Dragon Skies

A dramatic story of tumultuous 6th century Scotland blending Celtic myth and Arthurian lore

   Read the novels of the Dragon Skies, Beneath A Dragon Sky, The Last Dragon Harper, Dragon Harper Curse, & Red Knight and Dragon Skies, the history of Myrddin, the last Dragon Harper. Dragon Skies is a thrilling, dark and sensual story of war and revenge set in 6th Century Scotland. Driven mad at the Battle of Arderydd when his lord died and his dreams were destroyed, Lailoken, the last of the great dragon harpers, arises from pain and madness to seek redemption and revenge. A culmination of myth and legend, blending history and fantasy of the war plagued years that led to the rise of Northumbria with the life of a simple man of poetic heart and warrior soul.
   One lonely man, fated by the gods to walk the battlefields and witness the events, will become legend. This is the history of Lailoken, known as Myrddin, the last dragon harper.
   Dragon Skies is the dark and magical history of northern Britain in the late sixth century. The series is a historical fantasy of the life of Lailoken, whom I believe to be the same individual as Myrddin ab Morvryn, the Scottish Merlin, one of the three great harpers of Britain. The series explores the dying struggles of the last alliances of the Romano-British North. Just as the southern British strength died with Arthur, the Northern kingdoms were to meet their challenge in the final decades of the sixth century. I have taken this story from the fragments of Dark Age poetry and legend, blending history and Celtic myth with my beliefs of the possible. There are aspects, motifs and legendary fragments of the Arthurian period woven into the history.

Beneath a Dragon Sky

   Beneath a Dragon Sky begins the journey through this troubled land. Bran the Blessed seeks to fulfill his dreams of restoring his people; but the fates have another design. In the midst of the North, Ceidioís kingdom along the old Roman wall is locked between powerful enemies and will find its greatest enemy in its own shadow when Peredur Steel Arm comes to claim his legacy.
   Extraordinary men are born in the dark moments of our greatest struggles, their destinies entwined in the fate of our world. Ill-fated and divinely gifted at birth, Lailoken was destined to be the voice of the new Grail king. But Peredurís betrayal of Bran and the battles to reclaim his fatherís lands in the Pennines have scattered the Grail family. The treasures have been stolen and hidden from Peredurís pillage of the old lands. And fate has deemed that Lailoken will merge his destiny with Gwenddolau, son of Ceidio. The tragic death of his mentor, the great harper Lofernios, and the political marriage of his first love to Rhydderch of Alclut, forces Lailoken to face his pain and start down the path to become the greatest harper of the North. The dreams of a young man with a soul for music will be tested.

Ö This is, without question, a superior book of type and can hold its own against any book in any category. Here there is intrigue, romance, love, hatred, life and death - all blending into characters with a realism that is rare and always welcome... Scott Semler, author of ĎDragonís Headí.

The Last Dragon Harper

   The Last Dragon Harper completes the story of Lailokenís early years. The old enmities between the clans have seeped through the fabric of the land and Lailoken gets caught in the midst of a storm of war even as he fights to find love and happiness. The legendary march of Rhun from the land of Gwynedd to the highlands of Fortrenn leave a changed land. With the death of Ceidio, Gwenddolau assumes his fatherís crown and with Lailoken, now master of Lochmaben, they struggle to rebuild the lands behind Hadrianís wall.
   Lailoken will fight with all his strength to hold onto his bright dream, to stand at Gwenddolauís side, and to seek to love again. In the struggles to regain Ceidio's lands, Lailoken has a vision of a lost land held in subjugation by the growing might of the Angle kings of Bernicia, a vision of war and blood and the leering face of Gwrgi, Peredur's cousin and adviser. Working to rebuild Lochmaben, his personal struggles with his marriage to Gwenddoloena, and the birth of Nimue, his daughter by Mebd, he is haunted by the vision. Journeying into the heart of the Angle lands and the Border kingdoms, he works to find common ground for peace even as prophecy leads him toward his fate.
   Realizing that he must face his vision and confront Gwrgi and Peredur, he travels to Eboracum (York) and sues for peace between Peredur and Gwenddolau. But in the very act of seeking peace, Lailoken gives Gwrgi the means to split the British kingdoms further apart, ending in the great battle at Arderydd in 573CE where Peredur and his forces destroy Gwenddolau.

