The Tale of the Pearl of Great Price
Many a year ago, in the mists of time, in the earliest year of the Stargate,
Myrrdyn ap Rhys, First Baron, First of The Nine, walked alone and burdened with the cares of his young barony. His mind
was bent to the problems that beset the populace given into his care by the King of Atenveldt (for Ansteorra was not even
a glimmer in the mind of the people of the time). He felt the weight of responsiblity and wondered how he could persever against
such odds as he forsaw in his darkling dreams.
Wrapped in his cloak, he thought of the storms the barony had just weathered
and his eyes took in the wrack of leaves and litter that drifted here and there, piled up by wind and wave and drenching rains.
His wandering feet took him down to the shore away from the castle, his
mind and soul instinctively seeking the home from whence he came, for the Sea was the original home of the Nine. The day was
sullen and the winds quiet. Even the waves merely lapped at the shore as though even the sea itself was exhausted from the
violence of the last few hours. The stillness weighed upon him and the sound of his boots grating in the sand sounded loud
in his ears. Head bowed; his eyes watched his boot tips kick up sand with each step.
Suddenly, into his limited downward gaze came a gleam of white so pure
and rare that he stopped in amazement. There, strewn through the sand at his feet, were numberless pearls, each perfect, each
gleaming with a rare and luminous light. Falling to his knees in the wet sand, he picked up one with a trembling hand and
held it up to his eyes. Never had he seen something so beautiful. He understood in a flash that with just this one pearl he
could demand anything of any man and they would give everything they had, instantly, in order to possess it....and he had so
many of them...laying in front of him, just waiting for his hands to gather them.
And gather them he did, sifting the sand through his fingers to find and
save each precious pearl. As he did so, his hands found something hard buried in the sand and gently scraping he uncovered
an ancient crown encrusted with more of the beautiful, luminous, gleaming pearls. Many pearls were missing in their settings
and he realized that the loose pearls he had been gathering came from this Crown. He uncovered it and prized it from the clinging
sand and held it up to the sky to view its beauty.
The gleam from the wet pearls intensified to pierce his eyes and as the
light reached a painful peak he heard a voice speak in his mind. It was like unto the voice he heard upon seeking a name for
The Stargate and it said, "Give my beauty to those who are worthy. Give my price to those who give of themselves without
counting the cost."
Trembling he asked, "How shall I know them?" The voice replied, "Watch
carefully. Those who shall be called The Pearls will reveal themselves to you by their thoughts, their words, and their deeds.
You will know them by the light in their eyes. You, and all who shall follow you when you are gone, shall have The Sight to
see those who are The Pearls, for this Crown bestows this gift upon you and all who succeed you." Myrrdyn bowed his head in
acceptance of the gift.
"But", the voice grew stern, "Tell no one how many Pearls you have nor
how many remain as they are given. For if their number is known, they shall crumble into dust and be no more and The Stargate
will loose its greatest treasure." With these words, the ancient Crown suddenly began to crumble.
Myrrdyn scrambled to catch the pearls as they dropped from the disintigrating
crown. Some he lost in the sand and a few washed out with the retreating waves, but he recovered many. These he carefully
wrapped in a corner of his cloak and turning, he walked back up the shore and into castle where he secreted them away in a
place known only to himself.
Since that day and all the days since, the Rulers of the Stargate have
the Sight. Their eyes can find those that walk among us who are so precious to our Barony that if we should lose them, we
would feel as though we had lost all. To each of these gentles, softly and with great love, Myrrdyn and all that followed--Tarl
and Arlene; William and Gladwyn; William of Wier and Pippa; Bran and Elissena; Bran and Sindra; Michael and Neassa; Godwin
and Elissena; Ihon and Isabeau and all who will follow these--to each that they find of such priceless value---they gift this
worthy with one of the Pearls of Great Price with joy and honor for the beauty of their life among us.
Only the Barons and Baronesses know how many Pearls are left to us. Let
us hope that they are a countless as the stars and the sands of the shore.