AN OVERVIEW OF THE STORY
revised 15 October 2003 revised 15 August 2011 corrected 31 October 2013
Copyright 2014 Olivier Dunrea. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be used without written permission from the author.
Manus argentea quam manus ferrea melior est.
A silver hand is better than an iron hand.
For those who live by it and upon it, the sea is the ultimate reality in their existence.
Farley Mowat, This Rock Within the Sea: A Heritage Lost
Between the faraway past, and that time which lies near to us, there came to one of the Twilight Realms, a remote archipelago called Moel Eyris (Islands of the Maols), a vicious horde of invaders from the Faärlands filled with hatred, cruelty, and of wickedness. Though the islands were so threatened and uncertain, there yet remained strong, determined Islanders, or Eyrlenders, who knew the right and the truth and lived according to what they knew. And a boy whose fate would determine the fate of all.
The Lay of Moel Eyris: The Saga of the Bear’s Son tells the story about a way life that is all but forgotten. It is about dreamers in a land where dreams have never been forgotten, where words command magic, and secrets are kept well hidden. Stories command the highest respect and admiration of the Islanders. In fact, the Islanders created an extraordinary word for their story-keepers, or mythographers—maols. Maols are the revered mythographers who reside in the ancient, isolated settlement called Moolstery.
The word mole has several meanings and many spellings. To an off-islander “mole” is the only spelling that he can think of, and is a word that only has one of two meanings. But to an Eyrlender the word “mole” has a rich and diverse history and is most closely connected to a secret messenger.
But, the word maol is an entirely different matter altogether.
The Lay of Moel Eyris: The Saga of the Bear’s Son tells the story of a prophecy that concerns a boy named Caelean Artair Faolán who “was born very old at a very young age.”
The Prologue to the story begins with a perilous journey, being made under the cloak of darkness, and the added protection of a thick, magical mist—dragons’ breath. Brom and Hanne Powys are fleeing for their lives, for the life of their son, Caelean. And for the very life of the islands.
The Lay of Moel Eyris is an epic heroic quest that falls into the category of ‘motif of folklore’ called Bear’s Son Cycle. The Bear’s Son Cycle is concerned with a baby who was “abandoned” by its parents. The baby grows into a boy who lives apart from his homeland, Moel Eyris—the Islands on the Edge—as they struggled through the most dangerous and blackest years of is an epic heroic quest that falls into the category of ‘motif of folklore’ called Bear’s Son Cycle. The Bear’s Son Cycle is concerned with a baby who was “abandoned” by its parents. The baby grows into a boy who lives apart from his homeland, Moel Eyris—the Islands on the Edge—as they struggled through the most dangerous and blackest years of the archipelago’s history.
Cael’s fate is closely bound to that of an ancient prophecy, a secret book, and an ancient map. It is the timeless story of the struggle between good and evil, fate and destiny, and a boy’s quest to discover his own place in his world.
The primary world, the Realm of Men, is surrounded by a secondary world, the Realm of Faërie. Between the two Realms there lies a space in time that is called the Twilight Realm, which is separate from, but parallel to, the world of men and the world of Faërie. Moel Eyris lies in this magical space and time between the two worlds. They are Islands on the Edge that are betwixt and between; neither this nor that—Islands at the Edge of Twilight, Islands at the Edge of Imagination.
Throughout the primary world and secondary world there are doorways or gateways that allow access between the two realms. For most men it is perilous to cross the threshold of one such doorway; for others it is an adventure of a lifetime. For Cael Faolán it is his destiny.
The Lay of Moel Eyris chronicles the adventures of Cael Faolán through his twelve long years of study at Moolstery to become a maol---a mythographer. The lay comprises five books: The Secret Book of Moolstery; The Secret of the Mool Dykes; The Secret of Morag's Too'er; The Secret of The Myvyrrian Map; and The Secret of the Dragon Eggs.
