Bremen: First Mystic Druid
The first Druid to actually succeed in promoting the combination of the study of magic with other disciplines was the Druid Bremen. Unfortunately, he succeeded primarily because he and his followers were the only Druids to survive Paranor’s fall during the Second War of the Races. Bremen is best known for his role in creating the legendary Sword of Shannara, a magic-imbued weapon he designed to defeat the Warlock Lord.
Abandoned by his parents shortly after birth, Bremen was raised by his grandfather, a skilled metalworker, who was probably responsible for both the boy’s understanding of metallurgy and his dedication. Always searching for knowledge, Bremen was a student of history and ancient tongues, disciplines that made him an ideal candidate for the Druid Council.
He joined the council as a young man and became active in assisting in the evolution and development of the Races. Over time, he watched as the Druid Council began to pull back from the rest of the world, disillusioned by its failure to re-create the old sciences.
Frustrated by the setbacks, Bremen began to look to magic as a possible alternative. In his early journal entries, now part of the Druid Histories, Bremen wrote: “Magic could provide a more manageable and durable form of power than that found through science. It has untapped potential beyond that of the sciences, even at the levels of scientific advancement found in the Old World.”
At that time, the study of the arcane arts was permissible but discouraged. Magic was to be treated as a curiosity only, not a serious discipline. One group of Druids had alreadybeen exiled for their insistence on the use of magic as a tool to make the Druids the masters of all the Races. Bremen was warned against traversing the same path. The fact that magic had been used in the First War of the Races to ill effect did nothing to help his cause. He wrote, “It is quite unnatural to me to discard a possibility simply because it has once failed. Do we discard science because we have failed to re-create the wonders of the Old World? Of course not. Why then discard magic just because it was once blatantly misused? If we discard every possibility that is not immediately successful, we are left with no possibilities at all.” He believed that magic could be harnessed and controlled with enough discipline and training.
A few of his fellows apparently agreed with him, but they were in the minority. Unwilling to risk censure, they backed away from the matter. Bremen did not. Eventually his insistence on considering magic a valid and serious alternative to science earned him banishment from the council.
After his banishment, Bremen traveled to the Westland to study with the Elves, where he lived for many years. He believed the Elven libraries, which had the greatest collection of ancient writings in lost Elven dialects, held the secret to understanding the old magic from the time of Faerie. The Elves embraced Bremen and his search, since they too were interested in rediscovering abilities that had been lost. Certain magics, such as some degree of the Druid Sleep, were skills Bremen already practiced. But with his knowledge of ancient tongues, he was able to uncover treasures of magical lore and decipher otherwise discarded texts that increased his knowledge and abilities far beyond what he would have gained at Paranor.
Inspired from his years of success with the Elves, Bremen left them to travel to other lands, seeking whatever lost bits of magic he could find, in much the same way as the early Druids had searched out the texts and lore related to the Old World sciences. According to his journals, he found an amazing amount of lost magic, though none as greatly concentrated or as highly developed as that within the Westland. In many cases, the magic he found was completely foreign to those who used it.
At some point in his travels, probably while in the Southland, Bremen began to suspect that the First War of the Races had not actually been organized by the Race of Men who appeared to have started it. He found evidence that the leader–referred to only as Brona, which means “master” in Gnome dialect–who had long been thought by the Druids of his order to be a mythic figurehead, was in fact a real being. Bremen suspected he was the leader of the Druids who had broken from the council and renounced their brotherhood over the question of magic many years before. He also found evidence that Brona was still alive, despite the impossible number of years that had passed, and was planning another assault on the Four Lands.
Unlike the rest of the Druids, Bremen had no trouble believing Brona could still be alive, because his own life had been lengthened beyond a natural span by his use of the Druid Sleep. But he knew he would have to have proof before the council would believe him.
He spent the next several years tracking the elusive Brona, going so far as to travel to the Skull Kingdom. Upon his return to Paranor, both Bremen and his information were rejected by the council. He left with only the few who believed his warning of impending attack. Shortly after his visit, Paranor fell to the armies of the Warlock Lord, betrayed from within. Bremen and those who left with him–the Dwarf Warrior Druid Risca, the Elf Tay Trefenwyd, and the apprentice Mareth–were the only survivors of the order.
Before he left, Bremen provided the magic that saved the Druid Histories from the invaders. The opened portion of the Druid Histories also credits him for preventing a long-term occupation by the Warlock Lord by triggering the magic of the Druid’s Well.
By default, the death of the Druids left Bremen as the acting High Druid. But while he did rescue the Elit Druin after Paranor’s fall, he never formally accepted the title. He used the medallion in the forging of the Sword of Shannara, the magical weapon used to end the Second War of the Races and the War of the Warlock Lord.
Of the Druids who followed Bremen from Paranor, only Mareth survived the war. She declined to complete her training as a Druid, leaving Bremen as the last of the Druids, even as he was the first to successfully balance magic with the good of the Races. He adopted a young man known only as Allanon, whom he had befriended during the war, and took him as apprentice, heir, and eventually son.
Paranor vanished only a few years after the war, and some scholars now believe that Bremen, with his knowledge of magics, was responsible for that disappearance.
While many consider Bremen to have died approximately three years after the end of the Second War of the Races, Allanon’s journal records that he did not die, but instead “doomed himself to an existence of half-life that may not end for all eternity” by entering the mysterious Hadeshorn. This interpretation is also found within the diaries of Brin Ohmsford, where she records seeing an apparition that was identified as Bremen while at the Chard Rush, decades after Bremen’s supposed death.
Copyright 2001 by Teresa Patterson and Terry Brooks