, written in an old British dialect, says that, even longer ago, "a strange knight" came fleeing to Cornwall, after the fall of Arthur. The strange knight was called Bedwin, and bore a grail "made in the fashion of the Holy Grail", that told on its side the true story of Arthur. Each panel told of an evil overcome by Arthur, and the last panel showed promise and proof of the Pendragon's return. (see [[The Grail]]) Evil is upon us now, Bedwin said, and will be "for time beyond our dreaming", but the Grail remains as trust and promise that Arthur will come again, and evil driven out forever. \n\nBedwin then died, leaving the Grail in the trust of an ancestor of the man who wrote the document. It was passed from father to son, as times grew darker around them, but the writer has no children, and the heathen are approaching Cornwall, led by his own nephew. He is about to flee to Brittany, but the Grail can't leave the land, so he's hiding it "over sea and under stone", marked by "signs that wax and wane but do not die." The man who finds it will know that in his day the Pendragon will come again, and evil will be cast out forever. \n\nMerriman tells the children that they are now in the middle of the battle, and in danger. Mr Withers, Polly Withers and others are on the side of evil. Merriman also says that he had an inkling that the children might find the vital clue, so led the enemies on wild goose chases around Cornwall, to distract them. \n\nThey puzzle over the clues for a while, before Barney realises that the "map" is a drawing of what the hills really look like, rather than a plan from above. A blotch on the map draws their attention to a rocky outcrop, that Merriman is leaning on. Merriman tells them to leave it until the next day, and approach it with fresh minds. \n\n''Chapter seven''\nThe children climb Kemare Head, to puzzle further over the map. (Merriman has gone fishing with Dr Drew, to draw Mr Withers away in his yacht.) As they're puzzling over it, Polly Withers and Bill Hoover approach. After some awkward conversation, she asks them if they've found a map, causing Barney to babble stupidly. After she's gone, they climb to the standing stones at the top, and look towards the rocky outcrop on the far headland, trying to identify which of the stones was directly between them and the sun the evening before. As they study the map again, Polly Withers appears again, so Simon grabs the map and runs, chased by Bill Hoover. After a lot of running, he takes refuge behind a gate, where he sees Bill Hoover talking to a dark man. Simon is then rescued by Merriman, passing in a car. \n\n''Chapter eight''\nThe children tell Merriman about their theories and discoveries. Their first clue was to find which of the standing stones was between the "you are here" blodge on the map (the rocky outcrop) and the setting sun. The next one, they decide, it to use the moon - the full moon. When Simon points out that the moon is in different places in different seasons, Merriman tells him that fate, luck, or whatever will ensure that they've got the right time of year. They decide to go up onto the headland the following night, and Merriman will come to guard them. Merriman says he can't take an active role in this quest, and his role is only as guardian.\n\nThe children's parents go out for the day. After supper, Barney is sent to bed, with sunburn. Simon, Jane and Merriman go out onto the headland, where everything is spooky and scary. Owls hoot, and Jane is particularly scared, saying that the standing stones "don't want us here." In the moonlight, the shadow of the relevant standing stone doesn't point to anything obvious, but the line of its reflection points to some rocks at the end of the headland. The children then lose Merriman, and get very scared. There are people amongst the stones, and they see a man in a black cloak watching them - identified by Jane as Mr Hastings. Merriman then appears and takes them home.\n\n''Chapter nine''\nMeanwhile, Barney goes to sleep, and is woken up by [[Mrs Palk]], the woman who cooks and cleans for them, poking around in his room. She comes up with some excuse, though Barney isn't convinced. In the morning, she tells them that it's carnival day today.The children find that Bill Hoover is watching the front door of the house, but they find a back way out. \n\nMerriman wakes up late (drugged tea produced by Mrs Palk) and Mrs Palk tells him the children rushed off to Truro, after a phone call from someone who said he was one of Merriman's friends, with some important news for him. Merriman drives off to Truro.\n\n''Chapter ten''\nThe children try to find the rocks identified by the moon's reflection. The rocks are called "The Gravestones", which makes them think that things are buried here. They explore for a while, before Rufus leads them to a gaping hole. Using a reel of cotton from Jane's pocket, they discover that the hole is very deep indeed, and then they realise that they can hear the sea in it. It must lead to a cave accessible from the sea. Then they see Mr Withers' yacht down on the sea, poking around in the same area, but the baddies don't seem to have found anything. Perhaps the cave is underwater, they realise.\n\n''Chapter eleven''\nThey head back to tell Merriman, but Merriman's gone, as has Mrs Palk. They split up to search for them. Jane and Simon meet Mr Penhallow, who tells them that today there is going to be an exceptionally low tide, and that you can walk all the way around the headland. He also tells them that Mrs Palk is aunt to Bill Hoover. They watch the carnival procession for a while, and get caught up in it while trying to catch up with Mrs Palk.\n\n''Chapter twelve''\nBarney also gets caught up in the carnival, though separately. He is grabbed by a girl dressed as a cat, and dances with her for a while, but the cat is Polly Withers, and she leads him into the arms of Mr Withers, who drags Barney away. They pretend it's a joke at first, but take him to a big deserted-looking house, where Bill Hoover already is. They lead him to the dark man, Mr Hastings, whom they call "sir." Mr Hastings questions Barney about the map and "it", and tells him that the children have been followed and second-guessed very step of the way. Barney pretends ignorance. Mr Hastings then tells him that he comes from a museum, and wants "the thing" to be kept for the nation, while Merriman wants to find it for his own glory. "No," Barney says, he's going it "in the name of King Arthur and of the old world before the dark came." This prompts Mr Hastings to turn very scary, and he tells Barney that the dark will always win. He enchants/hynotises Barney, and heads off with Barney to get him to show him where "it" is hidden.\n\n''Chapter thirteen''\nSimon and Jane find that Barney is missing. Rufus comes home, acting very strangely, then walks outside as if transfixed and stands on the edge of the harbour, and howls. Barney, meanwhile, is following his "master", in a dream, until he hears Rufus howling. The howl shatters the spell, and he runs away, rejoining Simon and Jane. They lose their pursuit in the back alleys and fields. Even though Merriman isn't back, they decide they have to go for the Grail now. \n\nThey head over the fields to the beach on the far side of the headland, and begin to walk around the coast, taking advantage of the low tide. An owl hoots, and Rufus acts strangely again, and runs off. The children realise that the "owls" are their enemies, so rush around the coast, sometimes having to wade. At one point, they find an unexpected trough in the water. Soon they find a cave entrance, and Simon and Barney go in, while Jane keeps watch for the tide turning. \n\n''Chapter fourteen''\nSimon and Barney explore the cave, which leads to some narrow passages. After some exploring, they find a gap so small that only Barney can go through. Barney goes through, fighting the fear, and remembering Arthur and all he stands for. It opens into a cave, so tall that he can see the speck of light from the top of the headland way above him, and there he finds the Grail. Inside it as a lead tube, containing another manuscript. \n\nThey emerge from the cave just as the tide is beginning to come in, but then Mr Withers' boat appears. They try to outrun in, but the baddies come at them in dinghies. Mr Hastings tried to bewitch Barney into giving him the Grail, but Barney resists. In their two dinghies, they cut the children off, so there's nowhere to run. Simon says they should give in, but Barney snatches the document case from him and hold it and the Grail over the sea, threatening to throw them in. Mr Withers jumps for them, but falls into the hidden trough. Mr Hastings grabs Simon and threatens to break his arm unless Barney gives him what he wants.\n\nThen Merriman appears in a speed-boat, piloted by Mr Penhallow. Simon grabs the grail and manuscript case, and throws it towards Merriman, who catches the grail. Mr Withers, however, swipes at the case with his oar, and it falls in the water. Mr Hastings howls with despair, and dives after the case, but comes back without it. Merriman says something in a strange language, and Mr Hastings appears to shrink. \n\n''Epilogue''\nThe grail is given to the British Museum, and the children get £100 for it. Merriman tells the children that Mr Hastings has gone, and that he can change his appearance, so will look very different next time he emerges. He tells them that they won a great victory, keeping the grail from the forces of evil, and that the manuscript isn't lost, just hidden. Jane realises that they know where to start looking, for the manuscript fell where the hidden trough was - but that the baddies wouldn't have known about this, since the location of the trough was only clear at low tide. \n\nFor the first time, the children learn Merriman's real name - Merriman Lyon - causing Barney to wonder if he is Merlin. \n\n
Owain Glyndwr is a real historical figure. In Susan Cooper's universe, he is also an Old One. He is also known as Owain ap Gruffydd, and is Lord of Glyndyvrdwy and Sycharthm Yscoed and Gwynyoneth. \n\nOwain has a weather-beaten face, bright dark eyes, and a dark beard. His deepset eyes seem wise, and remind Barney of Merriman. \n\nTo be honest, he doesn't seem to be a very powerful Old One. He speaks English haltingly, although Old Ones are supposed to be fluent in all languages. (Though see [[Why doesn't Will know Welsh?]]. Although Will says that Old Ones can sense the Dark, Owain speaks to the [[White Rider]] without knowing that he's from the Dark, calling him only "the light-voiced one from Tywyn, with the white horse." The White Rider then reveals that there are lots of the Dark in Owain's camp. (see also [[Are all Old Ones equal in power?]])\n\nOwain appears in the sequence when the White Rider kidnaps Barney and takes him to Owain's camp, where he is mistaken for an English spy. When Will turns up, Owain recognises him as an Old One, and learns that he has been betrayed by men in his own camp. He was camped with an army ready to fight the English, but when the Dark rise up in his camp, his plans are disturbed.\n\nHe has a bard called Iolo Goch, an old man with a wrinkled brown face and wispy white hair and beard. He, too, is a real historical character:\n\nIn real life, Owain started his rebellion in 1400. Although the rebellion ultimately failed, he was not captured, and his body never found. The Wikipedia article on him is here:
Owen Davies is the man Bran has always thought was his father. Owen works on [[David Evans]]' farm, Clwyd Farm. He and Bran live on a small cottage on the farm. \n\nWhen Will first meets Owen, he is surprised by how normal he looks. He is the sort of person you'd pass in the street without noticing - average height, medium-brown hair in a medium quantity, a pleasant, ordinary face, with a slightly pointed nose and thin lips, and a precise intonation - the local accent. \n\nLater, Will realises that there is one way Owen isn't normal at all - he has no laughter in him. Owen is quiet and solemn. A "quick apologetic grimace" is the nearest he gets to a smile. He seldom expresses affection. Near the end of the book, Bran puts his arm around Owen's waist, and it is the first time Will has seen them express any affection to each other. Normally, Owen gets embarrassed in the face of emotion. \n\nHe has a variety of nervous gestures, oncluding a "strange ducking movement of his head." He has an anxious face and hunched shoulders. \n\nOwen is "a big one for chapel." He's a deacon, and goes out two of three times a week, and twice on Sundays. Bran is not allowed to do anything on Sunday except quietly walk on the hills. He is never allowed out, because even the cinema is sinful. Most of the things he's allowed to do he can only do because John or Blodwen Rowlands have spoken up on his behalf. He accuses his father of keeping him prisoner, and emphasising his differences. \n\nOwen is very opposed to stories and "superstitious nonsense". \n\nEleven years ago, Owen worked on the farm belonging to [[Caradog Pritchard]]'s father. He lived in a small cottage which is the tumbledown shack. One stormy night, a young woman knocked on the door, worn out from carrying her baby. Owen took her in and nursed her to health, and fell headlong in love with her almost instantly. The next day, he went to get milk, overjoyed and babbling about how wonderful she was, but came back to find the woman - [[Gwen]] - struggling with Caradog Pritchard. Owen attacked Caradog and threw him out. The next day he asked Gwen to marry him, but on the fourth day, he woke up to find her gone. She left the baby, and a note reading, His name is Bran. Thank you, Owen Davies."\n\nOwen spent three days scouring the mountain in grief, calling for her. He lost his job. Later David Evans took him on, and he moved to the cottage on the Evans' farm, and brought Bran up as his own, helped by everyone. Sometimes, Owen almost seems to believe that Bran is his own. In his mind, it's almost as if Bran really is his son, for he committed sin by living with Gwen for those few days. He was always a strict chapel-goer, but he turned to his religion even more strongly after this experience, possibly out of guilt. \n\nWhen the truth comes out, it turns out that Owen knew all along who Gwen was, and thought that the Grey King took her. Part of his treatment of Bran has been because he's scared that the Grey King would come for him, too, so he's kept him semi-locked up to keep him from this. He's also brought him up to go to chapel all the time, hoping to keep him away from the magic. \n\n\nAlthough this experience changed him, and made him the man he is today, he was always a solitary man, even before this happened. He was shy, and had never been in love before. \n\nHe was a friend of [[John Rowlands]] from boyhood, although John was older.\n
Few people realise just how downright weird Oxford is. When writing fanfic set in Oxford, it is very easy to get things very wrong.\n\n''The College system''\nOxford University is really more like a federation of 30 semi-autonomous mini universities called Colleges. It is the College which employs teaching staff and accepts new students, the College which provides food, accommodation and support, and the College which sets most of the rules which impinge on a student's life. For each subject, the syllabus is set centrally, so all Colleges teach their students the same course, but it's up to the individual College quite how to do it. The University also sets and administers the exams, and is the body which actually grants degrees.\n\nMost Colleges offer most subjects, but inevitably some end up getting a better reputation academically than others. For each subject there are a few Colleges unofficially considered to be the best. However, many aspiring students decide which College to apply to for non-academic reasons, such as location, appearance, quality of food, the fact thath their father went there etc.\n\nWhat is important to remember is that most students tend to feel more loyalty to their College than their University. The College is usually where they live, eat, study, are taught, and socialise. When I think of my student days I always think "when I was at Merton," and hardly ever "when I was at Oxford."\n\n''Appearance''\nThere is no "campus." Oxford Colleges are scattered throughout the city centre, though you should forget any preconceptions you have of a city centre. The centre of Oxford is dominated by the University. The Colleges are so close that there are some streets which have hardly any buildings newer than 1600. The skyline is all mediæval towers, spires and a dome or two. There are no modern highrise buildings. There are also a good lot of parks, playing fields and things.\n\nThe Colleges themselves are usually based around quads - a square of grass or stone, with continuous buildings around all four sides. Most Colleges have around three quads, a chapel, a garden and a few outlying more modern buildings. Quads are connected by archways, and there are doors all around the quad, leading straight into staircases. The main gate into each College is guarded by the Porter's Lodge, where the porters can answer all questions, and where every student has a pigeon hole for their mail. (There is an internal mail system for communication between Colleges, called "Pigeon Post").\n\n''Accommodation''\nMost students "live in", which means they have a single room in College, containing a bed, simple furniture, and usually a sink. Some lucky students, usually graduates or final year undergraduates, get a "set", which consists of a bedroom and a living room. The rooms are usually grouped vertically by "staircases" which are arranged around the quads. There tend to be between 4 and 8 rooms on each floor of the staircase, and they share a bathroom. (This sometimes has just a bath, sometimes just a shower, sometimes both. There is sometimes a seperate room for a toilet but sometimes it's in the same room as the bath.) In older Colleges the staircases are old mediæval spiral affairs, which tends to give rooms of character but little warmth. The quads all have names, and the staircases and rooms have numbers, so rooms are called things like "Front 4.3", "St Alban's 5.12" etc.\n\nTry not to give your characters a room-mate. I have never come across anyone sharing a room. The nearest I've found is, very occasionally, two students, who have their own rooms, sharing a study/living room area.\n\nIn the mixed (co-ed) Colleges, there is no attempt to make all-male or all-female staircases, or all-male or all-female bathrooms.\n\nStudents who live in have to cope with scouts. These used to be personal servants and spies, but now are simply cleaners. But they are cleaners who burst into your room early every morning and start cleaning it, and are thus the cause of many an embarrassing situation. Putting your bin outside your door is the equivilent of a "do not disturb" sign, but is in itself food for gossip.\n\nClimbing over walls is another fun tradition of living in. The main College gates lock at midnight. Nowadays everyone has a key to the small side door, but until fairly recently they didn't, leading to queues of people waiting to climb back into their College, or out of their girlfriend's. \n\nSome Colleges make students "live out" for a year. Usually four or five friends get together to rent a house, and take a room each. Despite the independence it offers, this isn't very popular. You end up living miles out of the centre (and hardly anyone brings a car. Everyone cycles or walks) and it costs a lot more than living in.\n\n''Travel''\nColleges have very little parking, and the town has even less, so hardly anyone brings a car into College. Bicycles are the traditional student means of transport, and every the outside wall of every College is always lined with bicycles about three or four thick. The whole central univeristy area is only about a mile across so everywhere is walkable to in twenty minutes or so.\n\nOxford's only about 50 miles from London and takes about an hour by train. Trains are very frequent. However, trains are beyond the average student budget. The bus costs about a third or a quarter of the price. Due to Oxford having two competing bus companies, there is a very cheap and very frequent service to London every ten minutes, from dawn to after mid night. It takes about 90 minutes.\n\n''Academic dress''\nMost of the time, students wear whatever they want to, but there are certain times when they have to wear academc dress. All students have to have a black gown. Undergraduates ("commoners") have a sleeveless short gown, undergraduates with scholarships ("scholars") have a longer one, and graduates have an even longer one. These are worn at the formal evening meal and certain other occasions, like meeting the head of College for your termly report.\n\nFull academic costume is called "sub-fusc". For men, this consists of a suit, a white bow-tie, gown, and black mortar board (a silly square hat which perches on top of your head and falls off all the time.) This is compulsary wear for exams.\n\n''Eating''\nThere are seldom any cooking facilities for students living in College. Meals are taken in "Hall", the College dining hall, which tends to be all dark panels and old portraits of stern men. Every evening is the option of going to "Formal Hall" which is waiter service, though only one choice on the menu. Everyone wears gowns, and there is a Latin grace. Food is typically very good, and very cheap.\n\nThere are lots of restaurants in the town, though some are rather beyond most students' budgets. The classic Oxford experience for those middle of the night hunger pangs is the Kebab van. The area around a kebab van becomes something of a social centre after midnight. There is also the Carfax Chippy for late-night chips. \n\n''Study''\nAn undergraduate in Oxford doesn't "major" in a subject. Whatever subject (or, occasionally, subjects) your degree is in is all you ever study. There is no opportunity to study other subjects even if you wanted to.\n\nAn Oxford degree is not a heavily taught degree. The emphasis is strongly on private research, especially with arts subjects. Studying history, I had one hour's tuition a week. This took the form of a one-to-one, or two-to-one, tutorial, at the end of which my tutor would give me a book list and an essay question and give me a week to research it. A few papers also had a weekly seminar, and a few had a couple of compulsary lectures, but apart from that everything else was optional, and not all that central to the course.\n\nA science degree is much more structured, with a lot more teaching, though still less than most universities would offer. \n\nA doctorate is even more strongly based on private research. The years are spent solely on researching your thesis, with occasional guidance from a supervisor. Your supervisor may suggest lectures and seminars you may find useful, but that depends on your individual needs.\n \n''Exams''\nThere are exams at the end of the first year, called Mods (Honour Moderations) or Prelims (Preliminary Examinations) depending on the subjects. Arts subjects tend to go for Mods, and sciences for Prelims. At the end of the final year there are Finals. Finals are graded First, Upper Second, Lower Second and Third, all of which are Honours degrees. Below that comes a simple Pass (without Honours) then a Fail.\n\nIf you get a First in your Mods or Prelims, you probably get a scholarship by his College. These vary from College to College but usually involve a book prize, a not-too-large annual sum of money, a longer and more flowing black gown to wear, and some weird historical right. For example, I am the proud owner of the perpetual right to pasture one cow on Christ Church Meadow. What fun.\n\nTalking of gowns, exams are one of the few occasions when cap and gown have to be worn. Men have to wear a suit and a white bow-tie, and the whole outfit is called "sub fusc". Exams take place in a big building called "Schools".\n\nThere are no exams for a doctorate. It is judged purely on the thesis, and is a simple pass or or fail degree.\n\n''Term length''\nThe Oxford academic year is divided into three eight-week terms. Michaelmas term starts in early October, Hilary in January and Trinity in late April. Because the terms are so short, most students stay in Oxford for the week before term starts (called "Noughth week") and for at least some of the week after the end of "Eighth week". Graduate students tend to ignore terms and stay around most of the year.\n\n''Teaching staff''\nUndergraduates would never call their teacher "Professor." There are Professors at Oxford but it is a very elevated position, and there are only a few in each subject. Most teachers are called "Fellows", as in "Fellow of Merton College". They are employed by the College (not the University) first and foremost as researchers. Any teaching they do is a side-line to their own research. Graduate students sometimes end up doing some teaching themselves.\n\nAll Fellows have a room in College, which is where they usually do their teaching. Unmarried Fellows sometimes chose to live in College, in which case they have a superior quality set (bedroom, study and probably own bathroom.) Married Fellows usually have a family home in Oxford and only have study in College.\n\nIf someone was referring to one of his teachers, they would probably say "my tutor", or, if they were doing a doctorate, "my supervisor". They would generally meet them in their own room in College on a one-to-one basis. They would address them as "Dr Smith" or "John", depending on the said Dr John Smith's stated preference.\n\n''Sports''\nThere are no compulsory sports, but plenty of opportunity to play them if you are that way inclined. There are University teams for most sports you could think of, and also College teams for the more popular sports. Colleges compete against each other in fiercely contested competitions called "Cuppers", and the Univeristy teams play against other Universities. Cambridge is the traditional main rival, and an Oxford - Cambridge contest is called a "Varsity Match." If you represent the University in your chosen sport you may be awarded a "Blue".\n\nThe classic Oxford sport is eight-person rowing. A lot of people do this. A larger College can often field up to ten "Eights". To be in the College "First Eight" is probably the most prestiguous sporting acheivement you can get. Rowers tend to get up early every morning and go for long runs (sounds familiar?), and wander around looking lost and heart-broken when the river is closed due to floods. The termly regattas are big social events, with parties, dinners, balls etc in the evenings.\n\n''Socialising''\nMany students socialise simply by inviting a group of friends to their room for coffee, or for something stronger. In Britain you can buy alcohol at 18, so all students can (and do) make heavy use of the off-licence to buy cheap alcohol and take it to their rooms. (An off-licence is a shop that sells nothing but alcohol, to be consumed off the premises.) Others can be found every night in the College bar. Town pubs are more expensive but at least you can find people from outside your own College. Popular ones include the "King's Arms", reputedly always full of people talking revolution and radical politics, the "Turf Tavern" with low beams, blazing fires and twisty passages, and "The Eagle and Child", where Tolkien and CS Lewis used to hang out.\n\nThere are also University societies for any interest group you can think of. New ones spring up all the time, and many are very small and short-lived. \n\nIn the summer the big thing is punting, when you hire a low flat boat and some foolish soul is volunteered to stand up in it and propel the boat along the dirty river Cherwell by pushing against the river bed with a long pole. People go for punt parties and take food and drink, but the main fun comes from watching the person with the pole get it stuck on the bottom of the river, hold on to it too long as the boat gently slips away from beneath them, then fall in.\n\n''Jargon''\nAt the start of each term, you pay the College for your accommodation and food. What you pay is called "battels." The more formal evening dinner is "hall": you talk about "I'll come and see you after hall". You go up to Oxford, and down from it. "When are you going down?" means "when are you going home at the end of term?" Being "sent down" means, therefore, being expelled.\n
Paul is one of Will's older brothers, twin to [[Robin Stanton]]. While Robin is large and muscular, mechanical-minded and excellent at football, Paul is "the quiet twin", and "the family genius." He shares a bedroom with Robin. \n\nIt is not clear how old Robin and Paul are. They are older than Barbara, who is 16 at the time of [[The Dark is Rising]]. (At the carol-singing, attended by Will, James, Mary, Barbara, Robin and Paul, Robin and Paul are called the "senior members" of the family present.) However, since Paul is playing in the National Youth Orchestra 18 months later, and that only takes people up to 19, the twins are probably 17 or 18 at the time of The Dark is Rising - five or six years older than Will. \n\nPaul is very musical. "He played the flute and thought about little else". He has played in the National Youth Orchestra, and in the autumn after the end of the sequence, is going to be playing Mozart's flute concerto at the Royal Festival. He studies at "the Academy" - the Royal Academy of Music? Though excellent, he doesn't boast. Stephen calls him "Old Modesty." \n\nWhen Paul plays the flute Miss Greythorne gave him, there is something almost magical about the playing. Part of it comes from the flute, but part of it seems to be in Paul himself. Will later thinks that Paul is the brother he would confide in, if he could confide in any. "The way he played the flute" is given as a reason for this.\n\nPaul is a bell-ringer at the local church. He and the Rector eagerly talk music together. \n\nIn [[Silver on the Tree]], Paul says he will spend his summer doing summer courses at the Academy, and playing in jazz clubs in the evenings. Stephen is very surprised by this, implying that no-one would ever have expected Paul to like jazz. "Not your kind of jazz", Paul tells him. \n\nPaul wears dark-rimmed "heavy" glasses, and has pale blue eyes. When he is comforting Will, Will is soothed by his "deep voice". \n\nIn character, Paul is kind and understanding. When Will cries out in fear the night before his birthday, Paul comes to investigate, and says just the right things to comfort Will. He also offers Will his bed, so Will can sleep with someone else in the room. He plays the flute for the carol singers, even for carols like "Good King Wenceslas," which he doesn't like playing. He feels sorry for [[Miss Greythorne]] and speaks politely to her. When everyone else is staring at Will, the night before his birthday, it is Paul who tells them to "let up, now."\n\nHe is also perceptive. When the Dark attacks in the church, Paul is quicker than the Rector to notice that something is wrong. Later, he is the only one of Will's family who suspects that Will is caught up in something strange, and he takes Will outside to quietly ask him about it. (Will tells him some story about nasty antiques dealers.) \n\nBecause of his "patient understanding" the night before his birthday, and the way he plays the flute, Will thinks that "if there were any one of his brothers that he could confide in, it would be Paul", but recognises that this is out of the question. After the attack in the church, it is the look on Paul's face that causes Will to make Paul and the Rector forget about what had happened. \n\nAlthough he's usually fairly quite and serious, Paul still has a sense of humour. Completely straight-faced, he teases James about the summer weather forecast in [[Silver on the Tree]]\n\n\n\n
[[King Arthur]]\n[[Gwen]] - aka Guinevere\n[[Bedwin]] - aka Bedivere, whe bought [[The Grail]] to Cornwall\n[[The man who hid the Grail]]\n\n[[Hawkin]] - aka the [[Walker]]\n\n[[Roger Toms]]\n[[Evan Rowlands]]\n[[Caradog Lewis]]\nJohn Jones - a shipbuilder in Victorian Aberdyfi\nOther people in Victorian Aberdyfi include: Iestyn Davies, a sailor on the Frances Amelia; Freddie Evans and Ellis Williams, children; Evans the Barber, Freddie's father; Humphrey Edwards and Ieuan Morgan, sea captains.\n\n[[Owain Glyndwr]]\nIolo Goch - Owain's bard\n
Follow the links for descriptions of the main places encountered in the sequence. \n\n[[Trewissick and area]]\n[[Will's home territory]]\n[[Bran's home territory]]\n\n[[The Lost Land]]\n\nMerriman was an academic at Oxford, and fanfic often sends Will there as well. Some years ago, I wrote a fanfic writer's guide to Oxford, for writers of X Files fanfic. (Mulder went to Oxford in that series.) Here is the bulk of that guide, with the obvious X Files references removed: [[Oxford]]
Polly Withers is the sister of [[Mr Withers]] - or so she claims. She has dark hair and tanned skin, and is very pretty. The Drew children think of her as girl, though one much older than them, rather than as a woman, so she can't be too old. She has black curly hair, her eyes twinkle with private laughter, and she has dimples when she smiles. When the children first meet her, she is wearing a bright green shirt and black trousers. \n\nPolly and her "brother" both serve [[Mr Hastings]], and call him "sir." Polly also seems to have her own hold over [[Bill Hoover]], and issues orders to him. \n\nIt isn't clear if the Witherses are properly of the Dark, or are merely human who are choosing to serve it. It is probably the former, even though we don't see them wield any powers. Merriman refers to the woman who is "calling herself" Polly Withers, implying that he has encountered her elsewhere, and she talks about having encountered Merriman once or twice "in another sphere than this.".\n\nMr Withers and Polly crop up throughout [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] as the children's enemies, asking questions about maps etc. Dressed as a cat, Polly dances with Barney in the carnival, and helps kidnap him.
Links are placed at the relevant places in the previous entries. \n\nOther sites that might help are these:\n\nThe Mabinogion is a collection of Welsh folk tales and legends. Here is one translation of the text:\n\nWelsh folklore... and much more. This site has the full text of a lot of folklore and history books on Wales, and tonnes of other information.\n\nThis site might help you with Cornish folklore:\n\n
Rhys Evans is the son of [[David Evans]] and [[Jen Evans]]. Will thinks of him as his cousin. He is as old as Will's oldest brothers. He is wiry and gangling, and has curly hair.\n\nRhys picks Will up from the station, and drives him to Clywd Farm in a Landrover. He is not very talkative, though not unfriendly. He works on the farm, and we don't see much of him during the story. He dislikes Caradog Pritchard, and is terse, even rude, to him when they meet. \n\nHe has a brother, but we don't meet him.
The Rider - the black Rider - is the main embodiment of Dark seen throughout the books. He is a Lord of the Dark. He possibly plays the same role to the Dark as Merriman plays to the Light, for alongside Merriman he guards the golden harp beneath the mountain. However, it is possible that the [[White Rider]] is equal in power to him. \n\nThe Drew children first encounter him as [[Mr Hastings]]. As Hastings, he is dark haired, but Merriman says that he can change his appearance, and will look very different next time. \n\nWill always sees him as a tall man with longish hair that grows low over his neck, and shines with a curious reddish tinge. He speaks the Old Speech with "a curious accent" in a slightly nasal voice. His eyes are very blue. He wears a black cloak, and rides a horse that is entirely black, with no white on it anywhere. \n\nThe Rider appears constantly throughout [[The Dark is Rising]], trying to stop Will from fulfilling his quest. Passing himself off as Mr Mitothin, a customer of Will's father, he gets himself invited into the Stanton house, where he takes one of Mary's hairs and uses it in a spell to bind her. \n\nAt the end of The Dark is Rising, the Rider is hounded to the ends of the world by [[Herne]]. When Will sees him again, in the Lost Land, his face is scarred. \n\nThe Rider does not appear in [[Greenwitch]], for [[The painter]] is working alone, trying to trick his masters. He appears in [[The Grey King]] as one of the lords under the mountain, guarding the harp. Because this a thing of High Magic, he and Merriman must guard it impartially, without it mattering that one is of the Light and one of the Dark. The Rider wears a pale blue robe, speaks with a hissing accent, and makes Bran shiver with fear. \n\nIn [[Silver on the Tree]], the Rider chases Will and Bran through the Lost Land. In the final battle, when he closes on them all, each of the children see him differently, depending on how he's appeared in their past encounters with him.
