Posts Tagged ‘Time Warps’

“Devil’s Revenge” Chapter 40, Part 1

March 31, 2009

I am having more fun with this book.  I’ve really been struggling to figure out what happens, and it’s been a tough slog.  Part of the problem is expectation.  I am waiting it out and seeing if it all falls together.  I’m as clueless as any stray reader.

What I am posting of Chapter 40 today isn’t the mythological stuff….but it sets the stage for what happens next.  Lord Dilwen communicates with some demonic spirits and there is (I hope) some exciting outcomes to this…but that is for Part 2.  Later this week.

Welsh mythology is a bugger, and I am just getting my head around the essentials.  Again there are some pov issues, but I’ll take care of that in the rewrite.

Lady Nyo

DEVIL’S REVENGE”

Chapter 40,  Part 1

The sun was barely above the horizon when they rode down the causeway and onto the shore.  Circling the water, they came to the main road and traveled though the forest and up into the hills. They rode for Gwynedd, days in the distance, and Lord Evan looked with narrowed eyes at the far hills, soon to turn into mountains.  He was leading these men, but one amongst them was the true authority.  He prayed this man would help protect them.  He was getting too old for these forays.  Soon the soil would warm and the spring planting would call for his presence.  The comfort of his own bed and wife beside him was alluring enough.

Lord Dilwen was that man of authority.  He sat his horse with suprising grace for one so  elderly and though the pace was not fast, they traveled over landscape that rolled with a constant rhythm.  The journey would challenge his bones, but he savored the chance to get away from the women. When he was given to the Goddess more than sixty years ago, he was trained to endure hardship.   He was a very old Druid and the priests of the Christ did not challenge him.  If they thought of him at all, they dismissed him as senile.  His Lady Dilwen and he now lived in the comfort of the castle and both needed the warmth of the hall fire in winter.  Spring was appearing, the weather had changed.  He was glad to be out from the castle.  It did a man good to be with men, out of earshot of women.

Lord Evan sat his horse, lost in deep thought.  He knew the three men from his homeland to the west.  They would follow his orders. The new one, this Lord Gwrtheyrn , he was a puzzle to him.  He would dismiss him as a cipher, but he saw the behavior of those about him.  He hadn’t a clue why the younger lord had such value, and he smelled like a damn foreigner, but he knew enough to withhold his contempt.  He was commanded by his council of his lordships  to deliver this Lord Gwrtheyrn to the Isle of Skye.  He hoped they would meet little resistance as they passed through the kingdoms.  All except Lord Dilwen were competent swordsmen, and if the young Lord Gwrtheyrn was killed by a raider, they could turn their horses homeward that much sooner.  It was all the same to him.  He smiled to himself in thought.  Lord Dilwen may not be a swordman, but he had other powers to compensate that.  Lord Evan’s horse was leading them through the forest and he looked back at the Lords Dilwen and Gwrtheyrn.  He could vaguely hear Lord Dilwen’s voice behind him.

“It’s a twisted history this land has been given.”

Lord Dilwen’s voice was low for they passed through a forest not of their own.  Better they pass quietly, without drawing the notice of locals.  They were too small a group to take on another force.  Lord Evan would know where they were, but to the other’s eyes, one forest was the same as another.

Lord Dilwen rode next to Gwrtheyrn. .  “The Battle of Camlan, now that’s where Arthur carried the image of Saint Mary on his shield. That showed the Old Ones how much Arthur betrayed them.  He had been King Stag at the Beltaine, yet look what he fell to!”  Lord Dilwen spat over his horse. “It was his love of peace that set this betrayal.  With the priests of Christ welcome at his council, there was no turning back.”

They rode in silence for a while, while Lord Dilwen collected his thoughts, remembering the past, or perhaps considering the present, the future.

“Arthur and his forces were up against Medraut, the son of Llews.  That was your foster-father.”  Lord Dilwen paused a bit, and thought back over his history.  “Medraut joined forces with the Picts and Saxons and blazed through the north.”

Lord Dilwen’s memories heated his words.  “Ah, things were again to change, though news traveled slowly.  The great five princes of the land, Constantine from Cornwall, Virtipore, who had Dyfed and the regions south, let me think now.  Ah! It was Cuneglase of Powys and Maelgun of Gwyddyl, and I believe Conan of Gwent., they held the land in the name of the Goddess back then.”   He fell silent again and his eyes darkened a bit.

