I do not, as yet, fully understand the powers I have to walk the realms. The rational man that I once was rebels at the idea that I can cross space and time as easily as I step from one room to another. The rational man that I am now must, perforce, accept that it is possible, since I am able to do so. While I do not know how it works, I know that it does. Perhaps that old charlatan, Crowley, was correct in defining magic as “the Science and Art of causing Change to occur in conformity with Will.” Certainly, the act of realm-walking would seem to be an act of will. Whether or not it is entirely in conformity with my will, I do not know. That other proponent of magic, and other things, Dee, known to me as Alec, said only that it was easier to navigate to places or to people known to me, or to which I have some connection. That much I have found to be true, but I have also found that whatever rules govern the process, they are not always directed by my conscious mind. I also suspect that they either have a sense of humour, or are partly deaf. Or, perhaps, they knew better than I what manner of journey I needed.
Thus it was that I found myself in a place called Avilion. I have been re-reading the Arthurian legends lately, so it is likely that Avalon was in my mind when I went aimlessly wandering. Instead, I found Avilion. Not quite Avalon, but nearly. Certainly, it is a land of enchantment that would fit well with the romantic image of the medieval period prevalent in the time I was growing up. With the addition of dragons and faeries and elves and drow and rangers and knights and many other beings.
For all the different beings, some of whom go armed and armoured, much as I do at times, it is a peaceful place. It puts me much more in mind of a community of artists and bards and philosophers. The word commune comes to mind, although I am not sure members of a commune would go around addressing each other as my Lord and my Lady. I am minded, in that respect, more of my early days in Ashmourne Wylds, especially my first visits to the Fae Courts. Well it was, then, that Mother had drilled manners and courtesy into me from an early age and that I could supplement those with the imagined ideals of chivalry and courtly behaviour I had gleaned from my readings of all those stories of knights of old. It was so easy to slip back into that way of speaking when I was so addressed on arrival in this enchanted land of Avilion.
On my first visit, I was shown around some parts by a lady who went by the name of Muse. She showed me a library, which I look forward to exploring more. In my brief visit, I found an old friend, the writings of Catallus, so familiar to me from lessons at school. She also showed me what seems to be the social centre of the land, a large camp fire with logs and seats around, where people gather, much as Dyisi, Wren and I, and others, would gather around the fire-pit in Mysthaven. Except that this was on a larger scale, with many more places to be seated, and, for some reason, a collection of interesting drums of unusual design, playing these being, I gathered, a popular recreation of the people.
It would also seem that this place is where people gather to exchange tales, poems and songs and engage in lively debate. On one visit, I had a most stimulating debate on the ethics of taking tree limbs for staves and other uses. Should a druid, who would consider himself a brother to trees, take a branch for his staff? One person likened it to taking an arm and a leg from a man, whereas I argued it was different for a tree, perhaps analogous to me giving of my hair, nails, and blood even, and provided it was done with respect and permission, then all was well. I was minded of the times I spent with Aerodine, my dryad friend from Ashmourne and her words regarding the trees. The debate swung from there to the differences that distinguish one druid from another and the commonalities that make them all druids and how different commonalities might distinguish them from, say a group of drow. And further, what commonalities there were between those groups that might allow them to coexist. We also debated the relationship between mentor and pupil and what, if anything, a mentor might learn from a pupil. One gentleman found that idea preposterous, whereas I argued that, for example, if the pupil asks a question the mentor had not previously considered and has to find the means to answer, has he not, in a way, learned from the pupil?
That evening was all too short, and I realised how much I missed sitting around and having such discussions. So much more interesting that debating the bureaucratic minutiae of the Accords I am developing with the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs back in Awenia. On other occasions, I have had discussions on squirrels and whether or not drow can climb trees, I met a charming girl of about the same age as my own son, Arthur, who was originally from Devonshire. I have heard poems presented, discussed the nature and permanence, or otherwise of death and the similarities between the fae and magpies, in respect of shiny trinkets. I have no doubt that I will make other visits there.
I have not explored the land as much as I would have liked. No matter how far I roam in my walking of the realms, my personal assistant, Cobweb, seems to have no difficulty in finding me and summoning me back to my duties in Awenia. I suspect he does not much understand the concept of relaxation, much less the things that I find stimulating and enjoyable. However, in between his interruptions, I have managed to find some time to so relax. There is only so much bureaucracy a man can take before needing a break.
Landmark for the Realm of Avilion