Robin is twin to [[Paul Stanton]], and one of Will's older brothers. \n\nIt is not clear how old Robin and Paul are. They are older than Barbara, who is 16 at the time of [[The Dark is Rising]]. (At the carol-singing, attended by Will, James, Mary, Barbara, Robin and Paul, Robin and Paul are called the "senior members" of the family present.) However, since Paul is playing in the National Youth Orchestra 18 months later, and that only takes people up to 19, the twins are probably 17 or 18 at the time of The Dark is Rising - five or six years older than Will. \n\nRobin is decribed as "large and deep-voiced", and more muscular than Paul. He is "mechanically minded and excellent at football." He is not entirely sure that carol-singing is a manly pursuit, so always claims he's not going to go, but he always ends up going. Despite his protests, he is as devoted to music as the rest of his family. Singing, he has a "pleasant dark brown voice".\n
Roger Stanton is Will's father, married to [[Alice Stanton]].\n\nRoger is the seventh son of a large family, though "half of us" were killed in the Second World War. The brother nearest in age to him is [[Bill Stanton]].\n\nMerriman describes Roger as "short, gentle and content." He usually seems quite placid. He appears to have left-wing or liberal views, objecting very strongly to the racism of Mr Moore, and takes issue with [[Miss Greythorne]], butlers in general, and the "feudal" nature of her offer of hospitality to everyone in the village.\n\nMr Stanton keeps a jewellers' in the small town of Eton, a few miles away. Will pictures this shop when Merriman is proving to him that he can read Will's mind. It has a door with a handle, and a very small step down into the shop. There are glass showcases all around, full of shiny things, and an old grandfather clock in the back corner. His young assistant is called Jeffrey.
Roger Toms lives 200 years ago, when smugglers worked out of Trewissick. He worked on a smuggler ship from Polperro, called "The Lottery." One day, in a run-in with a Revenue cutter to the east of Trewissick, a Revenue man was killed. Roger Toms turned King's Evidence, and gave himself up, telling them that a shipmate called Tom Potter fired the shot. Potter was hanged, but some people believed that Toms fired the shot. No-one knows the truth. Was he acting out of cowardice and evil, or was he acting out of good intentions, recognising that more people would get hurt if the exise men and soldiers chased the Lottery and captured it? Whatever the truth, Toms never dared return to Cornwall again.\n\nWhen the Wild Magic, through the Greenwitch, takes possession of Trewissick, a drowned figure climbs out of the water and goes inland. As voices cry "the house has come but not the man", and "Roger Toms!" the same figure reappears, at the helm of a ghostly boat. \n\nRoger Toms is supposed to be the ancestor of [[Captain Toms]]. However, since Will is the first Old One born for 500 years, Captain Toms must have been alive for over 500 years, so this is Confusing, too. Was Roger Toms actually one of Captain Toms' descendants?
Rufus is a red setter dog, who lives in the [[Grey House]], and belongs to [[Captain Toms]]. He seems to be more than a normal dog. Several times he leads the children to the places they need to go. When Barney is enchanted by [[Mr Hastings]], Rufus acts very strangely, and gives an unearthly wail, that breaks Mr Hastings' hold on Barney. \n\nMerriman says that Rufus "has more talent for communicating with ordinary human beings than most four-legged creatures."\n\nRufus seems to be able to sense the Dark. At least, he doesn't like [[Mr Withers]]\n\nHe is a "long rangy lean dog", who looks brown at first glance, but gleams dark red in the sunlight\n
''Chapter one: Midsummer's Eve''\nWill, James and Stephen are relaxing by the Thames after a picnic, while Will is reading aloud amusing bits from an old book of herblore. Suddenly James and Stephen seem to fade, semi-transparent, and Will realises "with dread and delight" that the part of his life that has been sleeping is awake again. He sees people from a long time ago, fleeing in terror from some danger... and then he's back to reality again. Some time has passed, and Stephen comments that Will looks ill. \n\nWill rests under a tree, and suddenly finds himself on a hill, where another group of people from a different time are fleeing from some danger, hiding all their possessions. They cannot see him. The enemy will be here in two hours, he hears them say, and have burned London. They see smoke nearby, and panic, and Will, too, feels a wave of intense terror, and knows the terror of being hunting, of death. Some huge threat is gathering in the east. "It's coming," Will says.\n\n"No it isn't," James says. They are talking about a strange animal in the grass - a mink, James says. When it stares at Will, he feels terror. James chases the mink away. While he's away, Stephen says he's been trying to talk to Will alone ever since he got home. He talks about the carnival head he sent, and how the man who gave it to him spoke of Old Ones, and knew about Will. Recently, before he sailed from Jamaica, the old man came up again, and said "Tell your brother that the Old Ones of the ocean islands are ready." A similar message was given in Gibraltar. \n\nWill says that Stephen won't believe the truth, but Stephen persists. Will tells him the truth - about Light and Dark, the two poles in the universe that is bound by High Magic, and about the Old Ones. When Stephen says the men didn't look old, Will says "neither do I." Stephen says irritably that he can remember Will being born. "In one sense only," Will says. Stephen doesn't believe him, though, and looks strained. Will realises that the warnings had to come by word of mouth, to secure them from the Dark, but it's up to him to now. Thousands of moths fly up from a bramble, and Will says, "with loving regret, like a farewell", that they are plume moths, that carry memories away. \n\nJames comes back, prattling about the mink. Stephen looks dazed for a while. When Will drops the phrase "the Old Ones" into conversation, it means nothing to Stephen. \n\n''Chapter two: Black mink''\nThey head home. On the way home, they come across a small Indian boy - Manny Singh - being bullied by three larger boys, led by one called Richie Moore, who goes to Will's school. Will intervenes, then Stephen rushes up, and throws the Richie into the water. \n\nBack home, the family's having dinner when the chickens start squawking. Everyone rushes out, but Will stops, hit by a sense of huge malevolence. A mink is in the chickens. It runs right at Will, but he cannot bring himself to kill it. "The Dark is Rising; killing one of its creatures will not stop the Dark from rising." Six chickens have been killed, but none taken away to be eaten. "Killing for the love of it," Will says. He also realises that in the struggle, Stephen was protected by the mink by having pimpernel still in his button-hole. "Good against venomous beasts," said the herbology book. \n\nWill is confused, losing all sense of time. As Stephen repairs the chicken house, Will slips back in time again. He hears two voices - Merriman and Arthur - speaking about the coming battle at Badon, when they hope to drive the Dark back. Merriman says that the men might be driven back, but the force they represent will not be driven back for long. Arthur says that he knows that the island is doomed, unless... He talks about a gathering when he was seven years old - where 300 leaders of Britain were slaughtered, including his father. That was when the Dark started rising. It will not rise forever, Merriman says. On this night, the Circle of Old Ones will be summoned. \n\nWill steps forward, and Merriman greets him, embracing him. Will kneels to Arthur. Arthur leaves, saying that Merriman has a night and a day. Merriman asks Will how it is with him in the second rising, for all is not well in this, the first. Will doesn't understand, and Merriman says he ought to, after his reading of the Book of Gramarye, but maybe he is still to close to man, still too prone to thinking of time in the way of man. He explains that there are two great risings - one now, 1500 years in Will's past, and one in the time that Will is "humanborn." Now, in the "past", Will must call the Circle of Light, to help both in Arthur's time, but in his own time. To do this, he has to take the Signs out of the place where they were hidden. If he fails, they will go out of Time and be of no use to the Light. He has to do this in his own time, because that's when they were found. Merriman will be with him, but powerless.\n\nWill hears the sound of Wayland Smith working in his forge, which melts into the sound of Stephen repairing the chicken run. He's back in his own time.\n\n''Chapter three: The calling''\nIn the middle of the night, Will gets up and sneaks downstairs. He could have put his family to sleep using his powers, but doesn't want to. He will have to use his powers enough anyway this night. Will goes to a picture which has always fascinated him since he was a child - a picture of the Romans building Caerleon. One figure in the picture fascinated him in particular - and this figure has been used in the concealment of the Signs. In order to find out how to retrieve the Signs, he revisits the time he and Merriman hid them. He places his hand on the picture, empties his mind, and sinks into it, stepping into the reality of Roman Caerleon, as if he's a boy of that time. \n\nBecause this is a replay of what happened a year ago, Merriman is there. Will is wearing the Signs as a belt. Merriman greets the soldier from the picture, who calls him "the Druid." They chat for a bit, Will speaking easily in Latin, which comes to him without effort, "as did any language of the world." The soldier shows off their new building, and, guided by Merriman, Will pretends to stumble, and slips the Signs onto a slab of stone, that's just about to be covered by the next slab. \n\nThis happened over a year ago. Will knows, though, that the key to getting the Signs back again must lie here too. He talks to the soldier, who speaks of his home with great longing. Will realises that this is the key. He falls into the longing, and is suddenly in some other time entirely, where an American man is talking longingly of his own home. Merriman is there, too - in an archaeological excavation of the amphitheatre at Caerleon. The American archaelogist shows Merriman around the site, and Will goes with him, and thus is able to retrieve the Signs. \n\nThe archaeologist goes. Will takes the Signs and raises them, calling to the Old Ones to come together "now and for always, for the second time and the last." Old Ones from all over the world and time come gathering, but the Lady does not come. Merriman says her strength is faded from resisting the Dark. Someone in the crowd quotes the Welsh verse - "the mountains are singing and the lady comes." Will knows that he has to go to Wales to solve this riddle. \n\nMerriman says that because the Lady did not come, and the Circle was not completed, Arthur's victory in the past will not be complete. They need the Lady... and the six. Will questions Merriman about the last line of the verse - about one going alone. Merriman says prophecies can go many ways, for men have minds of their own. No-one can know what this means until the time comes. \n\nMerriman takes the Signs back to Arthur's time, to play the role there. \n\n''Chapter four: Midsummer's Day''\nJames, Will, Mr Stanton and Stephen are gardening, while Paul is playing the flute inside. They chat a bit about family things, and Miss Greythorne. James mentions the hunting horn that Miss Greythorne gave Will at the same time she gave Paul his flute. Barbara comes outside, too. Mr Moore, the father of Richie Moore, the racist bully, drives up, to talk to Stephen about what he did. In the ensuing discussion, Barbara, Stephen and Mr Stanton all confront Mr Moore about his racism. Stephen is particularly passionate, speaking about the poverty he's seen overseas. Will watches it all horrified, every inch an Old One, for hatred like this are the channels that will allow the Dark to instantly conquer the earth, if they are triumphant in this Rising.\n\nThe family discuss what they're doing in the school holidays, nearly four weeks away. Mrs Stanton reveals that Will has been invited to Wales by Jen Evans.\n\n''Chapter five: Five''\nSimon, Jane and Barney are in Wales. While their father plays golf and their mother paints, they've gone out along and climbed a hill. Barney has a strong feeling that he's been here before, and says that they're going to meet someone over the next ridge. Simon and Barney head off, racing, and Jane stays behind. Then she hears a musical sound, like a hunting horn, but less harsh. She follows it, and finds Will. He says the horn will be used twice - once now, for gathering the Six, and once again, but that is hidden to him.\n\nSimon and Barney arrive, drawn by the horn. Then another figure comes. At first, it's outlined against the sun, and Jane has a strong feeling of great rank. Then it steps forward and becomes a boy - Bran. When Will talks to Bran, Jane senses a difference in his voice, almost like respect. Barney asks Bran if he's like Will, and Bran says yes, in a way - not a "dewin, a wizard, like Will, but part of the Circle of Light. \n\nWill tells them about the Lady, whom he calls the greatest of them all, the one essential. Something is holding her, and they need her, and their only clue is the "mountains are singing" line. Bran and Will have already racked their brains for clues in the place names, and for likely historical monuments. Barney asks if there's any place that's linked with King Arthur, and Barney, Jane "and even Simon" feel the sudden silence that falls over Bran and Will. "Why?" asks Will, and Simon explains that Barney has an obsession with Arthur. The silence falls away. \n\nWill says there's Cader Idris - the seat of Arthur - but it's no good. He exchanges a look with Bran as he says this. Jane resents this, and feels excluded. Bran suddenly remembers Carn March Arthur - a stone marked with the shape of a hoof, near a lake where Arthur fought an afanc, a lake monster. The legend is rubbish, he says, but the place is worth a try. They agree to go there the next day.\n\nThey go down the ridge, where they meet [[John Rowlands]], who is waiting to give Will and Bran a lift homoe. They ask for a lift the next day, and John is reluctant, but his wife, [[Blodwen Rowlands]], persuades him. \n\n''Chapter six: The bearded lake''\nThe next day, they walk up the road into the hills. On the way, they see some polecats, and Jane is surprised to see that Will turns very pale, with sweat beading on his forehead. Jane falls to the back of the group, wondering why Will is so anxious, and wondering about Bran. He resents his presence, for complicating their relationship with Will. \n\nThey reach the edge of a valley with a lovely view. Jane finds it scary. Will is expressionless, telling them to carry on, and Bran curtly tells Jane not to listen to "silly feelings." "Will has enough to worry about without that." \n\nIt starts to rain. Jane points at Will and Bran, walking far ahead, and asks her brothers what on earth they're doing, following them. She's scared, and she doesn't want to be here. Barney says it's fine - that anything to do with Merriman is right. Jane says that Merriman isn't here, but Simon says that Will is, and that's the same thing. Jane is surprised, because Simon never seemed to like Will. Simon says there's no point trying to understand. It's good versus bad, and Merriman and Will are on the good side. Jane is still unhappy, and Barney wonders if she's being "got at" by the Dark. Simon notices, though Jane and Barney do not, that two polecats are watching them.\n\nWill and Bran discuss the others, watching them as they have their talk. Will says that the Light needs them, so the Dark must be watching them closely. He thinks that Barney needs to be watched in particular. The others catch up, and Jane speaks up, saying she wants to know what they're looking for. Bran shouts at her, saying she hasn't seen the Dark creeping in, killing love, and she should just shut up and do what is needed of her. Jane shouts back, saying he thinks he's so super-special, but who is he anyway...? She stomps off. \n\n"Special," Bran echoes, talking about how people have always laughed at him. "Special," Will repeats. "You know it." Bran says yes, it's true, but that wasn't what Jane meant. Will says no, it wasn't, but he and Bran must never forget it. Bran mustn't let go like this. Bran apologises, and Simon apologises for Jane, saying she flies off the handle quite a bit now, and it must be a stage she's going through. \n\nThey reach Carn March Arthur, but Will and Bran sense nothing special there. Will says it's only a legend, and nothing to do with Arthur really. They walk to the Bearded Lake, and on the way Jane and Bran exchange a few words casually, and there are no hard feelings. As soon as they reach the lake, Will knows that this is the place they have to be. He has a strong sense of High Magic.\n\nNear the lake is a place with an echo. Some tourists are shouting in it, and Jane gets annoyed at them, and stomps off again. She's often been moody lately, but this feels different. As she walks down to the lake, she hears the others start to shout to the echo, and then she hears unearthly singing. It's Will, singing to the echo in the song of the Old Ones, but it transports Jane. It is as if the mountains are singing...\n\n...and the Lady comes. Out of the mist there appears a rose-coloured ring, and then she sees the old lady who is wearing it. The Lady says it was intended all along that Jane should carry the message. Some messages can only be transmitted from like to like, and she and Jane are similar by their names - Jane, Jana, Juno, Jane - and Jane and Will are alike in youth. She tells Jane to tell Will to go to the Lost Land, where a white bone will prevent them, and a flying may-tree will save them, and only the horn can stop the wheel. And in the glass tower by among the seven trees, they will find the crystal sword of light. \n\nThe Lady disappears. Jane hears Will cry her name in terrible warning, and Jane sees that a monster has risen in the lake, with horns like a snail, and a dreadful, long neck. She screams.\n\n''Chapter seven: Afanc''\nAs soon as Will cries out, Bran is moving. The monster closes on Jane, and a voice speaks in her head, telling her to tell it the message. Jane tries to resist, by thinking of comforting things - Merriman, Will, the grail, John Rowlands, Mrs Rowlands... Her control breaks again, but suddenly another voice is there, telling her everything is all right. She faints. \n\nThe others are held back by Will, and watch as Bran stands in front of the monster. Bran tells the monster that his father cast him out, and how dare he return? The afanc utters threats, but all it can do is threaten. Bran says that mere fear cannot overwhelm one of the Six, and orders the afanc away. Before Bran returns from the lake-edge, Will tells the others who Bran is, adding that sometimes Bran seems to have almost forgotten this, but others times he seems completely aware of it.\n\nJane tells Will that the Lady came, and he reacts with astonishment, envy, understanding, then his "usual amiable look." She passes on the message, and Will says she did very well. The Dark could not hear the message, for there is a protection over all Six, but hoped to scare Jane into telling it. When asked why he called the warning before the afanc appeared, he says that he can always sense the Dark, like an animal scenting man. He couldn't sense the Lady, but only because she didn't want to be sensed. Perhaps all of them have a test, and this was Jane's. \n\nThey walk down the hill, as the rain stops. They stop for lunch overlooking the estuary, and Bran talks about drowned trees, and the old story of the bells of Aberdyfi, ringing from a drowned, ghostly land. This was the Cantr'er Gwaelod - the Lowland Hundred - which belonged to King [[Gwyddno Garanhir]], and was drowned in a storm. They realise that this is the Lost Land. Will feels a sense of certainty, of High Magic, and he forget any of them are there, except Bran. Brans feels the same joy, and the Drews, left out, can only watch. \n\nThere is music in the air, and the sea draws back, revealing grass, and a city. Brightness fills the air, until it seems to form a road of light through the air. Will and Bran step together onto the road, and out of sight. The brightness fades; the Lost Land vanishes. The Drews are alone.\n\n''Chapter eight: Three from the track''\nOn the way back, the Drews are attacked by polecats, who drive them like sheep into a farm. Mrs Rowlands is there, and she says they're just up here to see the farmer, and then were going to the town to pick the children up. Mrs Rowlands doesn't believe their story about polecats. The children come up with some story about Will and Bran taking a different route. \n\nJohn drives them into town, where Mrs Rowlands goes shopping. John and the children go to sit on the jetty. John points out the house where he was born, and his father and grandfather before him. His grandfather was Captain [[Evan Rowlands]] of the Ellen Davies, but John's father was drowned when he was six, and his mother went back to her parents' farm, and he grew up with the sheep, not the sea. \n\nJohn sounds them out about Will, and asks them how much they know about him. "Quite a lot," they say tersely, for no-one ought to be asking these questions. "You are not... of that kind?" John asks, and they say no. He looks relieved, and begs them to trust him. He tells them a rought outline of what happened in [[The Grey King]], and says that he's told Will all along that he will help him, but doesn't want to know anything more than he has to. They shouldn't want to know, either, because they are human, not of that kind. To Jane's surprise, Simon says he agrees. \n\nThey tell John that Will and Bran have gone somewhere far away, but safe. John says he will have to think up some lie to tell Blodwen, for she has no idea about the truth. \n\nJohn starts talking about the old days... and suddenly Jane finds that they are there, in the past that he's describing. John is there, but dressed as a nineteenth century sea captain, and speaking as one. People call him Evan. Barney and another boy race to touch an incoming ship, and are dragged back by a woman who looks like Mrs Rowlands. News comes into that the "Sarah Ellen" has sunk, and Evan/John looks grief-stricken, for his brother was on board. There is talk that this is the fourth ship built by John Jones to sink, and gossip about one of his sawyers. \n\nJane has understood until now, but suddenly they are speaking noticeably in Welsh, and she can't understand them. Simon is there, too... and suddenly they can understand again, but they're in a slightly different time, because Evan/John is wearing different clothes. Evan and two other captains are off to John Jones' shipyard, where they talk to the sawyer in question, a red-haired man called [[Caradog Lewis]]. They accuse him of deliberately sabotaging the boats and sending men to their deaths. Evan/John says, with cold conviction, that Caradog is different, serving in some dreadful way a cause that is not that of men at all. \n\nCaradog Lewis glares at Evan/John in a way that reminds Jane of the painter in [[Greenwitch]]. This malice is far more scary in coming from an ordinary man than from a lord of the Dark. He attacks Rowlands, and there is a fight. Simon intervenes, and is thrown in the water, where he struggles and goes under. Although he can swim, he once fell in a river and was trapped under the boat, and panicked. He tries not to panic this time, but instead the water starts to soothe him gently into sleep. \n\nSuddenly Simon is grabbed and brought to land. It's Merriman, he realises, and Jane says that he just came out of nowhere. Merriman turns to Caradog Lewis and freezes him, and sends him back to Cader Idris, where others lurk, who have also sold themselves to the Dark. Because he's failed here, the Dark will come for him - if not for him, then for his sons and the sons of his daughters. \n\nThe children are back in the present, but Merriman is still there. John stares at Merriman, saying that he saw him when he was a child, riding on the wind. Merriman says it was true. He didn't take the memory, for no-one would have believed John, but left it to seem like a dream. Merriman says that Will needs him - something the Dark knew when it caught Simon in danger in a time where only Merriman could save him. He tells them to be on the beach at sunset, and then vanishes.\n\n''Chapter nine: The city''\nCarried by the road of light, Will and Bran arrive in the Lost Land. They are on the golden roof of a building, overlooking other buildings, and a park full of trees. Bran points out a golden dome, banded with crystal, and topped with an arrow pointing west. There is a lattice of metal on the roof they're standing on, like a fence, and Bran accidentally causes it to fall. Despite the huge noise, no-one in the city stirs. \n\nThey climb down from the roof, and find a staircase down into the trees. Two horses are waiting for them, saddled and bridled, and as soon as the boys touch the horses, they find themselves in the saddle. Will asks the horses to take them where they need to go. \n\nThe horses take them into a narrow street that grows narrower and narrower, darker and darker. They stop outside a small wooden door, where the boys dismount. The horses trot away, back the way they've come. Will tells Bran that they need to stay together, no matter what happens, and tells Bran to keep hold of one end of the hunting horn, while Will holds the other. \n\nWill knocks at the door, and it opens, and they go in, into darkness. The door closes. A glimmer of light shows them a ladder, and they wonder if they should go up. Will says that nothing is telling him that they shouldn't, but he can't sense anything positive about it, either. He thinks that the Dark has no power in this place, but neither does the Light. "Then who has?" Bran asks, and Will says he supposes they will find out. \n\nThey climb the ladder awkwardly, still linked by the horn. This takes them into a gallery, that looks a bit like a library, but with a floor that's on lots of different, random levels. There is a balustrade around the edge, but beyond that nothing, just blackness. People start to appear in the room, wandering in and out, picking up books, browsing, but none of them seem to notice Will and Bran, even when Will speaks to them. The pages of all the books are blank.\n\nThe boys walk through the gallery and out the far door, where they find a zig-zagging wooden corridor, more like a tunnel. "This place doesn't mean anything," Bran says, but Will says that it will, when they arrive at the meaning, at the crystal sword. \n\nThe corridor ends in a blaze of white light, and a man speaks to them, bidding them welcome to the City. He asks Will why they have come, and gestures with his hand, causing Will to be aware of thousands of other faces, all staring at him. "It was like facing the whole world." He feels overwhelmed, but calms himself, answering that they have come for the sword. They laugh horribly, jeering, mocking, and Bran shouts, "We have come for Eirias!" and the laughter and the faces vanish. Bran says it again, wonderingly, unsure of how he knew the name. It's a Welsh word, he says a little later, meaning a big fire, a blaze.\n\nThe man smiles, and says that all the faces were an illusion. He knows their names, and says that they can call him [[Gwion]]. He says he will show them the City. After that there is the County, and finally the Castle. He opens his arms, and suddenly they are outside, in a square packed with people. Will and Bran feel joy.\n\n''Chapter ten: The rose-garden''\nThey walk through the crowded square, amongst its people, who can see them now, but still don't properly look them in the eye. An ornate coach pulls up, drawn by black horses, and Gwion tells them to get in. He doesn't join them. \n\nThe coach sets off through the city, and slowly outside grows darker. There had been riders ahead of them, as if the coach was part of a procession, but they have gone. Instinct tells Will that something is coming up behind them, something he should be scared of. The horses bolt, and the coach is tossed around. A flurry of horsemen ride past the coach, all in black cloaks, except for one who is in white. One rider turns towards the carriage, and Will recognises the face of the [[Rider]]. The dark figures fade, and Will shouts out to the coach as if it's alive, saying that they must follow the riders. Bran is horrified - follow that thing? Will says that the Rider makes the terror, and they can lessen it if they're the ones giving chase. \n\nThey give chase, the coach still going fast, but without the wild terror this time. They see two riders, one all in black and one all in white, and Will orders the coach to follow them. Bran wonders where the great crowd of riders went, and Will says they have gone "where the leaves go in autumn." It's not poetry, he says, but is true. The trouble is, leaves grow again. \n\nThe [[White Rider]] trots away, and they continue to follow the black one, the Rider. Bran asks why one of the Dark should be dressed in white, and Will says that perhaps it's because the Dark can only reach people at extremes - blinded by their shining ideas, or locked up in the darkness of their own heads. \n\nFollowing the Rider, they travel through a formal park, where the coach stops next to a walled rose garden. They get out and walk into the garden, where they see the Rider beside a fountain. The Rider greets Will, and Will greets him back, calmly reminding him of the way he was harried to the ends of the earth by the Hunt. The Rider says that was only one defeat, but now is the time of the final victory. There is no way for the Light to stop them now. There is one way, Will says, "just one." \n\nThe Rider turns to Bran and says that the Pendragon does not properly exist without the sword, and the sword has no power without the Pendragon. The Dark are here first and will get the sword first. Will, however, senses that the Rider is not as confident as he makes out. He stares at the Rider, holding his gaze until the Rider looks away. The Rider covers his small defeat, and tells Will to give up, and instead enjoy the beauties of the Lost Land. He talks about roses for a while, but Gwion is suddenly there. "Roses are hard to predict," he says, "and so are the people of the Lost Land." \n\nThe Rider tells him he will suffer a hard fate if he helps the Light, but Gwion says that his fate is his own. Then the White Rider is there, too, as the Rider boasts that he is not alone, but Gwion calmly tells him that the Dark will need all their strength. "Save yourself, Taliessin," the Rider says, "or be lost with the useless hopes of the Light." Both riders ride off. \n\n''Chapter eleven: The empty palace''\n"Just a name," Gwion says, when Will asks him about the name Taliessin. Will asks him if he had known they would meet the Rider when he sent them off alone in the coach, and he says no. The coach was to bring them here, but maybe the Dark knew that, too. There is little that the Dark doesn't know here... but also little that they can actually do. \n\nThey go to the fountain, where a rainbow forms in the droplets. Gwion calls it the arch of the Light. As they look into the rainbow, they see a sad-looking man holding a sword. Gwion cannot see him. He says that this is the one small touch of the Light's hand allowed in the Lost Land, but only those of the Light can see what it has to offer. He is not quite of the Light, so cannot see. The sad man was the Gwyddno, King of the Lost Land, who has shut himself up in his own mind in his tower in Caer Wydyr, which translates as the castle of glass. Gwion seems very anxious that they remember the king's face. As they leave, they notice that there is carving of the fountain, reading "I am the womb of every holt." Gwion says they should remember this.\n\nThey climb back into the coach, with Gwion as the coachman. This time it takes them to the King's Palace - the Empty Palace. He tells them to go inside, and says he will meet them inside, if they find their way. He looks tense. \n\nWill and Bran go inside, through the door into darkness. Instantly the darkness explodes into light, and they're in a corridor made entirely of mirrors. Bran doesn't like it at all, and feels pressed in. They soon realise that they're in a maze, and they puzzle over it for a while, before working out a way through. Bran says that he really hates these mirrors. It's partly the brightness, but it's mostly all the reflecting. It's as if each reflection sucks something out of him. \n\nThey follow their plan to get through the maze, but find only a dead end. Bran is devastated. He asks Will if his magic can get them through, but Will says that it can't, not in the Lost Land. Will is sure, though, that there is something they ought to be doing. He remembers how anxious Gwion was that they remember the carving on the fountain, so he says it aloud, pointing all ten fingers at the glass as he does so. The glass glows, revealing the words, "I am the blaze on every hill", and then all the glass walls vanish. \n\n''Chapter twelve: The journey''\nThey are in a hall lined with tapestries, and Gwion is there. He says they have passed the test, and can now be set on the path to the Castle. He leads them up a spiral staircase. When he opens a locked door on the way, Will notices that his key is marked with the Sign of the Light. Gwion says that the Lost Land is full of signs from long ago, though few people now remember what they mean. \n\nThey emerge on the roof, and realise that this is the golden dome they saw at the start. Gwion points to the west, where they see a shining tower. Bran remembers seeing it when the Lost Land revealed itself in Wales, and this leads him to wondering how the others are. He'd completely forgotten them until now. Will says he thinks they're okay, but he doesn't know. He can't reach Merriman at all, though he thought that Merriman intended to be here with them. Gwion confirms this, but says that the enchantment of the Lost Land will keep Merriman away, if he missed the precise moment for breaking it. Will instinctively recognises that Gwion was once very close to Merriman. Without hope of Merriman coming, Will almost panics, but he suppresses it, and reminds Bran of the things the Lady said. \n\nGwion tells them about the Lost Land. It was never of the Light or the Dark, but had a magic of another kind - the magic of the mind and the hand and the eye. It is nothing to do with the behaviour of men, or of the great absolutes of Light and Dark. Even so, its craftsmen preferred not to work for the Dark, but did great works for the Light, including making four of the six Signs of Light. Eirias was made by a master craftsman who was close to the Light, though not of the Light. However, the Dark got wind of it, and demanded that it not be made, for they knew that in the end if would aid the Light in the last great rising. He called all the craftsmen together and said that he had this work in him - the greatest work that he would ever make - but the Dark is trying to prevent it. They all said that he should make it. \n\nThe Dark was furious, for they cannot destroy a work created for the light, or steal it, or harm its creator. But they did what they could, which was show the craftsman his own uncertainty and doubt over whether he should have made the sword at all. This led to fear, which led to despair. He made the sword, but fell into despair, and is still held prisoner by it. For the craftsman was the King, Gwyddno Garanhir. He has been held by that trap ever since.\n\nWill feels a great sense of urgency, and Gwion tells them to set off. He reminds them that is the enchantment of the Lost Land that is control now, not Light or Dark. He leads them down a stair, and they're in the gallery again, but this time all the people see them properly, and look warmly at them. Several of them wish them good luck, and one man shows them a book - the books are no longer blank - containing a picture of a young woman in the rose garden. She is the Lady, but the fountain behind her now reads "I am the queen of every hive." \n\nGwion guides them out, back to the place where they had first entered the building, where the horses are waiting for them. They mount, and the horses take them through the crowds, who all shout of greetings and best wishes. Will catches a rose thrown by a dark-haired girl, and keeps it. Bran teases him, but says that the girl who threw it wasn't as pretty as Jane. "Don't you think she's pretty, then?" Bran asks, when Will is puzzled. Will says he supposes so, but he'd never thought about it. "One good thing about you, you're uncomplicated," Bran says. Will wonders if the Drews are all right, but Bran says he should forget them, because there in the distance are the riders of the dark, heading for the tower. \n\n''Chapter thirteen: The Mari Llwyd''\nThey race the riders, seized suddenly with exilharation. After a while, the horses take them into a wood, and slow their pace. The wood is very silent, and Will feels afraid. After a while, the horses speed up, the wood thins, and soon they are out. They relax... but just then the horses rear in panic, and they both fall off. \n\nA skeleton of a giant horse is there, and it chases them on foot, playing with them. There are ribbons tied to its skull. Will is terrified, but Bran is worse, paralysed by fear. Will drags Bran to a low house, with a hawthorn tree growing out of its thatched roof. "The Mari Llwyd," Bran is whispering again and again, transfixed. Will uses his hand to shut off Bran's view of the horse, and reminds Bran that the Lady said that a white bone would prevent them, and a flying may tree will save them. Bran is able to stumble to the house. \n\nThey look out of the window, Bran clutching Will's arm so hard that he leaves a mark. The horse is outside, dancing around, looking as if it's about to charge. Will repeats once again that he can't use his magic here. But as the horse charges, a rain of petals falls from the tree on the roof, and the horse becomes just a pile of bones. The petals rise like moths, and fly away. On the back of the door, written in gold, are the words, "I am the shield for every head."