“It was the wavering of Maelgwn who was won by the Christ’s priests. He was the snake in the grass!  When he was young, he served the Goddess well, taking many heads of tyrants.  But age can sometimes do strange things, my young lord.”  Lord Dilwen spit over the side of his horse again.   “Maelgwn  repented of his past and swore before the priest’s Christ that he would be a monk amongst them.  He was powerful, but turned too much to the council of those priests.  They gelded him.”

Lord Dilwen took a water skin from his saddle mount and drank deeply.  He offered it to Lord Gwrtheyrn, who shook his head.

“So, what we have, my young lord, is chaos and confusion.  Princes raiding princes, Kings breaking pacts.  The land is in turmoil, and the Christians no longer wait as wolves at the door.  They have made good egress into the minds and hearts all over the island. Their brand of ignorance is particularly galling.   Now, the Goddess hides Her face, and plague has descended in the east.  This pox lasted 6 years last time. . It took off your family along with King Llews.  With no one to plow and crops to be set, famine takes what plague didn’t get.”

Lord Dilwen looked sideways at Gwrtheyrn.  “Did anything of your childhood come back to you when you entered the land of your ancestors? Did you remember your foster father, King Llews?”

Lord Gwrtheyrn shook his head silently.  “I remember nothing, of people or place. One mountain could be as another.”

Lord Dilwen’s eyes glittered for an instant, and he smiled to himself.  “Our priests were wise in preserving your life. You might pay with it now, but there was a greater wisdom in removing you.”  He was silent for a moment.  “Do you feel any stirrings of your magic?”

Lord Gwytheyrn looked at him in surprise.  “It is that apparent?  No, it seems all magic and power have left me.  I wondered what had happened.”

Lord Dilwen chuckled to himself.  “It will return, my young lord.  You are standing in many magic fields, what they call dragon lines, though that is the name used by the people.  The old Druids knew another name, one that is not mentioned aloud, and it’s hard to tell where one stops and one starts.  They crisscross the earth, and are especially potent underground.  Your lady will have some knowledge of its workings before she is finished.”

Lord Gwytheyrn looked hard at the old Druid, his mind forming questions.  “I know, my Lord, of some of the plans for my being here.  The council has made clear what they want from me.  But as to Betsy…I mean my Lady Bethan, is it wise to give her such knowledge?”

“Do you not trust her, my son?”  Lord Dilwen’s voice was soft, his eyes looking at the back of Lord Evan’s jacket.

Gwytheyrn was silent in thought.  “It’s not that I don’t trust her, my Lord.  It’s that she is so distanced in mind from all this.”   He made a rude choking gesture with his hand.  “She will be trouble for the one who is doing the teaching.”

Lord Dilwen laughed.  “All women are hard to teach, especially when they resist the lessons.  But none of these plans were made without care.  We all have a reason for being here, though the Goddess doesn’t tell that to men.  Perhaps in the matter of women, She is more gracious.”

Gwytheyrn  lapsed into silence.  Whatever they were planning for Bess back in the castle, she would give them a good run for their money.  He knew her to have a sharp mind, but she was a modern woman, removed from the turmoil and customs of this present land and time.  It would take a major adjustment to not be overwhelmed and he did not think that could be avoided.  Well, there was nothing he could do at this distance.  Those around her would have to adjust to her own behavior.  He smiled to himself.  It would be quite a contest of wills and he was glad he would be miles away.

They were following a rough road that wound through the hills and through more forests.  The hills mounted upward, and soon Gwytheyrn could tell that they had left the lowlands. They  crossed over a long valley and began to climb into the mountains.  Lord Dilwen sat his horse easily, and at times appeared to doze on his mount.  When they began to climb, and the altitude changed he became awake and looked about him carefully.  He explained to Gwytheyrn that he was looking for a particular place, sacred to the Old Druids and he wanted to pay his respects to this place.  Lord Evan knew his plans and dropped back to speak to the old Druid.  Gwytheyrn slowed his horse and fell away from them, allowing the two men privacy.  They talked together for a while, though Gwytheyrn would not hear their low voices, but Lord Dilwen eyes were keen in observing all about him.  It was a further hour and then they pulled their five mounts together and stopped for the night.


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