The Origins of Rhiannon’s World
by Rachel Parsons
Sometime between the fifth and fifteenth century, on Terra, there were witch burnings, especially in their European continent. (I know, far-fetched, but this is fantasy.) It was the fey holocaust, where witches, lycanthropes, fairies, and religious dissenters were ruthlessly hunted down.
But many of the fairies and witches were able to open, by sorcery, a wormhole to another world, about thirty light years away. (I picked this distance, as the only other solar system we know about in our dimension is thirty light years away.)
Many escaped, where they built a civilization like the one they left — medieval/Renaissance European. They even gave it familiar names — New Gwynedd, instead of Gwynedd, New Fairy, instead of Fairy, New York, instead of York. Oops, wrong exodus.)
Meanwhile, on Terra, the witch burnings were dismissed as hysteria caused by ergot poisoning due to moldy bread. People couldn’t turn into beasts or cast spells. Scientists with ‘Sir’ or ‘Dr.’ in front of their names said this, so it must be so.)
It wasn’t until hundreds of years later, after much of the Earth’s resources were plundered, the air befouled, and the farmland all but gone to high rises (again, I know, fanciful, but this is science fiction) that the Terrans made a history-changing discovery. Scientists with ‘Dr.’ in front of their names discovered the existence of a wormhole that led to an Earthlike planet thirty light years away.
As desperate as the Martians in H.G. Well’s story, they sent their few ships that could be built from the diminishing resources to the new Earth. Only to discover that not only was there more riches than they could possibly dream of, but that it was dominated by a medieval/renaissance civilization, whose subjects claimed to originally have come from Earth.
They develop client states, à la the Romans in Britain. New Dyved and New Prydain, chief among them. They treat the inhabitants with indifference, using them as medical experiments on the one hand, as new markets on the other, as well as labor for their mines and plantations. (I know; I know, Earthmen would never do this. What history have I been reading?)
Rosalyn’s father was a victim of the Terrans. Wanting markets for their pharmaceutical companies, they ban native medicines, herbs, etc. His occupation gone, he commits suicide, and his only child has to take to the streets.
Their rule might have continued indefinitely, but they back the wrong horse in a civil war. The men of New Fairy rose as one man, except for Heveydd, who spends his days playing golf, to defend their humiliated princess, Rhiannon, who was to unite these two powers with her marriage to Ferrell of New Dyved.
But when Graymulkin cursed Rhiannon, he dumps her. He doesn’t want his bride and wife to be naked. How can she be properly his, if he has to share what she’s got? (chronicled in The Gorgon,)
A childhood friend of Rhiannon, Alcippe, plays on this, forces Rhiannon to humiliate herself in front of the entire court of New Dyved and Ferrell, and when she escapes, after committing regicide, declares a state of emergency.
The Terrans, seeing their clients for the rubber, the molybdenum, the coffee, the native blood (chronicled in The Deer Hunt, by Col. John Drake, one of my pseudonyms, in Nocturnalooze.com) under attack, decide to smash New Fairy.
But Rhiannon had learned necromancy as part of her training to take Heveydd’s place when he retired and counters the Terrans’ weapons of mass destruction in an ironic way. Terran missiles, machine guns, poison gas, etc., etc., can kill millions; and they are willing to use them, even though it may destroy the environment of the planet they depend on. However, these millions can be brought back.
The Terrans soon find themselves in the same soup as someone who woke up in a George Romaro movie and high tail it out of Dodge, or at least Daearu. They go into denial about this, and officially say they left for the good of the people of Daearu. (I have yet to come up with a story I like where they try to come back by manipulating Rhiannon. As surely they would, since their world is still in environmental collapse.)
This leaves Rhiannon the undisputed main power of western Daearu and sets the stage for her adventures.
Copyright © 2005 by Rachel Parsons