\n\nBran explains that as a child he once saw a procession involving the Mari Llwyd - a man in a sheet carrying the skull of a horse. He had been terrified. If anyone had wanted to put him out of his mind with fear, this was the best way. They wonder if the Dark had anything to do with it.\n\nThe eat apples and hazlenuts from the saddlebags. As Bran talks, Will notices a mirror on the mantlepiece. He looks in it, and sees Merriman. Bran can't see him. Merriman says he is not allowed to come to them, or even speak in the ways of the Old Ones. He missed the one moment in which he could have come to the Lost Land, because the Dark caught him back to another time. The others are all right, he says. He tells Will to carry on as he has done so far, remembering the Lady's words and the other things he's been told, and tells him he can trust Gwion with his life, as Merriman himself once did. \n\nAfter Merriman has gone, Will and Bran talk about Gwion. Bran says he is "a maker" - a bard. They eat their apples and hazlenuts, then go outside, where they realise how close they are to the Castle. They also see that the hawthorn tree is now covered with red berries. When they look back, though, there is no cottage at all, only a thicket of hawthorn.\n\n''Chapter fourteen: Caer Wydyr''\nThey cannot find the horses, or the road. They head cross-country towards the castle. As they drink from a river, Will sees Bran's reflection, his hair darkened by water and shadow, and realises that he's seen him like this before - in the vision given to him right at the start of his life as an Old One. \n\nThe White Rider approaches, and taunts Will about Merriman's absence, saying that Merriman knows the danger here, and is too shrewd to be caught by it. Will says the Dark is stupid if it thinks such a lie can work on him. The White Rider orders them to go, but Will says he can't make them. No, he says, but we can make you wish you'd never come, especially "the white-haired boy". He refuses to name Bran, saying he is not yet in his power, so has no right to anything. He will never get the sword, so will remain just a normal child of the twentieth century. Once again he orders them to go back, saying the Dark will grant them safe passage. Will refuses to go back, saying they have come for the sword. The sword is for neither Light nor Dark, the White Rider says, but Will says it was made for the Light, and they will be given it, and then will leave the land safely, and there is nothing the Dark can do about it. The White Rider says he is clearly a fool to think this, and the Dark has nothing to fear from him. \n\nAfter the White Rider - who casts no shadow - has gone, Will says that the Dark is still all around them. Bran can't sense it, but can sense the sadness in the place. The continue towards the tower, and a boat comes in on the estuary. Gwion is in the boat, and he joins them. Gwion tells Bran that he is here because they need him, and that, yes, he is breaking the law that forbids those of the Lost Land not to aid the Light, and he will happily go on breaking it. \n\nThey reach the Castle, which is surrounded by seven trees. Bran seems suddenly more confident, and talks about the Seven Sleepers. Will says there were only six, but Bran says that will be seven by the end, but Riders, not Sleepers, like the Lords of the Dark. Gwion calmly turns to talk aside.\n\nThe first tree is alder, the tree of fire. The second is willow, the enchanter's tree. From each tree Gwion breaks off three twigs, so they can have one each. The third is birch. By then they are close enough to the castle to see that it's growing from a rock in the sandy estuary, and is made of shining quartz. It has no visible door. They then come to a hazel tree, for healing, and holly, and apple. Gwion says that only he can pluck the twigs, for the law says that Light and Dark cannot interfere with the Lost Land. For all its art and music, it is a harsh place, indifferent to all emotions other than those belonging to the land. The Mari Llwyd and all the other tests didn't come from the Dark, but from the lost land. Will says the magic of the Lost Land is the Wild Magic, or something very close. "A form of it," Gwion says, "and more besides." He says that he is part of this magic, but a renegade part. He loves his land very much, but no good will come to him here. \n\nGwion says that there are some things in the modern world that people in the past never dreamed of, but some things in the past were wonderful, and are now gone forever. "Forever?" Will says gently. Gwion says that any ending is only an illusion, for Time has no beginning or end. Nothing can truly end that has once had a place in Time. "Here we stand in a time long gone, that has not yet come," Will says. Bran saus suddenly that he has been here before, and Gwion says yes, he was born here, among many trees like this. \n\nThe Rider arrives, and says the time for warnings is over. Gwion says that the Dark has no power here, but the Rider tells Will not to believe this minstrel of a lost king. Will feels a premonition that the Rider will regret these words, but Gwion is expressionless as he heads to the oak, the king of trees. Will says that the Rider cannot stop them, but the Rider says he has no need. They see that the door to the tower is barred with an unbreakable enchantment, and a deadly, whirling wheel. But Will remembers the Lady's words - "only the horn can stop the wheel" - and blows the horn. The wheel stops, and is revealed to be in the shape of the Sign of Light. They climb through. Then Will takes all 21 twigs from all the 7 trees, and thrusts them back out through the wheel, at the wave of darkness and fury that is pursuing them. The wheel starts to spin again.\n\n''Chapter fifteen: The King of the Lost Land''\nThey are inside the castle, in a room that feels almost like a cave of ice. It is littered with manuscripts and objects, and looks like a workshop. There is a shield on the wall, and Gwion gives it to Will, saying it is one of three the King made for the Light. \n\nGwion leads them up some stairs towards the king. He asks Will where the Signs are, and Will says they're at Badon, and will be at the last encounter. They emerge inside a dome, furnished sparsely, like a study, and a voice asks for Gwion. Gwion speaks to him with love, and says there are two here from the Light, but the voice turns harsh, saying Gwion betrays him. "I betray you?" Gwion asks, and the unseen king says no, he knows him too well for that, but he must send the two away anyway. \n\nWill comes forward, saying that the Dark is rising, and the danger is too great. They need the sword that he guards. "I guard nothing," says the unseen king. "I exist merely." Will begs him to give them the sword, saying it was made for the Light, but the king refuses. Bran joins in, calling the sword Eirias, but the king still refuses. He says he is weary of life, and wants to be alone to forget everything.\n\nBran approaches him, and Will senses that this is the moment he is finally becoming what he is destined to be. Bran speaks in a commanding voice, telling the king that he is the Pendragon, and the sword is his birthright, made at his father's command. Finally the king turns round, letting them see his face. He says that he dreams wonderful dreams - the only things keeping him sane. In one dream, he saw a white-haired boy, son of a great father, who would bring an end and a beginning.The boy came with music, and he said...\n\nAnd Bran kneels down in front of the king, smiles, and says, as if quoting, that there are five barriers to be broken to get to the swrod, told in fives lines of verse. If he speaks them, Bran says, and breaks the tomb of his despair, will he give him the sword? The king says that he will, and Bran stands up, and recites the five lines. (see [[Verses]]). The king sighs, and the sword appears. The king walks to it, takes it down from the wall, and gives it to Bran. Will thinks Bran looks taller and more commanding now that he holds it. "Not let come what may," the king says. \n\nThe king also gives Bran a scabbard, but Will tells Bran not to sheathe the sword yet. Bran looks at him arrogantly for a moment, then is Bran again, and agrees. In the same chest as the scabbard there is also a harp, which the king gives to Gwion. The third thing in the chest is a bag full of blue glass stones. The king thinks that are probably worthless, but he gives one each to Will and Bran, as a talisman, "a piece of the dream to take away with you, from the Lost Land." \n\nThunder rumbles outside. The king no longer looks lost in despair, but there is acceptance on his face. They go out onto a balcony and see a great black storm gathering. Gwion says it is the death of the Lost Land, which must come, when the time comes. He plays his harp as darkness falls. Fireworks leap up in the city, and bells ring, as the people defy the darkness and revel in life and light one last time. A wall of water roars in from the sea. Will raises his shield, and the sword gleams in the darkness. "Lost!" the king cries, as the waves crash down. \n\nThe boat that brought Gwion is still waiting, and Gwion tells them to go. "Not without you," they tell him, but Gwion says he belongs here. They must save Eirias. Bran grabs Will and they leap into the boat. Gwion is still playing. A streak of light comes out of the sky and strikes the dome, sending the golden arrow hurtling toward them. Will raises the shield, and the arrow strikes it, vanishing in a flare of yellow light. Will falls over, dazed. The boat lurches, and he loses consciousness. When he wakes up, they're lying on a beach at sunrise.\n\n''Chapter sixteen: Sunrise''\nJane goes out along at dawn. She feels strongly that when Merriman told them to be on the beach at sunrise, he meant it particularly for her. She walks down to the sea, and on the way is disturbed to find a dead rabbit. The sun rises, and she starts running east, into golden wind-blown sand. Simon and Barney are behind her, but she runs on. Then two figures take shape in the golden clouds of sand, just as the clouds cover the sun. It is Will and Bran, and Bran is carrying a shining sword. The sword seems to pull towards the east, Bran says, and Will says it knows why it is made. Jane notices that Will looks very tired and drained, while Bran is vibrant. When Bran sheathes the sword, the Drews can no longer see it at all. \n\nWill says there's no time to tell the others what has happened. It's like a race now, racing to the east, against the rising. He tells them go back back, where they will find that things have been arranged for them so that others won't get in the way. They must do what has been arranged. He also warns them that while the Dark can't destroy them, it can put them in the way of destroying themselves. \n\nThey hear a faint thudding sound all around, and Will and Bran react instantly, standing back to back. Bran draws Eirias. The White Rider appears, knocks Simon over, and snatches up Barney. Will shouts at Jane and Simon to go back, and he and Bran both hold the hilt of the sword. "Turn," Will says, and they disappear. Jane and Simon head back to the hotel.\n\nBarney is tied up and blindfold, and gets dropped from a horse into a place where people are speaking in a language he can't understand. A man removes the blindfold and looks at Barney with eyes that reminds him of Merriman. When Barney speaks in English, the man asks if he's an English spy. Barney says he was kidnapped and brought here, but the man doesn't believe him. A soldiers brings in bad news, and the man hurries out. One of the remaining men, who says he's a bard, tells Barney that the man is Owain Glyndwr, who's raising Wales against the English. \n\nGlyndwr comes back, and demands that Barney tells him the truth or he will kill him. Barney refuses to speak, thinking he might come from the Dark. Glyndwr says he will speak once more to the one who brought him here - the light-voiced one from Tywyn, with the white horse. \n\nJust then Will and Bran appear. Glyndwr smiles at Will, greeting him in the Old Speech in his mind, and greeting him aloud in halting English, calling him Sign-seeker. Will says that Barney is with him. Eirias starts to flicker, as it did when the Dark was surrounding them in the Lost Land, and Glyndwr is horrified at the thought that there could be Dark here in his stronghold. The White Rider appears, saying there are many, and by right, because he let the first of them in. The White Rider wants Bran and the sword, saying it belongs to no-one. It was made by the Old Magic, and is merely currently in the possession of the Light. It is the tomb of every hope. \n\nThe White Rider tries to grab Bran, but the sword sheets in blue flame, and the White Rider falls back with a shriek. Glyndwr's men fight the men of the Dark, and Will realises that this is ruining Glyndwr's own plans against the English. His camp and stronghold burn. Glyndwr sadly leads them to safety, and asks Barney what century he comes from. When Will replies that it's the twentieth, he is heartened to know that the Circle stretches that far. \n\nThe Dark approaches, attacking with a sheet of flame through the bracken, and Glyndwr tells Will to go, saying he and his men will lead the Dark a merry dance. He salutes Bran, calling him "brother". Will and the others follow the path he told them to follow, and reach a natural arch. As they pass through the arch, everything whirls, and they find themselves somewhere else entirely.\n\n''Chapter seventeen: The train''\nOn the way back to the hotel, Simon and Jane reach the railway track. An old-fashioned steam train arrives, and stops. Merriman opens the door, beckoning them to come in. He tells them they're going to where Barney is, and not to worry. He tells them not to show any surprise, no matter who they meet on the train. \n\nJohn Rowlands and his wife appear, heading to Shrewsbury for shopping. They ask the children where they're going, and Merriman says, "To the Marches. The Border country. Where all the battles so often began."\n\nLots of other people arrive on the train, and they all seem to know Merriman. Simon, though, notices that they all come from the same direction... a direction in which there is no door. The people on the train comes from all over the world. For a moment, Jane thinks they see Captain Toms, but he vanishes as soon as she says his name, and she's not sure if she saw him at all. \n\nJane becomes aware of horsemen galloping outside, keeping pace with the train. Merriman tells her not to be afraid, for the cannot touch this "time-train" of theirs, for they (i.e. the Light) carry something that belongs to the Dark. \n\nThe train slows, and the sky darkens. They stop at a station, and Will, Bran and Barney get on. They start up again, and go into a tunnel. Then Jane notices that the train itself seems to melt away around them, and they're riding on a river of light. Blodwen Rowlands cries out in fear, but John reassures her. But Merriman and Will are on their feet, advancing on her, menacing and accusing. Bran draws the sword, which glows with light. John shouts at the Old Ones, telling them leave his wife along, but Bran points the sword at her. It is cowardly, he says, to shelter behind love without giving love in return - and clever to put yourself in the right place to help Bran grow up, and know everything about him. She is the White Rider, Merriman says, and their hostage for their safe passage. \n\nMrs Rowlands, the White Rider, laughs and taunts them, and John looks at her in horror. The Dark is waiting, and the Light cannot get to the tree. All the power of the Dark will fall on them when they leave the train. Eirias cannot destroy one of the Dark, she says. None but the Dark can destroy the Dark, Will agrees. Merriman banishes her from "this stream of Time," so she will go before them in this chase, and the Dark will fall on her, thinking she's the Light. In the form of a white rider, she goes.\n\n''Chapter eighteen: The river''\nMerriman tells the children that the train is heading for the Midsummer Tree in the Chiltern Hills. It is "the tree of life, the pillar of the world", and can only be seen once every 700 years. Mistletoe will bloom on it, and whoever cuts that bloom at the right time will have the right to command the Old Magic and the Wild Magic, to drive all rival powers out of the world and out of Time. Because they have Eirias, the Light has the advantage. Bran has to keep the sword safe, and the others keep Bran safe. \n\nThe train seems to melt away, and becomes a boat. Barney is overjoyed and excited, crying out in joy. Merriman says that they need this emotion as much as they need the sword. Their boat is one of many, sailing through the mist, and there is a mounted army waiting on the bank. The mist hides them again, but there is the sound of fighting. Merriman says it is the Battle of Badon - "the first making and breaking of your land." \n\nA large boat comes out of the mist towards them, and Arthur is in it, wearing the Signs around his neck. He says that the enemy is defeated for now, and asks Bran to show him the sword. He returns the Signs to Will. Arthur asks Bran if he will come with him, once everything is over, to his "silver-circled castle at the back of the North Wind, where there is peace beneath the stars, and the apple orchards grow." Bran, looking overjoyed and fully alive, says yes. Arthur says that this time the rest will be forever, but last time it didn't last. Badon only won a score of years, then the Saxons come, and the world world dies. But Merriman says that men flee westwars, to the corners of the land where the Light always remains, and over time the invaders get gentled and tames. And one of the people fleeing carries the grail, ready for the last and final repelling of the Dark. Arthur says he doesn't forget the hope promised in the future, but mourns to pain suffered in his time. \n\nArthur departs for now. John Rowland stirs, and asks Merriman if she was always of the Dark. Was none of it real? Will thinks this is the first time he has ever heard Merriman at a loss for an answer. Merriman says when those of the Light or Dark live in the world as men do, they feel and see and hear as men do. "If you prick us, we bleed, if you tickle us, we laugh - only, if you poison us, we do not die, and there are certain feelings and perceptions in us that are not in you." In the last resort, these have dominion over the others. John's life with Blodwen was real, and she felt it as he did, but the other part of her nature existed, too, and more powerfully. John shouts that his whole life was a lie. Merriman looks sad and weary, and asks if it would have been any less of a lie if the Light had now shown him the truth. John curses both Light and Dark. "Why couldn't you leave us alone?" \n\nThe Rider appears, each person seeing him differently. The Drews see Mr Hastings, Bran sees the Lord of the Dark from the Lost Land, Will sees the red-haired Rider on his black horse. The Rider calls a challenge, saying that Bran doesn't belong in this time or in this quest. The boat slows. Heralded by swans, the Lady appears, in her own boat, and says that the challenge holds. The Dark has invoked the High Law, and the High Magic must hear the challenge before things can continue. She freezes Bran in Time, and bids the Rider state his challenge.\n\n''Chapter nineteen: The Rising''\nThe Rider chooses John Rowlands as the one who will judge in his challenge. The Lady tells John that he must listen to the arguments, and decide on the basis of merit, not fear or favour. His decision will be binding. "Must?" John asks, but the Lady says there is no compulsion, but the High Magic asks him this favour. The fate of the world of men is being decided, so no-one but a man ought to decide. Hasn't John himself said that? John agrees.\n\nWill is aware of a huge gathering of Old Ones, watching in the mist. The Rider states his case. Bran was brought into the future to be brought up, because his mother feared that her husband would not forgive her for being unfaithful. However, Arthur would have forgiven over time, if given the chance, but Merriman didn't give him that choice. He took the child away, because she had asked... but took him to a time and place of his own choosing. Merriman took him to place he needed to be to fulfil the prophecies. In other words, the Light cheated. Bran must be sent back to the time where he belongs. John asks what language they were speaking then, and is told that it was Latin. "He has very little Latin," John says, wondering how someone can be said to belong in a place whose language he doesn't know. \n\nMerriman says that it doesn't matter how Bran came to this time and place. What matters is that he now belongs here, bound by friendship and love. "Such loving bonds," he says, "are outside the control even of the High Magic, for they are the strongest thing on all this earth." \n\nMrs Rowlands' voice sounds out of the mist, calling in anguish to John. She was possessed, she says. It wasn't her fault. If John helps the Dark, they will free her and they can resume their life together. John looks at Merriman, Will and the Lady, but their faces make no appeal to counter the appeal of the Dark. John turns to Blodwen and says that he doesn't believe in possession. He believes in free will, and free choice. She chose to ally herself with the Dark, or else isn't really human, and is of the Dark. And as for Bran, he has those loving bonds with people here, in this world, and that is more important than any question of how and why he came here. Also, Bran has chosen by free choice of aid the Light, and John will respect that choice. Therefore he rules that Bran belongs in this quest, and the High Magic confirms it. \n\nThe Lady releases Bran from the spell, and Bran raises the sword. The boats continue forward, as the Dark surges up like a tornado in the sky. Everything darkens, with the sword as the only light. Suddenly the mist parts, and they are no longer in the boat, but on a green slope. They climb the hill, and reach a small beech wood topping a chalk hill. A huge oak tree is there, and with a clump of mistletoe on it. Merriman tells Bran to cut it only when every bud has opened in flower - neither before, not after. The role of the rest of them is to keep Bran safe while he does this.\n\nThe first blossom opens, and the Dark comes rising. It is darkess, lurid colours, horror, sickness, awfulness. The Drews collapse to the ground. Then six horsemen - the Sleepers - ride through the sky, and a seventh joins them. This is Herne, followed by his hounds, and they all ride after the Dark, causing the huge tornado of the Dark to disperse, except for the Rider and the White Rider, in their full power, who ride out of the sky towards the tree. \n\nWill rips off the Signs from the chain, and orders the Drews to take one each and form a circle. Simon takes iron, Jane bronze and Barney wood. Merriman takes fire, Bran takes light, and Will has stone. They stand in circle around the tree, holding off the riders, just as the last blossom opens up. Bran struggles one-handed with the sword, and the Rider almost breaks through, but John appears at his side, seizing the Sign and holding it up. Bran, free to use both arms, cuts the mistletoe, and Merriman catches it and throws it into the air. It turns into a white bird. The Signs blaze, and vanish, and as they do so, the two Riders fall backwards out of Time. \n\n''Chapter twenty: One goes alone''\nThere is a place where cloud looks like a river in the sky. Herne vanishes into it, and Arthur sails out of it, on his boat, Pridwen. Arthur kneels to the Lady, saying that her boatman awaits. "It is done," says the Lady. "Our task is accomplished, and we may leave the last and longest task to those who inherit this world and all its perilous beauty." She looks at each of the Drews in farewell, then turns to John. He could have chosen "unseeing happiness", but gave it up. She cannot give him Blodwen, but can give him forgetfulness. He will return to his own life, to find that Blodwen has had an accident. The Lady can make it so that John remembers only his human wife, and mourns her, without memory of everything else. \n\nThat would be living a lie, John says, but Merriman says it wouldn't. He did indeed love her, and there was no lie in that. "Every human being who loves another loves imperfection, for there is no perfect being on this earth - nothing is so simple as that." John says he cannot choose, and asks the Lady to decide. She says that he will walk away, and will find himself back in his own valley, and then he will know what she chose for him. He walks away, speaking to Bran in Welsh as he passes. After he's gone, the Lady says that he will forget. "It is better so."\n\nThe Lady enters Arthur's boat. All the other Old Ones of the world, like a ghostly throng, get on the boat. As well as the Old Ones, Will also sees Hawkin there, and Gwion, and the king of the Lost Land. Arthur holds his hand out to Bran, and Bran rushes towards him, then pauses. Arthur urges him to come to the castle at the back of the North Wind. "Now it is all a matter for men." But Bran says he cannot come. "I belong here," he says, quoting Gwion in the Lost Land. If it is a matter for men, men are going to have a hard time of it, and perhaps Bran can help. Even if he can't, he has loving bonds here, and Merriman said that these are the strongest things in the world. \n\nMerriman says that if he stays, he will give up his identity in the High Magic, and will remember nothing. He will never be able to go out of Time, and he will never see Arthur again. Arthur and Bran look at each other, but Arthur smiles, saying Bran should go where he feels he should go. They embrace, and Bran gives Eirias to Arthur. Arthur enters the boat, which sails away across the sky. After it has gone, Bran says that John's last words to him were "see you later." He knew what Bran would choose, because he knew Bran. Bran asks Merriman if she chose right, and Merriman says that it was, "for you and for the world."\n\nMerriman says that he, too, is departing. Time passes even for Old Ones, and his time here is done. There is other work for him to do elsewhere. He tells the children to look at the beautiful place where they stand, and keep it alive. As they look, everything flickers, and they're back in Wales, on a hill overlooking the sand. They will never see him again, Merriman says, "except my Will the watchman there." This is only right. This is their world now. The Light has delivered them from evil, but evil remains inside men, and this is for men to control. \n\n"The responsibility and the hope and the promise are in your hands - your hands and the hands of the children of all the men on this earth. The future cannot blame the present, just as the present cannot blame the past. The hope is always here, always alive, but only your fierce caring and fan it into a fire to warm the world." Drake is no longer sleeping, and Arthur is gone. There is no second coming. "The world is yours and it is up to you. Now especially since man has the strength to destroy this world, it is the responsibility of men to keep it alive, in all its beauty and marvellous joy." Bad things will still happen, because men are still imperfect, but if they work and care and are watchful, "as we have tried to be for you", then bad will never triumph over good. "And the gifts put into some men, that shine as bright as Eirias the sword, shall light the dark corners of life for all the rest, in so brave a world."\n\n"We'll try," Simon promises. "We'll try our best." \n\nMerrima urges them to be on good cheer. None of them will remember this, because they are mortal and must live in the present time. They will forget everything, except perhaps in dreams. Only Will will remember. He embraces them all, and climbs the hill, where he stands, an image they will all remember in dreams forever. Then he raises his hand, points at them...\n\nAnd the children are there on the hillside, watching the view. Bran finds a blue stone in his pocket, and gives it to Jane. Barney says he hears music... but, no, it must have been the wind. "I think it's time we were setting out," Will says. "We've got a long way to go."
''Appearance:'' Simon is not clearly described, though he is several times called "tall." In [[Greenwitch]], though, Jane is the same height as him. However, by [[Silver on the Tree]], over a year later, he is a lot taller than Jane, having grown a lot recently. He is described as being all arms and legs. \n\n''Age:'' Simon is 11 in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], 11 or 12 in [[Greenwitch]] and 13 in [[Silver on the Tree]]. (See [[How old are the children in each book?]] for reasoning.)\n\n''Facts and figures:'' \n- Aged 10 - i.e. "this time last year", as stated by Jane in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] - Simon's ambition was to go to sea. Aged 11, he's first states that he's changed his mind, but all the boats in Trewissick apparently change his mind back again, and he asks [[Mr Penhallow]] if he can join the merchant navy when he's 16. He sticks with this sea ambition for a few more years, but by the time of [[Silver on the Tree]], he has recently decided to follow in his father's footsteps and be a doctor. The decision is causing his siblings some annoyance, as he is now given to correcting them when they say things like "it's in his blood."\n- A sneak peek into Simon's pockets: "His knife", a very dirty handkerchief, a scratched compass, "two and sevenpence-ha'penny" (original edition of the book) or 50p pieces (later editions of the book), a stump of a candle, two screwed up bus tickets, a pen, and four toffees.\n- Simon is about to go to a new boarding school after the end of [[Silver on the Tree]]\n- Not long before the [[Silver on the Tree]], Simon played Prospero in a school production of "The Tempest." \n- In [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], Barney says that Simon can dive pretty well.\n- However, three years ago, during a dinghy race on the Thames, he was once trapped underneath a capsized boat, and the terror of this is something that can resurface - as it does when he is pushed into the water in [[Silver on the Tree]]. This is his "secret and terrible fear". \n- In the easter holidays of Greenwitch, he had been going to go to a "sort of ecology conference."\n\n\n''Character''\nI am not going to do a character study of any of the major characters, because this is something for readers to make their own minds up about, from reading the books. Snippets, though:\n- Fond of acting the big brother. A tendency towards self-importance. "I'm the oldest and I'm in charge" he says once. When the children are exploring the [[Grey House]], he talks about how Barney ought to be calling him Sir. Holding the telescope "made him feel pleasantly important." When he works out how to get to the place the grail is hidden, he is "pink with importance." When Will first sees him, Simon has "an air of self-conscious authority."\n- However, he doesn't hold a grudge when corrected, and is good humoured when people point out that he's been behaving arrogantly. (e.g. in Over Sea, Under Stone, when he calls Barney a "fathead" for saying that Trewissick has a harbour master, then says "Oh well," amiably, when Barney points out that he's wrong.) \n- When they are "exploring" the Grey House, he is very fond of imagining that they will find untold riches and money.\n- He is willing to fight with his fists. When [[Bill Hoover]] knocks Jane over, Simon makes to fight him, but Jane holds him back. Later he joins in when [[Evan Rowlands]] and [[Caradog Lewis]] are fighting.\n- He initially resents Will in [[Greenwitch]] and encourages Barney to do the same. He is the last of them to accept that Will is more than he seems. By [[Silver on the Tree]], though, he is the first to trust Will. Having Will present, he says, is the same as having Merriman there - a statement that surprises Jane. In the final rising, he calls out to Will, rather than to Merriman.\n- Less sensitive than the others. At one point, when something magical is happening, it is stated that "Jane, Barney and even Simon" could sense it, implying that normally Simon would not be able to. \n- We seem to see less through Simon's eyes than through the others' eyes. Jane has her connection with the Greenwitch, and then with the Lady. Barney is sensitive through his art, and is able to see visions in the Grail. Simon does not have a similar magical connection, or a story that is entirely his own. \n- In the final rising, he takes the Sign of Iron. Is this significant? It can be if you want it to be ;-)\n\n''What he does in the sequence''\nI'm not going to go into any detail, but here is a quick list of some of the particularly "Simon" moments in the books:\n- In [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] he runs with the map, chased by [[Bill Hoover]]. He ends up hiding in the undergrowth in the house inhabited by [[Mr Hastings]], until Merriman comes up and saves him\n- In the final confrontation, Mr Hastings grabs his arm and threatens to break it\n- He particularly resents Will in [[Greenwitch]], more than the others do\n- He doesn't drink the painter's drugged drink, which allows him to keep his memories of Barney looking into the Grail. He has to do a good acting job to pretend that he's forgotten it. \n- In [[Silver on the Tree]], when all the children are snatched by the Dark and taken into the past, Simon steps in in a fight, and is thrown into the water, where he would have drowned had Merriman not arrived and saved him. \n\n
The Dark is Rising: a fanfic writer's guide
The six Sleepers are sleeping somewhere, and have been sleeping for centuries. The Old Ones know only that they need to be awakened in time for the Rising, but they don't know where the resting place is. They suspect it is in Wales, because that's where the [[Grey King]] has chosen to make his home. (They do, of course, sleep under Cader Idris, next to Tal y Llyn.)\n\nThe Old Ones also don't even what sort of creatures the Sleepers may be. \n\nThe Sleepers are awakened by the playing of the golden harp. These are silvery-grey glinting figures, riding horses of the same colour. They wear tunics and cloaks, and each have a sword at their side. Two wear hoods, and their leader wears a metal circlet around his head, though it's not a crown. \n\nBran keeps on saying that there are seven Sleepers, and in the final Rising, [[Herne]] joins the other six, and leads them through the sky, driving away the Dark.\n\n\n
Here are the specific named spells that are used on the sequence. As well as these spells, there are references to "the Cold Spells", and also to spell-songs. When Will is releasing the golden harp from his own spell, he has to sing in the Old Speech. \n\nMost spells seem to be placed with a few words in the Old Speech, though as we see in [[Greenwitch]], they can be done through other media, such as painting.\n\n''The spell of Mana \nThe spell of Reck\nThe spell of Lir''\nThese three are the spells that can be used to summon the Greenwitch before it goes to the great depths. The spells harness the magic with which the Greenwitch is made, and cause it to listen to the requests of those who make the spells. Both Light and Dark can use these spells. [[The painter]] puts the spells into his painting, and tries to command the Greenwitch, though it all goes horribly wrong.\n\nThe spell of Lir is also used in [[The Dark is Rising]]. It is engraved on Mrs Stanton's ring, and the [[Rider]] uses it in the spell to bind Mary. \n\n"Mana" and "Lir" suggest Manannán mac Lir, ("Manawydan ap Llyr" in Welsh), a Celtic sea god, who gave his name to the Isle of Man. See for more on him.\n\n''The spell of Helledd''\nWill casts this spell in [[The Grey King]], when he and Bran are making for Bird Rock. It is a spell that grants a wanderer freedom to move without compulsion through an enemy's land. He knows it can't last for long, but it's not clear if this is because the spell is always time limited, or because the Grey King's power is very great. \n\n''The Spell of Caer Garadawg''\nWill casts this when hiding the golden harp. It makes the harp invisible to everyone, and impossible to remove. Only the song of an Old One can make it visible again, or remove it. \n\n\n\n
Stephen is Will's oldest brother. He is fifteen years older than Will, making him around 26 at the start of the sequence. \n\nWill sometimes calls Stephen "Steve."\n\nHis eyes are blue. \n\nStephen has been in the Navy "for years", and seldom comes home. He has spent some time stationed in Jamaica. His rank is Lieutenant. When he is on leave during Silver on the Tree, he isn't sure if he'll be sent back to Jamaica, or somewhere else. \n\nMiss Greythorne once caught Stephen climbing an almond tree in the ground of her Manor, and made some comment about powder monkeys. Now, many years later, Stephen wonders if she knew he was going to go into the Navy.\n\nStephen used to sleep in an attic bedroom at the top of the house, but he gave that room to Will when he was home on leave a few months before [[The Dark is Rising]]. He lets Will keep the room when he's home again in [[Silver on the Tree]]. \n\nWill is very attached to Stephen. Stephen always sends Will a present for his birthday and a separate one for Christmas, only once combining the two. When Will thinks Stephen hasn't sent a present, he is very disappointed. When Will was younger, he used to follow Stephen around like a shadow, "in silent devotion."\n\nHis encounters with Old Ones around the world have caused Stephen to ask questions about Will. Will tells him the truth, but realised that Stephen can't cope with it. He makes Stephen forget.\n\nStephen feels very strongly about Mr Moore's racism, and speaks passionately about deprivation in the countries he's visited. He talks about Calcutta, but it's not clear if this is because he's visited it, or because that's where some of the immigrants come from, that Mr Moore is objecting to. \n\nJen Evans tells Will that he looks just like Stephen did at his age.\n\nStephen usually acts cool and composed. Will has always seen him as a symbol of everything that is "fulfilled, complete, grown-up".