Each of the five books concentrates on a particular Mystery and Initiation that Cael must pass in order to become a fully-fledged maol. The five books cover a total of twelve years of his life as he undergoes the trials and tests in order to become a maol. As the story unfolds the isolated and mysterious world of the islands becomes known.
Cael’s Fate set before him five great tasks and five arduous initiations that he must endure in order to save the archipelago from slipping beneath the wild seas of the North Atlantic. As an apprentice-maol, or maolt, at Moolstery he must prove his loyalty, bravery, and intelligence. He must discover for himself his true worth in island society.
Cael’s first initiation is the “Oath-Taking” that propels him on an extraordinary quest and his twelve long years of study at Moolstery. His adventures are filled with uncertainties and dangers as well as true friends, close companions and deadly enemies. The islands’ unique history, strange inhabitants, ancient beliefs, and mist-shrouded crags, steeped in mystery and magic, create a world that is as complex as it is elusive. The story of Moel Eyris lifts the veil of one remote corner of the Realm of Twilight.
The sea is an ever-present element and is faced on a daily basis by the Islanders and Cael. To the Islanders the sea represents hardship and danger as well as a bountiful life—and protection from the Outside World.
Cael is a boy who is twice-born. His first birth date is 7 December 1843. Fate was foretold that “a boy will leave and a boy will return” to the islands. For an Islander to go “off-island” represents the greatest danger and fear to be faced. As a baby Cael was sent “off-island” with two Guardians, Grainne and Gerrans. He is re-born on 24 September 1943 and lives an ordinary life for twelve years in the Big Eddy to be summoned to return at the appointed time.
Shortly after his twelfth birthday in 1955 Cael returns to the islands he must make a difficult choice: to remain in the islands and enter Moolstery as a maolt or to return to safety and obscurity of the Big Eddy. Cael chooses to remain in the islands and to begin his life as a maolt of Moolstery. Cael’s initiations and tasks are set before him by the mysterious and wise Maol Rudha, the Red Maol. He is the Penkyrdd, or head of, the Cymry of Maols—the Brotherhood of Mythographers.
Twenty-four secretive and learned mythographers comprise the ancient Cymry who live in one of the most ancient and isolated settlements—Moolstery. Moolstery sits high atop a tiny, rocky islet that is separated from Eyr, the Main Island, by a fierce tidal ford.
The Secret Book of Moolstery begins in the quiet mountain village of the Big Eddy in upstate New York. Cael and his grandparents, Gran and Grumps live an unassuming life in the village. They own a small bookstore called The Ratty Cover. How Cael, Gran, and Grumps ended up in the Big Eddy is told in the Prologue to the saga.
Prologue: On a dark, mist-shrouded night Cael’s parents had made the dangerous trek to the Noorderlands seeking the skeely-wife, Hennock Pyn. Hennock Pyn, a venerable trow-wife, is the head of the Cymrood of Skeely-Wifes—the Sisterhood of Healers and Charmers.
The two most powerful and revered inhabitants in Moel Eyris are Maol Rudha and Hennock Pyn.
The Cymry and the Cymrood take their names from one of the last remaining dragons that lie sleeping beneath the islands—Cymmrodorion; this is one of the most powerful dragons ever to have lived in the islands.
Nine skeely-wifes live in the islands in isolated bothys in the remote reaches of the Noorderlands. Each skeely-wife is connected to one of the nine rigs or standing stone circles. Skeely-wifes possess powerful magic of their own: Invisibility; fleetness in running; ability to see and speak with the Atecotti; control over spirits; ability to fly; longevity of life (300+ years); invincibility; ability to heal; and the ability to place an individual into an enchanted sleep.
Universally, the skeely-wife’s primary function is to heal and restore the individual’s correctedness to the universe. Skeely-wifes make no distinction between body, mind, and spirit; they are all part of the whole.
Hennock Pyn and Maol Rudha tell Brom and Hanne that The Orphir—The Stone of Destiny, has prophesized that their son, Cael, is the boy “who is more than a boy.” His fate is to go “off-island” and return to the islands in their darkest hour.
