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Priestess of Avalon

Marion Zimmer Bradley, Diana L Paxson

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Fiction, Fantasy

As the Merlin of Britannia keeps his vigil atop the Tor of Avalon, Rian, the High Priestess of Avalon, dies giving birth to her fifth child. The girl, named Eilan with her mother's dying breath, takes life. From the stars the Merlin draws forth her prophecy: 'The child that was born at the Turning of Autumn, just as the night gave way to dawn, shall stand at the turning of the Age, the gateway between two worlds.' A prophecy of greatness, but it seems that she is destined to walk a path unlike any trodden by a Priestess of Avalon before...

Eilan is taken to her father, King Coel, and raised in the Roman way as Helena, but in the year A.D. 259 the ten-yaer-old girl is returned to Avalon, the mystical place of her birth, to begin her training as a priestess and learn the ways of the Goddess. Yet her Aunt Ganeda, now High Priestess, is determined that Helena shall fail.

Despite the odds, Helena grows to be a skille healer and a compassionate and gifted priestess, and on the moonlit night of her initiation she sees the face of the Roman, Constantius, the man she will love for the rest of her life. Her vision also reveals that he will be the father of the one whose light will blaze across the world, the one who will free Britannia from Roman tyranny.

Constantius is lured to Avalon to fulfil his role in this but Helena joins him in a night of illicit passion. When this deceit is discovered they are banished from Avalon forever. Soon Constantius is drawn back to the politics of Rome, the ill fortunes of war and the irresistible rise of a powerful new religion, and as Helena contends with the dangers that surround them, it seems that the Merlin's prophecy is about to come true...

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