Here are rough summaries of what happens in each chapter. There are not intended for people who have not yet read the books, but as an aide memoir for those who have. \n\n[[Over Sea, Under Stone]]\n[[The Dark is Rising]]\n[[Greenwitch]]\n[[The Grey King]]\n[[Silver on the Tree]]
Tethys is the queen of the deep oceans - more like a goddess, perhaps. She is of the [[Wild Magic]], so is not of the Light or the Dark. She cannot help either, but cannot hinder either. The Light and Dark cannot command her, though, as Merriman shows, they can bargain.\n\nWhen Will and Merriman go down into the deeps, Tethys is a presence only, and never seen. Her voice speaks from everywhere in their mind, in the Old Speech. "She was a presence merely, she was the sea itself." They hear her when they are in a deep abyss at the very depths of the ocean. She is surrounded by her court - the creatures of the sea, watching unseen in the darkness. Will says it is a cold world, without any kindness or pity. Down in the deeps, it is a harsh place of kill or be killed. \n\nNo Old One has been into Tethys' realm for 1500 years, when Merriman and, presumably, Arthur went. She calls the Old Ones "Old Ones of the Earth", and calls Merriman "hawk," without a capital letter. When she is angry, the creatures of the sea rise up and attack, and the sea swirls with flashing and lashing.\n\nTethys is also called the White Lady. She is pleased when Merriman shows her the picture of a boat with this name, since it is proof that even after all these years, the people don't forget. The Greenwitch was originally an offering to Tethys.
Gramarye, as Merriman explains, just means Knowing. The Book of Gramarye, concealed in the nineteenth century inside a clock, is a small, black-covered book. Merriman calls it the oldest book in the world.\n\nIt is written in the Old Speech, so that only an Old One can read it, and use the spells therein. Although the Dark can't use it as such, they could still find some use for it, so it is destroyed after Will uses it. \n\nWhen Will reads it, he experiences everything that he reads. The pages have chapter titles or headings, followed by a line of verse or an image, but he's immediately transported into the midst of the thing he's reading about. \n\nHe flies as an eagle. He learns the spells to control the elements, and flies through the universe, with the stars and planets. He goes down into the deeps, and learns the spells of river and sea - and learns that water cannot tolerate magic, and will wash it away as if it has never been made. He learns about the trees, and sees the history of the Old Ones. \n\nIn the early times, magic was in the rocks and fire and water and living things, "and the first men lived in it and with it, as a fish lives in the water." He sees Old Ones during the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age, and waves of invaders attacking Britain with the Dark, then growing peaceful and tamed. \n\nAt the very end, he sees himself walking along an Old Way. The book ends with the verse:\nI have plundered the fern\nThrough all secrets I spie;\nOld Math ap Mathonwy\nKnew no more than I\n(see [[Verses]] for a bit more on this verse.)\n\nAt the end he feels overwhelmed, and rather melancholy.\n\nThe book of Gramarye is destroyed after Will has read it. \n\n
''Chapter one: Midwinter's Eve''\n[[Will Stanton]] is reading on the window-seat in his family home when his brother, [[James Stanton]], joins him, raging about his siblings. They go out to feed the rabbits, and to get hay from the nearby farm. On the way out, the radio makes a strange noise as Will passes, and the rabbits seem scared of him. On the way to the farm, they notice a tramp in the woods. They tell [[Farmer Dawson]] about the tramp, causing him to say "The Walker is abroad. And this night will be bad, but tomorrow will be beyond imagining." It is Will's birthday tomorrow, so Farmer Dawson gives him a present - a black metal circle, quartered with a cross - and tells him to keep it safe. \n\nThe farm dogs are also scared of Will, and the rooks are acting strangely. On the way home, the boys see the rooks attack the tramp and drive him away. Will feels that someone is trying to tell him something urgently, but in such a way that he isn't able to understand it. He also realises that James has forgotten all about the rook attack unnaturally quickly. \n\nAt the family supper, we meet the rest of the family. It starts to snow, which excites Will very much, since he's always wanted snow for his birthday. Later, when he's in bed, he is struck with a terrible feeling of fear, and when the skylight bursts open, he screams. His brother, [[Paul Stanton]], comes in and comforts him, and they swap beds. \n\n''Chapter two: Midwinter day''\nWill is woken by beautiful music, but when he opens his eyes, it's gone. Outside is covered with snow. Then he hears the music again, and when he looks out again, the houses have gone, and there are only trees. None of his family wake up when he shouts, so he goes outside. He walks towards the Dawsons' farm, and comes to a smithy, with a black horse outside. Its rider is talking to the smith, who is [[John Smith]] from the farm. Will speaks to him, and the [[Rider]] joins in the conversation, offering Will food, which he refuses. When the horse is shod, the Rider offers to take Will on his journey, but Will refuses, saying he's out to find the Walker. The Rider tries to snatch Will anyway, but John Smith intervenes. He then gives Will food, and a few words of advice, such as telling him to keep to the safety of the road.\n\nA white horse appears, and John Smith tells Will to mount her. Will does, but realises he's supposed to go on on foot, so does so. As he goes, he sees that the smith is shoeing the horse - its first ever shoes - with the circle quartered with a cross. \n\nWill continues on his way, and meets the tramp again, whom he calls the [[Walker]]. The Walker asks to see the Sign - the metal circle Farmer Dawson gave Will the day before - but then the Rider appears. The Rider threatens Will, pointing out that he's left the safety of the road, but the white horse appears, and Will is able to mount her. She takes him into the hills, where she throws him off. He lands in front of two great carved wooden doors that lead to nowhere.\n\n''Chapter three: The Sign-seeker''\nWill opens the doors and finds himself in a great hall, its walls covered with tapestries. There are two people beside the fire-place - a tall man, [[Merriman Lyon]], and an old lady, the [[Lady]]. Merriman starts to light a ring of candles. They greet him and ask him to bring the final candle to complete the ring, which he does. \n\nMerriman and the lady explain everything to Will. Now he's eleven, he has come into his powers as an Old One, though the powers are still weak and confused, not yet fully focused. As a demonstration of the powers, Merriman puts an image into Will's mind (a coastal landscape that Merriman seems homesick for) and Will does the same to Merriman. He also gets Will to make a candle go out just with the power of his mind, but Will, wanting to fail, tries to put the fire out instead. He succeeds, and he's initially scared, but then accepts his powers, and gets the fire to burn again. \n\nMerriman explains about the Old Ones, saying that Will is the first one to be born in 500 years, and the last. His task is to make the circle of Old Ones complete - the circle that's been growing for 4000 years. He is the Sign-seeker, and his quest is to find the six Signs of the Light (see [[The Signs]]) - the first of which he already has. The Dark is rising, Merriman says, and intones the prophetic poem about how six will turn it back. (see [[Verses]])\n\nOne by one, Merriman raises the candles, and each ones gives Will a flash of a vision - a may tree growing out of a house; four standing stones on a headland; the grinning white skull of a horse; lightning striking a beech tree, making fire on a hillside; a boy not much older than himself, with a dark face and light hair and car-like eyes; a river in floor and a wizened old man on a horse beside it; a masked man with the head of a stag, the eyes of an owl, the ears of a wolf and the body of a horse.\n\nWill then hears voices from outside - a frightened puppy, whimpering, and then his mother crying for help. Despite Merriman's warning, Will rushes to the door, and as he does so, he brushes against the large candlestick there, burning the quartered-cross into his forearm as he does so. The crying disappears. The lady eases the pain of Will's arm. Merriman warns Will that the Dark is trying to get a hold over him while he's still not fully in his powers, and that they will be very strong until Twelfth Night. \n\nThe Dark assaults them again, and Merriman tells Will to stand around the circle of candles, holding hands with himself and the Lady. The candles grow into a pillar of flame, and with their minds, Will and the others make it strike at the Dark. In triumph, Will breaks the Circle, allowing the Dark to gain the upper hand again. The Lady stops them, but the strain is too great, and she fades away. Merriman sternly tells Will that it was all his fault, then relents, saying that the Dark was so strong that the result would have been the same whatever Will did.\n\nThey emerge from the doors. Merriman explains to Will that he's come back hundreds of years in time, and is walking where the village will later be. Old Ones can travel through Time at will, he explains. Merriman says that the next stage of the quest will start when the Walker finds Will. Until then he is to wait, and not draw the attention of the Dark. \n\nBack inside, Will's family wake up, wakened by the shout he gave right at the start of the previous chapter.\n\n''Chapter four: The Walker on the old way''\nTwo days later, Will is returning on the bus from a Christmas shopping trip. He's spent those days as a normal boy, barely thinking about his other life. He decides to take a short-cut home, along Tramps' Alley. As he walks, he is suddenly siezed with the urge to experiment with his powers, and makes a branch burn. It does burn, in a fierce and unnatural fashion, and he can't put it out. Drawn by the fire, the Walker appears, and Will commands him to give him the second sign. The Walker whimpers, saying the sign is really heavy and he's been carrying it for long years, but he's not sure he can trust Will. Will ends up commanding him as an Old One, and the Walker obeys. \n\n[[Maggie Barnes]], who works on the Dawsons' Farm, wanders up. She says that the "tramp" has stolen an ornament of hers - the Sign. Will realises she's one of the Dark, and tries to find a way to order her to leave, but doesn't know how to. She freezes Will and the Walker, and takes both signs, but as soon as they're next to each other, Merriman comes. He raises an avenue of flame, and drives Maggie away. He then tells Will that he was able to defeat her by knowing her name, and because of the power of the road, whose real name is Oldway Lane - one of the Old Ways that have a power of their own. If he hadn't been on the lane when he called fire, all the dark things in the land would have swooped on him. \n\nMerriman releases the Walker, who's been frozen in Time, and sends him away for a while, to place he can rest. This, he explains, is the power of the Old Ways.\n\n''Chapter five: Christmas Eve''\nChristmas Eve in the bustling Stanton family. A group of them go out to the Dawsons' farm to get a Yule log, where [[Old George]] gives Will some holly, saying it's good against the Dark. Back home, they decorate the house, and Will finds a small box that contains carved wooden letters. Will's mother explains that Farmer Dawson carved one for each child - their initial carved in wood. The initial "T" leads Mrs Stanton to tell Will about their first son, Tom, who died after only three days. Only Will didn't have a carved letter, but instead had the familiar quartered circle. (Mr Stanton calls it a mandala.) This is missing, and Will concludes that the Dark got hold of it somehow. \n\nWill plasters the house with holly. After dinner, a group of them goes out carol singing, and they sing their way through the village. They end up at the manor, where [[Miss Greythorne]] lives. Her usual butler is away, and Merriman has taken his place. Inside the manor, Will and James sing "Good King Wenceslas", and Will realises that the rest of his family have been frozen in Time. Instead, Merriman is singing with him, and Merriman takes his hand and leads him down the hallway, through the great carved doors that have suddenly appeared, and into the past.\n\n''Chapter six: The Book of Gramarye''\nWill finds himself in a crowded room, where everyone is wearing nineteenth century clothes. A younger version of Miss Greythorne welcomes them. She explains that everyone is gathered to renew the Sign of Wood, which has to be remade every year. As Will watches, she reaches up to the panelling over the fireplace and takes out the wooden sign. Merriman takes it, breaks it and throws it into the fire. When the fire is extinguished, Miss Greythorne takes out the log from the fire, breaks away the blackened bits, and reveals a new sign at its heart. She can't give it to Will in this century, so asks him to watch while she puts it back into the panelling. \n\nA small man in green is waiting on the Old Ones, and calls Merriman "my lord". After the ceremony, he beckons to Will to follow him. His name is [[Hawkin]], he says, and he's not an Old One. Will questions him about how he's been able to travel into the past - what if he alters the past. Hawkin explains that this is impossible. He was really there in 1875, and, if history books had been written about this party, he would appear in it - though Old Ones are careful not to get their names into history books. \n\nMerriman arrives, and tells Will that Hawkin came from the thirteenth century, and has been brought into 1875 to perform one task. Will is about to learn all about his powers, Merriman explains. Most of what is commonly called "magic" is nonsense, but the true magic of the Old Ones is contained in one book - [[The Book of Gramarye]]. As he speaks, he reaches into the grandfather clock, with his hand on Hawkin's shoulder as he does so, which Hawkin seems to find stressful. Will takes it, and remarks in surprise that it's in English, but Merriman says that, no, it's in the Old Speech, which Will instinctively spoke as soon as he came into his power - thus causing the Rider to recognise him. He then leaves Will to read the book.\n\n''Chapter eight: Betrayal''\nWill reads the book - though it's not like conventional reading. He experiences the things he reads about, and a vast amount of knowledge is instantly downloaded into his brain. He flies through the stars, plunges into the seas, explores the trees, and sees the history of the Old Ones. (see [[The Book of Gramarye]] for more.)\n\nAfterwards, he feels heavy, overwhelmed. Merriman comes in and puts the book back into the clock, this time letting it strike the pendulum. It is instantly destroyed, because no-one else will ever need it, since Will is the last Old One. He explains that this was the protection over the book - that if anyone reached for it and touched the thing protecting it (which in this century is a clock), they and the book would be destroyed. Only Old Ones were immune to the spell of destruction. \n\nBack in the nineteenth century party, Will sees that Maggie Barnes is there, and that she's approaching Hawkin. Merriman, pained, explains that he made the worst mistake an Old One could make - he "put more trust in a mortal man than he has the strength to take." Hawkin was part of the protection on the book. Merriman could only take the book out if he was touching Hawkin - but if he'd made any slip and touched the clock, Hawkin would have been destroyed. Hawkin knew this and accepted it... until the moment came, when it became too much. \n\nHawkin and Maggie talk, with Will and Merriman listening in, using their gifts. (Will doesn't initially remember that he can do this.) She says that Hawkin's master doesn't care for him, but the Dark would be a kinder master. Hawkin follows her, to hear more. Merriman stops listening, but says that Hawkin will now turn to the Dark, and will betray him. The Dark cannot come in uninvited, but Hawkin can let them in. Now he is liege to the Dark, the Light cannot touch him. \n\nWill returns to his own time, where the carol-singing is just finishing. There is punch and conversation after the singing, which leads Miss Greythorne to ask her "butler" to take Paul into another room to show him her collection of flutes and recorders. Will goes too. While Paul is playing Greensleaves very magically on a flute, Will is able to reach up to the panelled fireplace and retrieve the sign of wood.\n\nMaggie Barnes appears, glaring at Paul, and the Rider is there, too, also arrested by Paul's music. The Rider reaches out to Paul, but Will throws up a protection and shouts to Merriman. The Rider and Maggie vanish. \n\nOn the way home, Will is entranced, looking at the stars with his new knowledge, but hides it. Back at home, the presents are put out, and everyone goes to bed.\n\n''Chapter nine: Christmas Day''\nWill is overjoyed to find a present from his beloved older brother, [[Stephen Stanton]], who seemed to have forgotten his birthday. It is a large crate containing an outlandish carnival head - head like a deer, ears like a dog, face like a man, eyes like a bird. In the letter, Stephen explains that an old man came up to him and asked him to give it to Will, explaining that "there is a look we Old Ones have. Our families have something of it, too."\n\nAs they are opening presents, a visitor comes. Mr Stanton calls him Mr Mitothin, and says he's kindly come to deliver Mrs Stanton her ring, but Will recognises him as the Rider. Hiding the mask, he freezes his family in time, and orders the Rider out, but the Rider says he's been invited in by the master of the house. Will tries for stronger magic, but the Rider says that such a weapon would blast his family out of Time forever. Will isn't a master yet, he says, and nothing he or anyone does will stop the Dark from rising. He then breaks Will's spell, returning his family to life. He then takes a hair from Mary's sleeve, and admires the birth signs on the tree, especially the M, which is hanging upside-down and looks like a W. After he's gone, Will finds that his letter from Stephen has gone.\n\nAfter breakfast, some of the family go to church. During the service, Will becomes aware that the Dark is gathering outside. After the service, most people leave, and Farmer Dawson and the other Old Ones of the village gather. Paul and the Rector are the only humans left, and soon even they can sense the Dark. The Rector tries to exorcise it, but the other Old Ones tell Will to put up a protection around him and Paul, saying that of all of them, only Will can do this. The Dark attacks, in whirling wind and snow and rooks, and the Circle of Old Ones stands, but only just, until Will uses the three signs, and the Dark disappears. The signs glow, leading him to the fourth sign, the Sign of Stone, hidden in the wall of the church.\n\nPaul and the Rector come back to their senses, and Will says things about Time that are not the words of a boy. When he sees Paul looking at him in fear, he can't bear it, and erases their memories. \n\nOn the way home, a rook leads Will to finding the Walker collapsed in the snow. Paul suggests they take him home. In the evening, the radio tells of incredibly heavy snow falls across the country.\n\nIn the middle of the night, Will wakes up to find Merriman there. Merriman leads him outside, where he sees of procession of boys in old-fashioned clothing, carrying a woven bier that contains a dead wren. Then the wren changes and becomes the Lady. Just before the procession vanishes, one of the boys sings the "When the Dark comes rising" poem, but adds an extra verse. Will is urged to beware of the snow.\n\n''Chapter ten: The coming of the cold''\nTwo days later. The snow has been falling constantly, and Will's family begins to get stressed and upset by it. The Walker wakes up and is terrified by the Signs on Will's belt.\n\nDays pass. New Year comes and goes unnoticed. The radio reports the worst cold spell ever, and urges people to stay at home if at all possible. It takes hours to shovel a path out to the village shop, where they encounter Merriman, who passes on Miss Greythorne's invitation to everyone in the village to stay at the Manor, where there is food and fuel. As he does so, the Rider passes. Mr Stanton refuses the invitation, saying it's too "feudal", but Merriman urges Will to make sure the Walker is taken to the Manor. After trying persuasion, Will forces the Signs in the Walker's face, knowing he will scream in terror. The Walker needs the doctor, he tells his family, and the doctor is at the Manor. \n\nMr Stanton, Robin, Paul and Will go to the Manor with the Walker. Urged by Merriman, Will stares into the fire, and is taken back to the stone hall where he first met Merriman. The Lady is there, and she tells him he needs to break the grip of the cold, by finding the Sign of Fire. "One sign of fire you already have with you," she says. "The other waits." She tells him he needs to complete a circle of candles.\n\nMr Stanton intends to go back again, but lingers at the Manor awhile. Dr Armstrong reveals that Will is the seventh son of a seventh son. The Walkers tells Will that the Rider will come for him, and he calls the Dark "my people." In his mind, Merriman tells Will that the Rider will indeed come, but it's better done here, in the protected Manor, than in Will's home, with his unprotected family. \n\nThe people in the Manor have a concert. Will sings a song about walking a long road, but always finding the way home, and the Walker draws closer, longing on his face. Paul plays the flute, and as he does so, the Dark gathers outside. There is a crashing knock at the door, that the mortals cannot hear. Will opens the door, and the Rider is outside. Will throws up an arm in defence, and the Rider falls back. Will realises that the Rider was recoiling from the burn on his forearm - the burn in the shape of a Sign. However, he realises that by opening the door, he's let the Rider see the Walker, and this has given the Walker strength to launch his attack. \n\nThe Walker summons lots of dark beings by name. Will and the other Old Ones step back into the past, to the Lady's hall. The Walker is still there, summoning the Dark - cold blue flames flare up in response to each summons. Then Merriman walks towards him, and says, "Hawkin, there is still time to come home."\n\n''Chapter eleven: The hawk in the dark''\nThe Walker whispers, "no." Merriman says that everyone has a last choice after the first - a chance of forgiveness. He urges Hawkin to remember the love and trust that once existed between them. Hawkin accuses Merriman of making him risk his life for a book, then punishing him cruelly when he looked at kinder masters. He's carried the Sign through 600 years, pursued by the Dark, robbed of his right to grow old normally, to die in his own time. It was all Will's fault, he says - all for his gift of Gramarye. \n\nMerriman still urges him to "come home", calling him "my son", but the Walker says he has found better masters now, and calls them in. The nine blue flames close on the Old Ones. Merriman's face - emotional when he was calling to Hawkin - is impassive again, as he commands the flames to leave, in the name of the Signs. The voice of the Rider speaks, saying that the circle of Signs is not complete, and Merriman's own liege man has invited them in. He will break their Sign of Fire before it can be forged.\n\nIt grows impossibly cold. Merriman explains that Hawkin had his trust once, and that gives him power even though the trust has gone - the power to let the Dark in. Their only hope is in Hawkin's human frailty. \n\nWill finds that they are back in the present day in the Manor. The fires go out. The Walker grabs Will, saying that the cold will freeze them all, and that he, the Walker, will take the Signs. The Dark has promised them as his reward, and everything that should have been Will's will now be his. John Smith and Dr Armstrong pull the Walker off Will.\n\nThe room gets colder, and everyone in the Manor is suffering. Will is more and more aware that the nine blue-fire pillars (now looking like icicles) are present in the room. Protected by the Old Ones, Dr Armstrong sedates the Walker, thus closing the Dark's way into the Manor. Will and the Old Ones snatch up the candles of the Dark, and go back in Time, back to the great stone hall. They fit the candles in the empty candle holder, and the flames turn white and warm. The middle flame blossoms like a plant, and inside is the next Sign - the Sign of Fire. Will takes it, and the candles, flames and candle-holder all vanish. When Will holds it aloft, there is a wail of anger outside...\n\nThen they're back in the Manor again. It starts to rain, and the room feels warmer. Then Max arrives, to say that Mrs Stanton has fallen downstairs and is unconscious, and her leg is possibly broken. Merriman says it's possible that the Dark did it. Though they can't kill men, they can encourage their own instincts to do them harm... or make a clap of thunder when someone is at the top of the stairs. \n\n''Chapter twelve: The King of fire and water''\nWill rushes home. A little later, James tells Will and Paul that Mary's disappeared. She went out to look for Max and hasn't come back. Paul and Will go out to look for her. Outside, Paul turns to Will and asks him to tell him what all this is about - what Will is mixed up in. Will comes up with some story about the Signs - that they're antiques, and strange men seem to be after them. He thinks that if he had to tell anyone the truth, it would be Paul, but telling anyone is out of the question. Paul is aware that this can't be the full story, but accepts it for now. Will agrees with Paul's suggestion that this antique-dealers have Mary as a hostage.\n\nThe rain is melting the snow, and there is a great sound of rushing water. Rooks swoop down on them, as if herding them, and Paul and Will get separated. In panic, Will shouts for Paul, then the Old One inside him takes over, and he's glad that Paul isn't there, in danger. \n\nWill holds up the Signs as they issue light, guiding him a path through the flood water, which is now full of wreckage and people's possessions, and becoming dangerously deep. Old George calls to him, on a huge shire horse, and Will mounts it. "We go to raise the Hunt," George says, saying that Will must bring the white horse to the Hunter. Merriman and the others are at the Manor, he says, "beset" - drawing attention so that Will and George can work. \n\nThe horse takes Will through the village, but then the light from the Signs dies, and George says he has to leave Will now. He says that Will will find the light to see by if he counts to a hundred after George has gone, and reminds him that running water is free of magic. "I go to gather the Hunt," George says, as he rides away.\n\nWill counts to a hundred, and can gradually see. The carnival head comes by in the flood water, and Will can't grab it. Desperate, he runs after it, before remembering that running water is free of magic. As long as the head is in the water, no-one can harm it or use it for wrong ends. \n\nThe white horse appears, and Will mounts it. He hears a high yelping sound, like migrating geese, as the horse takes him to the edge of the Thames. The Thames is in flood, wild and dangerous - one of the ancient, wild things of the earth. The horse jumps to an island - a small patch of land between two channels of the flood. Will realises that this is his place of testing. He wishes Merriman was there. \n\nThe island is egg-shaped, with a beech tree in the middle, and four stream flowing down from the tree, dividing it into four quarters. Then Will hears the sound of distant singing - unpleasant and wordless, distracting him from thought. He become mesmerised, enchanted. When the singing stops, he realises that this is the Dark's way of catching even an Old Out out of Time for a moment, when they want to work their own magic.\n\nHawkin has arrived - or a fusing of Hawkin and the Walker. He says that Mary is here. When Will denies it, he says that the Old Ones are arrogant, and don't see everything. He says that his "Master" will give Mary in return for the Signs. When Will still denies that Mary is there, the music comes again, and Will is enchanted again, relaxed, forgetting the urgency of the fight. When it ends, Mary is there, lying in the snow, staring blankly up at him. \n\nHawkin once again demands the Signs, but Will refuses, saying he will not deal with a traitor. Hawkin calls for his Master, and a swirling column of black mist arrives, then parts to reveal the Rider, in modern clothes this time. Behind him is Mary, on his horse. She babbles happily about meeting nice Mr Mitothin, and feeds imaginary sugar to the "super" horse. The Rider tells Will that Mary has been caught by the Old Spell of Lir, written long ago on the ring that is now Will's mother's. Will is bound, too, powerless to rescue her. As he says this, he shows Will the birth sign he stole, wrapped with one of Mary's hairs. Will calmly tells the Rider that an Old One has no birth sign. The sign carved for his birth was the Sign of Light, that the Dark cannot use. He says that the Rider is bluffing.\n\nThe Rider says he can still harm Mary. While the Dark cannot harm one of the blood of an Old One, Mary is enchanted, and he can make her do anything - like jump in the river. ("There are parts of the craft that you people neglect, you know.") Will feels guilty about Mary, but Merriman speaks in his mind, saying it's the Dark's fault, not Will's. Strengthened by Merriman's presence, Will refuses to give the Rider the Signs, even though the Rider will kill Mary. The Rider is incredulous (but also shows "an evil respect") and says some words in the spell-speech of the Dark, that Will finds chilling. \n\nThe Rider is about to send his horse into the river, with Mary on its back, but Will hurls the Light at it in a desperate gamble. The horse twists, and Mary falls off safely in the snow. Just as the Rider is about to grab her, a bolt of white lightning - Merriman on the white horse - snatches her away. \n\nThunder and lighting rage. The beech tree is struck by lightning and burns, and the island sinks slowly into the river. As if born from the island, a boat appears, with a stag as its figurehead. On the boat, beneath a canopy, lies a king, wearing a boar-headed helmet, and surrounded by treasure. In his dead hands, he is holding a Sign - the Sign of Water. Will is afraid to touch him, but Merriman appears, saying that the king has been buried here for 1500 years. He has long gone out of Time, and on any other night, he would be dust. Will says it's wrong to take tribute from the dead, but Merriman says this is the Sign, and the king is only here because the Sign is destined for Will. Will takes it, and Merriman says their hold on Mary is now gone. \n\nWill and Merriman ride on the white horse together,. Merriman explains that the king was an English king of the Dark Ages - a time aptly names, when the Black Riders rode through the land. This king was one of the noble ones who kept the Light alive. The ship is sinking, but a streak of blue fire strikes it and destroys it - a burst of malice from the Dark. Merriman says that burning is a fitting end for a noble king. \n\n''Chapter thirteen: The Hunt rides''\nMerriman and Will ride on the white horse, pursued by the black tornado of the Dark, and the Black Rider on his horse, and the Lords of the Dark riding at his shoulder. Merriman says that although Will has the six Signs, they are not joined, so the Dark will try harder than ever to get at him. Merriman rides to Windsor Great Park. \n\nWill becomes aware that they are not alone. He hears the yelping sound again, and has the impression of powerful beings in the air around them, neither of Light nor Dark. From the Book of Gramarye, Will remembers that [[Herne]] the Hunter rides every Twelfth Night, and Merriman says that this year, Herne will have a quarry. \n\nThe Dark is delayed for a while by the Old Way that rings the park. The white horse rides to Herne's Oak, following an impulse of its own. When they reach the oak, Merriman and Wil dismount. A shadow stands beside the oak, immensely powerful, and the size of a man. The white horse greets the shadow. The Old George arrives on the shire-horse, and tells Will that Mary is safe, already forgetting. He gives Will the carnival head, and tells Will to take it to the Hunter. Will is nervous, even though he knows that an Old One has nothing in the world to fear. The shadow beside the oak makes him feel small and insignifcant and scared. \n\nThe shadow takes the mask and puts it on, but as soon as he's wearing it, it seems to come alive, to become real. The Hunter smiles, but Will also sees cruelty in his face - a cruelty that he realises is not malice, but just the nature of things, the "fierce inevitablity of nature". The Hunter asks to see the Signs, then chants the familiar poem, adding a new third verse. (See [[Verses]]) \n\nThe Hunter rides, calling to his pack of hounrs, which are huge and white, with red eyes and ears, and come out of the clouds and the shadows and the air. They pay the Old Ones no attention at all. As the storm breaks, they leap into the sky.\n\nThen the whirling pillar of Dark comes for Will in all its power, and Will is powerless to do anything, but Herne and the Hunt descends on it, and the Dark scatters. As the Rider flees, he casts something aside "like a discarded cloak." \n\nMerriman says that the Dark is vanquished for now, for the Hunter will hunt them to the ends of the earth. They will rise again, but the Old Ones now have all the Signs so will be stronger. He then moves to the thing the Rider discarded, and Will sees that it is Hawkin, his back broken. Hawkin, dying, says that his new Master threw him down - that Merriman was right all along. He begs Merriman to let him die properly this time. Merriman says that the Light did indeed compel Hawkin to carry the Sign, but from the moment he gave the Sign away, he was free... but he still chose to follow the Dark. Instead, he chose to betray the Light a second time. No power of the Light or Dark can take away a man more than a man, or take away his rights as a man. "All your choices have been your own."\n\nAt the end, Hawkin looks like Hawkin again, at peace, with bright eyes. "Use the gift well, Old One," he says the Will. Then he looks long at Merriman, calls him "Master", and dies.\n\n''Chapter fourteen: The joining of the Signs''\nWill, Merriman and George have gone through the doors of Time, and stand in the smithy, 600 years ago. Hawkin's body has also been brought back, into his own time, and Will knows that in his own time, Hawkin's grave will be there in the churchyard, lying in peace for 600 years.\n\nAs they stand in the Smithy 600 years ago, Will hears the sound of a river. Merriman tells him it's the sound of the floods in the twentieth century. The Signs must be joined in the past, because the Smithy ceased to exist long ago, but the quest belongs to the present, so they are actually in a bubble of Time between the two. An Old One can perceive both times.\n\nJohn Smith forges the Signs into a circle. Merriman stands still outside, and Will becomes aware of a huge crowd of people, who all look a little ghostly, not quite there. They are of all skin colours, and he realises they're all the Old Ones from all over the world, here to watch the joining of the Signs. "These are my people," he thinks. "This is my family." \n\nThe procession of boys approaches, still bearing their bier, but this time there is no wren on the bier, but the Lady. They lay the bier down, and the Lady arises, congratulating Will on his quest. The Signs are linked, and Will takes them, then gives them to the Lady. She says they are the second of the four Things of Power - grail, Signs, sword and harp. Each was made by a different craftsman at a different time, to await the day they were needed. Although the Dark has been beaten back, it will rise again, worse than ever, and the Signs will be needed. \n\nMusic swells, and Will realises that this is the essence of Light. When it fades, he is alone and bereft. Then he realises that Merriman is there. "Time to go home," Merriman says. They are back in Will's time, behind the Manor. Merriman has two gifts from Miss Greythorne - one for Paul, and one for Will, to be used in a future quest. Will has lots of questions, but Merriman says that he knows them all already. "Remember yourself. You are no longer a small boy... But sometimes, you feel how very much more agreeable life would be if you were." "Sometimes," Will says, "but not always."\n\nThey walk home in companionable silence. Will returns to his family, where Mary is back, unharmed and well, and everything is friendly and warm and nice. Paul looks at Miss Greythorne's present, which is the flute he played at the Manor. Will's gift is a hunring horn, but he does not blow it. \n\nMerriman leaves. Mary chatters about wild geese in the night. As she does so, Will finds the carnival head, lying in the garden as if washed there by water. All around it are hoofprints, made by a horse shod with the Sign of Light. \n\nAs Paul plays Greensleeves on the flute, the doors of Time open down the lane. Paul stops playing, but Will still hears the music, as he will hear whenever the doors open, or great change happens. Will yearns towards it as Merriman walks through the doors, then the music dies, and the doors close.
