Meredith Eymor was a Baethla, community leader and ideologue in pre-Hycathic England. She was noted for her contributions to the advancement of Hycathic politics and, by extension, the outcome of the First Hycath War in the late 1130s-early 1140s. She was the mother of Alice Eymor, posthumous First Duchess of West Mercia.
Meredith Eymor was born in 1056 to Steffan Eymor, originally from Llangollen in Wales, and his wife Clemency Ormere, a native of Coventry.
Clemency worked with textiles, but was a covert Baethla who instructed her daughter, Meredith, in the Hycathic craft under the pretence of teaching her textile work. Her family had survived the razing of Coventry by King Cnut in 1016 by pledging fealty to him.
Meredith’s father Steffan died battling with Willem the Conqueror in 1069. She idolised her father and despised Willem and attempted to join the fight back, but was rescued by her closest friend and fellow Hycatha, Elspeth Sherman, whose own father also perished in battle. The two girls vowed to avenge their male relatives by gathering together their fellow Hycathae. They kept their familial surnames as a mark of honour, passing them to their daughters even before the First Age of Hycath. Meredith in particular would nurse a lifelong hatred of the Normans and, by extension, the Church, which she would foster in her daughter Alice.
Clemency, who had attempted once more to dissuade her husband and brother-in-law from fighting Willem, escaped Coventry by her own means. Meredith saw this as cowardice and was content to renounce the Ormeres, despite them being her Hycathic ancestors. For many years, daughter and mother would be estranged, before reconciling during the reign of King Willem II Rufus.
Pioneering Hycathic leader
During this time Meredith and Elspeth created their Hycathic network. Originally comprising only their closest surviving allies and relatives, the network grew steadily over the years, taking in refugees from the most violently harried regions and their allies. Meredith and Elspeth continued to seek new Hycathae. In tandem with other communities in affected areas, they made the decision to induct their supportive relatives to gain numbers, building some of the first organised groups of Hycathi by these methods.
The New Forest Incident and Hycathic Self-Defence
The reign of King Willem Rufus was an especially challenging period for the Hycathic community, owing to the monarch’s love of persecuting Hycathae. In August 1100, Meredith and two close allies, Sybil Hart and Gwendolen Read, mounted a revenge attack against King Willem in the New Forest, killing him by Hycathic magic. As the codes of the Oculus provided no lawfully recognised defence of self-defence at this time, the three were sentenced to be Reckoned.
Their trial became a notorious event in the community. The Oculus was initially resistant to the protests of the defendants against their projected sentence. Despite this, Meredith, Sybil and Gwendolen had succeeded in galvanising a growing wish for change among the Hycathae and Hycathi and won over the jury. This forced the Octal of the time to approve the defence of self-defence for this and future cases. Meredith, along with her two accomplices, had succeeded in sweeping aside this cruel and unusual punishment, which would prove essential in future conflicts between the Temple of Hycath and the Church.
Meredith devoted her adult life to building and maintaining the Legacy of Eymor; personal relationships came second.
An affair with Sigeweard Ryland, a road-builder and Hycathus from nearby Nuneaton, led to the birth of Meredith’s only daughter Alice, in 1107. Meredith raised Alice as the heir to her legacy, training her to master the Hycathic craft. She also contributed greatly to the training phase of her granddaughter Mered’s life. This was during the First Hycath War, when Alice was assigned by Empress Matilda “Maud” Beauclerc of Anjou to undertake a recruitment mission in England. Meredith’s relationship with her daughter suffered as a result of the demands she placed upon her, with their cause as the only common ground on which they could communicate.
Meredith is known to have died fighting in the Battle of Lincoln in 1141. Accounts dating from 3 February 1141 – the day after the battle – record that her body was found amidst the Hycathic dead, a spent Relic in her outstretched hand.