Merlin Vocabulary


This Merlin vocabulary — which is far from complete — was prepared by a group of avid readers (and friends of Merlin). If you would like to submit a new entry yourself, please send it to me on the Contact page of this website.

May Merlin be with you!

— T. A. Barron

Learn more about the Merlin saga here.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

— A —

Aleah Bird:
A rare bird of iridescent red and purple which Rhia describes as “a sign of good fortune.” It has a “flaming purple crest” on its head and “scarlet along its tail.” Rhia considers it the most beautiful creature in Druma Wood — except, of course, for Arbassa.

Arbassa:
The great tree Arbassa is described by Rhia as “someone who protects me. And holds me. She is almost my mother.”

What did young Merlin see when he first approached Arbassa? “From the center of the clearing rose a great oak, mightier than any tree I had ever seen. Its burly branches reached outward and upward from the trunk, so thick that it seemed to be made of several trunks fused together. Set in the midst of those branches, glowing like a giant torch, was an aerial cottage whose beams and walls and windows curled with the twisting limbs. Layers of leaves overlaid the tree house, so that the light radiating from its windows shone through multiple curtains of green.”

— B —

Bard:
A poet, whose verses can be entertaining, prophetic, humorous, sorrowful, or wise.

Cairpré, humble poet that he was, was one of the most renowned residents of the Town of the Bards.

Blighted Lands:
This is the region of the Isle of Fincayra where the land and sky have withered and darkened. Here the earth and even the remaining trees are the color of dried blood.

After crossing the River Unceasing, Emrys and Shim enter the Blighted Lands. “The trees, thin and tormented, looked considerably more frail than even the oldest trees in the Druma. Indeed, those farthest away from the river seemed positively sickly, more ghosts of living things. We had arrived in the Blighted Lands. I approached one of the sturdier trees, whose branches draped over the river. Reaching up, I plucked a small, withered fruit. Turning it in my hand, I puzzled at the leathery toughness, the rusty brown color, the wrinkled skin. Sniffing it, I confirmed my suspicion. It was an apple. The scrawniest apple I had ever encountered.”

Branwen:
The woman who washed ashore with Emrys—and who claimed to be his mother. “The only times that Branwen, if that was really her name, would show even a hint of her true self were when she told me stories. Especially the stories of the ancient Greeks.”

Branwen was also a healer. “Often I watched her crushing leaves, mixing powders, straining plants, or applying a mixture of remedies to someone’s wound or wart.”

Where did her name come from? From the grievous tale of “Branwen, daughter of Llyr, who came from another land to marry someone in Ireland. Her life began with boundless hope and beauty. And ended…with so much tragedy. Her last words were, Alas that I was ever born.
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— C —

Caer Myrddin:
A Welsh town to the south of Caer Vedwyd and near to the sea. After Emrys loses his eyesight in the flames, he and Branwen move to the Church of Saint Peter in Caer Myrddin.

Caer Vedwyd:
The dreary village in Wales where Emrys and Branwen live.

“Like most villages in this rolling, thickly wooded country, Caer Vedwyd existed only because of an old Roman road. Ours ran along the north bank of the River Tywy, which flowed south all the way to the sea. Although the road had once carried streams of Roman soldiers, it now carried mainly vagabonds and wandering traders.”

Cairpré:
A humble poet and a friend of Emrys’ mother. He lives below ground in a den that is entered through a stump. Emrys and Shim come upon his dwelling when night falls in the Misted Hills. Cairpré’s home is filled with all types of books, and reminds Emrys of a scene that Branwen had described. Cairpré was born in the Town of Bards and often speaks in rhymes.

“Then without warning, the door popped open. From it emerged a shaggy head with a tall brow and dark, observant eyes.” Just how much those eyes could see, and could understand, Emrys would come to know in time.

Caller of Dreams:
One of the magical, powerful Treasures of Fincayra. “The Treasures were always used to benefit the land and all its creatures.” The Treasures have been collected by Stangmar so they could be used solely by him.

The Caller of Dreams is the Treasure most celebrated by bards throughout time. “It has a horn with a power to bring wonderous dreams to life, and for centuries it was used only sparingly and wisely. But with the help of Rhita Gawr, Stangmar used it to punish Caer Neithan (The Town of the Bards) for harboring some who dared to oppose his policies. He called to life the most horrible dream ever beheld by any bard—and inflicted it upon the entire town.” The dream was “That every man, woman, and child in the village would never speak, nor sing, nor write again. That the instruments of their souls — their very voices — would be silenced forever.”

