Tuesday Tales, Part XVI: Avril Daniells and the Rout of Gwennhill

Gwennhill is a small town in Caxton near the Braelin-Seren border; in the early 700s, it was most famous for being the closest village to the volatile border.  During the moon of Reaping in 689, a brigade of Serenite soldiers crossed into Braelin and found their way to Gwennhill. Looking for a quick foothold into enemy territory, the soldiers stormed the small village, capturing it with little resistance from its approximately 150 citizens.  Immediately following the takeover, however, the Gwennhill council met in secret and agreed to send three youths on horseback to Esos to warn of the invasion.  The trip was expected to take at least two days, and the townsfolk knew there was little hope that Gwennhill would survive long enough to be saved, but at least the Crown would be forewarned and could take measures to defend the rest of the country.

The Serenites quickly set to raiding the town’s food stores and began to tear down homes and shops in order to garner the materials needed to construct a fortress. On the first night of Gwenhill’s occupation, the soldiers gathered to celebrate their conquest.  From the villagers they demanded wine, women, and the town’s best musician, to entertain them as they reveled all night.

The townspeople of Gwenhill selected a young musician, Avril Daniells, to act as bard to the soldiers; her talents were renowned throughout the town and the villagers assured the Serenites that she would be very well-suited for what they wanted. Daniells entered their camp alone and began at once to perform for the rowdy soldiers as they drank, fought, danced, and built bonfires out of the remnants of the buildings they had destroyed earlier that day. Slowly, as the night progressed and Daniells’ songs continued to flow seamlessly one into the next, the soldiers began to calm down; slowly, one by one, they fell asleep, until at last nothing could be heard but the sound of snores, sleepy murmurings–and Daniells’ fine, soothing voice. The young musician continued to sing, song after song after song, keeping the Serenites entranced.  For days she never paused or broke her tune, until on the evening of the sixth night the Braelinese army reached Gwennhill and captured the sleeping army.

Unsurprisingly, Daniells was and continues to be celebrated as a hero, with the story of her skills reaching even the farthest corners of Braelin.