Brom and Hanne were grief-stricken at the thought that they must be parted from their son. They faced the most difficult decision of their lives—a decision that would affect not only their future and that of their baby, but would determine the fate of Moel Eyris.
Brom and Hanne send Cael off-island with two Guardians, Grainne and Gerrans, from the Isle of Mey. In order for Cael to be protected, and not fall victim to Madron-an-Faär, or Mad Iron (Master of the Iron Hand)—the Wolf of the Faärlands, he must go off-island and be kept hidden and raised in secrecy. The Great Prophecy foretold “that a boy will leave; the boy will return.”
Going off-island is the most uncertain fate that most Islanders can imagine. Few Islanders who have gone off-island have ever returned. Their fate is unknown. Brom and Hanne have gone against the greatest taboo known in the islands. They have fallen in love—Brom, a bear that is a shape-shifter and Hanne, a simple woman of the islands. They produced a son whose fate was prophesized that he is destined to be the one who can save the islands.
Brom and Hanne place Cael in the hands of Maol Rudha and Hennock Pyn. Hennock Pyn possesses the most powerful magic of any of the skeely-wifes. She spins a wresting thread and is able to place Cael into an enchanted sleep for one hundred years. His one hundred year sleep was foretold in the prophecy.
Before Cael is taken off-island, Brom asks Grainne and Gerrans to take a bit of earth from the islands and when the baby is re-awakened to place the earth in his mouth so that “he Cael always have the taste of the islands in his mouth and a longing for them in his blood.”
In the Outside World Grainne and Gerrans make the long journey by boat across the Atlantic to the United States. They settle in a remote mountain village called the Big Eddy, tucked away in a forgotten corner of upstate New York. They live a quiet life in the village, making friends, and living a normal life. Their passion for books earns them their livelihood with a small bookstore called The Ratty Cover.
One hundred years after their departure from the islands they reawaken Cael from his enchanted sleep. Cael is an ordinary boy who loves animals, books, and nature. He has a passion for maps and old books; he often dreams of the sea and faraway islands. He is restless and yearns something that he cannot grasp in his imagination. For the first twelve years of his life he lives in the Big Eddy with his “grandparents,” Gran and Grumps, and two dogs, Daisy and Bridey, in a large house named Henwoodie—The Hennery.
Odd things happen in and around Henwoodie that cannot be explained. The villagers have seen it rain only on Henwoodie and its grounds. The trees surrounding the house seem to whisper and creak more than other trees. Henwoodie is the most old-fashioned house in the village. Gran and Grumps prefer candles and oil lamps to electricity. The lawns and gardens are riddled with mole runs that do not seem to bother Gran and Grumps at all.
Gran and Grumps instill a strong love of nature and trees in the boy. “The trees are listening” or “the bees are watching” are oft-repeated refrains of Gran’s whenever Cael misbehaves. Cael feels that he is always being watched. He catches glimpses of wild animals in the woods watching him at odd moments. He feels that people watch him more closely than usual. Several strangers take an unusual interest in him and seem to watch his every move.
Life in the Big Eddy parallels life in the islands in many ways. Both are remote, isolated locales with odd inhabitants. There are a number of eccentric and quirky villagers in the Big Eddy—Mr. Crabs, Sam Swanney, Annie Winnie, and Fat Fifi—who keep the summer tourists in line.
Cael is a quiet boy and has few friends his own age in the village. He is alone most of the time, but is not lonely. His closest friend is a bear maker named Riffer John. Riffer is a dark, ruggedly handsome, bearded man whose Mole Island Bears are sought after by collectors throughout the world.
Late one night, unable to sleep, one of the strangest things happens to Cael at Henwoodie. A tiny bespectacled mole appears on the windowsill of the Lincoln Room. Cael is astounded by the appearance of the mole.
The mole appears to Cael two more times. At his third appearance the mole delivers a mysterious message to Cael: “The mists are fading, the time for you to return has come.”
