Not the A to Z April Challenge : Fortress

From ancient  times upon the tall hill

The  fortress stood  and remains still

Many  have  said  that  fairies dwell

Hidden but casting  spells

Ghosts  within there dwell

Dreams enough to fill

The fortress still

You could fall

Under the

Spell

Musical Themes : Myths

Irish Goddess Macha

Macha (Irish pronunciation: [ˈmaxə]) is a goddess of ancient Ireland, associated
with war, horses, sovereignty, and the sites of Armagh and Eamhain Mhacha in County Armagh,
which are named after her. A number of figures called Macha appear in Irish mythology, legend
and historical tradition, all believed to derive from the same deity. The name is presumably
derived from Proto-Celtic *makajā denoting “a plain” (genitive *makajās “of the plain”). rea more on Wiki

APOTHEOSES – Angels of Mons :

During World War One there was a widespread belief
in Britain that some form of supernatural intervention saved allied troops during
the retreat from Mons. Since the war this event, generally known as the “Angel of Mons”
has been variously used as evidence of supernatural intervention in combat, an example
of a collective hallucination or as an urban myth unwittingly originated by a piece of fiction.
The most prosaic explanation is that the Angel was no more than a misinterpretation of odd cloud
formations seen by weary troops. The only thing that most theories agree on is that something strange
happened during the retreat from Mons in August 1914 and that this was witnessed by British
(and possibly German) troops. However, a re-reading of the evidence puts even this most basic point of
convergence in doubt and raises the possibility that the story of the Angel owes more to military expedience
than divine providence. Read more

Thomas the Rhymer Steele Eye Span

Do you believe in fairies? The inhabitants of the Borders at the time of the Border ballads did …

 Thomas of Ercildoune lived in the Borders hundreds of years ago. One day, as he sat beneath the Eildon Tree near Melrose,

he heard the tinkling of silver bells and the sound of a horse’s hooves. The beautiful Queen of Elfland rode by on a white horse.

Thomas fell under her spell and journeyed deep within the hollow Eildon Hills to the ‘Fairy Otherworld’. There, Thomas was given

the gift of prophesy.

When he returned to the mortal world he found that he had certain gifts: he was unable to tell a lie and became known as

‘True Thomas’; he could foresee the future and foretold the death of King Alexander III;

some even say that Thomas became immortal and still lives gathering horses for the sleeping knights that rest deep within the hollow hills.

Learn more 

Donovan Atlantis

Atlantis (Ancient Greek: Ἀτλαντὶς νῆσος, “island of Atlas“) is a legendary island first mentioned in Plato‘s dialogues Timaeus and Critias, written in c. 360 BC. According to Plato, Atlantis was a naval power lying “across the Pillars of Hercules” that conquered many parts of Western Europe and Africa 9,000 years before the time of the legendary Athenian lawgiver Solon, i.e. in the 10th millennium BC. After a failed attempt to invade Athens, Atlantis sank into the ocean “in a single day and night of misfortune.”

The possible existence of Atlantis was discussed throughout classical antiquity, but it was usually rejected and occasionally parodied by later authors. Alan Cameron wrote: “It is only in modern times that people have taken the Atlantis story seriously; no one did so in antiquity”.[1] The Timaeus remained known in a Latinrendition by Calcidius through the Middle Ages, and the allegorical aspect of Atlantis was taken up byHumanists in utopian works of several Renaissance writers, such as Bacon‘s New Atlantis and More‘s Utopia. In the United StatesDonnelly‘s 1882 publication Atlantis: the Antediluvian World unleashed widespread interests from pseudo-scientists. As a theme, Atlantis inspires today’s light fiction, from science fiction to comic books to films. Its name has become a byword for any and all supposed advanced prehistoric lost civilizations.

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Unicorn The Irish Rovers

The unicorn is a legendary animal that has been described since antiquity as a beast with a large, pointed, spiraling horn

projecting from its forehead. The unicorn was depicted in ancient seals of the Indus Valley Civilization and was mentioned

by theancient Greeks in accounts of natural history by various writers, including CtesiasStraboPliny the Younger, and Aelian.

TheBible also describes an animal, the re’em, which some translations have rendered with the word unicorn.