Dragon Harper Curse

   Arderydd was a place of magic and legend even as Camelot. The destiny of the North was decided on the plain before its gates, the destruction of its fortress will set into motion a chain of events that will lead to the rise of Northumbria. Unable to bear the pain of his lordís death, Lailoken is driven mad. But madness and a thirst for revenge will lead Lailoken on the road to seek the death of Peredur.
   Madness has a way of making a man lose himself. In Curse, Lailoken struggles with the dual spirit of his life as Myrddin, one aspect seeking revenge and the other a chance at life and love. Each step that Myrddin takes toward the light of a healed soul, Lailoken leaps in frenzy to destroy his enemies.
   As Lailoken begins his journey back from madness, he finds a changed world. Peredur has extended his control into the Pennines and to the edge of Galloway, setting up a subject king Cunomarus in Gwenddolau's old lands. Lailoken is captured and brought to live in the shadows of Rhyderrch's Alclut, his only consolation the closeness of Gwendydd, his first love and Rhydderch's queen.
   The beautiful tragic legend of Tristan and Iseult is blended into the storyline, when Cunomarus, the Mark of legend, falls in love with the haunting return of his lost Isolde, Lailoken's first wife, Gwenddoloena. But Drustan, Cunomarus' nephew, is also in love with the beautiful Gwenddoloena and the triangle of love begins to unravel the tenuous peace of the land. Kentigern, bishop of Alclut, must seek out Branwen to uncover the past and find a way to keep the land from war.
   Lailoken's cattle stampede at the wedding and his destruction of Cunomarus becomes a catharsis that focuses his mind toward the dual goal of revenge against Gwrgi and a land of peace where his people and the Angles of Bernicia can coexist.

Red Knight and Dragon Skies

   Red Knight and Dragon Skies finishes the story begun in Dragon Harper Curse.
   In Red Knight and Dragon Skies, Lailoken fulfills his dream to destroy Peredur and Gwrgi in retribution. History tells us that Peredur Steel Arm and Gwrgi were killed at the Battle of Caer Grau around 580CE. The location of Caer Grau is not known and speculation covers locations from the Pennines into the Lothians. My own speculation and decision was to equate the location with Dun Guaroi, the fort that would later become Bamburgh, across from Medcaut/ Lindisfarne.
   Lailoken will join the delegation from Columcille, the historical St Columba of Iona, as he seeks to bring Christianity and peace to the Angles. But fate has a way of rearing its ugly head. Even as Columcille steps onto the path of peace, intrigues and schemes slither in the background. Using the Ionan delegation as subterfuge, Peredur sets into motion plans to crush the Angles and seek revenge against past allies and kinsmen. As the road winds uneasily toward war, new powers begin to rise in the land. Urien Rheged moves to solidify his control of the West. Rhyderrch seizes the lands to the old wall even as his dal Riadan ally, Aedan mac Gabran, tests his kingship of the isles. But none of the Western kings grasp the strength of the Angle kings and their belief in the prophecy that they will rule the land from sea to sea.
   Peredur has also been associated closely with the Grail knight Parsifal and in the background of my storyline the legend floats, a deeper current of mystery behind Peredurís foolish actions. For Lailoken is the cupbearer, the keeper of the blessed cup and graal hidden even from his sight by his mentor and teacher Lofernios. In his mind, the cup would not hold the same significance placed upon it by Peredur. Lailokenís efforts are to preserve and protect the bloodline and heir of Bran, Galaad, the son of Anguselus and Elayne. His daughter, Nimue, shall grow to become the legendary Lady of the Lake.

Continuation of the Story

   Following the death of Peredur, the storyline will split into two segments. The first will tell the legends of Urien Rheged and his battles with the Angles. The second will tell the legend of the final days of Artwyr and the search for the lost treasures. As the two segments draw to a close, we begin the final chapters that retell the poetic battle of the Gododdin, the last ditch effort by the British forces to halt the Angle kings, and the last days of Lailoken.

   Other stories that are part of the series but not in the main storyline will include Tapestry - the legend of Drustan and Isolde, Red Knight - the story of Peredur Steel Arm, and Loathly - the romance of Gawain and Cundrie.

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Beneath A Dragon Sky: Dragon Skies Book I Incipit

The Last Dragon Harper: Dragon Skies Book 1 Finis

Dragon Harper Curse: Incipit

Red Knight and Dragon Skies: Dragon Skies Book 2 Finis