And so begins the greatest and darkest journey of Cael’s life.
The journey begins on gray autumn day in late October. With heavy hearts Gran, Grumps, and Riffer bid Cael a sad farewell as he sets off on the most incredible adventure of his young life—a journey that Cael take him from a normal, quiet life in the Big Eddy, to the mist-shrouded Highlands of Scotland, and finally to an elusive, mystery-filled life in Moel Eyris.
With the last of their magic gone, Gran and Grumps—Grainne and Gerrans—have fulfilled their own Destinies as Guardians. Their deaths are inevitable.
After Cael has departs for Scotland Gran and Grumps confide in Riffer that their last wish is for him to take their ashes back to Moel Eyris so that they can go "in-island."
Gran and Grumps had befriended Riffer as a young boy. As Guardians, he was one of the “lives” that they protected. Their final duty is to send Riffer to Moel Eyris. Riffer reaches Moel Eyris and Cael is reunited with his friend in the second book: The Secret of the Mool Dykes.
Cael travels alone, or so he thinks, across the Atlantic Ocean to Scotland. He takes the train from the ancient, royal city of Edinburgh to the small fishing village of Ullapool. The train wends its way northward and westward through the beautiful and haunting Highlands. Throughout the journey Cael is aided by odd strangers who make certain that he reaches the quiet, west coast village of Ullapool unharmed.
In Ullapool Cael meets the remarkable and stentorian Miss Euphemia MacCrimmon and her companion, Miss Gertie Pines. The two women accompany Cael to Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Miss Euphemia MacCrimmon and Miss Gertie Pines are Watchers—off-islanders who keep watch to ensure that the islands are not caught off-guard by any intrusive or inquisitive unwanted visitors.
The two women plan to take Cael to the Standing Stones of Callanish. It is here that Cael is to meet Maol Rudha—the Red Maol. Maol Rudha fails to keep the appointment. Unexpectedly, Miss Euphemia, Miss Gertie, and Cael are attacked. They flee to the safety of Donald Gibbie’s croft.
At Donald Gibbie’s croft Cael is hidden and kept safe in McPhee’s Hiding Bed. It is while he is in hiding that Cael gets his first glimpse into the magical Realm of Faërie.
Once the attackers have been driven off and the danger has passed. The two women find Old Mourteen and introduce Cael to the sea captain of the Sea Mouse—the tiny ocean steamer that Cael take him to Moel Eyris.
Old Mourteen informs the three Watchers—Miss Euphemia, Miss Gertie, and Donald Gibbie—that the “tide has turned” and danger is near at hand. He tells them that Maol Rudha is on the island of St. Kilda and that the Sea Mouse will pick him up there.
On a foggy night Cael boards the island steamer and makes the treacherous crossing to St Kilda. Cael learns that Old Mourteen was “Young” Mourteen when he took him as a baby from the islands more than a century ago. He meets the crew hand, Hector Broos, a crusty, stubble-bearded wiry seaman. He also meets a young boy his own age named Peadar Cobbe.
Peadar had stowed away on the steamer without anyone’s knowledge so that he could get a glimpse of the new Maol.*
* When Maol Rudha questions Peadar and demands to know why he did something so risky, so out of character, Peadar tells him “I wanted to see the new Maol.”
This one sentence shocks both Maol Rudha and Old Mourteen. Wanted to meet the new Maol? Maol Rudha knew that Peadar did not mean ‘just another maol about to enter his studies at Moolstery,’ but rather Peadar had said the word Maol with a capital ‘M’. Maol Rudha could hear it in his voice, see it in his eyes.
Maol Rudha and Old Mourteen exchange worried glances. Now the question is: “How did Peadar know that a new Maol was coming to Moel Eyris?” This entire idea is portentous and filled with promise in regard to plot devices and storyline. Maol Rudha Cael have to learn how Peadar found out about Cael’s coming to the islands. What else does Peadar know? Who told him about Cael’s arrival? Peadar is a principal character in this story who longs to become a maol with all his heart. But, it is not his Fate, nor his Destiny. He is destined to follow in Old Mourteen’s footsteps. In the course of time, Cael and Peadar Cael have a similar relationship that Maol Rudha and Old Mourteen had.