The Drew family live in London. "Their flat in London was part of a very old house which creaked and muttered all the time at night, as if the walls and floors were breathing." \n\nDr Drew's grandmother was born in Aberdyfi. \n\nMarylebone High Street is "just around the corner" from where they live. One of the local shops is a "little patisserie" that sells gorgeous rum babas - though Mrs Drew tries not to be tempted.\n\nThe Drews know Merriman thought Mrs Drew's father. Merriman knew Mrs Drew when she was young. \n\nThe Drew parents are [[Dr Drew]] and [[Ellen Drew]]. The Drew children are [[Simon Drew]], [[Jane Drew]], and [[Barney Drew]].
The Grail is described as "a cup, heavy and strangely shaped; swelling out from a thick stem into a tall bell-shape like the goblets [Barney] had seen pictured in his books about King Arthur." It is divided into five panels, four of which show men fighting, with swords, spears and shields. The fighting men are wearing tunics that reach just above their knees, and wear helmets that curve down over the backs of their necks. Between the figures are words in an unknown language, and the fifth panel is entirely covered with words. \n\nIts museum plaque reads, "Gold chalice of unknown Celtic workmanship, believed sixth century." The experts say that the carvings look slightly Roman, though the language looks runic. In the museum, it is known as The Trewissick grail. (Though, really, why on earth did the Light let their important thing of power go on display in a museum, when they took so much care about hiding the Signs?)\n\nIn [[Greenwitch]], the painter uses the Grail for scrying. He fills it with water, adds a drop of oil, and gets Barney to look into it. Would this have worked in any vessel, or was the Grail needed for this to work?\n\nThe Grail is meaningless without the accompanying manuscript, which was kept with the Grail, in a lead cannister. Once this is retrieved from the Greenwitch, the Old Ones can read the verse:\nOn the day of the dead, when the year too dies,\nMust the youngest open the oldest hills\nThrough the door of the birds, where the breeze breaks.\nThere fire shall fly from the raven boy,\nAnd the silver eyes that see the wind,\nAnd the Light shall have the harp of gold.\nBy the pleasant lake the Sleepers lie,\nOn Cadfan's Way where the kestrels call;\nThough grim from the Grey King shadows fall,\nYet singing the golden harp shall guide\nTo break their sleep and bid them ride.\nWhen light from the lost land shall return,\nSix Sleepers shall ride, six Signs shall burn,\nAnd where the midsummer tree grows tall\nBy Pendragon's sword the Dark shall fall.\n\nY maent yr mynyddoedd yn canu, ac y mae'r arglwyddes yn dod\n(The mountains are singing, and the Lady comes.)\n\nThe manuscript is written in Ogham. It crumbles into dust after the Old Ones have read the verse.\n\nThe Grail was lost years ago. The manuscript the children find in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] was written 600 years ago, a copy of one written more than 900 years ago. In medieval Latin, a monk writes that an old manuscript had been found, and that he's now copying it out, to preserve it. The older manucript, written in an old British dialect, says that, even longer ago, "a strange knight" came fleeing to Cornwall, after the fall of Arthur. The strange knight was called Bedwin, and bore a grail "made in the fashion of the Holy Grail", that told on its side the true story of Arthur. Each panel told of an evil overcome by Arthur, and the last panel showed promise and proof of the Pendragon's return. Evil is upon us now, Bedwin said, and will be "for time beyond our dreaming", but the Grail remains as trust and promise that Arthur will come again, and evil driven out forever.\n\nBedwin then died, leaving the Grail in the trust of an ancestor of the man who wrote the document. It was passed from father to son, as times grew darker around them, but the writer has no children, and the heathen are approaching Cornwall, led by his own nephew. He is about to flee to Brittany, but the Grail can't leave the land, so he's hiding it "over sea and under stone", marked by "signs that wax and wane but do not die." The man who finds it will know that in his day the Pendragon will come again, and evil will be cast out forever.
The Greenwitch is a figure made out of leaves by the women of Trewissick, and given to the seas as an offering to ensure a good harvest of fish, and on the land. It is not a real folk tradition, but is very much in keeping with real folk traditions such as Jack-in-the-green. It is also called King Mark's Bride. \n\nOnly females can join in the ceremony of the making of the Greenwitch, and only local ones at that. Jane is allowed to join in as a special favour, because of her connection with Merriman, and the fact that she found the Grail. [[Fran Stanton]], a "furriner", is not allowed even to hear about it. \n\nThe women make the Greenwitch during the night, while the men are out fishing. A bonfire burns all night on Kemare Head, and on the opposite headland. The women make the Greenwitch on Kemare Head, by the fire. First they weave together stripped hazel branches into a large frame, like a cylinder. Rowan is used for the head. Into the framework are woven lots of hawthorn branches, with leaves and blossom still on. The whole thing is filled with stones, so it will sink. The head is huge - long and squarish - without features. The head is almost as wide as the body. The hole thing is half as high again as a man. \n\nWhen the Greenwitch is finished, they can all make one wish. Most of the women relax and make silly wishes, though Jane, as we all know, feels that the Greenwitch has great power, and wishes that it can be happy. And it is an "it." Jane thinks how she has always thought of witches as female, but the Greenwitch has no sense of male or female. It is "unclassifiable, like a rock or a tree."\n\nWhen the men return, the fishermen lead all the other local men up to the headland. The Greenwitch is built on a wooden platform, with a wheel at each corner, and the man attach ropes and haul it to the cliff edge, where the throw it over, just as the sun rises. Like the making, this is for locals only. The press want to cover this, but are kept out. \n\nAfter the Greenwitch is thrown into the sea, it is given a certain kind of life by Tethys, to allow it to reach the great deeps. The spells of Mana, Reck and Lir allow the Light or the Dark to summon it back a little, so it can listen to their requests. These spells harness the magic with which it was made. In this particular year, it is given a larger degree of life, because the painter uses these spells. \n\nIt is also a creature of [[Wild Magic]], bound to be neither of the Light nor the Dark, to help neither the Light nor the Dark.
''Prologue''\nWill is very ill, and tormented with the knowledge that he has forgotten something vitally important. "On the day of the dead..." That's all he can remember. Dr Armstrong tells Mrs Stanton that Will's on the mend, but has to stay off school for a month. Can he go away somewhere...? Mrs Stanton says she'll send him to Wales, to her cousin. \n\n''Chapter one: The oldest hills''\nWill arrives at Tywyn station in a drizzly day. His cousin [[Rhys Evans]] arrives a little bit later to pick him up. As Rhys drives up into the mountains, Will feels a sense of enclosure and menace. \n\nOn the way, the landrover seems to jump sideways, hits a rock and gets a puncture. Rhys can't understand what happened. As Rhys changes the tyre, Will rests in the car, for he's still weak and easily tired. A van pulls up, and man gets out. Will dislikes him at sight. The man rants at Rhys in Welsh, then, when Rhys ignores him, stomps back to his van and drives away. Rhys says this was Caradog Pritchard. He refers to an ongoing disagreement they have, and also says that Pritchard asked who Will was. Rhys said Will was his cousin, and none of his bloody business, but Pritchard said, "We shall see about that." \n\nAs they drive, Will points out the tattered clouds around the top of the mountain. Rhys calls this "the breath of the Grey King - the Brenin Llwyd." Will feels a rushing sound in his ears and goes white. He knows that the Grey King is part of the thing he's forgotten, and hopes it's coming back. "Anything can happen in these old hills," Rhys says.\n\n''Chapter two: Cadfan's Way''\nThe next day is sunny and warm. Will's hosts are his "aunt" (actually his mother's cousin), [[Jen Evans]], and her husband, [[David Evans]]. Rhys comes in from the farm while Will is having breakfast, and with him is [[John Rowlands]], "the best man with sheep in Wales", "and with the harp, too." David Evans arrives, and teases Rhys about the "jumping" car. Will finds himself thinking that Caradog Pritchard had something to do with the car jumping.\n\nDavid Evans take Will into Tywyn, where he buys a postcard, and wanders into the church. On the way out, he sees that it is the church of St Cadfan, and feels the whirling in his ears again, so much so that he can't stand. "On Cadfan's Way, where the kestrels call," he remembers. He buys a guide book, which talks about St Cadfan, but not about his Way. He asks David Evans on the way back, but he hasn't heard of it either. David suggests he asks John. \n\nWill goes out onto the farm, where he finds John Rowlands, hedging. John talks to him about hedging - about how cruel it looks, but how necessary it is. "Like life it is, Will - sometimes you must seem to hurt something in order to do good for it." When Will asks him about Cadfan's Way, he freezes for a moment. He tells Will about St Cadfan - how he was a missionary and founded various churches. Once there was a pilgrim's route called Cadfan's Way, up in the high places, but no-one knows where it is. Will feels that it is very urgent that he finds the Way, though he doesn't know why. He says he plans to walk the boundaries of the farm, but John warns him not to trespass on Pritchard's land. \n\nWill slowly climbs up the hillside, hoping he will come across Cadfan's Way. He keeps feeling he's being followed, though there's nothing there when he turns. Then he sees a white dog ahead of him, which starts herding him like a sheep. He tries to defy it, but it jumps at him, causing him to fall over and slither down the hillside.\n\nHe lands heavily, and opens his eyes to see the dog gazing at him. As he looks into the dog's silver eyes, he remembers everything. At the same time, he becomes aware of great danger lurking in the mountains.\n\nA boy approaches, startlingly pale, and with tawny eyes. He is clearly the dog's owner. When he sees the boy's eyes, Will realises that the is the raven boy of the verse. The boy, unsmiling, says he's called [[Bran Davies]] and lives on the Evans' farm, in a cottage - his father works for David Evans. Then he says that he knows who Will is - knows his name, and also knows that he is an Old One, not entirely human. "And I have been waiting for you."\n\n''Chapter three: The raven boy''\nA short time has evidently passed. Will is telling Bran that this is his first quest all alone. The Dark is rising soon, and his quest is to find the harp - one of the Things of Power needed in the final battle. When he was ill, the Dark couldn't take the words of the verse, but perhaps they hindered him finding them again. The dog - [[Cafall]] - caused him to find them again. \n\nBran asks what the verses were, but Will hesitates. He knows Bran isn't from the Dark, because his sense would tell him so, but his sense also tells him nothing at all about Bran. Bran teasingly recites the first few lines of the verse, and Will is horrified, for only he, Merriman and Captain Toms is all the world should know this. Bran goes on to explain that he met a man a week ago - plainly Merriman - who told him about the Dark and Light. "I have never heard anything that I believed so very much, right away, without question." He also told him about Will, and that Bran was to help him, but gave him the lines as a sign, so Will would trust him. \n\nWill tells Bran the rest of the verse, and also tells him about Merriman - who will have no role in this quest, he thinks, because there are things to do elsewhere. Bran and Will discuss what the verse might mean, and realise that "The Day of the Dead" is Halloween, which once was the end of the year. \n\nBran gives Will a lesson in Welsh pronunciation, and soon they are teasing each other, chasing each other down the mountain. Will is suddenly struck with dizziness, and Bran says that Merriman said he'd been more ill than anyone realised. As they rest, Caradog Pritchard races up furiously with a gun, accusing Cafall of chasing sheep, and Bran and Will of trespass. Bran stands up to him, and smiles almost slyly after him as he storms off. \n\nBran says that a lot of people are a little afraid of him, because of his colouring, and he gets called names at schools. Only the "little people", the spirits, are fair-skinned in Welsh tales. No-one believes those tales any more, but in dark winter nights, deep down they can't be sure Bran won't bring the Evil Eye on them. Will doesn't like the "crafty arrogance" such talk puts on Bran's face, which he thinks "isn't necessary", and "one day he would take it away."\n\nPritchard once spent the night on Cader Idris, and legend says that anyone who did that would come down mad, or a bard. Cader Idris, Bran says, is the Grey King - the Brenin Llywd. \n\n''Chapter four: The grey fox''\nA few days pass. No-one else can feel it, but Will feels a great sense of approaching tension and menace, even though the weather is lovely. One day, Will goes with John Rowlands to bring a flock of sheep down from the mountain, when the flock is attacked by some animal, who injures a sheep. John says it must have been a dog, since what else could it have been? They leave the injured sheep in a deserted cottage, take the rest of the flock to the farm, but the injured sheep has gone when they return for it. John's dog, Pen, follows a scent for a while, though there is no sign of a track, but loses it. The door to the cottage had been closed, and the sheep was too heavy for even a large dog to drag away. Will doesn't tell John, but he's fairly sure that he saw a white dog running away after the attack. \n\nAnother day, and Will hears lovely music, and finds Bran playing the harp in the Evans' farmhouse, taught by John Rowlands. After John's gone, Will and Bran go to Bran's house. Bran tells Will that his mother died when he was a baby. \n\nWill can sense the power of the Dark pushing at him. It can't focus on him, for an Old One can conceal himself, but the Grey King knows he's bound to come, because the Dark has their prophecies as well as the Light. It's putting up its defences. Will thinks how strange it is for him to be the invader - normally it's the Dark that invades the territory of the Light. The Light is normally defensive, but Will has to be the aggressor this time - though in doing so he will be helping build the final defence against the final rising.\n\nWill meets [[Owen Davies]], Bran's father, and is surprised by how ordinary he looks. Will, Bran and Cafall head out towards the mountains, where Will asks about a rocky outcrop. Bran says it's Craig yr Aderyn - the only place where cormorants nest inland. They take a short cut over Pritchard's land, but Cafall goes missing. They race back, looking for him, and bump into John and Owen... and Will feels a sudden sense of evil. Owen and John say that four dead sheep have been found, but no gate open or any sign of who attacked them. It looks like the work of foxes, but how can that be possible? \n\nBran says it's milgwyn - grey foxes - but Owen says it's just fairy tales, just rubbish, and Bran isn't to listen to such tales. Will has a vision of three large grey foxes, and one looks at him. He realises it's a warning sent to him from his masters - one of the brief communications that can come, very rarely, unguarded from one Old One to another. "Bran is right," he says crisply, but Owen coldly says he's being foolish. \n\nSuddenly John shouts out, saying there's fire on the mountain. \n\n''Chapter five: Fire on the mountain''\nThe bracken is on fire. Will and Bran go back to the farm to get help, then join John and Owen in fighting the fire. Will feels that the fire is huge and overwhelming, like the Dark. The fire brigade comes, but there seems to be little chance of putting the fire out before Pritchard's farm is engulfed. John thinks there is something wrong about the fire. Will knows there is. The Grey King is building up walls to keep Will from the harp, and thus to prevent the Light from coming into the full power. \n\nIn the middle of everything, Pritchard appears, gun in hand, shouting in fury about murdered sheep, and demanding that Cafall be brought to him so he can kill him. Will sees him with the eyes of an Old One, and feels compassion, for fury like this leads him open to the overtures of the Dark. He moves forward, but Pritchard threatens him, and Will knows there is no reasoning with him. Pritchard notices the fire for what seems to be the first time, and runs away. \n\nWill returns to fighting the fire, caught between the wall of fire on one side, and the wall of the Grey King's hatred on the other. Then he sees a grey fox up on the mountain. Bran sees it too, and thinks it's Cafall, and runs towards it. Will gives chase, and catches up with Bran on Craig yr Aderyn. They struggle across the rock, trying to find a way down again, and Bran translates its name - Bird Rock. Will realises that this is the place where the door of the birds will be, in the verse, and today is the Day of the Dead. \n\nA north wind blows, sinister and menacing, and Will knows that the Grey King is aware of him now, and is gathering for an attack. The fire started as soon as he became aware of Will. He feels terribly lonely. Alone, he is vulnerable to the Dark at its strongest. He can't be destroyed, but can be disarmed, or sent out of Time for so long that he will only return too late. And Bran is even more vulnerable. \n\nMilgwn - grey foxes - surround them suddenly. Will shouts words of power, but their leader doesn't flinch. Fire bursts out on the rock, and the only way out is past the king fox. Bran drives it back by thrusting a burning brand in its face, but when he throws the brand away, it starts a new fire on the other side of the rock. \n\nWill knows with certainly that they need to climb to the top of the rock, but the foxes are between them and where they need to go. Will puts the Spell of Helledd on them, giving them freedom to wander without compulsion, but he knows it can't last for long. Then Cafall appears, and attacks the foxes, winning them a path through. At the top of the rock, there is a cleft, and they all walk through. The foxes can't follow. Their master's power is over the rocks and mountains of all the high places of north Wales, but only over. Under the mountain was a different domain. \n\nThe cleft ends in a blank wall, which Will opens with a gesture and three words in the Old Speech. It opens in a great gate, and he heards the music that always accompanies great magic. They walk through. \n\n''Chapter six: Bird rock''\nThey are in a long room, hung with tapestries. It is lit by a single unwavering candle, which Will recognises as belonging to the High Magic - "a power beyond Light or Dark or any allegiance - the strongest and most remote force in the universe." Bran appears calm, but beneath the calm Will knows he is close to panic, but Will has an instinctive feeling that the strangeness in Bran is the strangeness of great strength. \n\nWill walks to the candle, where he stops really seeing Bran. He is focused on his work as an Old One, and "nothing else had very much relevance." Will leads them through the room, then down steep stairs. This ends in a rock wall, which Will opens, using words of the Old Speech that come into his mind. They find themselves in another time, on the roof of the world, with stars above them. He realises that this is a testing. All the stars and suns - the boundless might of High Magic - are examining them to make sure they have the right of birth to pass by. Will looks for "his friends in the sky" - stars and constellations that he has flown amongst, during his time of learning. \n\nA comet appears, and Will knows they have passed the test, and shooting stars fall. "Wish on a star," Will thinks, and Bran says the same thing aloud. "I wish... Oh, I wish..." Will thinks fiercely, but we don't know what he wishes - if indeed he wishes anything. Then they're in darkness, back on the stairs. \n\nThey climb the stairs again. Will feels himself climbing faster and more eagerly, but this very urge makes him feel a sudden caution, a sense of warning. The burn on his forearm - the burn in the shape of the Sign of Light - is shining, and he raises his arm, holding it like a shield. As he walks into the vast room at the top of the stairs, he feels a huge explosion of Light, which is the gone. This was a barrier of High Magic, he realised, ready to consume intruders with energy as powerful as the sun. By using the Sign on his arm, he protected them. \n\nThey are in a chamber, with a great fire in the middle of the floor, burning with white light, and giving of neither heat nor smoke. At the end of the chamber are three figures on stone thrones, each one wearing blue hooded robes. There are two chests between the three thrones. Although they seem alone, Will is aware that other things lurk unseen in the darkness. He senses great power, but there is a barrier of sorts around them, stopping him from sensing more. \n\nThey greet Will by name, calling him Sign-seeker. Will greets them back, and says it is the day of the dead. The lord in the lightest blue robe hisses a "yesss" in a way that makes Bran moan in horror, and Will reproaches him. He knows he has power worthy of approaching them, and feels confident now. He tells them he has fulfilled what needed to be fulfilled, and has come for the golden harp. \n\nThe lord in the sea-blue robe mentions Bran, who unwillingly moves forward, then the lord says "Cafall?" and Cafall's tail wags joyously. "He is my dog!" Bran cries, but the lord says that the High Magic cannot take his dog away. "Only the creatures of earth take from one another... Beware your own race, Bran Davies - they are the only one who will ever harm you, in the end." There is deep compassion in his voice, as if Bran stands at the edge of some long sorrow, and Will knows that the lord is trying to give Bran some strength, and that there is some closeness between them.\n\nNevertheless, Will says, "the rights of that race have always been the business of the Light," and he claims to harp. The lord in the light robe says he and Bran must answer three riddles. If they get them right, Will will get the harp, but if they get them wrong, they will be defenceless on the mountain, and the harp lost to the Light forever. \n\nBran is asked the first riddle - who are the Three Elders of the world? Will is powerless to help. In this place, it is forbidden put an image in another's mind. Bran flails for a while, feeling as if he once knew this answer. When he sees his eyes reflected in his glasses, they remind him of an owl, and the touch of Cafall's fur reminds him of feathers, and he has his answer - which is three particular birds.\n\nThe lord in the sea-blue robe asks Will who were the three generous men of the Island of Britain, and Will delves into all his stored memories from the Book of Gramarye, all the while working on the bigger riddle of who this lord is. He gives his answer, and adds, ringingly, "and Arthur himself was more generous than the three."\n\nThe third lord, in the darkest robe, his face only shadow, asks Will "what is the shore that fears the sea?" The voice resonates with Will, and he starts forward, but there is still a barrier of High Magic against any attempt to probe who the lords are. Images comes into his mind as he works on the riddle, and he answers beech - the wood the chests are made of, a wood that loses its virtue if wet. \n\nThe fire leaps joyously, and the lord in the dark cloak is revealed as Merriman. Will leaps joyously to him, like a child to his father. Merriman says Will is fully grown into the Circle now. He also greets Bran, and says that Bran has done well - but more will be asked him of before the end. Merriman says that for centuries three lords of High Magic have guarded the harp, subject to the High Law, with no allegiances coming into it. He is a Lord of Light, the lord in the pale robe is a Lord of Dark, but that makes no difference. \n\nThe lord in the sea-blue robe steps forward, acting like the master of the hall. Merriman calls his "Sire", and the lord says the Bran, "Fortune guide you in my land, my son." He tells Will to open one of the chests - though the other will remain sealed, in case of need, until another time that he hopes will not come. Inside is the golden harp. The lord in the light robe cries out in rage, and disappears.\n\n''Chapter seven: Eyes that see the wind''\nThe fire has gone out. Merriman says that the lord in the light blue robe was not the Grey King, but has gone to him, and the Dark will attack hard now, because they are driven by fear as well as rage. Although the harp has been attained, worse danger is yet to come, because the Sleepers need to be wakened, and they probably sleep very close to the Grey King, for why else would the Grey King have chosen to make his kingdom here, in this valley that was once so happy? \n\nThe lord in the sea-blue robe says that the golden harp has its own power, and its music will keep them safe from danger - a power that cannot be broken by Light or Dark. Will says he could play the harp by enchantment, but it would be better played by someone with skill - i.e. Bran. Bran plays the harp, playing exquisite, magical music, which makes Will, Merriman and the lord rapt, "carried away out of time by a music that was not of the earth, pouring out like the High Magic in a singing spell."\n\nWith Bran still playing, they leave the hall. The doors open in response to the harp, and they begin to go back out into the mountain. Then Cafall leaps past them, and Bran stops playing, preparing to rush after him. Cafall, looking furious and deadly, leaps at them and corners them. Will sees that beyond Cafall there is a huge tornado of fury and destruction, but it dies away when Bran plays the harp again. Will says the Grey King sent this wind, and if it had struck them, they would have been blasted out into a time beyond tomorrow. No human eye could have seen the wind coming, but Cafall did.\n\nThey scramble down the mountain, where the fire is out, and it is raining. Will says the harp probably brought the rain, and he hopes it won't bring anything else. Like the Old Speech, the High Magic is a protection, but also marks you, makes you easy to find. Bran stumbles, stopping playing for a moment, and the big grey fox appears, ready to jump at Bran. Cafall attacks him, and Will is filled with a huge presentment of doom. He begs Bran to stop Cafall. Will takes the harp and runs down the mountain, pausing only to hide the harp in a small lean-to, hiding it with the Spell of Caer Garadawg - only the song of an Old One can take it out, or even make it visible again. \n\nChasing the grey fox, Cafall has made it down to Pritchard's farm, where people are already gathered. From their reactions, Will realises that they can't see the fox. All they can see is Cafall snarling and leaping, apparently mad. The fox attacks a sheep, and Pritchard shoots Cafall dead. Then, the damage done, the fox runs away, leaving Bran to grieve over Cafall. Except for Pritchard, the men are sympathetic to Bran's loss, but none of them saw the fox. John Rowlands, though, has noticed that, although the sheep lies dead with its throat bitten, there is no blood on Cafall's mouth at all.\n\n''Chapter eight''\nThe next day. Will is trying to find Bran. Owen Davies confides that Pritchard obviously wanted to shoot Cafall, and there were other ways to deal with the issue. \n\nWill cimbs the mountain where he finds Bran. Will tries to find comforting things to say, but his mind can't but use the wisdom of an Old One. He says that a man killed Cafall, but that is the price we have to pay for the freedom of men on earth. They are free to do bad things as well as good. There are shadows in the pattern, as well as sunlight, and Cafall, who was part of the pattern, played his part well. Bran, who is heartbroken, tells Will to go away. He wishes he'd never heard of Light or Dark, and if he had the harp now, he'd throw it in the sea. Cafall wasn't part of any stupid pattern, but was his dog, whom he loved more than anything in the world, and is now dead. \n\nWill climbs higher and reaches John Rowlands. John asks him if he knows he's near Cadfan's Way, and Will doesn't bother to sound like an 11 year old boy when he answers. John says he expects Will could walk blindfold along the Way all the way across Wales, and Will confirms it. John says he's heard about "you people" all his life, on and off, and once even thought he'd met one. He thinks he ought to be helping Will in any way he can... but he doesn't want to know anything more.\n\nJohn then tells Will about Bran's mother... the breaks off, saying that surely Will knows it already. Will says "we are not really so very different from you, Mr Rowlands, most of us. Only out masters are different. We do know many things, but they are not things that intrude on the lives of men. In that, we are like anyone else - we only know what we have lived through, or what someone has told us."\n\nJohn tells Will about Bran's mother. As a young man, Owen Davies worked on the Pritchard's farm, in the days of Caradog Pritchard's father, and hada small cottage out on the moor - the one where John and Will left the injured sheep earlier. One stormy night, a young woman knocked on the door, worn out from carrying her baby. Owen took her in and nursed her to health, and fell headlong in love with her almost instantly. The next day, he went to get milk, overjoyed and babbling about how wonderful she was, but came back to find the woman - Gwen - struggling with Caradog Pritchard. Owen attacked Caradog and threw him out. The next day he asked Gwen to marry him, but on the fourth day, he woke up to find her gone. She left the baby, and a note reading, His name is Bran. Thank you, Owen Davies."\n\nOwen spent three days scouring the mountain in grief, calling for her. He lost his job. Later David Evans took him on, and he moved to the cottage on the Evans' farm, and brought Bran up as his own, helped by everyone. Bran does not know that Owen isn't his father. Sometimes Owen almost seems to believe that he is, too. "People are very complicated," Will says, but John says that, in the end, after the battle of Light and Dark is over, the fate of the world will depend on these people - how many of them are good or bad, stupid or wise. \n\n''Chapter nine: The Grey King''\nWill approaches Bran, but Bran avoids him. Will feels the hatred of the Grey King all around him, shouting in his mind, making it hard to concentrate. He goes to the hut where he hid the harp, and sings a spell-song in the Old Speech - a song without real words, but more a nuance of sound. The spell on the harp melts away... and then he realises that Pritchard is there. He nastily asks Will why he's singing to a hedge. Will explains it away, but Pritchard says he doesn't like Will - "Something funny about you, there is" - and orders him off his land.\n\nWill knows he can't go and leave the harp. Although it will draw the attention of the Grey king, he has to use his powers, and catches Pritchard out of time. Once he's retrieved the harp, he releases Pritchard, who carries on his way with no memory of the encounter.\n\nWill sees the big grey fox - the leader - and shouts a word to stop it immobile in his spell. Then he feels a huge menacing force in the air all around him, and his own spell is broken. The fox turns black, so it looks exactly like John's dog, Pen, and it races after Pritchard. Will is powerless to follow. He realises that the Grey King's power is greater than his own, and he might not succeed in the quest. \n\nWill struggles back to the farm, the harp growing heavier with each step. Unable to carry it any more, he sinks to the ground, and the air around him turns thick with mist. An enormous figure takes shape in the mist - the Grey King. It's more powerful than anything he's ever met, for the Grey King is the most powerful Lord of the Dark. None of the Old Ones have encountered him before, since he's been lurking in his mountain, and now Will, the youngest, is meeting him alone. \n\nThe Grey King speaks, the voice filling the air, telling Will he will not wake the Sleeper, but Will says it's his quest, and he has to follow it. The Grey King tells Will that if he goes now, he can keep the harp, but if he seeks the Sleeper, he will be destroyed. Will says he is of the Light, and the Grey King cannot destroy him. "It will not differ greatly from destruction," says the Grey King. The Light and the Dark are equal in power, it says, but they differ in their treatment of those they bring under their will. \n\nWill stands up and bows to the mist, knowing he mustn't look at it directly. He's heard the warning, but the Dark cannot turn the mind of the Light, and neither can it interfere with the taking of a Thing of Power, once it's been claimed. He orders the Grey King to take the spell off the harp, but the King says the harp hasn't been spelled. Will realises that it's not the harp that's spelled, but the sacking he's wrapped it in. The sacking contains a warestone - a channel for the Dark, and also its eyes on the place where the stone lies. The stone must have been in the sacking all long. Its presence explains why Will lost hold of his spell on the fox.\n\nWill asks the King why he's been watching Pritchard's farm. The King says that Pritchard is a coward, and no creature of the Dark... though he's so wrapped in his ill-will that he's a gift to the Dark from the earth, and can be pushed to act in ways useful to them. Will says there are other men who unwittingly serve the Light, but the Grey King says they are fewer. He orders Will to give him the warestone, saying that a warestone of the Dark can't work for the Light, and vice versa. Will does, saying he has no use for it. The Grey King says that if Will hasn't gone from his lands after a day and a night, he will cease to exist by the standards of men. The Grey King cries that the Dark is rising, and darkness surges around Will, and then is gone. \n\nBack at the farm, Will hides the harp upstairs in his room. The Evanses tell him that Pritchard has been around, accusing John's dog Pen of killing sheep, and wanting to shoot him. John says that Pen has been with him all day, but as precaution says he will leave Pen for a few days with another farmer, up near Tal y Llyn. Will asks if he can come too.\n\n''Chapter ten: The pleasant lake''\nWill rises early to go out with John. As he has breakfast, Jen Evans talks about Bran, telling Will to be patient with him, for Bran is a lonely boy, in need of a friend. When Will says something astute about Bran, Jen says that sometimes he sounds like an old man. She says that she thinks that Gwen was in a very bad situation, and wanted Bran to have a better life, free of it. She knew she didn't love Owen enough to marry him, and the only kind thing to do was to go away. Gwen said to Jen, "If you have once betrayed a great trust, you dare not let yourself be trusted again, because a second betrayal would be the end of the world."\n\nAs they drive out, John urges Will to be careful with the people around him. There's a fierceness fo the power of the Light, he says, like the burning of the sun. Charity, humanity and mercy don't come first for the Light. Sometimes they exist for them, but the main concern of the Light is absolute good. "At the centre of the Light there is a cold white flame, just as at the centre of the Dark there is a great black pit bottomless as the universe." Will must remember that there are people in the valley who can get hurt by his pursuit of good ends.