Ultimately, the Caller of Dreams is entrusted to the wise bard Cairpré.

Cauldron of Death:
One of the magical, powerful Treasures of Fincayra. “The Treasures were always used to benefit the land and all its creatures.” The Treasures have been collected by Stangmar so they could be used solely by him.

The Cauldron of Death is described as the “most hateful” Treasure. It is vividly described in ancient Celtic lore, which is why T.A. Barron decided to include it in the Treasures of Fincayra.

Anyone who is thrown into the Cauldron is killed instantly. However, it bears a fatal flow. “If someone were to crawl into it willingly, not by force, then the cauldron itself would be destroyed.”

Celtic:
The Celts are an ancient European people whose modern relatives include the Irish, Scots, Welsh and Bretons. This term refers to those people, their language, or their culture.

Cwen:
Cwen, a treeling, is Rhia’s oldest friend. She took care of Rhia when the girl first came to Druma Wood. Cwen is the last survivor of the treelings “— a race of part tree, part people.”

“Cwen was truly more tree than human. Her skin, gnarled and ridged, looked very much like bark, while her tangled brown hair resembled a mass of vines. Her root like feet remained unshod, and she wore no adornment but the silver rings on the smallest of her twelve knobby fingers. Beneath her robe of white cloth, her body moved like a tree bending with the wind. Yet her age must have been considerable, for her back bent like a trunk leaning under a winter’s weight of snow, and her neck, arms, and legs seemed twisted and frail. Even so, the fragrance of apple blossoms wafted around her. And her recessed brown eyes, shaped like slender teardrops, shone as bright as the fire.”

Cwen leads the warrior goblins to the Misted Hills to capture the Galator from Emrys. She wants the Galator because the goblins promised that she could use the Galator to make herself young again.
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— D —

Dagda:
Dagda was one of the most powerful Celtic spirits, the god of complete knowledge. Dagda’s true face is never seen because he assumes various forms at various times. He once took the form of a great stag to drive away the evil spirit Rhita Gawr, who had taken the form of a huge boar. Emrys saw both powerful beasts on the day that he and Branwen washed ashore.

Although Dagda is continually battling Rhita Gawr in the Otherworld of the Spirits, he very rarely follows Rhita Gawr into mortal worlds. Cairpré explained why: Dagda believes “that to win ultimately he must respect people’s free will. Dagda allows us to make our own choices, for good or ill.”

Dance of the Giants:
The Shrouded Castle has one crucial flaw: The castle walls would crumble if giants ever danced there. That is why Stangmar has been ruthlessly hunting down all the giants. As the Grand Elusa prophetically declares:

When in the darkness a castle doth spin
Small will be large, ends will begin.
Only when giants make dance in the hall
Shall every barrier crumble and fall.

Dark Hills:
This is the stricken region on the Isle of Fincayra where Stangmar lives in the Shrouded Castle. “That ever-spinning fortress lies far to the east, in the darkest of the Dark Hills, where the night never ends.”

Deepercut:
One of the magical, powerful Treasures of Fincayra. “The Treasures were always used to benefit the land and all its creatures.” Now, though, the Treasures have been collected by Stangmar so they could be used solely by him.

Deepercut is a sword with two edges, one that can cut right into the soul, and one that can heal any wound.

Dinatius:
An older boy with bushy brown hair, Dinatius bullied Emrys and other younger boys at the village of Caer Vedwyd. After Branwen stops a bullying incident, Dinatius returns with a group of boys to burn Branwen to death. Defending Branwen, Emrys calls upon his growing powers to turn the flames on Dinatius. Realizing what he has done, Emrys saves Dinatius from the flames. Emrys burns his face and loses his eyesight in the fire.

Domnu:
She is the one person in all of Fincayra who might have the power to help Emrys enter the Shrouded Castle. “Her powers are old, very old, springing from the same ancient sources that brought the very first giants into being. That is why Stangmar fears to crush her. Even Rhita Gawr himself prefers to leave her alone.”

In legend, her name means Dark Fate. Her lair is on the edge of the Haunted Marsh. She is neither good nor evil; she simply is.

“We spun around to see a pale, hairless head poking through the crack of the door. Slowly, the door swung open, revealing a body as round as the head, wearing a robe resembling a cloth sack with several pockets, a necklace of rough stones, and bare feet…The hairless head, with rows of wrinkles, gathering about two triangular ears, leaned toward us. One large, shriveled wart sprouted like a horn from the middle of the forehead. Eyes even blacker than my own watched us, unblinking.”

