|Deadlands of Annwn (A)|
The souls of the fallen dwell here, and their Lord Arawn ruled until they were possessed to rise against him. Now Albion must battle to keep these renegade souls in check.
When Arawn, and death, came into existence, so did the land that Arawn was to rule Annwn, the land of the dead. When a person died, Arawn would send one of the Inconnu to gather the soul and escort it down into Annwn. Arawn would also send his Inconnu to retrieve stray spirits that wandered the lands of Albion and bring them into Annwn so they would not trouble the living. Once in Annwn, a spirit or soul could not leave unless Arawn gave his permission and lowered the spiritual barriers that surrounded Annwn and set it apart from the world.
At first, Annwn was just a flat, dark place where the souls and spirits wandered aimlessly while the Inconnu watched over them. The Inconnu themselves wandered around among the dead when they were not serving Arawn. This caused unrest among the souls and spirits, for the Inconnu were alive. To end this problem, Arawn selected an Inconnu he named Jaro'yen to oversee the construction of a city for the Inconnu to live in. This city became known as the Crypt of the Inconnu.
Arawn's plans for the Crypt were unique. Half of the city was to be built beneath the area where the souls and spirits wandered while the other half was to be built above. This would allow the Inconnu to stay close enough to continue to watch over the souls and spirits of Annwn while not putting them directly in with the dead. With the Inconnu no longer staying directly with the souls and spirits, Arawn expected the unrest to settle down - but he was wrong.
To reach the area of Annwn where they were to remain the souls and spirits had to pass through the Upper Crypt. When they saw Annwn after passing through the terrible magnificence of the Crypt, they were angered. They did not want to stay in the dark, empty in-between place when the Inconnu had such a place to live as the Crypt. The souls and spirits became even more restless with their anger and the Inconnu who watched over them struggled to keep them under control. Because it wasn't in the nature of the Inconnu to complain, it took Arawn a while to realize that there was once again unrest in Annwn.
When it finally came to his attention that the dead were unhappy, Arawn went to the land between the Crypts to find out what was going on. When he entered the area where the souls and spirits roamed, their cries grew louder, and this angered Arawn. He believed that the souls and spirits should be happy to be in Annwn rather than sentenced to oblivion. As he scanned the souls and spirits, Arawn saw that they were jealous that the Inconnu had such a city but they had nothing but darkness. It was then that Arawn decided what to do with the dead. He began to speak to them and the cries of the dead were silenced.
Arawn told the souls and spirits of his realm that he understood their jealousy of the Inconnu and their city. He expected the dead to be jealous of the living. Arawn then told the dead that he would create a special place for the dead, with each spirit and soul having its very own part. He told them that this new area would be one fit for the dead and a cheer spread through Annwn. The souls and spirits grew excited as they pictured their land looking something like the Crypt of the Inconnu. The cheer died down as Arawn spoke again. He told the souls and spirits there was a condition to the change. They were not to complain about a single thing in the changed land or Arawn would take it away and return them to the darkness they dwelled in now. The souls and spirits agreed, again picturing the Crypt of the Inconnu as their new home. Then with a wicked smirk and a wave of his hand, Arawn gave the dead their new lands.
The light in Annwn brightened slightly so that the souls and spirits could see the changes to Annwn. As they looked around, gasps and grumbling filled the air. Instead of a magnificent city such as the Inconnu had, the dead had been given a graveyard. Across the land there were randomly placed gravestones, tombs, crypts, and statues and monuments to the dead. The land surrounding each structure was rough, hard-packed dirt with dead tufts of grass here and there. A pale fog filled the air, obscuring the graves and tombs in the distance. Through the wisps of fog the dead could see that instead of sky overhead there was the massive ceiling of a giant cavern with stalactites hanging down here and there. While the crypts and monuments were carved with designs, they were nothing like the fine work that was seen in the Crypt of the Inconnu. Anger began to spread through the dead once more.
One soul began to speak, ready to voice its anger at Arawn's choice of land for them but Arawn stopped it. Still smirking, he reminded them not to complain or they would be returned to the dark, dreary land that was Annwn. He told them since they were jealous of the Crypt of the Inconnu he had given each of them their very own crypt or grave within Annwn. The souls knew they had been outsmarted by Arawn, and rather than return to the darkness of before, accepted their new lands. Arawn then decreed that this part of Annwn would be known as the Deadlands of Annwn. He also decreed that henceforth each soul or spirit that entered the Deadlands of Annwn would be given their very own crypt in so as not to be jealous of the Crypt of the Inconnu.
Over time the dead settled down and accepted their place in the Deadlands of Annwn. Things were peaceful for a long time in the Deadlands of Annwn until the rise of Morgana's power. Through her evil magic Morgana found a way to steal souls and spirits from the Deadlands of Annwn and use them against the people of Albion. This annoyed Arawn, and eventually led to his sending the Inconnu to the surface to join in the fight against Morgana. Arawn's interference in her plans angered Morgana, and as revenge, she used her magic to turn the souls and spirits in the Deadlands of Annwn against Arawn and the Inconnu.
To protect the Upper Crypt, Arawn ordered the Inconnu to bar the entrance with an enchanted iron gate that spirits could not pass through. The Inconnu then built a small secret tunnel to allow them access to the lands beyond the gate without the dead knowing. The once peaceful Deadlands of Annwn have become a battleground where the Inconnu are forced to fight for their lives against the dead - and worse.
Annwn or Annwfn (Middle Welsh Annwvn, sometimes inaccurately written Annwyn, Annwyfn or Annwfyn) was the Otherworld in Welsh mythology. Ruled by Arawn, or much later by Gwyn ap Nudd, it was essentially a world of delights and eternal youth where disease is absent and food is ever-abundant. It later became Christianised and identified with the land of souls that had departed this world. In modern Brittany, "Annaon" is synonymous with paradise rather than hell and the phrase "mont da Annaon", literally "to go to Annaon", is a euphemism for "to die".