\n\nWill thinks of Bran's grief, and also Merriman judging Hawkin. He says he understands, but John is misjudging them. The Old Ones are here only to save the world from the Dark. If the Dark won, there would be no charity, mercy of cold absolute good, because nothing woudl exist in the world or in the heart of men but the black bottomless pit. The Old Ones are fighting a life and death stuggle with the Dark - though not for their own life, for they cannot die, but for men. It is not always possible to make things happy for one human, because that might cost the world for all others. \n\nJohn says the world of the Old Ones is cold, and he would take one human life over a principle all the time. Wills says he would do so, too, and would feel happier inside him if he could, but it doesn't always work. \n\nAs they pass the cottage that Owen used to live in, Pen starts barking, and Will feels sudden tension, and feels briefly overwhelmed. \n\nThey reach Tal y Llyn, and the farm of Idris Jones. They chat for a while. Jones mentions that he saw a dead sheep up on a really high ledge, and the men go up to find it. They come back and report that it was the same sheep that vanished from the cottage. Will, tired of pretending to be anything other than he really is, looks at John as an Old One would look, and says that the king milgwn took the sheep there - and that he is currently killing sheep in the guise of Pen. Jones hears all this, looking bemused. \n\nOn the way down the mountain, the mountain seems to shrug, and Will falls over and rolls down the slope, stopping just short of a cliff. He hurts his arm. As the men help him up, Jones calles Tal y Llyn by a different name - Llyn Mwyngil - which Will asks about. It means "the pleasant lake", just like in the verse. \n\nWill stays at the Jones' farm while the men do errands, and is fussed over my Mrs Jones. As he strolls outside, Bran comes cycling up in a panic, saying that Pritchard is coming for Pen. \n\n''Chapter eleven: The warestone''\nBran says that Pritchard had been raging about Pen, then suddenly went quiet, as if listening, and said he knew that Pen was up at the lake. Bran slashed his tyres to slow him down. Bran and Will both laugh, and they make friends again, with few words needed on the subject. \n\nWith Pen, they race across the hills, until Bran finds the cottage that used to be Owen Davies', and Will has to follow him in. The cottage is haunted by the malice of the Dark, causing Will great strain, but Bran is unaffected. He doesn't know Owen used to live here. After Pritchard has passed on the road, they try to leave, but Pen is pinned to the ground by enchantment. Will draws a circle around himself and Pen, using a stick, and a ring of blue flame leaps up where the circle was drawn. Then he raises the stick to the ceiling, and says words in the Old Speech. The cottage grows dark, but slowly something in the far corner starts blazing. Will says angry words in the Old Speech, and his flames rise and fall three times, then go out. \n\nWill goes to where the blazing thing was, and shows Bran a white pebble, which cannot be picked up. It's a warestone - the Grey King's eyes on this cottage, and also the conduit for his power. He is freezing Pen to make him a target for Pritchard. Will says there is only one thing he can do, but he can't tell Bran what it is, because of the warestone. He explains to Bran how warestones work (see [[Warestones]]), then takes Bran's bike, leaving Bran in the cottage with Pen.\n\nPritchard arrives at the Jones' farm, but Mrs Jones tells him that John and his dog aren't there, so Pritchard leaves. \n\nWill rides back to his uncle's farm to get the harp, which is the only thing that can break the power of the warestone, and which he also needs to take to the "pleasant lake" to wake the Sleepers. He wonders how he can explain his fleeting visit to his aunt, and wishes Merriman was there. A Master of Light can transport objects through time and space with magic, but Will can't do that. When he gets to the farm, though, no-one is there. He gets the harp, and then Owen Davies arrives. Recogising Bran's bike, he questions Will, who comes up with a story to explain it. In the middle of the conversation, he breaks off, as if listening to something he can't understand, and then he asks Will exactly where he and Bran were playing. Will tries to deflect him.\n\nWill starts to cycle back, but the Grey King assails him hard, and he is oblivious to a landrover that passes him.\n\n''Chapter twelve: The cottage on the moor''\nBran is waiting with Pen. He wonders why he's accepting all these amazing and impossible things, such as the lords under the mountain. He thinks of the lord in the sea-blue robe, and feels a warmth in the memory. He then thinks of Cafall, and blames Will. If Will hadn't... "No," he says aloud, recognising that the warestone is trying to make him think that. \n\nHe thinks of Owen, so sure of right and wrong, so dedicated to chapel. Bran has a very strict, joyless life, not allowed to go to the cinema, not allowed to do anything on Sundays. He feels as if he's locked up in jail. What right has his father to do this to him? Why does his father make him be so different from the other boys? Because you're different, says a voice in his mind. A freak. Whitey, or Paleface, they call him at school, and some make the sign of the Evil Eye against him. Overcome with resentment against his father, this time Bran doesn't realise it's the work of the warestone.\n\nOwen Davies arrives then, and sees Pen. He asks Bran what he's been doing. Bran says it's the power of the Grey King, but Owen says that's superstitious nonsense. Deep down, though, it is clear that he believes Bran. Owen starts talking about Bran's mother, and Bran realises that this was the cottage where it all happened. He never knew, though he's been coming here for years, and used to pretend it was his own house. Owen says that the power of the Grey King was what brought her down from the mountains, and took her way again. He's tried to bring Bran up right, away from it all, but the Grey King has been reaching out all the time, trying to take Bran back where his mother went. \n\nBran shouts at him, saying how was he supposed to know he wasn't supposed to come here? Owen never tells him anything, and never lets him go anywhere interesting. Bran knows hardly anything about his mother, and this he only knows because Mrs Rowlands told him, not Owen. He doesn't even know if she's alive or dead. The only reason Owen won't talk about her, he says, is because Owen drove her away. He must have locked her up as he locks Bran up, so she left. \n\nOwen miserably says this isn't true. He didn't tell Bran because he thought it would be dangerous for him. Gwen came out of the mountain, and must be linked to the Grey King. Far from driving her away, he was desperate for her, calling for her, while the Grey King laughed. He then reveals to Bran that he isn't his legal father, though he is Bran's father in heart and soul. He shows Bran the note she left. \n\nBran is speechless. "Who am I?" he thinks. Names and images roar in his head. He looks at the warestone, and it seems to glow again, as it did when Will did his spell, and the cottage grows dark. It's as if a door is opening in his mind. Through it, he sees Merriman pointing down the mountain at this very cottage. He sees a woman, and is overwhelmed with love for her. Then he sees the same woman looking back longingly at the cottage, then being swept away by Merriman, into another world. \n\nHe knows, too, that he has the power to do things he couldn't do before. Calling to Pen, who jumps up and follows him, he heads out of the cottage, knowing that he has to get to Tal y Llyn. \n\nMeanwhile, Will is riding back with the harp, struggling with his sore arm and the attack by the Grey King. When he gets to the cottage, though, it's empty. The power of the warestone has been broken. Will cannot believe it. It is part of the Law that the Light cannot budge a warestone of the Dark, and vice versa. However, now that the warestone is ownerless, he can use it to show him what happened.\n\nIn his vision, he sees a man - the lord of the sea-blue robe. He sees a woman, her face twisted in grief and guilt. He sees Merriman leading the woman out of an abbey, a baby in her arms, then sees them on an Old Way. He sees the cottage, and a young Owen Davies, then Merriman with the woman again, taking her back through Time, and back into the abbey. \n\nHe realises the true nature of Bran, and feels a terrible compassion for him, born to a fearsome destiny. He sees that he has been fated all along to be at the side of Bran, just as Merriman was at the side of Bran's true father. Bran's father had had no idea that Bran's existence until he had seen him under the mountain, he realises. Bran's power and rank mean he can easily break the Grey King's warestone... but how does Bran know yet, and how much does he understand? \n\nWill rushes off to the lake, not only for the Sleepers now, but to find Bran, who has a power that could destroy the Light, if it remains unrecognised and uncontrolled.\n\n''Chapter thirteen: The waking''\nWill arrives at Tal y Llyn, still fighting the power of the Dark in his mind. Suddenly Caradog Pritchard appears, pulling him from the bike. Will is furious at this petty man, trying to pull him down to the petty rivalries and rages of ordinary men. Caradog accuses Will of trying to conceal Pen, and grabs at the bundle under Will's arm - the harp. Will is instantly a furious Old One, "rearing up terrible as a pillar of light." He stretches a hand towards Pritchard, but the Grey King channels his own powers through Pritchard, protecting him. (Will calls this the greatest risk any lord of Light or Dark could take.) Pritchard persists in asking Will about the dog, and Will says that he doesn't want to have to hurt him, which causes him to laugh.\n\nWill calls on his gifts as an Old One in full strength - the spells that allow him to ride the wind, fly beyond the sky and beneath the sea - and raises a huge wave from the lake, topped with six swans. Huge and destructive, it breaks over the land. However, it isn't real, just an image Will is forcing into Pritchard's mind. The Grey King, through Pritchard, turns the wave into thousands of fish... but the power of that spell, uttered through a human, breaks Pritchard's mind and leaves him mad. \n\nWill realises he will never face the Grey King again, for when two poles of enchantment meet, there is the risk of annihilation for one. Instead he will always see the Grey King channelled through an evil-wishing but innocent man. Will cannot strike at the Grey King direct, only at the innocent he is controlling. Still, Will calls out to Pritchard, begging him to go away, but it's too late. Pritchard is still babbling hatred, and still trying to get the harp.\n\nWill does the only thing he can, and plays the harp. As he does so, the world starts to glow sweetly. The fish all over the lake - put there by the Grey King's spell - are snatched up and consumed by cormorants who suddenly appear from Bird Rock. When they are gone, six shapes appear - horsemen riding out of the mountain itself. They nod in greeting to Will as they pass.\n\nBran is standing on the slope, near the high ledge, Will sees now. Owen is with him, seeing nothing amiss, but Bran can see the Sleepers. He waves at Will, looking like a normal boy, but then the Sleepers salute him, and Bran nods to them with all the arrogance of a king granting a boon. \n\nThe Sleepers ride away, and Will stops his playing. He feels drained, and he also suddenly realises that it was the Light that made him ill, to bring him here, not the Dark - but such things are not of importance to an Old One. Pritchard snatches at the harp, saying it was like the one "she" was playing. Will questions him about this, but just then Bran, Owen and Pen come in sight. Pritchard looks at them in fury, throws the harp into the lake, and rushes to his van to get his gun. Will tries to stop him with magic, but the Grey King prevents him. \n\nJohn appears and tries to reason with Pritchard, but Pritchard points to the dead sheep still on the ledge, as evidence that Pen needs to be shot. Pritchard turns to gun on John, saying he's always trying to interfere, just as he'd interfered them. If it wasn't for John, she would have come with him. "No," Owen says. She would never have gone for him, and lucky for him that John intervened, or Owen would have killed him, for hurting his Gwen. "Your Gwen?" Pritchard sneers. "Any man's Gwen" - or why would she have chosen a man like Owen. She was so beautiful... and Owen kept Bran around to torment Pritchard. He could have looked after Gwen and Bran better than Owen did.\n\n"And would you then have shot my dog Cafall?" Bran asks, his voice high and remote and sounding to Will as if it comes out of the past. When Pritchard says Cafall was just a working dog of his father's, Bran says that his father did indeed have a dog called Cafall. Will knows that Bran does indeed know the full truth - that his father is King Arthur. He also realises that Owen must have known, too, to name the dog Cafall in the first place.\n\nOwen confirms that, yes, he knew. Cader Idris is the Seat of Arthur, in English. She'd betrayed her lord, and was afraid that he'd cast out his son, so she brought her son into the future and left him there. She might have stayed, too, had Pritchard not interfered.\n\nPritchard raises his gun again, but John disarms him. Bran puts his arm around Owen's waist. John grabs Pritchard, who wails as the Grey King leaves him, abandoning him to madness. All sense of the Dark vanishes from the valley, and the milgwn rush down into the lake, and vanish.
The Lost Land is Cantre'er Gwaelod - the Lowland Hundred. According to folklore, it was the kingdom of [[Gwyddno Garanhir]], and was lovely and fertile. However, it was so low that the water needed to be kept out by dykes, and one night there was a storm (or else a gate-keeper forgot to close the flood gates) and it was inundated. \n\nIt has a magic of its own, which is neither of the Light nor the Dark. The people of the Lost Land are not supposed to take sides... and neither can the Light or Dark use their powers in the Lost Land.\n\nWill and Bran enter it by following a path of magic and light through the sky. \n\n''The city''\nThe city is gleaming, with roofs, spires towers and turrets, some black with flint, and some shining golden. There is a park in the middle of the city. \n\nWhen Will and Bran arrive, they find themselves on a golden roof, edged with a golden lattice. They climb down from the roof, and find a staircase down into the trees. Two horses take them alongside the park, and then down a side street, with tall grey walls towering on either side. The street gets narrower and narrower, darker and darker. They stop outside a small wooden door, which leads into a place of darkness. A ladder takes them into a gallery, that looks a bit like a library, but with a floor that's on lots of different, random levels. There is a balustrade around the edge, but beyond that nothing, just blackness. The far door takes them into a zig-zagging wooden corridor, more like a tunnel, and then into a room full of white light. \n\nAfter they pass the test, they are allowed to see the real city. First they're in a crowded square, full of dancing people. There are stalls selling food, and there is a fountain. Will and Bran get into a coach, and move down a broad street lined with curving arcades of beautiful houses, with clear lines and arched doors and wide-set, even windows, and golden walls. At one point they see the entrance to a pillared courtyard.\n\nThey travel through a formal park. It has formal paths of gravel, and white stone seats between the formal flower beds, and there is a strong smell of roses. They get out of the coach next to a circular walled garden, entered through an arch in a high hedge of roses. The centre of this garden is a fountain, surrounded by white marble seats and balustrades. The fountain is in the form of three intertwined white dolphins. There are huge mounds of roses all around - roses from all the centuries, the Rider says. Rainbows form in the fountain, making an "arch of the Light", that allow Will and Bran to see a vision of the King. At the foot of the fountain is carved "I am the womb of every holt." \n\n''The Palace''\n\nWill and Bran then go along stone streets, and in through the arched entrance of a courtyard. It has high pillared walls, set with tall nine-paned windows. There are "fantastic pointed towers" that rise from beyond the roof. A staircase leads to a square pillared doorway, carved with stone scrolls and figures, and marked with the King's crest - the leaping salmon. This is the Empty Palace, because no-one has lived here since the King moved to his tower by the sea. \n\nInside, they find a maze of mirrors, which they manage to get through, and beyond that they find themselves in a hall lined with tapestries and paintings. Gwion pulls back a tapestry to reveal the entrance to a small spiral staircase. This leads them up onto the roof - a balconied walkway around the base dome, which is banded in white and gold. At the very top of the dome is a golden arrow pointing to the sea. \n\nWhen they go down from the roof, they are in the gallery/library that they had seen earlier. \n\n''The country''\nFrom the Palace roof, the Lost Land looks like a patchwork of fields, with dark trees beyond that, and then the coast. The tower shows up as a finger of light next to the sea.\n\nAs they ride across the country, they go past fields of wheat and oats, and fields with cattle, many of them pure white. \n\nThe wood is in the centre of the Country, and the road goes through it. The wood is thin at first, with bracken undergrowth, and a clear, sandy-coloured path through it. Soon the path gets less clear, with grass growing on it, and plants reaching across it. There are few birds. A stream crpsses the path, half hidden by ferns. \n\nWill and Bran take refuge in a cottage on the far side of the wood, but this probably isn't really there. When they look back afterwards, they see only a clump of hawthorn. \n\nThere is no clear road on the far side of the wood. Will and Bran head overland, through soggy marshy fields, and firmer land covered with gorse. There is a stream in a clump of willow trees. This leads to the river, which is tidal, sinking to almost nothing at low tide, then refilling when the tide comes in. The river is fringed with oak and pine.\n\n''Caer Wydyr''\nThe tower is topped with a gold and crystal dome, just like the palace, and also has a golden arrow on its top. It is made of glass. \n\nIt is guarded by seven clumps of trees - Alder, willow, birch, hazel, holly, apple, oak\n\nThe tower is built on a rocky base, and there are roughly hewn steps up to the door, but the door is barred by a wheel that spins constantly, impossible to get through... except with the right enchantment, which is this case is the blowing the the hunting horn that Miss Greythorne had given to Will. \n\nInside, light filters through the walls, looking greenish. It feels like being in a cave of ice. The first room looks like a study, but one left in a hurry, with books and papers scattered around, and a table littered with tools and the debris of metalwork. A golden shield hangs on the wall. \n\nA wrought-iron staircase leads up to an opening in the ceiling. They go up the stairs, and then through various rooms that look like bedrooms or dining rooms, all of which look neglected. \n\nThe final room is inside the dome, and isn't lit with faint green light, but dull white light. The only furniture is a square table set to one side, a carved wooden screen, and a few big high-backed chairs. \n\n\n\n\n
The six Signs of Light are the main focus in [[The Dark is Rising]]. Will is the Sign-seeker, and his destined role is to track down and acquire the six Signs. \n\nThe relevant verse reads:\nIron for the birthday, bronze carried long;\nWood from the burning, stone out of song;\nFire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;\nSix signs the circle, and the grail gone before.\n\nThe Signs are all in the shape of a circle quartered by a cross. They are about the size of Will's palm.\n\n''The Sign of Iron''\nThis is given to Will by [[Farmer Dawson]] on the night before his birthday. He tells Will to keep it for now, but later (i.e. after he's come into his powers and knows the significance of it) to thread it through his belt and wear it there. It is completely black, with no shine to it, and no sign of rust. The iron is completely smooth, though the surface is irregular. Sometimes it is incredibly cold to the touch.\n\nIn the final battle, Simon takes the Signs of Iron.\n\nThe Sign of Iron was forged in the Lost Land.\n\n''The Sign of Bronze''\nThis is the one that the [[Walker]] is doomed to carry through the long centuries. He gives it to Will after their encounter in "Tramp's Alley".\n\nJane takes the Sign of Bronze in the final battle.\n\nThe Sign of Bronze was made in the Lost Land.\n\n''The Sign of Wood''\nThis is renewed every century - the only Sign that is not permanent. Will goes back to 1875, where a lot of Old Ones are gathered in the Manor. [[Miss Greythorne]] reaches up to the panelling over the fireplace and takes out the wooden sign. Merriman takes it, breaks it and throws it into the fire. When the fire is extinguished, Miss Greythorne takes out the log from the fire, breaks away the blackened bits, and reveals a new sign at its heart. She can't give it to Will in this century, so asks him to watch while she puts it back into the panelling. Back in his own time, Will is able to go to the fireplace and retrieve it.\n\nThe Sign of Wood is made of rowan wood - a wood that the Dark does not love. Rowan has important qualities that the Light needs, but is less enduring than a wood like oak, so needs to be remade every hundred years. \n\nIt is also called the Sign of Learning.\n\nIn the final battle, Barney takes the Sign of Wood. \n\n''The Sign of Stone''\nThe Sign of Stone is in the wall of church in Huntercombe. It is made out of flint - a natural flint, grown millions of years ago in this shape. It reveals itself, shining, when Will uses the other Signs to fight the Dark in the church. \n\nWill takes the Sign of Stone in the final battle.\n\n''The Sign of Fire''\nIn the hall where he first meets Merriman and the Lady, Will brushes against a candlestick marked with the shape of the Sign. He has a burn on his forearm in this shape. "One Sign of Fire you already have with you," the Lady tells him later. When Will holds up his arm, the burnt-in Sign drives away the [[Rider]] when he's at the door of the Manor, and later helps bring Bran and Will through the magical barrier in the mountain beneath Bird Rock. \n\nThe real Sign of Fire appears when the Old Ones are fighting the cold of the Dark, in the Manor, and in the past. The Dark is manifesting itself as nine pillars of cold fire, that look like icicles. After the doctor sedates the [[Walker]], thus closing the opening through which the Dark has been able to enter the Manor, the Old Ones snatch up the candles of the Dark, and go back in Time, back to the great stone hall. They fit the candles in the empty candle holder, and the flames turn white and warm. The middle flame blossoms like a plant, and inside is the next Sign - the Sign of Fire. Will takes it, and the candles, flames and candle-holder all vanish. \n\nThe Sign is made of gold of several colours, beaten together in exquisite craftsmanship, and set with tiny gems in runic patterns. Around the edge it says "Liht mec heht gewyrcan" - "The Light ordered that I should be made." \n\nMerriman takes the Sign of Fire in the final battle.\n\nThe Sign of Fire was made in the Lost Land.\n\n''The Sign of Water''\nThis appears near the end, after Will and the [[Rider]] have confronted each other on a small island in the flooded Thames. After the Rider has gone, the beech tree on the island is struck by lightning and burns, and the island sinks slowly into the river. As if born from the island, a boat appears, with a stag as its figurehead. On the boat, beneath a canopy, lies a king, wearing a boar-headed helmet, and surrounded by treasure. In his dead hands, he is holding a Sign - the Sign of Water. He has been dead for 1500 years, and has only come back tonight because the Sign is destined for Will. \n\nThe Sign of Water shimmers like mother-of-pearl, all rainbows, with dancing light. It is made of iridescent glass, engraved with serpends and ells and fishes, waves and clouds and things of the sea. Merriman says it is one of the oldest of the Signs, and the most powerful. \n\nBran takes the Sign of Water in the final battle - though it is called the Sign of Light. \n\nThe Sign of Water was made in the Lost Land.\n\n''The Six Signs''\nAfter the Signs have been retrieved, [[John Smith]] forges them together onto a chain, watched by the full Circle of Old Ones. Merriman and Will go back to Roman Caerleon and hide them deep in the wall of the amphitheatre. Later, Will goes back to Caerleon nearly 2000 years later, and retrieves the Signs when the amphitheatre is being excavated by archaeologists. Merriman takes them back to Arthur, where they help drive the Dark away in the first rising, then Arthur brings them back to Will, who wears the round his neck as they approach the tree for the final rising.\n\nWhen the Dark is defeated, the Signs flare up, and vanish \n\n
The Stanton family live in the Old Vicarage, in Huntercombe, a small Buckinghamshire village near the Thames. (For more information about the location, see [[Will's home territory]] and for more information about their neighbours, see [[Characters in Buckinghamshire]]. The family consists of Raq and Ci, a pair of Welsh collies, a collection of rabbits and chickens, and the following people:\n\n[[Roger Stanton]]\n[[Alice Stanton]]\n\nTom Stanton - their first child, who died after 3 days\n[[Stephen Stanton]] - oldest surviving child, 15 years older than Will\n[[Max Stanton]] - next oldest. (The age order of the children is given when Barbara arranges all the birth signs in order.)\n[[Gwen Stanton]] - Will's oldest sister\n[[Robin Stanton]] - twin to Paul\n[[Paul Stanton]] - twin to Robin\n[[Barbara Stanton]] - five years older than Will, and 16 at the time of [[The Dark is Rising]]\n[[Mary Stanton]] - three years older than Will\n[[James Stanton]] - one year older than Will\n[[Will Stanton]]\n\nOne uncle also appears - Roger's brother [[Bill Stanton]], who is married to [[Fran Stanton]]\n\nStephen talks about Granddad. "Pity you never knew him," he says to Will. \n\nWhile their house is obviously fairly big, they don't seem to be quite as well-off as the Drews appear to me. Mrs Stanton relies on selling eggs and rabbits to get the money to buy all the Christmas presents that her large family needs.\n\nTheir family Christmas includes no television at all. They decorate the tree on Christmas Eve. They hang old brown stockings at the foot of the bed. Before breakfast, they're allowed to open one present each, starting with the youngest.
The Stantons live in the Old Vicarge, on Huntercombe Lane, on the edge of the village of Huntercombe. See [[Will's home territory]] for a description of the village. \n\nThe house has a long, curving drive leading to the road. It has a couple of outbuildings, including one that they call the Barn, although it isn't a barn. It was once a stable, and is a long low building with a tiled roof. There are rabbits and chicken runs near the barns. Eggs and rabbits are sold to get extra money. \n\nThe kitchen is "sprawling" and usually packed and busy. It has a stone floor, and a scrubbed wooden table, where the family eats - tea if it's before 5, or supper if it's afterwards. It has a fire. \n\nThe back door opens into the kitchen.\n\nEven though all the children share rooms, there must be a lot of bedrooms. Will now sleeps at the top of the house, in a slant-roofed attic room that used to be Stephen's. Will keeps his letters from Stephen in a carved wooden box with a dragon on the lid. There are several normal windows, but also a skylight in the roof. There is a bookcase in the corner (with the wooden box on top of it, and also a picture of Stephen in his Navy uniform), a table, two chairs, and a window seat. There is also a mobile consisting of six square-rigged sailing ships. (Stephen's, or a gift from Stephen?)\n\nThe landing has a large window that overlooks the back garden. The Thames is away to the south. There is a windowseat at this window. From here, you can see the lawn, with an orchard beyond. There is a garage, an old barn, and rabbit hutches, and beyond that just the fields of Dawsons' Farm.\n\nThe living room has a broad brick hearth with a chimney. The front door opens straight into the living room, without a hallway in between. \n\nThere is a garden at the front and another at the back, both with a lot of lawn. In the front, near the gate, there are lilacs and wallflowers, and also lime trees. The back lawn is five feet wider than the front, and ten feet longer, but it has more trees in it than the front. There is an old stone wall between the front garden and the road, covered with rambler roses with red blossoms. In the summer, they sometimes eat outside on a glass-topped orange wicker table with matching chairs
The golden harp is hidden in a chamber beneath the mountain (though, really, the chamber could be anywhere, even though Will and Bran got to it by going into the mountain.) It is guarded by three lords of High Magic - Merriman, the [[Rider]], and [[King Arthur]]. In order to try for the harp, Will and Bran have to pass inspection by all the stars of the heavens, and to pass through a barrier of High Magic that would destroy anyone who should not be there. Will gets them through this by using the Sign of Fire that's burnt onto his arm. Will and Bran are asked three questions. After they answer them, Will opens a chest and inside is the harp. \n\nThe harp is small and golden. Its frame is slender but ornate, fashioned so that a golden vine with gold leaves and flowers seems to twine around it, in and out of the strings. Even the strings look golden.\n\nWhen Bran plays it, the notes are delicate and resonant, "like liquid birdsong." It is "music that was not of the earth, pouring out like High Magic in a singing spell."\n\nThe music of the harp is a protection against the Dark and other dangers. At the end of [[The Grey King]], when played in the right place, it awakens the [[Sleepers]].
Miss Greythorne gives Will a hunting horn at the end of [[The Dark is Rising]]. He uses it twice - once to summon the others in Wales, and once to stop the wheel that guards the castle in the Lost Land.
The man who hid the Grail, some 900 years ago, was the descendant of the man Bedwin entrusted the Grail to. In the document, he wrote about how Bedwin came to Cornwall "in the days of my fathers", bearing the Grail. It was passed from father to son, as times grew darker around them, but the writer has no children, and the heathen are approaching Cornwall, led by his own nephew - his brother's son whom he loved as his own. He is about to flee to Brittany, but the Grail can't leave the land, so he's hiding it "over sea and under stone", marked by "signs that wax and wane but do not die." The man who finds it will know that in his day the Pendragon will come again, and evil will be cast out forever. \n\nIt is likely that this man lived round about the time of the Norman Conquest. He talks about heathens attacking from the east, but this can't refer to Anglo Saxons, since he talks about the heathen killing Englishmen - and "English" is a term derived from Angles, and used only after the Anglo Saxon settlements. He can't be referring to the Vikings, since the Cornishmen actually employed Vikings in their army when they were fighting the invading Saxons. The date - c. 900 years ago - fits best with the Norman Conquest. The Normans installed a duke of their own in Cornwall, and this was the real ending of Cornwall's existence as a separate entity.\n
This is written on thick brownish parchment, "springy as steel", with long cracks over it from being rolled. On to that has been stuck another sheet, that looks even older, and is made of a thicker subtance, almost as hard as wood. This is darker, ragged at the edges, and covered with writing. The bottom of this has been burnt at some point in the past, and the bits carefully stuck down onto the backing paper in the right place. \n\nThe writing comes first, and at the bottom is the map. It looks a bit like a W on its side. There are very faint words on the map, though one is completely lost in a crack. One reads "King Mark Hede." \n\nThe first paragraph is in medieval Latin, written some 600 years ago by a monk, explaining how he found an older manuscript. The rest of it is a copy of that older manuscript, written in an older English dialect - a very old form of it, with words from old Cornish, and from Brittany. \n\nThe older manucript says that, even longer ago, "a strange knight" came fleeing to Cornwall, after the fall of Arthur. The strange knight was called [[Bedwin]], and bore a grail "made in the fashion of the Holy Grail", that told on its side the true story of Arthur. Each panel told of an evil overcome by Arthur, and the last panel showed promise and proof of the Pendragon's return. Evil is upon us now, Bedwin said, and will be "for time beyond our dreaming", but the Grail remains as trust and promise that Arthur will come again, and evil driven out forever. \n\nBedwin then died, leaving the Grail in the trust of an ancestor of the man who wrote the document. It was passed from father to son, as times grew darker around them, but the writer has no children, and the heathen are approaching Cornwall, led by his own nephew. He is about to flee to Brittany, but the Grail can't leave the land, so he's hiding it "over sea and under stone", marked by "signs that wax and wane but do not die." The man who finds it will know that in his day the Pendragon will come again, and evil will be cast out forever. \n
When the [[Walker]] summons the Dark, here are the names he uses:\n\nWolf, hound, cat, rat\nHeld\nHolda\nUra\nTann\nColl\nQuert\nMorra\nUath\nTruith\nEriu\nLoth\nHeurgo\nCelmis\n\nThere are many more names, too. In response to each name, blue fire darts up in the Lady's hall, in the past. Each name is familiar to Will from the Book of Gramarye. \n\nUath and Coll are both letters in the Ogham alphabet. Twrch Truith (or Twyth) is a huge boar hunted by Arthur and his companions in the tale of Culhwch and Olwen. Loth was a king who gave his name to the Lothians... In other words, some of these are proper names from folklore and mythology, but are probably used here just as suitable sounding names. \n\n\nThe painter mentions Anubis, and something about making ready for the great gods. Anubis is the Egyptian god of the dead, with a jackal head.
The painter is an agent of the Dark - the only one active in [[Greenwitch]]. He is only a fairly minor agent of the Dark. He has been sent by the Dark to steal the Grail, but has plans to become one of the lords of the Dark. He goes against his orders and tries bind the Greenwitch, to get the manuscript that is vital to the interpretation of the Grail. When it all goes wrong for him, the Dark will not help him, because he was disobeying orders. \n\nHe has a lot of uncombed long dark hair, and is swarthy and of middle height, and a square, hefty frame. He dresses like a fisherman, in navy jersey and trousers. Barney first notices him because his picture is so full of harsh colour, which Barney finds very wrong. Will says he has a "real but rather nasty talent" for painting. At first his painting is a front for him to sit out in Trewissick, but later he starts painting spells into his work. \n\nHe tells Simon and Barney that he is half gypsy. Half Romany, he says, and half gorgio. \n\nAt the end of [[Greenwitch]] he is carried away on a ghostly boat, taken away forever by the Wild Magic, never to return.
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4000 years ago - c. 2000 BC: The Circle of the Old Ones starts growing.\nThis is slightly contradicted when we learn that the Old Ones existed through the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, and that one Sign was made in each Age. The end of the Stone Age in Britain is usually placed as c. 2100 BC.\n\nc 2000 BC to c 750 BC - The Bronze Age. The Sign of Bronze was made now\n\nc 750 BC to c 100 BC - The Iron Age, ending gradually as Romans started appearing\n\nc 90 AD - Caerleon Amphitheatre built. This is where and when Will and Merriman hide the Signs\n\nc 500 AD - King Arthur's time (often stated to be "1500 years ago" in the books). The first great rising of the Dark, pushed back for a while at Badon. After Arthur falls, the Grail is brought to Cornwall. \n\n838 AD - the last stand of the Cornish against the Saxons. Historically, it could be round about now that the Grail is hidden, although this doesn't quite fit with what is said in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] when Merriman says the original document was "more than 900 years old." Also, the writer of the document refers to the invaders killing Englishmen - a term that can be applied to the Saxons, but not to the Cornish.\n\nc1050 - the date of the hiding of the Grail, if you go by Merriman's "more than 900 years old" for the document. Could the writer of the manuscript be referring to the Normans, rather than the Saxons? The Normans kicked out the last native born noble from Cornwall, replacing him with one of their own. \n\n1200s - Merriman lives as a lord in medieval England, with Hawkin as his liegeman\n\n1300s - An unknown monk finds an older document and copies it out, thus leading the children to the Grail many years later\n\n1400 - Owain Glyndwr starts his revolt against the English. Barney is taken back to his time by the Dark. \n\n1400s - Before Will, no Old One has been born for 500 years, so the last one must have been born some time in the fourteenth century\n\n1400s - When Will awakens on his eleventh birthday, he goes back in time some 500 years, to before the Manor was built. The Smithy ceases to exist some time after this - perhaps when the Manor was built?\n\n1500s - The Manor dates from Tudor times. Has [[Miss Greythorne]] been living here ever since? \n\n1700s - [[Roger Toms]] sails on the Lottery. He is supposed to be an ancestor of Captain Toms, but if no Old Ones have been born for 500 years, how can this be? A descendant, perhaps? \n\n1875 - The ceremony for the renewal of the Sign of Wood. Will goes back to this time to learn from the Book of Gramarye\n\n1800s - The Drew children go back to this time in Wales, where they see John Rowlands' forefather.