Druma Wood:
The only place where “the trees of Fincayra are awake enough to talk.”

Upon entering this ancient forest, young Merlin sensed “winds rushing through leaves, branches clacking and cracking, needles crunching underfoot. And there was an odd sensation that stemmed from none of these things. Or perhaps it came from all these things combined. A sound. A smell. A dimly lit grove. Above all, a feeling. That something was watching me. For a strange whispering, much like what I had heard in the shell, was now happening all around me.

“I spotted a knobby stick, nearly as tall as myself, leaning against the trunk of an old cedar. A good staff might help me work my way through the dimly lit groves of this forest. I reached for it. Just as my hand was about to squeeze its middle, where a cluster of twigs protruded, I gasped and pulled back. The stick moved! The twigs, joined by others above and below, began churning like little legs. The knobby shaft bent as it clambered down the cedar’s flaky bark, over the roots, and into a patch of ferns.”
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— E —

Elen of the Sapphire Eyes:
Here is how Cairpré tells Emrys about his mother: “There came a day when a woman, a human woman, arrived on the shores of this island. She came from the land of the Celts, from a place called Gwynedd.” Her name was Elen.

Elen came to Fincayra “because of her love for a man of Fincayran blood…And soon after she arrived, she discovered yet another love…Books!”

Elen and Branwen are the same person.

Emrys:
The name given to the bedraggled young man who washed ashore with Branwen.

“As many times as she (Branwen) called me Emrys, I could not shake the feeling that my true name was…something else, yet I had no idea where to look for the truth, except perhaps in the wavering shadows of my dreams.”

Emrys’ ears are somewhat triangular in shape and pointed at the top. He routinely feels a pain between his shoulder blades, and wonders what that could mean. (He won’t find out until years later, in The Wings of Merlin.)
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— F —

Fincayra:
Branwen described Fincayra as “A place of many wonders, celebrated by bards of many tongues. They say it lies halfway between our world and the world of the spirit—neither wholly of Earth nor wholly of Heaven, a bridge connecting both.”

Young Merlin must confront the fact that someone of human blood can never truly belong in Fincayra. For “this is a land neither of Earth or Otherworld, though it is a bridge between them both. Visitors come here from either world, and they sometimes stay for years. Yet they cannot call this place home.”

And there is one great mystery about Fincayra’s people: the mystery of their lost wings. “In the far, far reaches of time, they walked upon the land, as they do now. Yet they also could do something else. They could fly.”

Flowering Harp:
One of the magical, powerful Treasures of Fincayra. “The Treasures were always used to benefit the land and all its creatures.” The Treasures have been collected by Stangmar so they could be used solely by him.

The Flowering Harp is described as the “most beautiful” Treasure, “whose music can bring springtime to any meadow or hillside.” Its magical power to restore blighted land plays a crucial role in The Seven Songs of Merlin.
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— G —

Gaelic:
An ancient, richly expressive language spoken in parts of Ireland, Scotland and (in the past) the Isle of Man.

Galator:
A pendant of great value. “It seemed to shine with its own light, not just the moon’s. For the first time I noticed that the crystal in its center was not merely flat green, as it appeared from a distance. Leaning closer, I discovered violets and blues flowing like rivulets beneath its surface, while glints of red pulsed with a thousand tiny hearts. It looked almost like a living eye.”

When Emrys decides to leave Branwen and the Church of Saint Peter, Branwen gives him the Galator. “And take this, from the woman who would have you call her Mother.” Slowly, she reached into her robe and pulled out her precious pendant. “Despite my limited vision, I could see the flash of glowing green. …She removed the pendant and squeezed its jeweled center one last time before placing the leather cord around my neck.”

“Its power is great,” she declared. “If it cannot keep you safe, that is only because nothing outside of Heaven can.”

Garlatha:
Emrys and Shim set out to reach the notch and travel the blighted land to reach the Shrouded Castle. On their way, they spot a patch of green and decide to investigate. The orchard and garden are tended by T’eilean and his wife, Garlatha. Married for 68 years, they keep the garden alive by the seeds they find — as well as the love they share.

Emrys describes the couple: “…a pair of shapes, as gray as the stones in the wall, emerged from the hut. Taking wobbly steps, the pair slowly advanced toward the nearest bed of plants. They moved with a odd, disjointed rhythm, one back straightening as the other curved, one head lifting as the other drooped. As different as their motions were, however, they seemed unalterably connected. As they came nearer, I could tell that these two people were old. Very old. White hair, streaked with gray, fell about both of their shoulders, while their sleeveless brown robes hung worn and faded. Had their backs not been so bent, they would have stood quite tall. Only their arms, muscular and brown, seemed younger than their years.”