In European folklore, the unicorn is often depicted as a white horselike or goatlike animal with a long horn and cloven hooves

(sometimes a goat’s beard). In the Middle Ages and Renaissance, it was commonly described as an extremely wild woodland creature,

a symbol of purity and grace, which could only be captured by a virgin. In the encyclopedias its horn was said to have the power to render

poisoned water potable and to heal sickness. In medieval and Renaissance times, the horn of the narwhal was sometimes sold as unicorn horn.

Learn more 

David Arkenstone The Dragons breath

dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that features in the myths of many cultures.

There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately

related to Greek and Middle Eastern mythologies, and the Chinese dragon, with counterparts in Japan, Korea and other East Asian countries.

The two traditions may have evolved separately, but have influenced each other to a certain extent, particularly with the cross-cultural contact

of recent centuries. The English word “dragon” derives from Greek δράκων (drákōn), “dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake”. 

Learn more

The Herd From the Underworld

In Greek mythology, the Minotaur (/ˈmnətɔː/,[1] /ˈmɪnəˌtɔr/;[2] Ancient Greek: Μῑνώταυρος [miːnɔ̌ːtau̯ros]Latin:

Minotaurus,Etruscan Θevrumineś), was a creature with the head of a bull on the body of a man[3] or, as described by Roman poet Ovid, ”

part man and part bull”.  He dwelt at the center of the Cretan Labyrinth, which was an elaborate maze-like construction designed by the architect

Daedalus and his son Icarus, on the command of King Minos of Crete. The Minotaur was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus.

The term Minotaur derives from the Ancient Greek Μῑνώταυρος, a compound of the name Μίνως (Minos) and the noun ταύρος”bull”,

translated as “(the) Bull of Minos”. In Crete, the Minotaur was known by its proper name, Asterion,[6] a name shared with Minos’ foster-father.[7]

“Minotaur” was originally a proper noun in reference to this mythical figure. The use of “minotaur” as a common noun to refer to members

of a generic race of bull-headed creatures developed much later, in 20th-century fantasy genre fiction.

Warewolves of London Warren Zevon

Werewolf myths have been around perhaps even longer than those associated with vampires and zombies.

Ancient Greek mythology tells of Lycaon, a man transformed into a wolf after eating human flesh.

The word werewolf is thought to be derived from the Old English “wer,” meaning man. While the specific attributes

of werewolves vary across different cultures, the beast itself is generally the same: a part-man, part-wolf creature of the

night who preys on humans. But just as with vampires and zombies, most of the myths surrounding werewolves do not hold up to scrutiny.

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Celtic woman Fairies

fairy (also fayfae; from faeryfaerie, “realm of the fays“) is a type of mythical being or legendary creature

in European folklore, a form of spirit, often described as metaphysicalsupernatural or preternatural.

Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairy offers

many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, includinggoblins or gnomes:

at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature or sprite.

Various folkloristic traditions refer to them euphemistically, by names such as wee folkgood folkpeople of peacefair folk

Learn more 

Mermaid song ~ Sarah Khider (with lyrics)

mermaid is a legendary aquatic creature with the upper body of a female human and the tail of a fish.

Mermaids appear in the folklore of many cultures worldwide, including the Near East, Europe, Africa and Asia.

The first stories appeared in ancientAssyria, in which the goddess Atargatis transformed herself into a mermaid

out of shame for accidentally killing her human lover. Mermaids are sometimes associated with perilous events

such as floods, storms, shipwrecks and drownings. In other folk traditions (or sometimes within the same tradition),

they can be benevolent or beneficent, bestowing boons or falling in love with humans.

Learn more 

Loreena McKennitt the old ways

Wicca (English pronunciation: /ˈwɪkə/) is a modern paganwitchcraft religion. It was developed in England

during the first half of the 20th century and it was introduced to the public in 1954 by Gerald Gardner,

a retired British civil servant. It draws upon a diverse set of ancient pagan and 20th century hermetic motifs

for its theological structure and ritual practice. The word witchderives from Middle English wiccheOld English wicce

(/ˈwɪttʃe/) (feminine) “witch” and wicca (/ˈwɪttʃɑ/) (masculine) “wizzard”.