[[Over Sea, Under Stone]] is set in August - though there is a contradiction in the book. The carnival held during the book is called the "Lammas carnival" by Will, and Lammas is August 1st. Elsewhere in the book, though, there is a reference to it being late August. But, really, just "August" is detailed enough.\n\n[[The Dark is Rising]] started four days before Christmas, in the same year as Over Sea, Under Stone. It ends some sixteen days later, on Twelfth Night.\n\n[[Greenwitch]] takes place in mid-April of the following year - i.e. 8 months after Over Sea, Under Stone, and just over four months after the end of The Dark is Rising. Jane says their holidays start on "the fifteenth", which could be March or April, but Will's first scene contains a mention of April sunshine. (Though mid to late April is, really, far too late for school Easter holidays.)\n\n[[The Grey King]] takes place in the same year as Greenwitch, starting at Halloween.\n\n[[Silver on the Tree]] takes place the following summer. Will's opening chapters take place at Midsummer - late June. The rest of the book starts about a month later, once the school holidays have started. (Which start three and a half weeks after Midsummer, according to James.)\n\n
In the Book of Gramarye, Will learns the nature of all trees, and "the particular magics that are in oak and beech and ash."\n\nHere are some of the trees mentioned in the Sequence:\n\n''Rowan''\nThis tree is used in the making of the Sign of Wood, because it has useful qualities, that other trees don't possess. (We aren't told exactly what these are.) "Our wood is one which the Dark does not love". It is a weaker wood than oak, though, and less able to endure the stresses that any Sign must endure, so it renewed every 100 years. Rowan is also used for the Greenwitch's head.\n\nAdditional notes, not in the books: In folklore, rowan is strongly associated with protections against witchcraft and evil. Its berries are bright red, and red is considered a colour that protects against evil, and there appears to be a five-pointed pentagram on each berry. Rowan trees were often planted in church yards. In modern paganism, it is associated with protections, especially against fire. The wood is strong and resilient, though in some places, such as the Highlands, there were strong prohibitions on using the wood except in rituals.\n\n''Oak''\nMerriman tells Will that oak is very ancient. Boats made of oak have survived for thousands of years, and Winchester cathedral stands on oak piles sunk 900 years ago. The foot of John Smith's anvil is oak. "On oak and on iron, let the Signs be joined," the Lady says.\n\nAdditional notes, not in the books: Since the wood is so long-lived, and the tree so solid and sturdy, oak is usually associated with protections in folklore. Druids grew groves of oak, and their most sacred plant, mistletoe, grew in the tops of the oak trees. Kings wore crowns of oak leaves. The Oak King is the personification of spring and summer, who defeats the Holly King at midwinter.\n\n''Holly''\nWill is told that holly is good at keeping away the Dark, so plasters his house with holly. It is not enough to keep away the Rider, though, since the Rider, as Mr Mitothin, is asked in by Mr Stanton, the master of the house. [[Miss Greythorne]] has a large branch of holly in her manor, as the only sign of Christmas decoration. \n\nAdditional notes, not in the books: Holly is an evergreen, so as such is associated with the whole "life in the middle of death" theme of Midwinter - which is why is has become associated with Christmas, and songs such as "The Holly and the Ivy." In folklore, it is a good protection against evil magic. The Holly King is the spirit of autumn and winter, who is vanquished every midwinter by the Oak King of spring and summer.\n\n''Hawthorn''\nThe Greenwitch is mostly made of hawthorn. The may tree on the top of the cottage is the Lost Land is also hawthorn.\n\nAdditional notes: Hawthorn is widely used in May rituals, hence the name - May flower, Mayblossom etc. In folklore, it is associated with fertility, because of its use in May rituals. It is also a protective plant, that protects houses from storms. However, there's a taboo against bringing it inside, because the cloying smell of its blossoms are reminiscent of the smell of death. It is associated with fairies. \n\n''Beech''\nA beech tree stands on the island in the Thames where Will encounters the Rider. It is later struck by lightning, and splits to reveal the boat beneath the Thames. "Beech" is the answer to the riddle "What is the shore that fears the sea?", that Will is asked during the quest for the harp. He answers with a pun on beach/beech, and describes beech as a lovely fine-grained wood, used in many useful things - and also in the chest that holds the harp. The only place it cannot be used are beneath the open sky and on the open sea, for it loses its virtue if soaked in water. \n\n\n\n\nThese are the trees that are encountered in the Lost Land:\n\n''1. Alder''\nOr "Y gwernan", as Bran says in Welsh. "Growing with its feet wet," he says, because alders normally grow on the edge of water. It grows in a clump of slender trunks, green-barked, with broad round leaves. Gwion calls it "the tree of fire". Its wood doesn't split or decay, and it has the "power of fire to free the earth from water." \n\nAdditional notes: Until fairly modern times, in some places it was considered dangerous to handle alder. Traditionally only a druid could use it. It could be used, by those who dared, for protection in sea voyages, and in cursing enemies. It is also associated with the dead, with rituals involving the dead, and with resurrection. Because the tree grows in water, the wood is incredibly durable if made into boats and things, though it rots quickly out of water.\n\n''2. Willow''\n"The enchanter's tree," Will says. "Strong as a young lion, pliant as a loving woman, and bitter to the taste, and all enchantment in the end must be."\n\nAdditional notes: Willow is the wicker of the Wicker Man fame, and is is possible that "wicca" comes from the same root (which means "to bend") In folklore, it is associated with the moon, moon goddesses, and enchantment. It is used in a witch's broom, and in spells to find water. It is associated with poetry and inspiration. \n\n''3. Birch''\nKnotted and white, with hard catkins and long thin brown twigs. The tree is the Lost Land is old, with white-spotted scarlet toadstools beneath its roots, and a wound on its trunk. Bran says that birches don't grow in the modern climate of Wales.\n\nAdditional notes: The fungus is fly agaric, which is often found underbeath a birch, and has a symbiotic relationship with it. Birch was used as a protection in folklore, especially at the start of a journey. As the first tree in Ogham, the Irish tree alphabet, it symbolises new life and new beginnings. Bundles of birch, bound into besoms (brooms) were used to sweep away evil spirits at the start of the year. Since it is one of the first trees to come into leaf, it is used in spring rituals, and sometimes for maypoles.\n\n''4. Hazel''\n"Hazel for healing," Gwion says, as he plucks twigs from broad hazel trees, with blunt rounded leaves. "And for feeding starving travellers," Bran says, for Gwion had put hazelnuts in their packs. Hazel is also used for the framework of the Greenwitch. \n\nAdditional notes: Hazel is associated with inspiration and wisdom. People can make wishes on hazelnuts. The wood was commonly used to make staves. Children used to have a day off school in the autumn to gather hazelnuts, which were ceremonially opened on "Nutcrack Night". They could also be thrown into the fire to divine the future of a romantic relationship. \n\n''5. Holly''\nSee above\n\n''6. Apple''\nThis particular tree is curved to the ground like a bent-backed old man, and is low and spreading. Its fruit can hang there for two years. Gwion tells Bran that he was born here, among many tree like this one (though it's not clear if he's referring to all the trees in general, or just the apple trees.) \n\nAdditional notes: The apple is the tree of immortality. Avalon means the Isle of Apples, as do the otherworlds of other Celtic mythologies. Apple trees are traditionally blessed at Midwinter, when wassailing bowls of cider are thrown over the tree, with a verse chanted, asking the tree to bear good fruit during the coming year.\n\n''7. Oak''\nThe Rider calls it the "king of trees." See above for more. \n\n\n\nThere are many websites about the folklore of trees. Here are some of them - though they do often contradict each other, depending on their stance. \n,Trees&Fungi/HTF.htm#trees\nThis site concentrates on Irish folklore and legend. Irish folklore has a lot of similarities with British folklore, it is not entirely the same. The folklore is recounted through the viewpoint of modern paganism.\n\n\nThis site concentrates on international folklore, so quite a lot of the references are not relevant to the sequence, which draws throughout on British folklore only\n\n\nThis comes from a forestry viewpoint, and also includes sections on the practical uses of each tree through the ages.\n\n\n''Flowers''\nAt the start of [[The Dark is Rising]], Will is reading out of an old book on flower lore. \n\n- Scarlet Pimpernel: Stephen says his grandfather used to say of it, "Open for sun, closed for rain, that's the poor man's weathervane." The old book, by a Mr Gerard, says that you sniff it as a cure for toothache, or gargle with it to purge the head. He also says it's good against venomous beasts - which is proved when the mink swerves away from Stephen, who has some of the flower in his button hole.
Trewissick is the setting for [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] and [[Greenwitch]]. It is on the south coast of Cornwall, which is the sticky-out pointy bit at the south-west of England, famous for having lots of rocky coast, clotted cream, tourists and narrow roads. I will leave you to Google your own Cornwall links, if you want more. \n\nTrewissick is five miles from St Austell (pronounced Saint Ostell.) You can read all about St Austell in its Wikipedia entry - - and, should you want to, you can even see a picture of St Austell station, where the opening chapters of Over Sea and Under Stone and Greenwitch take place. The journey from St Austell station is described - high hedges, bent away from the prevailing wind from the sea, and yellow-grey rocky outcrops\n\nTrewissick is not a real place, though apparently Susan Cooper based it on Mevagissey, where she used to holiday as a child. Apparently, the vicarage where Jane met "Mr Hastings" is now a B&B. A Google images search on Mevagissey brings up some nice pics. \n\nTrewissick is best described in chapter one of [[Over Sea, Under Stone]]. It is described as having slate-grey roofs, and narrow winding streets down the hill. The houses are small and square, with net curtains. \n\nThe ''harbour'' is a working harbour, with fishing boats - "stocky, workman-like boats, each with a stubby mast and a small square engine-house in the stern" - and nets hung over the harbour walls. There are also sailing dinghies and yachts. The quay juts out from the middle of the quayside, from a tall wooden warehouse. The harbour master has an office on the quayside, with a small black door. \n\nThe [[Grey House]] is [[Captain Toms]]'s house, which the Drews stay in in [[Over Sea, Under Stone]]. Coming from St Austell (i.e. the north), it is on the far side of the harbour. A terrace of houses slope sideways up the stepp hill, and in the middle of the row is the [[Grey House]]. Follow the link for a description of the house, both inside and out.\n\nThe road from the Grey House to the harbour has a low wall, with tufts of valerian growing between the stones. \n\nThe ''church'' is on the top of the hill, 20 yards beyond the furthest of the houses. It is square and grey, with a low tower, and the trees surround it so you can't see the other houses, or the sea. [[Mrs Palk]] tells Jane that she can see the tower through the trees going up Fish Street, from the quay. \n\nThe vicarage is grey and square, with a gravel drive. (Though of course the vicar no longer lives there.) It's scruffy, and the drive is clotted with weeds. The lawns have not been mown for ages, and the hydrangea bushes are spindly and neglected. Inside, it is big and rambling, with peeling paint. The floors are mostly bare, though there are a few fading rugs. [[Mr Hastings]] has colonised one room, filling it with books and a desk. There are French windows that look out onto the garden, and two cane chairs.\n\nThere are two ''headlands'', one on either side of Trewissick. One headland is not named. It is less steep than Kemare Head, and covered with heather and gorse. This one is on the far side of the village from the Grey House. There is a high slanting boulder of granite on it, that is one of tthe landmarks used in finding the grail.\n\nKemare Head (once called King Mark's Head) is described as "rising dark and impenetrable behind the house" To get there, you walk up the main road past the Grey House, then leave the road to climb over a fence. The path curves inland for a bit, then there's a zigzagging footpath to to tip of the headland. About 400 yards from the tip of the headland are four very tall granite standing stones, which Merriman says are 3000 years old. Three are about the same size, and the fourth is a lot taller. \n\nWhen Simon runs down from the headland, heading directly towards the village, rather than following the zigzaggy slope, he ends up in ''Pentreath Lane''. This is so tree lined as to be almost a tunnel, and has a rutted surface. Tunring left would have taken Simon to the tumble-down Pentreath Farm, where [[Bill Hoover]] and his father live. Turning right took him to the main Tregoney road. (Tregoney is also a real place.) \n\n''Pentreath Farm'' is also accessible from the village direct. If you follow the road past the Grey House, you get to the narrowest part of the village, with quiet cottages and occasional modest houses marked "Private Hotel." Beyond that is hedge-rimmed farmland, and beyond that is the white cones and green ponds of the china clay areas, and then the moors. When Simon and Barney walk this way, they soon come to the entrance to Pentreath Farm. \n\nPentreath Farm is uninhabited by the time of [[Greenwitch]]. It is a low grey farmhouse, with old pieces of machinery rusting in the yard, and several windows gaping black and jagged-edged. There are two outbuildings. At least one of these is thatched, and already sagging. The other is a stone barn with a half-fallen roof. This is where they find the old caravan that the painter had been using. The trees are encroaching towards the house. "The wild is taking Pentreath Farm very fast," Captain Toms says. \n\nIn [[Greenwitch]], they stay in two cottages that have been knocked into one. This is on the opposite site of the harbour from the [[Grey House]]. The cottages have been in the Penhallow family for years, and there is a Victorian photo of [[Mr Penhallow]]'s grandfather on the fireplace. Jane's room is painted white, with yellow curtains and a yellow quilt, and has a sloping ceiling, and a view of the harbour. Simon and Barney's room is long and skinny, but doesn't have a view. Will's room, in the other cottage, shares a wall with Jane's. The main room in the Stanton's half of the cottage is "cheerful", with bookcases, armchairs and lamps, a large solid table, and eight dignifed high-backed chairs. A door connects to another door, which leads into the other cottage.\n\nThere is no ambulance in the village, and only one policeman, with a motorbike. He is called PC Tregear.\n\n\n
The Welsh triads - the Triads of the Island of Britain - is a collection of folklore and history, arranged in sets of three. See here for more:\n\n\nIn the Sequence, two Triads appear in the scene when Will and Bran are questioned before gaining the golden harp.\n\nBran is asked who are the ''three elders of the world''\nThe answer: The Owl of Cwm Cawlwyd, the Eagle of Gwernabwy, and the Blackbird of Celli Gadarn. (In the Book of Gramarye, Will learnt that the Eagle of Gwernabwy is the oldest thing alive.)\n\nWill is asked who are the ''three generous men of the Island of Britain''\nThe answer (as in the "real" Triad) is Nudd the Generous, son of Senllyt, Mordaf the Generous, son of Serwan, and Rhydderch the Generous, son of Tydwal Tudglyd. But Arthur was more generous than all three, Will adds - an addition that is found in several of the "real" Triads.
[[When the Dark comes rising...]]\n[[On the day of the dead...]]\n[[I am the womb of every holt...]]\n[[Other verses]]
The Walker was once [[Hawkin]], who betrayed the Light, and was condemned to carry the Sign of Bronze through the ages until Will comes for it.\n\nThe sight of the Walker is the first strange thing that Will sees, the night before his birthday. The Walker looks like a dirty old tramp. He is described as "a shambling, tattered figure, more like a bundle of old clothes than a man". He has bushy, greasy grey hair, and wears a dirty cap, a torn brown overcoat tied with string, and old boots, one of which has a loose sole so he has to run oddly, half-hopping.\n\nA few days later, Will raises fire on the Old Way, and the Walker is drawn by it, but is initially afraid to give Will the Sign, in case he is of the Dark. He has spent many centuries with the Sign, chased by the Dark. \n\nAfter Will has the Sign, Merriman sends the Walker to rest, but he returns, and is found by Paul in the snow on Christmas Day. He has given the Sign, so his role ought to have ended, but he is still here. He is terrified of the Signs on Will's belt, and seems to hate Will. Merriman knows that he will betray the Light a second time, but makes sure that Will gets him to the Manor, so the Dark will be summoned to a protected place, not in the middle of Will's family. \n\nWhen Will sings the song about travelling long, the Walker reacts with longing, and Will almost thinks he will be drawn back to the Light. (see [[Other verses]] for the words)\n\nAt the manor, the Walker summons the Dark, but his body is only human. The doctor sedates him, this closing the Dark's opening for now. He continues to serve the Dark, who have promised him the Signs and a position of favour. However, after he has done his work, he is cast down, and his back is broken. At the very end, he repents, and is Hawkin again. \n\nHis body is taken back through time, where he is buried as Hawkin in the century where he belonged. \n\nAt the very end, Will sees Hawkin on the ship going out of Time.
The warestone that appears in [[The Grey King]] is a small white pebble. There is one in the sacking that Will uses to hide the golden harp, and another (or the same one?) hidden in the same cottage, that is later used to pin Pen down.\n\nBoth Light and Dark use warestones. Will says it is one of the oldest forms of magic, though it is not very powerful. When the Grey King puts a warestone in the cottage, it means he is able to see everything that happens there. It is not a clear image, like a television sceen, but a fuzzy one. It also allows him to channel his magic in this area. "Not any great magic," Will says, but enough to cause trouble. It allows him to paralyse Pen, and also breaks a spell of Will's, which without the warestone could not have been broken. \n\nThere are rules about the use of warestones:\n\n- The Light cannot do anything at all with a warestone of the Dark, and vice versa. The Grey King says that his warestone would cleave to the earth at the touch of the Light.\n- Those of the Dark or the Light cannot be affected by a warestone, though they can be observed. \n- Although those of the Dark or Light cannot be affected by a warestone, the objects around them can be, which can have the same result - e.g. when a warestone was in the sack containing the harp, it grew so heavy that Will could hardly carry it\n- Through a warestone the power of the Light or Dark can be transmitted to affect objects, men or animals in the area. Through the warestone, the Grey King is able to put dark thoughts into Bran's mind, trying to turn him against Will, and then against Owen. \n\nWhen Bran discovers his powers, he is able to break the hold of the warestone effortlessly. \n\nWill is only able to find the warestone in the cottage after doing some magic involving a circle of blue flames. This seems to work like a divining spell, causing the warestone to glow.
This should be read in conjuction with [[What magic can an Old One do?]] and [[What can't an Old One do?]], since the subjects overlap. \n\nThe Dark and Light have many powers in common. However, there seem to be some Old One powers that the Dark doesn't share, and also quite a few things that the Dark can do, that the Light cannot, since they involve doing un-Lightly things like interfering with humans. \n\nMany of the powers that we know the Old Ones possess may well be possessed by the Dark, but we never see things through the eyes of the Dark, so we know less about them. \n\n''Changing their appearance''\nMerriman tells the children that the man they know as [[Mr Hastings]] will look completely different next time he turns up - as indeed he does, when he appears as the [[Rider]]. The [[White Rider]], of course, manages to masquerade as a middle-aged Welsh woman for years. \n\n''Making people forget''\nWe don't see the Dark doing the "forget" thing that the Old Ones do. However, [[The painter]], a fairly minor minion of the Dark, is able to make Barney forget what has happened in his caravan. This is done using orangeade. The Old Ones call this clumsy, old-fashioned and interesting. \n\n''Travelling through Time''\nWe don't get much detail on how the Dark does this, but they can do it. For example the [[White Rider]] snatches Barney from the beach in the twentieth century, and deposits him nearly 600 years in the past.\n\n''Freezing people in Time''\nThe Dark can do this, just the same as the Light can. Maggie Barnes does this to the Walker.\n\n''Disappearing''\nSeveral times, agents of the Dark disappear into nothing - e.g. the Rider and Maggie Barnes in the Manor, when they are closing on Paul when he is playing the flute.\n\n''Possessing someone''\nhe Grey King channels his powers through Caradog Pritchard, though this is described as very dangerous, since there is the risk that the mortal mind will break. The Light cannot do this. Or, rather, technically they can, but they cannot do this and remain of the Light. Since they unequivocably are of the Light - they cannot ever change this because it is their nature - this does effectively mean that they cannot ever possess someone. The Light is committed to preserving human free will.\n\n''Controlling someone's mind''\nThe Dark does this, but the Light does not. The Rider taunts Will, saying that the Old Ones have neglected parts of the craft. Although they can't outright kill someone, the Dark can influence someone so they go and throw themselves in a river. The Light can't.\n\nMr Hastings enchants Barney so that Barney trots obediently along behind him, and thinks of him as his Master.\n\nThe painter puts thoughts into Simon and Barney's heads, causing them to think he's just a harmless madman. It's described as more like hypnotic suggestion.\n\n''Mesmerise an Old One''\nOld Ones can also be put out of Time, in a way, by the Dark. Near the end of The Dark is Rising, Will is mesmerised by a tiny twig, so he's unaware of the fact that the Dark is going magic next to him. He thinks of it as the Dark putting an Old One out of Time for a psace, "if they needed a space for their own magic." This is done with high wordless singing\n\n''Use spells''\nThe painter is able to use the spells of Mana, Reck and Lir to summon the Greenwitch. There is also talk of the Dark using Cold Spells.\n\n''Use [[Warestones]]''\n\n\n\n\nThe Dark apparently cannot:\n\n- Interfere with the Wild Magic. This applies to the Light, too\n- Use the power of the Old Ways. These belong only to the Light\n- Destroy an Old One, though they can blast them out of Time for a while\n- Directly destroy a mortal, though they can cause them to do themselves harm, or cause one mortal to harm another\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
Some of these things are not possible with magic in this world. Others are possible, but only for the Dark, since the Light cannot interfere with human free choice.\n\n''Mind reading''\nAn Old One cannot read a mortal's mind. Will tells John Rowlands that an Old One - a normal one, anyway - can't know things about men that they haven't been told or see with their own eyes. He knows things about the universe and about magic, but not about the secrets of mortal men. \n\n''Changing things''\nWe never see an Old One turning a person into a newt, or a pen into a penguin. Magic does not change one thing to another thing. \n\n''Creating things''\nMagic can cause something to burst into flame, but there no cases of an Old One being cold, and magicking up a blanket, or whatever. All the Things of Power were made by craftsmen. \n\n''Teleport things''\nWill, on his first quest alone, has to travel the human way to get the harp. Merriman, he thinks, could have just brought the harp to his side using magic. Will can't do this "yet." \n\n''Interfering with the Wild Magic''\nThe Wild Magic cannot take sides, but neither can Light nor Dark interfere with the Wild Magic. Merriman must bargain with Tethys, and the Old Ones cannot compel the Greenwitch to hand over her secret. Will and the Dark are both fairly powerless in the Lost Land.\n\n''Interfere with a warestone that belongs to someone else''\nIf the Dark has used a warestone (see [[Warestones]]), no Old One can break its spell, and vice versa.\n\n''Possess someone''\nThe Dark can do this. The Grey King channels his powers through [[Caradog Pritchard]], though this is described as very dangerous, since there is the risk that the mortal mind will break. The Light cannot do this. Or, rather, technically they can, but they cannot do this and remain of the Light. Since they unequivocably are of the Light - they cannot ever change this because it is their nature - this does effectively mean that they cannot ever possess someone. The Light is committed to preserving human free will.\n\n''Control someone's mind''\nThe Dark does this, but the Light does not. The Rider taunts Will, saying that the Old Ones have neglected parts of the craft. Although they can't outright kill someone, the Dark can influence someone so they go and throw themselves in a river. The Light can't. \n\n''Use strong magic when mortals are present''\nWhen Will tries to use strong magic against the Rider on Christmas Day, the Rider says that he can't do this, because his family are present. Such strong magic will blast his family out of Time forever. \n\n''Kill people, or directly harm them in any way''\nDespite what John Rowlands says, the Light cannot do anything that directly harms a human. They prize human choice. Will does use fairly strong magic on [[Caradog Pritchard]], but only after he has refused many pleas to turn aside, and only because Pritchard is hardly innocent now, but serving the Dark. \n\n''Kill the Dark''\nThe lords of the Dark are immortal, just as the Old Ones are. They cannot kill each other, though they can blast each other out of Time far enough that they won't be able to return until it's too late. "None but the Dark can destroy the Dark," Will tells the White Rider.\n\n''Do magic with water''\nWater is the one element that can defy all magic. Moving water doesn't tolerate any magic, whether good or evil, and will wash it away as if it has never been made.\n\n''Rely on mortals''\nWell, that can, but they shouldn't. When Hawkin listens to Maggie Barnes, Merriman says that he made the worst mistake than an Old One could make - to put more trust in a mortal man than he has the strength to take. "It is something that all of us learned never to do, centuries ago." \n\n''Resist the enemy when it has been invited in''\nWill is limited in what he can do against the [[Rider]] because his father has invited "Mr Mitothin" into the house. When the [[Walker]] calls the Dark into the Manor, there is little that the Light can do to stop it. \n\n''Touch someone sworn to the other side''\nWhen Hawkin is liege man to Merriman, the Dark cannot touch him, but when he swears to the Dark, the Light cannot interfere with him, either.\n\n''Make a man more than a man''\nMerriman says to Hawkin that no power of Dark or Light can make a man more than a man, once any supernatural role he may have had to play comes to and end. And no power of Light or Dark can take away his rights as a man, either. Man is always free to choose his fate.\n\n\nOld Ones can also be ''put out of Time'', in a way, by the Dark. Near the end of [[The Dark is Rising]], Will is mesmerised by a tiny twig, so he's unaware of the fact that the Dark is going magic next to him. He thinks of it as the Dark putting an Old One out of Time for a psace, "if they needed a space for their own magic." This is done with high wordless singing
Old Ones are immortal. Merriman says to John Rowlands that, when an Old One lives in the world as men do, he is not that different from men. "If you prick us, we bleed, if you tickle us, we laugh - only, if you poison us, we do not die." \n\nSimple, then. \n\nBut what happens when they "do not die"? If an Old One was poisoned, at what point would the poison stop acting naturally - making them ill in a human fashion - and start acting differently from in normal people? What if someone chopped an Old One's head off? \n- Perhaps no-one would ever get close enough chop an Old One's head off. An Old One, focused on higher things, doesn't bother intervening to stop himself from getting a paper cut, but would make very sure that no fatal blow got anywhere near him?\n- The High Magic would intervene and stop the injury from happening?\n- That body would die, but they would be reborn in a new body?\n\nIf an Old One suffered a serious injury, the implication is that they would recover at exactly the same rate than a normal man would recover. Will's illness is caused by the Light, which wants to get him to Wales, but he is never able to use his own powers to speed up his recovery. When he bruises his arm, he is stuck with the bruise, even though it makes carrying the harp difficult. There is no magic healing potion. \n\nExtra confusion comes from [[Miss Greythorne]] and [[Captain Toms]]. Captain Toms has gout, and leans on a stick. When he uses magic against the children, for a moment he stands tall, not needing the stick. However, he tells Will, when no mortals are present, that the gout incapacitates him as badly as any gentleman of the Dark could do. It is real, then. \n\nIn the 1970s, Miss Greythorne is old and in a wheelchair, having fallen from a horse as a young woman, or so the story goes. In 1875, when she is aged at least 400, she is young and not in a wheelchair. Is the wheelchair just for show, to suit her current role? Or did she genuinely break her legs at some point, and genuinely get confined to a wheelchair? In the boat at the end, as she goes out of Time, she is not in a wheelchair, but is leaning on a stick. \n\nNo answers here, just questions, for people to make up their own minds about.