Ghouliants:
“They used to stay underground, in their caves. But now they run free, and they kill just for pleasure. There are ghouliants—the deathless warriors who guard the Shrouded Castle…and Stangmar, the king who commands them all.”

“The ghouliants themselves are part of the castle they guard. That is why they never venture outside the castle walls.”

Deathless warriors, they were men whose bodies were raised from the dead by Rhita Gawr.

Giants:
Giants are the first and oldest people of Fincayra. “Giants from every land call Fincayra their ancestral home. Even before the rivers began rolling down from the mountains, the footsteps of giants marked Fincayra. Long before Arbassa first sprouted as a seedling, their rumbling chants echoed over ridges and forests.

“…They can grow taller than a tree, our giants. Or even a hillside. Yet throughout the ages, they’ve stayed peaceful. Except for the Wars of Terror long ago — when goblins tried to overrun the giant’s ancient city of Varigal. Usually, unless someone makes them angry, they are as gentle as butterflies.”

Stangmar issued an order to kill the giants wherever they were found. His soldiers have hunted the giants ruthlessly. “It’s possible that a few giants still survive, disguised as cliffs or crags, but they must always stay in hiding, afraid for their lives.”

Grand Elusa:

The one creature in all of Druma who might know how to save Fincayra.

The true identity of the Grand Elusa is secret, “even to Arbassa…the legends say she lives among the living stones of the Misted Hills. That she knows things no one else knows, including some things that haven’t happened yet. And that she is old, very old.”

Legend also tells that the Grand Elusa is always hungry and “fiercer than a cornered giant.”

“There, amidst a massive curl of crystals, hung a delicate web. Its strands radiated out from the center like the light from a star. Upon this web dangled a single (white) spider, the size of a thumbnail. Its tie head and back were covered with miniscule hairs which glowed as white as the crystals themselves…are you — ‘I am,’ declared the spider, ‘the Grand Elusa.'”

The Grand Elusa has the power to change size — which makes her all the more unpredictable.

“Do not be fooled by Grand Elusa’s alarming appearance,” said Cairpré. “The truth is, her love is as great as her appetite.”

Gwri of the Golden Hair:
One of Fincayra’s brightest constellations of stars, located near to the constellation Pegasus. While watching these stars, Rhia explained, “My constellations are not made from the stars, but the spaces between the stars. The dark places. The open places, where your mind can travel forever and ever.

She then described more strange wonders of the Fincayra sky: “How the broad band of stars across the middle of the night sky was truly a seam sewn in the two halves of time, one half always beginning, the other half always ending. How the longest patches of darkness were really the rivers of the gods, connecting this world and others. How the spinning circle of the stars was actually a great wheel, whose endless revolutions turned life into death, death into life.”

Gwynedd:
This is the rugged land, part of Britain, where Emrys and Branwen washed ashore at the beginning of The Lost Years of Merlin. It is a place in torments where “everything, from the local gods to the local names, was changing. People were now calling this region, long known as Gwynedd, the country of Wales. But to call it a country at all was to imply a kind of unity that did not really exist. Given the number of travelers and dialects that passed through just our little village every day, Wales seemed less a country than a way station.”
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— H —

Hallia:
The deer woman Hallia, whose full name is Eo-Lahallia, belongs to the elusive Mellwyn-bri-Meath clan. Like her brother, Eremon, she knows how to run with the grace of wind, how to hear not just with her ears but with her very bones, and how to Circle a Story. Her deep brown eyes hold much wisdom, as well as deep sadness. When she first meets the man called Young Hawk in The Fires of Merlin, she is highly suspicious, as cautious as a deer. Later they grow to be friends — and, in time, much more.

Honn:
A ditch digger in the Blighted Lands who helps Emrys and Shim by hiding them from the Warrior Goblins. He gives Emrys a worn dagger with a narrow blade — which later saves the young man’s life in the Shrouded Castle.

“Honn shook his head in disbelief. The gesture revealed his ears, somewhat triangular in shape and pointed at the top, beneath the mat of brown hair.”
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— I —

Ionn:
Young Merlin has only one vague memory from his early childhood, of a massive black stallion who ate an apple from his hand. By a surprising turn of events, they meet again—in Domnu’s lair — in The Fires of Merlin:

“The black stallion ran over, keeping his distance from Donmu. Cautiously, he approached, his tail swishing. Gently, I laid my hand on his gleaming coat, feeling its silken surface. He whinnied softly in response. …Then, on an impulse, I took an apple from the bowl on the table. The stallion nudged it with his nose, breathing warm air once again on my hand. …’He knows you,’ observed Hallia.