The Sea Mouse chugs its way to St. Kilda. The steamer, its passengers and crew are pursued by an unseen menace—the Cirein Crôin, the largest sea serpent in the North Atlantic.
Cael is apprehensive of the vast, roiling sea. Old Mourteen gives Cael his view of the use of fear. "An Islander who is not afraid of the sea will soon be drowned," he says. "For he will be going out on a day he shouldn't."
The Sea Mouse arrives safely at St. Kilda and retrieves Maol Rudha. The Penkyrdd refuses to divulge why he was on this abandoned island. En route to Moel Eyris Maol Rudha tells Cael the sad and tragic fate of St. Kilda1—how the last islanders abandoned the islands and their homes in 1930. As the steamer approaches The Flannan Islands he recounts the mysterious disappearance of three lighthouse keepers in the Flannans in December 19002.
Cael listens to the stories and histories with great fascination. He begins to feel the first stirrings of the loss and longing of the stalwart and tenacious Islanders.
Maol Rudha explains to Cael that Moel Eyris will suffer a fate far worse than that of St. Kilda and The Flannans if Madron-an-Faär conquers the islands. “If vanquished,” he tells Cael. “The islands will slip beneath the waters and disappear forever.”
The seas are wildly violent and toss the Sea Mouse as it makes its way unerringly to the islands. Twenty miles from The Landing at Moolstery the Cirein Crôin attacks the tiny vessel and nearly succeeds in dragging Cael into the icy waters of the North Atlantic to a watery grave.
Old Mourteen, Hector Broos, and the two boys put up a valiant fight against the sea serpent, but the fate of the Sea Mouse is uncertain. The Storm Hags, watching the progress of small steamer from their craggy refuge in The Green Sea, brew up the terrible sea-storm in an attempt to save the tiny boat from the sea serpent. Maol Rudha summons the Errius—a fabulous fish (oarfish) that can hold fast a boat in the most turbulent conditions so that it doesn’t move or sink. While the Errius holds the boat, Maol Rudha takes the form of a small wren (dryw) and flies to the Storm Hags to request that they end the storm before the Sea Mouse is doomed.
The sea serpent is driven off at last, the storm ends, and the Sea Mouse safely reaches its destination—The Landing at Moolstery. Maol Rudha and the maols are there to greet Cael. Cael bids farewell to those onboard and climbs The Long Stair, crosses the ancient Mool Bridge, and enters Moolstery.
And so begins the story of Cael Faolán—The Saga of the Bear’s Son.
Book One: The Secret Book of Moolstery: Cael discovers a very different life at Moolstery. He decides to enter into his apprenticeship as a maolt at Moolstery.
His first initiation is the “Oath Taking”. After taking the Maol’s Oath he lives and studies at Moolstery. The remote community of maols and maolts is separated by a fierce tidal ford from the narrow, rugged peninsula called Moel Gearde. In Moolstery Cael becomes an apprentice, or maolt, in the community of mythographers, artists, and craftsmen. Maol Rudha is his mentor and guide.
Cael learns that the magical mists, that have protected the archipelago for thousands of years, are thinning. The islands are in danger of being exposed to the Outside World. Madron-an-Faär, the Wolf of the Faärlands, is determined to conquer the tiny islands and learn the Great Mystery as to how to enter the Realm of Faërie.