Lots and lots. Although the Old Ones don't usually call it "magic", I will call it magic here, since it's easier.\n\nThere is a verbal element to a lot of the magic, as well as a physical. Old Ones often raise their hand, pointing with their fingers, as they utter a word or two, usually in the Old Speech. Not all works of magic needs this, though. Often it just needs a thought. Will just needs to think that the fire should go out, and the fire goes out.\n\nSometimes magic is done with songs. When Will sings an a spell-song in the Old Speech, it doesn't have words like human speech, but is more a matter of nuance and sound.\n\nWill often hears a haunting, magical music when great works of magic happen. This is lilting music, as if played on delicate, unknown instruments, and has a single bell-like phrase through it "in a gold thread of delight." This is particular the case when travelling through Time, but also comes at certain other times of great power.\n\nSometimes magic happens just by looking hard and something and emptying the mind. When Will is trying to go back to old Caerleon, he gazes at the picture of Caerleon, empties his mind... and gradually finds the reality of the place appearing around him. Later, he is able to jump 1500 years in time just by following an emotion. The Roman soldier's homesickness allows Will to jump to another time, where someone else is feeling homesick. \n\nWhen an Old One is striking out with full power, he looks like a towering pillar of white light. This is what Simon sees when the Old Ones repel the painter, and Will later looks like this when he is confronting [[Caradog Pritchard]]. When he's confronting the Rider in his own home on Christmas day, he feels three times his normal height, towering in rage. Most magic, though, doesn't seem to call for these full measures. \n\nMagic is stronger when on an Old Way. The Old Ways have a magic of their own, that seems to manifest itself in white fire. When Merriman appears on "Tramps' Alley", a circle of white flames burst up around Maggie Barnes, and Merriman says that the power of the Old Ways has awakened. \n\nKnowing someone's name gives you a strong power over them. The birth signs carved for the Stanton children can work in the same way. Merriman drives away Maggie Barnes by knowing her true name, and tells Will that he'll learn the true names of everything soon. Merriman Lyon is not Merriman's true name, by the way - and, presumably, Will also has another, secret, true name. \n\nTotems can be used. The Rider binds Mary by using her birth sign and her hair, and talks about how in the old days people could be bound through some earth where they passed, or even a place their shadow had touched.\n\nCircles are important. When Will breaks the Circle formed by himself, the Lady and Merriman, the Dark can get in, and the Lady expends too much of herself dealing with it. Later, Will exposes the Dark's warestone by drawing a circle with a stick, and speaking in the Old Speech, which causes the circle fo flare up in blue fire.\n\nSome magics can be evaded if someone is invited in. The Rider is able to evade Will's protections on the house because Mr Stanton, the master of the house, invited him in. \n\nMagic - like speaking in the Old Speech - can act as a beacon, and draw the Dark.\n\nNo spells last forever, and most only last for "a short breath of time."\n\n\n\n''Making people forget''\nThis is done by raising a hand, spreading all five fingers, and saying "Forget." It doesn't seem to require any more words than that. The exact amount of forgetting is infinitely controllable. It can mean forgetting one small thing that has just happened, or forgetting a lifetime of experiences. False memories can also be constructed to fill in any gaps. Sometimes this is done verbally, such as when Captain Toms made the children forget that they had seen Will and Merriman leap from the cliff. After he said "forget", they froze for a moment, and he spoke the false memory to them, and told them not to be afraid. When he lowered his hand, they moved again, the new memory implanted. \n\nForgetfulness is sometimes done in other ways. To make Stephen forget, Will finds (or summons?) some plume moths, which he says have the power to take away memories. As they fly away, Stephen forgets. \n\n''Travelling through Time''\nMerriman explains that an Old One is not rooted in any one period of Time, but can travel backwards and forwards at will. This travelling is often done through the appearance of great wooden doors, and is accompanied with haunting music. These doors are carved with zig-zagging symbols, carved in endless variation on every panel. The wood is "cracked and pitted and yet polished by age," and almost looks like stone, except that there is occasional rounded lumps where a knot hole was. There are no handles.\n\nThere are other ways of travelling, too. Will travels to Roman times by sinking into a picture, and Will and Bran travel back in time by turning around while holding [[Eirias]]. Other times, the travelling just seems to happen, with Will sinking back into Time without really knowing it. \n\nWhen Will goes to a party in 1875, Hawkin tells him that if anyone wrote a history of that party, Will would appear in it. He always was there. This is not the sort of time travel that leads to paradoxes in which you kill your father and therefore can't exist. \n\nWhen the Signs are found in the 1970s, they can then be hidden in the year c. 100, stay there unseen until the present day... and also used by Arthur at Badon, and at the final Rising. Time is very fluid.\n\nThe Signs are forged in a bubble of Time, somewhere between "now" and 500 years ago. Bits of sound from both times can be heard. \n\nWhen Will and the other Old Ones go back in time from the frozen manor, Will sees that the others seem to step out of themselves, leaving one form behind in the "present", while they step into the past.\n\n''Seeing into the future?''\nMost of this is probably caused by the fluid nature of Time to an Old One, by which past, present and future have little real meaning. \n\nThere are prophecies in the sequence, some of them uttered by Merriman himself long ago. Are they propechies, or has Merriman just peeked into the future and seen how it will all end? It doesn't seem entirely to be the latter. Merriman is genuinely anxious about how things will turn out, and the result, although prophecied, is not a foregone conclusion. As Will comments, the Dark has their own prophecies.\n\nMerriman can also look into the future and make statements about little things - even things that will happen after he's left Time. For example, he tells James that he will have a very good tenor voice.\n\n''Seeing the history of an object''\nWhen Will looks into the glass of metheglyn, he gets a glimpse of a group of monks making the liquid he has just drunk. \n\nSlightly similar, after Bran has broken the power of the warestone, Will is able to find out what happened. He holds the warestone, says words in the Old Speech, and empties his mind to receive whatever awareness the stone will put into it. "The knowledge would not be simple and open, he knew. It never was." The stone shows him images from the whole story of Bran coming to the modern world, and not just the moment that Bran broke the control of the stone.\n\n''Listening''\nWhen Will wants to be able to hear what Hawkin and Maggie Barnes are saying, Merriman reminds him that he only needs to wish to hear them, and he can.\n\n''Freezing people in Time''\nAn Old One can do this merely by pointing at someone with the fingers spread. No words are used. Someone is frozen exactly where they stood, and remain unaware of everything, until the spell is broken. \n\n''Disappearing''\nMerriman causes the Walker to disappear, becoming first transparent, then vanishing "like a star blotted out by a cloud." Merriman says he's sent the Walker to another place to have peace. He says that this is the power of the Old Ways, and that Will could have used the trick himself to escape, had he known how. It's not clear how much this can be done when not on an Old Way, though. \n\n''Speaking into someone else's mind''\nOld Ones can speak into each other's mind, silently, so no-one else can hear. It's not clear how far away this works. Do they have to be close? Do they have to see each other? Can they do this to someone who isn't an Old One? That seems unlikely. Merriman tells Will that the Dark has ways of hearing speech done this way, though, and they need to be careful. \n\n''Putting images into someone else's mind''\nDuring their first meeting, Merriman puts an image into Will's mind, and Will does the same to Merriman. \n\nIn Wales, Will gets a quick glimpse of an image that he knows was sent to him from his masters far away. He calls this a "very rare" occurrence - rare, presumably, in that it happened despite his masters being far away. Right at the start, we learn that Old Ones can put images into each other's head effortlessly, when near by.\n\nUnder Bird Rock, Will thinks that he can't help Bran with the riddle, because in this place the law of High Magic means that he can't put an image or thought into another's mind. This does imply, though, that normally he would be able to do this. \n\nLater, Will puts into Caradog Pritchard's mind an illusion of the lake flooding. \n\n''Seeing into someone else's mind''\nAlthough Old Ones can't see into the minds of mortals, because that would be bad, it seems as if they can see into the minds of their enemies, at least sometimes. When the Rider comes to the Stanton family home at Christmas, Will tries to see into his mind, to guess his intentions, but comes against a black wall. Still, the fact that he tries suggests that this ought to have worked, perhaps with a lesser enemy. He also suspects that the Rider can see into his own mind, but thinks he can only read the surface thoughts.\n\n''Control the elements''\nWhen Will is reading the book of Gramarye, he learns the words that will control "wind and storm, sky and air, cloud and rain, and snow and hail - and everything in the sky save the sun and the moon, the planets and the stars." (Later, though, he flies through the stars and planets, and knows "every spell of the sun and the moon.") He then learns the spells of sea, river, stream, lake, beck and fjord - but also learns that water is the one element that can resist magic, for no magic works in running water. \n\n''Speaking all languages''\nAn Old One can speak all the languages of men. See [[Why doesn't Will know Welsh?]] They also speak the Old Speech. Will knows this instantly as soon as he awakens to his power, and speaks it without knowing that he is speaking it. \n\n''Transporting objects''\nWhen Will rushes back to get the harp, he thinks how much easier it would be if he was Merriman. Merriman can effortlessly transport an object through space and even Time - i.e. Merriman could presumably just think, "I wish the harp was here", and it would be here. Will can't do this..."yet." In fanfic set in the future, though...?\n\n''Affecting objects''\nWill's first act of magic is to put out a fire just by thinking about it going out. He then learns how to cause a fire to burn, using the same method. Merriman tells him to envisage the result he wants, and it will happen. \n\n''Sensing the Dark''\nWill says that all the Old Ones can sense the Dark whenever they are near. (Owain Glyndwr appears not to be able to do this, though.) He senses the afanc just before it appears. \n\n''Sensing the Old Ways''\nJohn Rowlands says that Will could probably walk blindfold along the entire Old Way, now that he's found it. Will agrees. \n\n''Riding the wind''\nWhen [[John Rowlands]] first sees Merriman, he is riding the wind. This is mentioned as a skill Will learns in the [[The Book of Gramarye]], though we don't see him using it - unless we count diving off the cliff in [[Greenwitch]], and seeming to hang in the air for a while before falling.\n\n''Running very fast''\nWhen Will and Merriman run towards the cliff in Trewissick, the children see them running like swift animals, "an urgent loping running that took away their age, and all sense of familiarity in their appearance; faster, faster, faster." \n\n''Swimming like a fish''\nWill and Merriman dive under water, breathing as fishes do. They go incredibly deep, far deeper than any man could survive, and talk to Tethys.\n\n''Flying amongst the stars''\nWhen reading the Book of Gramarye, Will flies among the stars. Later he thinks of each individual star and constellation as "his friends", and greets them mentally, remembering how he had flown amongst them.\n\n''Protections''\nWill puts a protection around Paul and the vicar, so that no living thing can affect them, and they cannot see anything outside the barrier. It is dangerous, because they will be trapped forever behind it if Will is prevented from lifting it. Earlier, he throws up a barrier around Paul, himself and Merriman, when the Rider is approaching them in the Manor, while Paul is playing the flute.\n\nIn Wales, Will uses a spell to protect himself and Bran as they go through the Grey King's domain. This spell protects a wandered from harm as he walks through someone else's land.\n\nWill puts a spell on the harp, hiding it so that no-one else can see it, or remove it. Only the song of an Old One can break the spell. \n\n''Break the power of the Dark''\nWhen "Mr Mitothin" comes to visit on Christmas Day, Will gropes in his memory for the words of destruction that "in the last resort" can break the power of the Dark. However, the Rider tells him that he can't use such weapons here, or his whole family will be blasted out of Time. \n\n''Play music''\nWill says he could play the golden harp "by enchantment." \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
I will try very very hard not to express any opinion of my own in this section. I am just recounting evidence. \n\nFirstly, really, the only real answer is "none." (Well, except for Mr and Mrs Stanton, Dr and Mrs Drew etc.) The main characters are children. Most of them are 11 or 12 during most of the story. While today some 12 year old girls are having babies, 12 year old girls in 1970s children's books were not. The characters are children, written about as children. By the end, Simon has had a growth spurt, but none of them have reached puberty. James says his voice is about to break, but Will's has not. \n\nGiven a group of characters who were children the last time they were seen in canon, surely there can be no right and wrong pairing to explore in fanfic. Children at 12 do not yet know their sexuality. Fast forward a few years, and anything is possible. Add in the fact that most of the characters don't remember a thing about the events of the books, and the world's your oyster.\n\nHowever, here are a few bits and pieces of evidence that people might want to use to support a pairing of their choice. \n\n''Will and Bran''\nWill and Bran spend more time together than any of the other non-related characters in the sequence. They do two full quests together - in [[The Grey King]], and in the Lost Land in [[Silver on the Tree]]. They have a lot more history together than the other characters... though of course Bran can't remember any of it. \n\nBran is described as "lonely", and laughed at at school. Will is perhaps his first real friend. To Will, Bran is the first person like him - a boy his own age, but involved in magic, and part of the Light. Bran can understand things that no other person Will's age will ever understand. If he remembered any of it, of course ;-)\n\nIn [[Silver on the Tree]], Will and Bran often exchange looks, sharing silent messages that the others can't understand. Jane feels very excluded, and resents Bran for taking Will away from them. When Jane is feeling uneasy, Bran tells her to stop listening to "silly feelings", saying that Will has enough to worry about as it is. \n\nWhen the Lost Land starts to open up, Will becomes unaware of any of the others, "except one of them." He talks only to Bran, causing the other children to cling closer together, setting themselves up as a group apart from the other two.\n\nAlso in the Lost Land, Bran says of a girl that she is "not as pretty as Jane." Will looks puzzled, and Bran asks him if he thinks Jane is pretty. Does he say this because he thinks Jane is pretty, and is trying to find out if Will, who met her first, has a prior claim? Or does he say this because he is interested in Will, and is trying to find out if Will is already "taken", as it were?\n\nWhen scary things happen, Bran does keep on clinging to Will's arm...\n\nHowever, Bran can't remember any of this ;-)\n\n''Bran and Jane''\nWhen Jane first sees Bran, she gets an impression of great rank, and has the urge to bow. Her eyes are drawn by him. \n\nJane takes against Bran when his closeness to Will becomes apparent. She resents this stranger pushing his way in, interfering with the relationship they had built up with Will. She and Bran argue. Later, they both make unspoken apologies. Arguing because they dislike each other, or because they like each other?\n\nBran saves Jane from the afanc, calling her "Jenny" in her head, and telling her everything will be all right. (Though the afanc had been about to kill Simon or Barney, and steal a secret vital to the Light's cause, presumably he would have saved them, too.)\n\nIn the Lost Land, Bran totally forgets about the Drews until Will reminds him.\n\nAlso in the Lost Land, Bran - who has remembered the Drews this time - says of a girl that she is "not as pretty as Jane." Will looks puzzled, and Bran asks him if he thinks Jane is pretty. To cut and paste what I wrote above: Does he say this because he thinks Jane is pretty, and is trying to find out if Will, who met her first, has a prior claim? or does he say this because he is interested in Will, and is trying to find out if Will is already "taken", as it were?\n\nMerriman tells the children to be on the beach at sunrise, and Jane feels this applies particularly to her. She is there when Will and Bran emerge from the Lost Land. \n\nAt the very end, after the children have forgotten everything, Bran finds a blue stone in his pocket, and gives it to Jane, calling her "Jenny-oh." \n\n''Will and Jane''\nJane never really goes along with her family's shunning of Will. Of all of them, she has the most dealings with Will during [[Greenwitch]], ending with a one-to-one scene on the beach, in which he tells her they will probably meet again. \n\nJane is the first to answer the call of Will's hunting horn. She resents Bran from the start, and it is stated quite clearly that she is jealous of him intruding into the relationship she and her brothers had with Will. \n\nWhen the afanc attacks, Will cries out Jane's name, his face twisted with awful warning.\n\nIn the Lost Land, we learn that it has never occurred to Will to think of Jane as pretty. \n\n''Will and Simon''\nSimon dislikes Will from the start, resenting his presence. However, by the end, even he comes to accept it, and defers to him. In [[Silver on the Tree]], he tells Jane that having Will here is the same as having Merriman here. When the Dark comes rising, even though Merriman is there, Simon calls out to Will in his fear. \n\n\nWhich is not to say that other pairings are right out, just that I can't (yet) find bits in the books that seem relevant to them.
Well, now... \n\nHorrid, really. The Dark is trying to rule the world; the Light is merely trying to stop the Dark from doing this, and to keep freedom of choice alive. When the Light wins, they choose to leave, leaving the world in the hands of man. If the Dark had won, they very likely would not have left. \n\nThe painter talks about Anubis (the Egyptian god of the dead) and "making ready for the great gods." \n\nWhile the Dark rises in a great black tornado, this was just the Dark all in the one place, busy fighting for its life. Had the Dark triumphed, the world would probably have looked just the same. However, the Dark works through the nasty urges of men. It encourages racists and bigots and violent-minded people. When Will hear the racist Mr Moore, he thinks that people like him are the avenues through which the Dark will rule the earth. \n\nHowever, since they didn't win, we are told no real details, leaving the field nice and open for those AU fanfics.\n\n
There is no clear answer to this. Very few dates are mentioned, and there are no references to political events or popular music. There is very little at all to anchor it in time.\n\nSo what is a fanfic writer to do? If you are writing a story about Will at university, do you set it in the 70s, the 80s... or now? Do you even set it in the future? There are arguments to justify most decisions\n\n- Set the books at the time of their publication. But, if so, which date do you go by? The books were published in 1965, 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1977, though presumably they were written a year or so before those dates. Do you take 1965 as the starting date, by which [[Silver on the Tree]] takes place in 1967(despite the reference to 1976)? Do you use 1977 as the starting date, by which [[Over Sea, Under Stone]] is set in 1975? And why choose either of those, rather than any of the other books? \n\n- Set the books now. There is a strong precedent for this in children's books. While teenage romances tend to fill their pages with reference to the latest bands and trends, most children's books deliberately don't tie themselves to any place or time, so each new generation of children can imagine them as happening now. In later editions of [[Over Sea, Under Stone]], for example, the currency was updated. If the book was definitely meant to be set pre-1970, the references to shillings would have remained, but they were changed and decimalised, to suit the post-decimal audience. If a ten year old today was reading these books for the first time, they wouldn't be imagining them set in the 70s; they'd imagine them set today (though they might wonder why the characters never used the Internet.)\n\n- Internal evidence: As stated above, there are very few internal references that tie the action to any date. However, the series does feel very 70s. Descriptions of the boys' longish hair \nsound very 70s, as does the language, and the glimpses of techonology. Caring parents allow their children to wander around - and even take long train journeys - alone, which happened in the 70s, but certainly doesn't happen now. \n\n- Actual dates: The few actual dates are contradictary:\nIn [[Silver on the Tree]] Bran talks about a place surviving the dought "back in 1976". The book was published in 1977, so the drought was probably current or recent when Susan Cooper was writing it, but the phrase "back in 1976" suggests that Bran's talking about something that happened longer ago than last year.\nWill goes back to 1875 to watch the last renewal of the Sign of Wood, which happens every 100 years. This implies that [[The Dark is Rising]] is set before 1975\nSomeone in Will's village moved there "thirty years ago", during the Blitz. The worst of the London bombings happened 1940-1941 - though of course "thirty years ago" is a vague term and doesn't have to mean 30 years precisely. \n\nIt does sound rather as if Susan Cooper was setting each book more or less "now", at the time she was writing it - 1973 for [[The Dark is Rising]], 1977 for [[Silver on the Tree]] - even though the books only cover two years of internal time.\n\nThen there's that reference to 1976 - which is confusing, actually. Although [[Silver on the Tree]] was published in 1977, in it Bran says "back in 1976", which makes it sound longer ago than just one year.\n\n\nSo where does that leave us? In my opinion, it leaves us free to do whatever we like, as long as we're internally consistent within our own stories. Others may disagree, though!\n\nWhatever we take, we have the following internal chronology:\n\n[[Over Sea, Under Stone]] - summer of year X\n[[The Dark is Rising]] - Christmas of year X\n[[Greenwitch]] - April of year X+1\n[[The Grey King]] - October/November of year X+1\n[[Silver on the Tree]] - Summer of year X+2\n\nWhich leads to...\nSimon leaving school: X+7\nWill, Bran and Jane leaving school: X+8\nBarney leaving school: X+10 or 11
Merriman tells Will the first verse during the first meeting. The second verse is added by boys who are carrying the Lady. [[Herne]] the Hunter adds the third verse.\n\nWhen the Dark comes rising, six shall turn it back;\nThree from the circle, three from the track.\nWood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;\nFive will return and one go alone.\n\nIron for the birthday, bronze carried long;\nWood from the burning, stone out of song;\nFire in the candle-ring, water from the thaw;\nSix signs the circle, and the grail gone before.\n\nFire on the mountain shall find the harp of gold\nPlayed to wake the Sleepers, oldest of the old;\nPower from the green witch, lost beneath the sea;\nAll shall find the light at least, silver on the tree.
The White Rider is a Lord of the Dark. When Bran wonders why someone of the Dark would go around in white, Will says that perhaps it's because the Dark can only reach people at extremes - blinded by their shining ideas, or locked up in the darkness of their own heads. \n\nThe White Rider isn't seen until Will and Bran are in the Lost Land, where our usual friend, the [[Rider]], is joined by another horseman, all in white, and riding a white horse. \n\nWhen Will and Bran return to the modern world, the White Rider appears out of nowhere and snatches Barney. He takes him back to the time of Owain Glyndwr, who calls the White Rider, "the light-voiced one from Tywyn, with the white horse." The White Rider, along with others of the Dark, has been serving in Glyndwr's camp. \n\nIn the end, we learn that the White Rider has all along been posing as [[Blodwen Rowlands]], and has married John Rowlands, and lived in a mortal body, so s/he can keep an eye on Bran as he grows up. Merriman explains to John that when "we" live in human form, all those human emotions are real and genuine, but there is another part to their nature that is more important. In the persona of Blodwen, the White Rider gets on the train of Light, where the Old Ones say s/he is hostage for their free passage. Later s/he is cast from the train, in the hope that the forces of Dark will fall on her and destroy her, thinking she is one of the Light. This presumably doesn't happen, since "Blodwen" is still there later, when she tries to get John to rule in favour of the Dark in the decision about where Bran belongs.
The Circle of the Old Ones has been growing for 4000 years. Merriman was the first. Will is the last. Before Will, no other Old One has been born for 500 years.\n\nThey are of all races, and all times. When the Circle is summoned, they come from all through time, wearing clothes from all ages. \n\nThere seems to be at least some geographical organisation. When various Old Ones give Stephen messages for Will, they are that "the Old Ones of the southern isles" are ready, etc. In each case, the spokeman is the one of the oldest of the Old Ones. \n\nWhile they are living in human form, they are in many ways normal humans. All their human emotions are real. However, there is another side to them which, ultimately, in the most important. Their human form is only their current form. When Stephen says he remembers Will being born, Will says "in one sense only." When they pass out of Time, there are other tasks for them to do somewhere else.\n\nThey are "of the Light"; they do not merely "serve the Light." In a very real way, they are made of Light. An Old One cannot "turn to the Dark Side." It is against their nature and cannot happen, any more than a dog could turn into a cat. As Merriman says, "If you were born with the gift, then you must serve it, and nothing in this world or out of it may stand in the way of that service, because that is why you were born and that is the Law." (In contrast, the Lords of the Dark choose to become what they are, and were men once.)
In [[The Grey King]], Will mangles some Welsh pronunciation, and Bran has to give him a lesson in how to say Welsh names. He teases Will for his uselessness in pronouncing Welsh. In this same scene, Will also says that he doesn't know German. \n\nHowever... When Will goes back to Roman times, he can speak Latin fluently. Old Ones know all the languages of men, we are told, and can speak them effortlessly (though Will particularly likes Latin because he can see how it has influenced his own modern-day tongue.) \n\nSo the question is: Why doesn't Will know Welsh?\n\n- He did know Welsh all along, but was pretending not to, as a way to bond with Bran\n- He ought to have known Welsh, but wasn't currently accessing that part of his brain. It often seems as if Will has his Old One mode, and his human mode, and that he has to consciously think in order to access his Old One knowledge and ways of thought. Newly awake, and recently ill, because he wasn't bothering at this moment\n- Or, to use the cynical argument, Susan Cooper made a mistake. She wanted her readers to know how to pronounce the Welsh names, so used Bran to give them a language lesson, forgetting that Will ought to have known Welsh all along. \n
Wild Magic is the magic of the wild places of the earth. It is as old as the earth, and is undisciplined. It is the violence of an earthquake or the fury of a storm. When Jane looks at the Greenwitch, she has a sense that "thunder and storms and earthquakes ere there, and all the force of the earth and sea. It was outside Time, boundless, ageless, beyond any line drawn between good and evil."\n\nThe Wild Magic owes no alliegance. It cannot take sides with Light or Dark. It cannot aid them, and it cannot ask for help from them, either. In the realm of Tethys, Merriman is bound by her rules. She refuses to help him, and refuses to help the Dark either, but does promise not to hinder Merriman, in return for a bargain. Spells can summon the Greenwitch, but no-one can command it. \n\nWhen the Wild Magic runs wild in Trewissick, it makes everyone's fear comes to life, and the town is haunted by past tragedies. \n\nThe magic of the Lost Land is similar to the Wild Magic, though different. It, too, can not be influenced by Light or Dark. \n\n[[Tethys]] is of the Wild Magic, as is [[The Greenwitch]]. [[Herne]] looks as if he ought to be, though he aids the Light, so maybe he isn't. \n\nWhen Bran cuts the midsummer tree, he has the power to command Light and Dark, and Wild Magic and [[Old Magic]]. However, it is not clearly stated if he drives the Wild Magic from the earth as well, or if it still remains after Light and Dark have gone.
''Appearance'': Will is described as "stocky" (though not as stock as his brother James, who is the same height as him), and ordinary looking. He has light brown hair ("mouse-brown") which is thick and hangs straightly down, and has a forelock over his brow. He is able to hide completely behind his hair when he looks down. His face is round. He tends to look solemn, but his rare smiles transform his face. He looks very like his brother Stephen looked at his age. His eyes are blue-grey.\n\nHe has a the shape of the Sign of Light burnt into his right forearm, near the wrist. Although the Lady heals the hurt, he knows he will bear the mark for his whole life, like a brand.\n\n''Age:'' Will's birthday is on Midwinter's Day. His eleventh birthday is at the start of [[The Dark is Rising]], and he is 11 during that book, [[Greenwitch]] and [[The Grey King]], and 12 during [[Silver on the Tree]]. In another way, though, of course he is ageless. \n\n''His life before he found out he was an Old One''\n- Will used to follow his brother Stephen around like a shadow\n- His family several times comment that he was always a bit unusual as a child. He seems to have been serious and solemn even before he knew who he was. He is described not only as "an old eleven", but "ageless."\n- He always used to be fascinated by a picture of the Romans at Caerleon. Later that same picture is used to hide the Signs.\n- He has always loved a model Crusader castle - a salt cellar in gold - in his father's shop\n- As long as he can remember, he has slipped through the Manor railings in the spring to find a hidden glade of flowers, that he thinks no-one else knows about. He comes in early in spring to look at the snowdrops, and then later on, every day for a week, to look at the daffodils. \n\n''Facts and figures''\n- He supports Chelsea football team\n- His favourite rabbit is called Chelsea. However, since Stanton rabbits tend to get eaten, Chelsea is probably not around for very long. \n- With two school friends, he has made plans to cycle around all the churches in the area, doing brass rubbings. This is some time before The Grey King. \n- Two friends whose names are mentioned are Angus Mcdonald (who has gone to Scotland for Christmas) and Mike, who is spending Christmas with his granny at Southall. It seems as if they normally come round for his birthday tea.\n- His family have noticed his interest in "ceremonies and such". His father tells [[Bill Stanton]] that he is "quite the anthropologist". \n- He sings in the school choir, and the local church choir. He has a very good voice, and his teacher puts him in for arts festivals. He came top of his class in a big festival in London. Later, of course, his singing voice is used in a spell to summon the Lady. \n- His father, a jeweller, has started to teach him engraving, and he goes after school sometimes to his shop to learn it.\n- When we first see him, he is sitting on the window seat, reading in the middle of the hectic bedlam that is his house.\n- He chooses liver and bacon as his birthday treat dinner.\n- He goes to the same school as James. Incidentally, this suggests that Buckinghamshire has (or had) the three-tier school system, that includes a Middle School from 9 - 13, rather than the more common system by which children move up to secondary school at 11. (Will, aged 10 before [[The Dark is Rising]], and James, aged 11, would be in different schools in the most common system for state schooling. They could, of course, go to a private school, but Mrs Stanton depends on selling eggs to get money for Christmas presents, so it doesn't seem likely that they could afford to put so many children through private schooling.)\n- In his bedroom (Stephen's old room) there is a bookcase in the corner, with a picture of Stephen in his uniform. Next to this is a carved wooden box with a dragon on the lid, full of Stephen's letters to Will. There is a table, two chairs, and a window seat, and a mobile consisting of six square-rigged sailing ships. (Stephen's, or a gift from Stephen?)\n\n''Character''\nFor Will's life as an Old One, see [[Magic and other debatable questions]]. It is hard to extract Will's character from his life as an Old One, so I really won't try. \n\n''How he seems to others''\n- As mentioned above, his family have noticed his interest in "ceremonies and such". Paul gets suspicious in [[The Dark is Rising]], but Stephen only gets suspicious when strangers start coming up to him with mysterious messages. None of the rest of his family notice anything strange about Will... except that he has always been a bit odd. \n- Jane thinks that Will's presence has always been "subtle reassuring."\n- When "undercover", he can look faintly stupid. He smiles amiably, mutters vaguely, and avoids fights. Jane thinks that he is sometimes like an adult in the way he behaves.\n- Mary says that he's pompous sometimes.\n- Jane notices how he manages to deflect arguments - e.g. when Simon is trying to pick a fight. She thinks that he's like a grown-up sometimes.\n- Normally when he looks at someone, he is deliberately veiling his true nature. Once or twice he deliberately looks at John Rowlands with the eyes of an Old One, not the eyes of a boy, and it's clear that the difference is obvious. He also sounds different when he's in Old One mode - his voice "deeper than before, more resonant" - a "strange adult voice."\n- Jane recognises him from behind when he pushes his hair back from his foreheard in an "automatic swift gesture"\n
Will lives in a fictional village called Huntercombe, in Buckinghamshire. Apparently this is based on Dorney, where Susan Cooper grew up. Like the fiction Huntercombe, Dorney is beside the Thames, and three miles from Eton. A map of Dorney doesn't quite match the description of Huntercombe, suggesting that the setting is inspired by Dorney, rather than exactly fitting it. \n\nThere are some old pictures of Dorney on this site. You need to select Dorney from the drop-down list. This takes you to a list of black and white old photos, many of them of the Church or of Dorney Court (Huntercombe Manor), including some fireplaces with carved roses on.\n\nEton is the nearest small town, three miles away. This is where Mr Stanton has his shop. Slough is the nearest large town, where Will does his Christmas shopping, getting there by bus.\n\nWill's family lives in the Old Vicarage. See [[The Stantons' house]] for a description. When you leave the house, the drive takes you out onto Huntercombe Lane. \n\nTurning right from the Stanton's House, and walking along Huntercombe Lane, you first walk past the ''church yard'', which has a crumbling wall, and great dark yew trees that lean over the wall, out into the road. \n\nBeyond the church is ''Rooks' Wood'' - a tall spinney of horse chestnut trees, full of rooks and their nests. This is at the junction of the road, and Church Lane. ''Church Lane'' is a narrow, dark lane, that runs past Rooks' Wood and the church yard, up to the tiny church, and then on to the Thames. This is where Will first sees the [[Walker]]\n\nThe ''church'' is tiny, Saxon and crumbling. It has six bells. It is dedicated to St James the Less. It has a tiny vestry, and a square nave. The choir sings from a little gallery at the back. The church has a twelfth century font. Its walls are made of flint, white-washed now, and it is in one of these walls that Will finds the Sign of Stone. Outside the church there is a lych gate. There is a picture of the real life church of St James the Less on the Dorney Court website.\n\n''Dawsons' Farm'' is farmed by [[Farmer Dawson]], and full of Old Ones in their various guises. The gate to the farm is on Huntercombe Lane. Through the gate, you are in the farm yard, which is square and earthen, and surrounded by buildings on three sides. One of these is a barn, and another is the farmhouse.The farmhouse building is in the north. Castor and Pollux are the shire horses from the farm, and Racer is one of the dogs.\n\nThe village itself is even further along the road - i.e. to get from Will's house to the village, you need to turn right, then go past the church yard and then the farm. Huntercombe Lane emerges onto the main road through the village. This might be called Bath Road. (When they emerge from the church on Christmas day, they hear the sound of cars on Bath Road.) There are some flint-walled, brick-trimmed cottages on the Huntercombe Lane, that Will particularly likes. A small stream goes underneath the road, and there is a small bridge. It's normally only a trickle, but it floods at the end of [[The Dark is Rising]]\n\nThere is a village taxi, in the form of a battered car.\n\nWhen Will wakes up to find himself 500 years in the past, [[John Smith]]'s smithy stands where the village ought to be. It is in a clearing in the great wood that covers the whole area, and there are three low stone buildings. The Smithy is one of these, and is open on one side, next to the track. \n\n[[Huntercombe Manor]] can't be seen from the road, but its grounds lie along the edge of Huntercombe Lane, opposite the Stantons' House. The grounds stretch a long way, edged alternately by tall wrought-iron railings and ancient brick walls. \n\nWhen Will gets off the bus, he gets off in the main part of the village. He walks westward along the main road, past houses and gardens, then sees the small unpaved track - ''Tramps' Alley''. This wanders off from the main road, and eventually curves back to join Huntercombe Lane near his house. The children use it as a short cut sometimes. A small patch of woodland stands between the lane and the few houses that edge the top of Huntercombe Lane. On the right are trees, mostly elms, but occasionally beech. On the left is wasteland. Even in Will's time, everyone knows that the lane is realyl called Oldway Lane, though they never call it that. It is, of course, one of the ancient Old Ways. \n\nThe village has a small post office, run by Mrs Pettigrew, and a few shops. There is a small village school, where Miss Bell once taught all the Stanton children. At the far end of the village is a mock-Tudor house owned by Mr Hutton. \n\nThe ''Common'' is a large open space where cattle graze. There are some new houses near here, including the one where Manny Singh and his family life. Will walks across the Common when it is flooded, near the end of [[The Dark is Rising]]. Between the village and the common are some bigger houses on high ground.\n\nThe river ''Thames'' runs near Will's village. At the start of [[Silver on the Tree]], Will, Stephen and James have cycled to a quiet stretch of river, where they go fishing. Stephen says that when he was young, this place was too polluted for fishing. Larger boats on the river don't normally come to this section of the Thames.\n\nThe M4 motorway passes near Will's village, close enough that the cars can be heard when he and his brothers are returning from their picnic on the Thames. The M4 does indeed run very close to Dorney. \n
The afanc is the monster who lives in the Bearded Lake. It has an immense neck, and a small pointed head. It has two horn-like antennae on tis head, like a horns of a snail, and a fringe like a mane down the whole length of its neck. It's dark green, shining with iridescence, but underneath it's a dead silver-white, like the belly of a fish. When it comes, there is a stench of decay and weed and marsh gas. It has black jaws that drip slime.\n\nWhen it attacks Jane, it speaks into her mind, its voice like a howl. She feels a huge sense of wrongness - that this creature shouldn't exist.\n\nKing Arthur once banished this monster from the lake and ordered it never to return. Bran is able to banish it again, by referring to Arthur's banishment of it.