“I stroked his black mane. ‘As I know him. His name is Ionn. Ionn y Morwyn. He was my father’s horse, and my own first friend.'”

Ixtma:
The intelligent, fiercely loyal squirrel often found with Rhia in Arbassa. As Rhia explained in The Seven Songs of Merlin: “I found him once in a glade near here, squealing from a broken leg. I set it for him, and since then he often visits, helping however he can. Just now I asked him to refill the bowl for you, after he chops some more chamomile.”

Ixtma takes responsibility for the ailing Elen while Rhia and Merlin seek the Elixir of Dagda, the only cure that can possibly save her life.
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— J —

Jester:
Ah, poor Bumbelwy! “Ever since he was a child, when he first frightened away the birds with his singing, he has dreamed of becoming a jester. Not just an amusing frolicker, but a true jester, someone who practices the high art of dressing wisdom in the garb of humor.”

Yet all Bumbelwy’s efforts to be mirthful fail miserably. Young Merlin finally says, in a moment of exasperation in The Seven Songs of Merlin, that he will eat his boot if the would-be jester can actually make someone laugh. That is when they meet the sleeping dragon Valdearg — and the impossible happens.

My friend, in dragon’s mouth interred,
Was even robbed his final word.
For down he went into that hole,
His parting sentence swallowed whole.
O dragon, ’tis my friend you eat!
Alas, how sweet the dragon’s meat.

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— K —

Kreelix:
Of all the dangerous foes that young Merlin must face, none is more terrifying than the kreelix. Resembling a giant bat, this beast devours magic. As Cairpré explained after a kreelix attached in the opening scene of The Fires of Merlin:

“I tried to warn you. It all happened too fast. A kreelix lives on magic, you see. Sucks it right out of its prey, as a bee takes nectar from a flower. Since I, like everyone else, thought the last kreelix died centuries ago, I never bothered to tell you about them before. Foolish error, Greatest terror. …For these creatures possess what the ancients call negatus mysterium — that strange ability to negate, or swallow up, the magic of others.”
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— L —

Living Stones:
The living stones, creatures of great age — and great danger, are found in the Misted Hills of Fincayra. The Grand Elusa lives among the living stones.

Lledra:
The Lledra is the oldest chant of the Giants. It is the first song that many of Fincayra’s babies ever hear. Emrys heard Branwen sing this chant.
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— M —

Mellwyn-bri-Meath:
This elusive clan of deer people made their ancestral home in southeastern Fincayra, in the region of the Smoking Cliffs. It was there that the misty threads of the Carpet Caerlochlann were spun long ago, and there that the terrible Wheel of Wye can still be found.

In The Fires of Merlin, the lad called Young Hawk meets two extraordinary members of the clan, who can run with the grace and speed of deer: Eremon, the brave friend who believes in Merlin’s power even when Merlin himself does not; and Hallia, who ultimately helps Merlin choose his highest destiny.

Mer People:
Cairpré explains that Emrys’ ancestors were “mer people,” born with the “strange depths of the sea in their bones.”

The mother of Treeclimber, she “was a daughter of the sea, one of those beings the Earth folk call mer people, though Fincayrans prefer to call them people of the mer.”

Misted Hills:
The Misted Hills is an area of Fincayra located next to Druma Wood, west of the River Unceasing. In the Misted Hills you will find the Living Stones, the Crystal Cave of the Grand Elusa and Tuatha’s Grave.

Myrddin:
One of the ancient Celts’ most revered gods, who sometimes took the form of a hawk and soared through the sky. A shrine to Myrddin was erected in Caer Myrddin.
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— N —

Nimue:
When Merlin battled this sorceress in the Haunted Marsh of Fincayra, he was trying to save the magical Mirror that had revealed his future. And more: He was fighting to save his own destiny. For he had just met someone from the distant future — someone he had never expected to meet — who had told him how to avoid being trapped forever by Nimue in a crystal cave on Earth.

As Nimue smirked at him malevolently, Merlin thought how much she had changed from the apple-cheeked girl he had met years before in Pluton’s bakery during the quest of the Seven Songs. Yet perhaps only her outward appearance had changed. For during Pluton’s explanation of the magic of Naming, she had tried to steal Merlin’s staff. And how, in the Haunted marsh, she again wanted that staff…as well as his life.