None of the maols, skeely-wifes, or the Atecotti, can stop the invaders and the destruction of Moel Eyris without Cael fulfilling his Fate and Destiny. The Five Atecotti: On a becalmed day, the Atecotti, the Oldest Old Ones or Ever-Living Ones, had wandered out of the Timeless Mists. They were the only people to learn the Wisdom of the Dragons —what the Islanders and Off-Islanders call magic—directly from the remaining three dragons—Cymmodorion, Scrymgeor, and Skymg—before they went into their eternal sleep in-island. The arrival of these five Atecotti marked the beginning of The Misty Age:
Thence came the Atecotti
who know much,
Three from the hall beneath the stones: The first was named Grainne (That Which Is), The second, Nuala (That Which Has Been). The third was named Oona (That Which Should Become). Two from the hall beneath the oak: The fourth was named Aengus (Origin), The fifth, Gaeth (Becoming). The Atecotti established Ørlög, They selected lives for the Children of the Ages, And the fates of men.
Skraelings (Trows) are the direct descendants of the Atecotti. At the time the story takes place, the Atecotti are kept hidden on Skrael. They are revered and cared for by the trows. The Atecotti are mummies.
These five original wanderers are alive and kept animated by the magical power that the dragons had imbued in them. Their powerful magic is channeled through the standing stones and standing stone circles. Each time the Atecotti hold their breath or takes a breath, so do the standing stones. The stones’ breath keeps the Atecotti alert and aware as to what takes place throughout the islands.
At the time Cael’s story takes place, the Atecotti are mummies guarded and tended to by the venerable trows, or Skraelings.
"Real magic," said Maol Rudha, "is the knowledge in knowing where you are and where you are going. Life is like a map, really. Learn to read the signs and you Cael be able to follow your path without too many mishaps."
Maol Rudha tells Cael that to learn more about himself and unlock the Mysteries of the islands he must undertake five trials. In order to become a fully-fledged maol he must pass five Initiations. Each of the five trials will take Cael to each of the five islands in order to accomplish his task.
The Orphir’s prophecy foretold that “five will find five within five.”
The challenge that Cael must undertake in the first story is to find the hidden book—The Myvyrian Archaiologie—The Secret Book of Moolstery.
The Myvyrian Archaiologie is the Domesday book of the islands. It has hidden itself in self-protection from the impending peril of the Muckle-Maisters led by Madron-an-Faär. This mysterious book contains all the knowledge and stories that the maols have recorded over the centuries. Within its covers the deepest secrets of Moolstery and the islands are kept.
Life in the islands is medieval and filled with magic, mystery and intrigue. Peadar Cobbe becomes Cael’s best friend and closest companion. Together the two boys explore the islands and encounter friends and foes alike. Note: The sea will, and must, take an active role in the telling of this story. Therefore, it is important that Cael and Peadar’s meeting onboard the Sea Mouse, having an adventure at sea, sets the tone for their relationship to develop in the islands. Going off-island sets Peadar apart from the other islanders. He will have done something most other islanders would never dream of doing. The islanders routinely go out to sea in their boats, but seldom, if ever, do they pass through the White Mists that shield the islands. Again, keeping in mind that the sea represents “hardship and danger,” this is Peadar’s first step in becoming a man. He is fearless, brave, and willing to take risks. These are qualities that a hero looks for in a faithful and loving companion. Peadar will become a friend in whom Cael could, and does, entrust his life.
When Cael’s ego gets out of hand, he tells Peadar how much better life was in the Big Eddy. He is, of course, reprimanded by Maol Rudha—"The greatest men and most talented men are often the most humble," Maol Rudha says. "Never let your ego overshadow your talent, my boy."
As Cael and Peadar search for the missing book they make an unexpected friend, Maggie Tulloch. Maggie (Mairghread) is a strange, shy, dark-haired girl. There is quite a bit more to her than the boys realize. Maggie comes from the Isle of Mey—her people are called Mossies. Mey is most magical of the five islands and Mossies are the most closely connected to the Realm of Faërie.
Throughout the five books Cael, Peadar, and Maggie become inseparable friends. Their lives are placed in danger time and again, and only by their wits, bravery, and cleverness (and help from unexpected quarters) do they survive life-threatening perils. Two other steadfast companions, Rinar Torfs, a trow-maid, and Cuddy, a young Mole Island Bear, complete the Circle of Companions.