Wicca is a diverse religion with no central authority or figure defining it. It is divided into various lineages and denominations,

referred to as traditions, each with its own organisational structure and level of centralisation. Due to its decentralized nature,

there is some disagreement over what actually constitutes Wicca. Some traditions, collectively referred to as British Traditional Wicca, strictly follow the initiatory lineage of Gardner and consider the term Wicca to apply only to such lineaged traditions, while other eclectic traditions do not.

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King Arthur is a legendary British leader of the late 5th and early 6th centuries, who, according to medieval

histories and romances, led the defence of Britain against Saxon invaders in the early 6th century.

The details of Arthur’s story are mainly composed of folklore and literary invention, and his historical existence

is debated and disputed by modern historians. The sparse historical background of Arthur is gleaned from

various sources, including the Annales Cambriae, the Historia Brittonum, and the writings of Gildas.

Arthur’s name also occurs in early poetic sources such as Y Gododdin.

Learn more

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Boadicea and Arthur ?

This poem is completely from my imagination. Arthur  and Boadicea where in fact not from the same era  but I would of love Arthur to have ridden in with his brave knights and assisted her ……….. what a tale this would be . I delicate this tale to the sister of  my friend Martin   and to http://saminaiqbal27.wordpress.com/  who loves a Arthurian myth. 

 

I see the future it is dark, battles blood and fear

I feel our days are numbered I know our enemies draw near.

I draw my daughters to me I shall defend them to the end.

I have sent out  for help and begged for aid from Arthur King of the Brittons, my friend.

 

 

I have called upon my people from all corners of my land.

I have warned them of the my bad feelings, I have told them trouble is at hand.

I call all of my Iceni  Tribe. The Roman’s are coming and they will brook no resistance

Hark I hear the Legions marching feet approaching us in the distance.

 

My husband is still ruling , a ruler in name only I fear, Prasutagus my lord

Don’ t trust these Roman men they only want our lands and wealth

We need help from Arthur, and his knights to route these invaders from abroad!

My husband is weak he is ill, he cannot last much longer in his ill health.

 

Damn those Romans Damn them to hell. I shall find a witch and have her cast on them a black spell.

They stripped me naked and flogged me to within an inch of my life

Then they made me watch as they raped my daughters  damn them, damn them to hell.

Where is Arthur where are his Knights where are they when I need them in my hour of strife.

 

I shall not let them beat me this Roman Army  I shall not let them lay my lands to waste.

Where are you Arthur I need you now, hear me great wise king I need you make hast.

Curse the ninth legion, they shall all die, we will cut their throats and I shall rip away their manhood and hang it high

I shall show them they cannot  debase me Boadicea, and rape my daughters  and not expect to die.

 

We shall fight them we shall lay them low at them at their capital Camulodunum  !

Where is Arthur we need him now , suddenly the cry goes up Arthur , Arthur and his knights are here at last.

We shall slay those Romans  we shall oust them now with Arthur Pendragon  now the die is cast!

We beat them in their capital and then we beat them in  Londinium and Verulamium  .

 

So I Boadicea Queen of the Iceni thank you Arthur King of the Brittons

I have wrought my vengeance true I could not have done so without you.

We can no longer defeat the Roman hordes and there is only one thing left for me to do.

I shall poison myself and my daughter too , for those Romans to recapture us would never do.

 

I have my place in history I saw off those Roman’s with Arthur at the side of me.

 

 

 

 

The Tale of the Fisher King

A knight king did in battle fall,  brutal was his wound

His groin was gashed wide and cut deep no matter how  bound

His blood could not be stemmed. No cure could be found.

 

Many came with balms and cures , potions charms and spells

Yet for all the ministering’s  of, knights, magicians and nurse

No one could cure the brave king or relieve  him of this curse.

 

The as I have said the wound was in the king’s groin

So this made him impotent no life sprung from his loins.

His lands suffered as he did and soon all he owned lay dying and barren.

 

So as the king suffered as did his lands and people fade

A grayness and a failing of all crops, like the wound the sword had made.

So in this dark land, inside his castle named Corbin laid this king a keeper of the Holy  Grail.

 

So why the title Fisher King , why this name it is a strange thing.

The king so wounded in vital parts would spend his days fishing

I do know know my friends, he maybe spent his time  a’wishing

To be healed and to restore his lands to prosperity.

 

 

And so the Fisher King spent his days fishing in the river by his Castle

While his daughter guarded the Holy Grail in a lonely tower

He catches the fish to to feed the Grail’s power.

