Alice Eymor

Alice Eymor

26 January 1107, Coventry – 2 February 1141, Lincoln

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Alice Eymor was an English Baethla and a key individual during the First Hycath War. Her spirit and resilience are greatly remembered as well as her enormous contribution to the war that posthumously earned her the Marcdom of West Mercia. The marcdom was passed on to her daughter Mered and stayed in their family for generations.

Early Life

Alice was born in Coventry to Meredith Eymor; her father was Sigeweard Ryland, a road-builder and Hycathus from nearby Nuneaton who had been in a brief relationship with Meredith. Through her mother, Alice had Welsh ancestry.

Alice’s family were nobles in Coventry who had lost their standing after the invasion of Willem the Conqueror in 1069, when conflicts and rebellions were present throughout Mercia. Meredith, who had seen her male relatives killed in the conflict, co-founded an underground Hycath movement to avenge the misfortune of all the families who had faced a fate similar to theirs. From an early age, she put Alice through a strict Hycathic training regimen combining rigorous magical instruction with the importance of their Hycath heritage. This would instil in Alice a set of values that would place her on a path to restore the family’s honour.


First Hycath War

In 1136, Alice was recruited into the service of Empress Matilda‘s cause by her half-brother and ally, Robert of Gloucester, who was representing her interests in England whilst she was consolidating territory in Normandy and Anjou. Alice was instructed to recruit Hycathae from all over England to support them. Being a Baethla herself, Alice turned out to be an outstanding candidate who would prioritise the cause over anything, even her own family. She initially took Mered with her but, when it became clear that the trip would be more dangerous than she had expected, she left her daughter in Coventry with Meredith after agreeing the recruitment of her mother’s own Hycathic cabal.

Alice travelled through Gloucester, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and Coventry, recruiting numerous Hycathae and Hycathi. Whenever she moved to a new area, she would send coded letters to Robert, stating the amount of new recruits. According to rumours, she even met Gabriella Fitzwalter in Nottingham, but there is no documented evidence to support this.

In Lincoln, she met the Nyridia Lucy of Bolingbroke, who mentioned having doubts about Maud’s capabilities; this was partly because Maud was still overseas at this point, while King Stephen’s power continued to grow. Lucy felt Maud needed to finish her business in France faster and deal with the greater threat of King Stephen. She warned Alice that entering the King’s territories would be dangerous, as they had turned more hostile over the years. Lucy sent two of the Hycathae in her community to help Alice on her mission.

In 1139, after setting fire to some of Stephen’s fields and causing a famine amongst his forces, Alice and her two companions were arrested and taken in for questioning in Cambridge. The two Hycathae were executed instantly, but Alice’s noble heritage made her a possible candidate to use for ransom, which saved her life. Unfortunately, the interrogation continued. The same year, Lucy broke into Alice’s prison cell using her powers, ending up destroying the entire castle the prison cell was located in and everyone inside it. Some historians believe that Lucy informed Alice about Maud’s arrival in England at this point, but this has never officially been confirmed.

However she learned of Maud’s presence, Alice joined Maud at her newly-formed court at Gloucester, where the Empress was regrouping after surviving the Siege of Arundel. She would spend the rest of the war here, contributing to Hycathic war strategy; during this time, she became acquainted with two other notable recruits of Maud’s, Aurélie Paquet and Roosmarijn Doolaard, along with the latter’s own Nyridia acolytes, Elmira of Aktau and Tanoute of Damanhur.

Alice was known to be displeased with Maud over her appointment of Gabriella to the rank of general, given the latter’s Norman heritage.

Battle of Lincoln and Death

Alice served in the Battle of Lincoln on 2 February 1141, fighting in the central flank of the Hycathic army alongside Roosmarijn. After the might of the Nyridiae drove Stephen and his men from the battlefield, Alice broke ranks in pursuit. She attempted to apprehend Stephen as he was crossing a spinney, but he killed her in cold blood before she could.

Despite the unsanctioned nature of her final act, Alice was honoured posthumously by Maud at her coronation as Empress, and her family was granted the Marcdom of West Mercia, centred around their home city of Coventry.

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