The Stone of Destiny had foretold, "Five will find five within five.” Five companions would be the number that would find the five dragon eggs within the boundaries of the five islands in order to restore their Magic and Mystery to the islands.
Throughout their quest they endure great hardships and make vital discoveries: Dark and gloomy secrets; are held captive in an ancient burial mound; explore the hidden warren of Moolstery and the Catacombs beneath the Scriptorium; prowl the secret underground passages of the mool dykes; encounter ancient ghosts (both good and evil); and meet helpful scuppers (messengers) throughout the islands.
Maggie teaches the boys the Lore of the Trees. Mossies, are the Guardians of the Trees.
Cael had brought a twig of sassafras, a distinctively North American tree, and Maggie charms the twig so that it takes root and thrives in the islands. (The sassafras is symbolic, of course, of Cael’s thriving and “taking root” in the islands).
Rinar’s knowledge and power over stones plays a vital role as they roam from island to island. And Cuddy’s ability to understand the language of animals proves to be an invaluable skill.
The five adventurous companions join forces to solve the mystery of the long lost Secret Book of Moolstery.
In Books Two, Three and Four —The Secret of the Mool Dykes; The Secret of Morag’s Too'er; and The Secret of the Myvyrrian Map, Cael continues his training to become a maol and must pass a series of dangerous and life-changing initiations. He and his friends uncover more deep secrets and unexpected discoveries: The secret of the ancient mool dykes; the key to the powerful ley lines; the eerie, underground Catacombs beneath the Scriptorium at Moolstery; the mystery of the nine standing stone circles; the remarkable Mole Island Bears; the revered Bear Noel in the Ooterlands; forgotten secret passages and tunnels; the tragic broken men; standing stones that walk at night; and Eynhallow—an island within an island—the most Hallowed Island in the archipelago.
In order to become a fully-fledged maol, Cael must master the Mystery of the Doorways—the secret gateways to and from the Realm of Men and the Realm of Faërie.
Cael loves the strange island game called Ba’ Scrummage that is played once a year on New Year’s Day. The game is played with a gigantic leather ball and involves a large number of the Islanders in a raucous, wild game from one end of Eyr, the Main Island, to the other. Madron-an-Faär is ruthless and merciless foe. He will stop at nothing, not even murder, to achieve his evil ends. If Mad Iron, as the Islanders call him, cannot conquer and usurp the magic of the islands, he will destroy them.
In an act of selfless bravery, Cael rescues a broken man from a fate worse than death at the hands of the savage Muckle Maisters. Cael and his companions rescue Morag Myvyr, an aged skeely-wife, who is being held prisoner in a lonely tower on the Black Rock in the Ooter Oot-Bye Wadders. This rock skerry lies closest to edge of the Realm of Faërie and the Outside World where the dragon-breath mists are thinnest.
At the conclusion of the fifth book the five companions overcome the final dangerous trials and journey to the most mysterious and remotest island of all—Skrael—where they meet the Atecotti—the most ancient, inhabitants of the islands. On Skrael, Cael speaks with the Atecotti. Through the powerful magic that the Oldest Old Ones possess he is reunited with his father. Cael learns that his mother has died, gone in-island, and with the strong magic of Morag Myvyr and Hennock Pyn, Cael is able to speak to his mother one last time.
Cael, Peadar, Maggie, Rinar, and Cuddy share an uncommon friendship. Their friendship, determination, and loyalty never waver as they strive to solve the mysteries.
In Book Five: The Secret of the Dragon Eggs the five companions share the greatest and most dangerous adventure of all. Each of them must find the hiding place of one of the last dragon eggs. In the hands of the Muckle Maisters, the dragon eggs would utterly destroy the magical world of Moel Eyris forever. Possession of the dragon eggs would also allow Madron-an-Faär to learn the secret as to how to enter the forbidden Realm of Faërie.