 

The tower where the grail is kept is full of special powers

False hearts, if detected, the chamber will be filled with arrows

Or boiling oil the false at heart to foil, while the keeper will be unharmed.

 

So now dear reader you know the plight of the Fisher King

How his fishes for the food of life and prays for a cure to heal him.

His daughter spends her days, and her nights too keeping the Grail safe from the clutches of sin.

 

Finally Sir Lancelot , following in Sir Percival’s trail,

Arrives in hopes to help the Fisher King , where Percival had failed.

Lancelot arrives by sea and crosses the guarded Bridge.

 

Did I tell you , the seaward bridge to the castle was guarded by Lions

Fierce and dangerous are they, and many knights they have repelled

Lancelot had been searching years to find the Holy Grail he will fight the Lions and he will prevail.

 

Brave Sir Lancelot who rode with God and right on his side

Came, challenged and defeated the Lions where lesser knights had failed.

He Entered the castle and survived the tower and claimed the Holy Grail.

 

Then to the Fisher King he went and with God, and cured his wounds so sore

As if by a magic brush the kings  lands were fruitfully as they were before.

Now there is more to this tale , but as for now dear friends I can tell no more.

 

Sir Gawain part 3

On the morning of the fourth day Sir Gawain left the castle gate

The lady of the castle waved him off biding him farewell.

Brave Gawain did not know if he would greet another morn but on he went to meet his fate.

The sun shone off the snow and all hushed and still , with God help he prayed all would go well!

 

After a long days ride  Sir Gawain  saw a little chapel come into view.

His spirits were low  but he knew he had honour and truth on his side.

As the sun set he dismounted his steed , he knew what he had to do.

So he left his sword and shield by the chapel door and walked towards the alter , there was nowhere to hide.

 

There stood the Green Knight  waiting in the gloom,he asked sir Gawain was he ready to meet his doom.

Gawain advanced toward the Green Knight, and went down on bended knee and removed his helmet

Offering his neck he waited for the blow, he hoped he could be brave enough, he feared that he might swoon.

The Green Knight raised the axe and as he brought it down she saw Sir Gawain flinch before his neck the blade met.

The Green Knight asked Sir Gawain if he was afraid, he then made fun of him calling him a maid.

Gawain then told the Green knight to get on with things and take his blow.

Then Knight then swung again and this time missed his mark. At this Sir Gawain, no longer afraid

Demanded  that the Green Knight tarry no more . He shouted ” take your blow sir and let my blood flow!!”

 

So taking aim the Green Knight took a swing   and came down hard and fast, but just barely glanced our brave Knight’s neck.

Sir Gawain could not understand  how he was only grazed, he asked the Green Knight why he was still alive.

The Green Knight started laughing and suddenly he changed by magic fair or foul he had become Lord Betilak.

What is this wandered our brave hero, why was he here awake and alive.

 

The two knights left the chapel and to a near by lake, did walk

The Green Knight told Gawain it had all been just a test.

Devised by the old lady who had been at their first meeting , who had smiled at him but did not talk.

She was the witch Morgan Le Fay she had decided they would test Arthur’s  Knights to see if any she could best!

 

Gawain was angry perhaps it was his pride

The Green Knight  told him that his wife had been in on the  trial

But Sir Gawain  had resisted her however hard she’d tried.

You are an honourable  knight sir I beg you lets part as friends said the Green knight with a smile..

 

So back to Arthur’s court a weary Gawain rode

He had many a tale to tell of the people he had met

On his journeying and those he had helped along the road.

Arthur was interested in Sir Gawain’s tale he was not surprised at his sisters’ part in the whole affair.

 

So now it is another Christmas tide for Arthur and his knights

Let us leave them for a while to their feasting and their fights!

 

 

 

Sir Gawain part 2

And so the year passes and winters’ chill was in the air

As silently snow laid it’s  billowy white skirts everywhere.

Time’s gentle reminder to Sir Gawain that his return meeting

With the green knight was near, impressing on him that his time was fleeting.

Arthur was loath to bid his favourite  knight  farewell

Unknowing of the future he feared  his cousin may be riding into hell.

He well recalled the Green Knights’ visit at Christmas time the the year before.

Brave Gawain  saluted his king and told him to just pray for him, he had taken the challenge and he knew the score.

