Background to the Celts
The empire of the Celts was one of the greatest of ancient times, stretching from Ireland in the West across Europe to the central plains of Turkey. The Celts had a fearsome reputation as warriors, in their time defeating the armies of both Rome and Greece.
Yet they were also skilled artisans, and their philosophers and men of learning were highly regarded by the Greeks and Romans. They were redoubtable road builders, cutting the first roads through the previously impenetrable forests of Europe, and their medical knowledge was highly sophisticated, especially their practice of surgery.
The story is set in the Keltia that existed before the invasions of Julius Caesar. It is a time when the growing might of Rome was coming into conflict with the various tribes that formed the Celtic empire. It is a time before the coming of Britain, a time when Britain was Keltia, when the Islands were wholly Celtic.
The Celts were guided by their rulers, and by the wisdom of the Druids. Rhiannon is one such Druid, and it is her destiny to fulfill the Prophecy. In the time of the Awakening Man, it is said that she will become the bearer of the ancient Cauldron of Wisdom.
It is a quest that takes her and Geraint - the Awakening Man - on an adventure across the country that is today known as Wales. It is also a journey in search of Wisdom, a journey that Rhiannon as a Druid has been pursuing for many years and this quest is yet another part of her inner journey.
The story begins at a hamlet called Cwtch on the eve of Samhain. Cwtch is a special village, a place of healing where Rhiannon uses her skills and knowledge to heal the sick and provide succour to the dying. It is a place of tranquility and quietness set amongst the beauty of the trees in the surrounding valley.
But across the waters in Gaul there is no such tranquility, only warfare. For the Romans have a new general - Gaius Julius Caesar - who is subjugating the Celts of Gaul to the rule of Rome. He is an ambitious man who is determined to gain power and wealth to enable him to achieve the greatness he seeks.
Increasingly he looks greedily across the Channel at Keltia, a place of great riches, a country ripe for an invasion that would bring great wealth to Rome - and Caesar - as well as enhance his reputation. Within Keltia there is discord, with ruler fighting ruler, a perfect time for invasion.
Only the coming of the High King can unite the warring tribes and prevent the conquest by Caesar and it is now that the story of Rhiannon becomes intertwined with the future of Keltia. For at her birth a prophecy was delivered thus:
"Born is one who will bear wisdom to the high,
and anguish to her kith and kin,
Yet in the time of the Awakening Man,
Keltia shall know again its High King,
and be led to victory over its foes."
The story of Rhiannon begins with the coming of Geraint - the Awakening Man spoken of in the prophecy. Together they set off to fulfill Rhiannon's destiny - to become the bearer of the Cauldron of Wisdom, for it has the power to unite the tribes behind one leader - the man destined to become the High King.
It is a journey full of peril for them both, a journey that takes them to mystical lakes and magical waterfalls, to impressive hill-forts and dangerous mines. It is a journey across modern-day Wales that is also an inner journey, for through the dangers they meet come the lessons that enable them to grow and progress on the spiritual journey of life that each of us must make.