It would take more than the young wizard’s emerging powers to prevail. It would take the love of the deer woman Hallia, the loyalty of the dragon Gwynnia, and the surprising gratitude of marsh ghouls — whose arrows could douse the light of day. And it would take one thing more: the help of Merlin’s disobedient shadow.
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— Q —

Queljies:
Mysterious watchers of the swamp, these elusive creatures flicker like tiny candle flames. They travel in threes, and their grating laughter torments young Merlin in The Mirror of Merlin. At last, however, they help Merlin and Hallia (as well as the ballymag) to find the secret hideaway of the seventh Wise Tool.
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— R —

Rhita Gawr:
Wicked warlord spirit from the Otherworld, Rhita Gawr sometimes transformed himself into “a huge boar, with terrible tusks and eyes the color of blood…and a scar that ran all the way down one of its forelegs.”

When Emrys and Branwen are washed ashore, Emrys witnesses a battle between Rhita Gawr (in his boar form) and the great spirit Dagda, who had taken the form of a great stag.

The Grand Elusa explains, “Rhita Gawr has already won over Stangmar, and he has used the king to gain control of much of Fincayra. Few things now stand in his way, and the most important of them is…the last Treasure (the Galator).”

Rhiannon (Rhia):
Here is the way young Merlin first described Rhia, the mysterious young woman of the forest: “From the bundle, a long, leafy branch suddenly protruded. No, not a branch. An arm, wearing a sleeve of woven vines. Then another arm. One leg, then another. A head, its hair bedecked with shining leaves. Two eyes, as gray as beech bark with a touch of blue.

“The leaf draped figure rose and laughed out loud. The laughter, full and clear, rang through the trees with all the beauty of a bell.

“I leaned forward, trying to discern more detail. For I could tell already that this bundle of leaves was, in truth, a girl.”

And, as Merlin would soon learn, she was much more than she appeared. She would change his life — as well as save it.

River Unceasing:
The River Unceasing divides the island, flowing from The Lost Lands in the north all the way to the Sea. To the west of the River lies Druma Wood and The Misted Hills. To the east lies the Rusted Plains, the Haunted Marsh and The Dark Hills.

Rhia knows the language of the River; it is one of her oldest friends in the forest. “He bathed me as an infant, watered me as a child.”  The River saved Rhia, Emrys, and Shim when they escaped from the Warrior Goblins, causing a swell that carried them to safety.
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— S —

Second Sight:
After Emrys loses his eyesight, he and Branwen realize that he “could somehow sense her tear stains. Though I could not see them with my eyes, I nonetheless knew they were there.”

“It is another gift,” declared Branwen, her voice full of awe. “You have the second sight.

Emrys received the gift of second sight after promising never to use his powers again. “Most important of all, I knew that a promise had been made. It didn’t matter whether it had been made by me, by Branwen, or by us both. I would never again move objects with my mind. Not even a flower petal. Nor would I read the future, or try to master whatever other powers might once have been mine. But…I could see again. I could live again.”

Seer:
A person who may see visions of the future.

Seven Wise Tools:
These tools belong to the magical, powerful Treasures of Fincayra. “The Treasures were always used to benefit the land and all its creatures.” The Treasures have been collected by Stangmar so they could be used solely by him.

Among the Seven Wise Tools are the fabled plow that tills its own field, the hoe that nurtures its own seeds, and the saw that cuts only as much wood as is needed.

Shifting Wrath:
Among the most dangerous creatures on Fincayra, a shifting wraith can change into whatever shape it wants. But, as Rhia explained to Emrys, “there is always a flaw, something that gives it away, if you look closely enough.”

Early in The Lost Years of Merlin, they encountered a beautiful Aleah bird in the forest. As they approach it, Trouble suddenly recognizes that it is actually a shifting wraith — just in time to save their lives.

Shim:
Shim is a very short person with a bulbous nose. He is the height of a dwarf. Nevertheless, he is totally convinced that he is really a giant — just a very small giant. As he puts it: “One day I will be as tall as the other giants, as big as the highliest tree! Certainly, definitely, absolutely.”

Shomorra Tree:
Rhia leads Emrys to a place she calls her “garden” in a remote part of the Druma Wood. But it is actually a single, extraordinary tree. This tree yields not just one kind of fruit, but hundreds. And yet, despite its great bounty, the tree is so difficult to find that its scarceness is legendary. Rhia explained to young Merlin, “There is an old saying: As rare as a Shomorra. In all the Druma, there is but this one.”

