Drustan (sometimes Durstan) is a name that has come up several times in relation to the vallorn. This report was provided to Siân Eternal, then Advisor on the Vallorn as the result of a historical research request during the Winter Solstice 382YE. It supplements the information provided as part of the Origins of the Vallorn report compiled in 379YE. Taking the form of somewhat fragmentary notes, it was compiled by Sonya Sloev, a Civil Servant in the Department of Historical Research.

Known facts

First, I gather the information already provided by the Historical Research Department, on the subject of the much admired and then despised figure. It is not inconsequential.

  • Born Holtford Miaren 234YE
  • Noted in records as having taken part in numerous battles against the vallorn in the run up to 268YE
  • Made speeches against the Navarr leaders in the aftermath of Brocéliande 268YE claiming that they were trying to play the vallorn at their own game
  • Gave one last speech in 272YE in Liathaven claiming that the Dance of Navarr and Thorn is designed to spread the vallorn’s strength across the Empire via the trods and berating the gathered mages for not reading the text of the ritual and understanding its meaning
  • Disappears around 278YE after a last conversation with Dawnish troubadour Arrayne, claiming a major breakthrough

Next, I turn to the key areas of speculation about Drustan of the Briar and explore whether there are any records that shed light on how such rumours that are held in story and song arose, or even state what truth there is in them.

Obsession and Death

On the rumour of having simply vanished into an obsession that led to his death, Arrayne the Troubador had an apprentice named Ysabel. She kept a journal which, if truth be told, is mostly dreadful attempts at lyrics and poetry by one, who if they were destined to be a troubadour at all, must have had much skill at music. In it, though, she writes occasionally of Arrayne.

One passage comments on that last meeting with Drustan.

“Arrayne has been to see the relentless briar again. They always return frustrated from those meetings lately. Often they are ranting about how Drustan will listen to no one and won’t tell anyone anything either. This time was a bit different though. They said they wouldn’t be seeing each other again. I asked why. Arrayne said they couldn’t remember any details, but that Drustan had a plan. A huge plan. “How could you not remember if it was so huge?” I asked and Arrayne looked at me and said “yes, how could that happen to a troubadour who spent their life focusing on retaining details?”. They didn’t say so, but I suspect night magic.”

Ysabel turns rapidly to the idea of a night mage she knows she might speak to, to ask, but the page turns quickly to youthful daydreaming, nothing of more use. As a researcher though, I ask the question “if there was something worth hiding with night magic, then perhaps there was a plan worth knowing about rather than just a briar caught in the obsessions of their lineage?”. I cannot find evidence of it though. Nothing for the forty years or more following that last meeting.

On the name, recurring

Whilst I was exploring records of the Silent Bell, I did discover, many years on, in 349YE a reference to an investigation of a group of presumed spring cultists working in Liathaven. The records are not clear about exactly what they were doing but the investigation was designed to explore if “they were aggravating the vallorn in Liathaven in such a way as to bring disaster to the Navarr rather than defence against the Jotun.” The name given for their presumed leader is Durstan the Evergreen.

It seems that then, as now, in the situation regarding those who call themselves Heirs of Terunael, that the name of Drustan or Durstan is favoured by those causing a stir. Whether they are inspired by, or children of Drustan of the Briar, I cannot tell. Of course any or all of them, including the briar himself, might be named for that earlier figure, Drustan Green Water.

On his inability to be diplomatic

It seems, from the records already reported on, that tell of the political speeches made against the Dance of Navarr and Thorn, that those writers were surprised by his lack of political acumen – thinking that it went beyond even the usual impulsiveness of a briar.

Had those chroniclers of the time been accustomed to looking into Conclave records, they might have been less surprised. At the height of his battle prowess, in the late 250’sYE Drustan (sometimes noted in the Conclave records as Durstan, which is perhaps how the confusion arises) he made several speeches about the Spring realm, claiming that only briar and Navarri had the strength and understanding to wield the magic of that realm properly.

The Archmages of Spring of the period seem to have consistently been of briar lineage – whether down to Drustan’s influence or not, so are likely not to have had a problem with this stance. The Navarri seem to have been split between a willingness to claim that superiority over the rest of the Empire and those who hated being raised to share a platform with the briar, no matter his influence and success.

On Venom and the Vallorn

There is a rumour that he alone discovered the defence of venom against the vallorn. This is almost impossible to substantiate, but it seems unlikely that any one person achieved this feat alone, and it seems somewhat far-fetched that it was not already widely known by Drustan's time. However, I found notes from a Urizeni general of 266YE, Lauriel of Solemn Fields. A briar who documented her fight to retain arete on campaign. Among her many notes, she left a list, which she has marked at the bottom with “Recommendations from Drustan of the Briar”.

His suggestions, from the time before his strange obsessions, when he was at the height of his youthful thrust against the Vallorn, are listed in abbreviated form. I have not reproduced the pictorial marginalia, but Lauriel’s arete manifests as most beautiful patterns of swirls around the perfunctory text.

  • Persuade Senate to remove prohibition Scorpion’s Sting
  • Find out Celyn Blades of Seren sung in Lay of Glaw. Ancient venom blades? Location? In song? Recreate?
  • Eternal aid. Touch of the Vile Humours – stronger? Even if just for one push.
  • Winter/Spring mage. Winter curses territory/person similarities. Same for Spring?

Further Reading

Related Topics


Winds of War and Fortune

  • A thousand years of longing - Winter 385YE wind of fortune about the findings of the Great Library of Hacynian
  • Rain king - 385YE Spring Wind of Fortune detailing aid offered against the vallorn by the eternal Ossegrahn
  • The bones of what you believe - 384YE Autumn Wind of Fortune detailing the opportunity to expand the Great Library at Hacynian
  • One last song - 385YE Winter Wind of Fortune detailing the adventure into Brocéliande
  • The city asleep - 384YE Autumn Wind of Fortune introducing the adventure into Brocélieande
  • Whither the seed - 383YE Winter Wind of Fortune about the use of Wither the Seed on Brocéliande and Liathaven
  • Rise of Terunael - 383YE Autumn Wind of Fortune regarding the plans of the Heirs of Terunael
  • Comes a time - 383YE Summer Solstice wind of fortune relating to the future of Seren
  • Blood for poppies - 382YE Summer Wind of War detailing the victory over the Liathaven vallorn
  • Immolation - 382YE Spring Wind of War detailing the fight against the Liathaven vallorn

Click Expand to see a summary of the important pages related to the vallorn.