So brave Gawain  set off into the unknown to find The  Chapel Green

Having  no idea what lay in store for him, he was not  too keen.

Through trials and tests he made his way, ever onward in search of his fate

He had to find the Green Chapel he only had one chance he could not be late .

Tired and weary with only four days left to spare

Gawain, our brave knight happened upon a castle in the middle of nowhere.

From out the shadow came a kindly  Lord, Bertilak de Hautdesert  by name

He invited our hero in for a bite to eat , he asked “where are you going Sir  Gawain “

In the warm and welcoming hall the lord and lady made Sir Gawain comfortable.

As they ate and drank and spoke of his travels Gawain notice an old woman at the far end of the table.

No one introduced her  but she was treated with great respect

Gawain noticed she was an ugly crone and on this he did reflect.

Please Sir knight  Bertilak entreated do stay here a while the Green Chapel is but one day’s ride from this place.

Gawain was tired and this offer he did embrace.

The next morning the lord of the castle had gone hunting, he left word that he would would  give Gawain whatever he might catch that day.

If Gawain would give to him anything he had gained during that day.

The lady of the castle visited Gawain in good grace With all her female guile she tried to seduced him.

Being a knight of  honour and of loyalty he refused her not wanting to commit a sin.

Gawain though sorely tempted refused the lady’s charms  but to so as not to hurt her he accepted a kiss.

On Bertilak’s return he presented Gawain with his spoils in return Gawain gave him a kiss, the lord asked not from whence it came nor took it amiss.

The second and the third day too Bertilak  repeated his terms, that he would present his hunt spoils to Gawain for what ever Gawain that day had earned.

The lady of the Castle also tried to give herself, each day, to honourable Sir Gawain.

Each day he turned her down allowing only an extra kiss each day though he did find it a strain.

The lady grew more amourous and Gawain, only a man,  but he refused her each time and

Both evenings he gave Bertilak the kisses he had received  for the hunts spoils that were put into his hand .

Then upon the third morning when the lady begged his favours  she offered him her sash of green

She told him it would keep him alive and safe , with his impending doom, this hope to take, he was keen.

Gawain took the sash and bound it around his waist. He hoped it would help survive the Green Knight’s axe.

That evening on his return Bertilak  received three kisses again he did not ask from whence they came

 

To be continued ………………………………………………

Merlin’s Soltice

The first rays of the golden sun burst forth upon the solstice morn.

Merlin could see for miles, yet it was not what he could see

But what he knew that caused him to mourn.

His fate entwined with Arthur, who he would out live  but he would never be free.

So much pain, so much joy, yet no peace nor rest for Merlin.

He was terrified to realize that he was immortal

What a dark premonition, to see down the years unfurling

No real rest no real peace on and on no escape portal.

Looking out across the land, finally united

Harvests good and people happy  if only his job was done.

Five men good and true to Arthur had been knighted.

If only Merlin didn’t have to know all his his battles had to be won.

Poor Merlin so much for him to carry

so much information in his dreams

So much future so many deeds to face and parry.

Merlin  sees it all on this solstice mourn all stretched out before him.

Merlin

There was a young lad who was unsure of destiny , his name was Merlin

Striving to understand which path was mapped out for him , seeing his future unfurling.

To Camelot he was sent to help the court physician for he had a magic bent.
Gaius knew the boy had talent and a destiny to fulfill a reason he was sent.

 

He learnt at Gaius’s knee at first terrified of is own magic power he longed to be free

He spent most of time the butt of the young Arthur’s jokes he accepted that was how it had to be.

As he grew older his path became clearer and he knew just how to handle the prince in waiting

He took all Arthur could throw at him gently guiding him toward his path all ills anticipating.

Always at Arthur’s side hiding his magic well

Keeping the young king safe often using a secret spell.

For he had become fast friends with Arthur  and was all but in name an extra knight.

Merlin was the one who could always be depended upon to sort out wrongs and make disasters right.

 

Guinevere loved him  too he helped her to find her husband true.

Sad was he when she tarried with Lancelot blindly her vows to Arthur she forgot.

Yet Merlin knew that she was true and he convinced Arthur to harm her not.

Oh! so many tales I would tell of Merlin’s time with Arthur

But that is for another time which will be dealt with here after!

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