Shrouded Castle:
Located far to the east in the “darkest of the Dark Hills” of Fincayra, “where the night never ends”, the castle is always dark, and “always spinning, so fast that no one could ever attack it.”

Rhia says, “I’ve heard the trees say that when Stangmar first came to power, he wasn’t so wicked. In those days, he sometimes rode through the Druma on his great black horse, even pausing to listen to the voices of the forest. Then something happened to him — no one knows what — that made him change. He destroyed his own castle, a place of music and friendship. And, where it stood, he built the Shrouded Castle, a place of cruelty and terror.”

The Shrouded Castle was created by Rhita Gawr and “through its walls the evil spirit’s power flows into Stangmar and his army.”

But the castle has a flaw: Its great walls would crumble if giants ever danced there. That is why Stangmar has been hunting down all the giants. In the prophetic words of the Grand Elusa:

When in the darkness a castle doth spin,
Small will be large, ends will begin.
Only when giants make dance in the hall
Shall every barrier crumble and fall.

Sorcerer:
A man who possesses magical powers, but who uses them to harm other people. A woman of this sort (such as Nimue) is called a sorceress.

Staff:
Much more than a mere walking stick, a staff is one of a wizard’s most useful tools. In addition, a staff can hold powers of its own. As young Merlin grew in wisdom, through mastering the Seven Songs, glowing blue runes appeared on his staff. But it took all his courage — and Rhia’s heroic sacrifice — to complete the Songs.

Since Merlin’s staff came originally from Druma Wood, it always carried a faint scent of hemlock. Even centuries later, this smell would remind him of his lost youth.

Stangmar:
The king who commands the warrior goblins, including the deathless Ghouliants. He lives in the darkened halls of the Shrouded Castle.

Stangmar poisoned much of the lands east and south of the Druma. His followers boasted that those lands had been “cleansed.” In Rhia’s words, “What that really means is that fear — cold, lifeless fear — has covered everything. It reminds me of snow, except snow is pretty. Villages are burned. Trees and rivers are silent. Animals and birds are dead. And the giants are gone.”

“Now you can see,” Cairpré added, “That Stangmar is truly the prisoner of Rhita Gawr. And as Stangmar is imprisoned, so are we all.”

Stoat:
A small thin furry animal which has brown fur in summer and white fur in winter.
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— T —

T’eilean:
Emrys and Shim set out to reach the notch and travel the blighted land to reach the Shrouded Castle. On their way, they spot a patch of green and decide to investigate. The orchard and garden are tended by Garlatha and her husband, T’eilean. Married for 68 years, they keep the garden alive by the seeds they find — as well as the love they share.

Emrys describes the couple: “…a pair of shapes, as gray as the stones in the wall, emerged from the hut. Taking wobbly steps, the pair slowly advanced toward the nearest bed of plants. They moved with a odd, disjointed rhythm, one back straightening as the other curved, one head lifting as the other drooped. As different as their motions were, however, they seemed unalterably connected. As they came nearer, I could tell that these two people were old. Very old. White hair, streaked with gray, fell about both of their shoulders, while their sleeveless brown robes hung worn and faded. Had their backs not been so bent, they would have stood quite tall. Only their arms, muscular and brown, seemed younger than their years.”

Town of the Bards:
Caer Neithan, Town of the Bards is the bleak village in the Blighted Lands that Emrys and Shim visit on their way to the Dark Hills. In the entire village, not a single voice could be heard.

In the words of the bard Cairpré: “For ages beyond memory, that town has been a fountain of music and song, home of our most inspired storytellers, nurturer of generations of bards. …Here song is ever in the air, while story climbs the spiral stair.

But Stangmar, with the help of Rhita Gawr, turned the magic of the Caller of Dreams against Caer Neithan. They “called to life the most horrible dream ever beheld by any bard — and inflicted it upon the entire town.” The dream was “That every man, woman, and child in the village would never speak, nor sing, nor write again. That the instruments of their souls — their very voices — would be silenced forever.”

Treasures of Fincayra:
The legendary Treasures of Fincayra were always used to benefit the land and all its creatures until Stangmar seized them for his own use. Only one remains beyond his grasp — the Last Treasure, which young Merlin believes is the pendant he wears around his neck, the legendary Galator, whose power is said to be greater than all the rest combined.

The Treasures include: the Orb of Fire, the Caller of Dreams, the Seven Wise Tools, the sword Deepercut, the Flowering Harp and the Cauldron of Death.

Treeclimber:
Cairpré explains that Emrys’ father’s name means “Treeclimber” in ancient Fincayran. Treeclimber “was an impressive youth. Strong, willful, and passionate.” He gained this name because as a boy he so enjoyed climbing trees — much like Emrys himself.

Treeclimber meets Elen when he travels to earth and falls deeply in love.

Treeclimber’s mother was Olwen, magical daughter of the mer people. His father was Tuatha, Fincayra’s most powerful wizard for many years. Tuatha’s wisdom was so great that, it was said, “even the great spirit Dagda would confer with him on high matters.” Yet Tuatha, like his son, fell through his own hubris.

Treeclimber’s life changed dramatically when he travelled to mortal Earth and met Elen of the Sapphire Eyes. They fell deeply in love. They returned to Fincayra, bringing with them that love — along with unexpected tragedy.

Trouble:
A merlin is a small raptor in the falcon family. But as Trouble demonstrated, it is possible to be small in size and still great in heart.

Soon after his arrival on Fincayra’s shores, Emrys saved a merlin’s life. Later, the bird landed on his shoulder and refused to leave. In time, Emrys named the bird “Trouble” because he was “nothing but Trouble.” And yet, before long, this little fellow proved that he was really much more.

Tuatha:
Prior to the arrival of Merlin, Tuatha was the greatest wizard in the history of Fincayra. So deep was his wisdom, and so vast was his power, that “even the great spirit Dagda would consult with him on occasion on high matters.”

Tuatha, like his son Stangmar, ultimately fell because of his own hubris. But before that happened, he predicted that his newly-born grandson would one day become the greatest wizard of all time.
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— V —

Varigal:
Ancient capitol city of the giants, Varigal is located on the edge of the Lost Lands to the north of Fincayra. At the time young Merlin arrives on Fincayra, the city is in ruins, and the surviving giants live in hiding. But after the prophecy of the Dance of the Giants is fulfilled, and the Shrouded Castle is finally destroyed, the giants begin the task of rebuilding Varigal. By the time we meet Shim again in The Seven Songs of Merlin, the city is well on the way to a rebirth.
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— W —

Wales:
A region of western Britain, known in ancient times as Gwynedd. At the time young Merlin was spat out by the sea and washed ashore on its rocky coastline, Wales was torn by invading tribes, warring armies, ruthless mercenaries, and religious zealots. Fears abounded. Who could have guessed that the lone boy who washed ashore would someday grow to great power and wisdom — enough to bring a time of peace and justice to this land?

Warrior Goblins:
Warrior goblins are huge with gray-green skin, a greenish tongue, and thin eyes that glint beneath their pointed helmets. Their muscular arms protrude from shoulder plates; their three-fingered hands nearly always grasp the hilts of broad swords.

As Rhia described them: “They used to stay underground, in their caves. But now they run free, and they kill just for pleasure. There are ghouliants — the deathless warriors who guard the Shrouded Castle. And there is Stangmar, the king who commands them all.”

Wars of Terror:
Rhia explains that the Giants of Fincayra are generally peaceful “except for the Wars of Terror long ago — when goblins tried to overrun the giants’ ancient city of Varigal.” These wars, like all wars, left more than physical wounds. Even centuries later, the scars on Fincayra’s soul had not fully healed.

Wizard:
Only someone who has reached heights of great power and depths of great wisdom can truly be called a wizard. The Lost Years of Merlin, through all five books, tells the story of a half-drowned boy who washed ashore on a terrible day…and ultimately became the greatest wizard of all time.
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— X —

X:
This mysterious letter does not mark the spot. However, it is found in the loyal Ixtma and the precious Elixir of Dagda — as well as the most dangerous creature in Fincayra, the magic-devouring kreelix.
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— Y —

Y Wydffa:
This is the imposing mountain that towered over the village of Caer Vedwyd. “The newly arrived Saxons had already started to call Y Wyddfa, whose icy ridges towered over everything, Snow Hill or Snowdon.” And today, on any map of Wales, you will find Mount Snowden.
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— Z —

Ziffian:
One of the most revered bards in Fincayra’s history, Ziffian lived in Caer Neithan, Town of the Bards. As Cairpré explained to young Merlin:

“‘Just think of all the memorable performances this spot has seen! Night Hammer. The Vessel of Illusion. Geraint’s Vow.’ Swiveling, he gestured toward a small, older-looking house. ‘Pwyll, whose despairing smile itself inspired volumes of poems, wrote her first poem there.’ He pointed to a low house with a wooden porch. ‘Laon the Lame was born there. And let’s not forget Banja. Jussiva the Jubilant. And Ziffian.'”
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