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Merlin, Excalibur, The Lady of The Lake and of course, King Arthur. What if: Avalon was a real place? The old gods walked, and weaved their wills, What if, Arthur, had actually won in the end? A mixture of Celtic Myth, poetic madness, and historic probability. What if, There were more of truth in the myth, and recorded history, was the lie?

Fantasy / Romance
Donn Harper
n/a 1 review
Age Rating:

Chapter 1

Mist played about the surface of the stream. Swirling above the surface of the waters, dancing among the stones. The air still, heavy with the morning dew. Birds sang the dawn song. Peace and beauty entwined ,a perfect symmetry.

Myrddyn moved wearily, an anomaly of sorrow amidst the wonders that surrounded him. The stone he carried stained with his tears and the blood of his torn and bleeding hands. Along the path to the cave he labored, as he had through the long night.

The wall he had been building across the caves entrance was nearly complete. Only a narrow opening remained. A doorway he carefully moved through to place this, the final stone on the floor inside the cave now walled in, A tomb he has built, a resting place.

Myrddyn looked one last time at the fading light, one last drink from the sacred spring, then squeezed in through the narrow way and by the frail light of the tallow lamp, he placed the stones closing the way.

Tiredly, hands still torn and bleeding he climbed upon the bed, and in the flickering faint light of the tallow lamp, he curled around the body of Nimue and lay himself down at last for the final rest, the dream of eternity with his beloved.

Myrddyn lay, cradling Nimue. He held her desperately, holding onto the remnants of his heart, the embodiment of his soul. Tears flowed freely as he silently willed his spirit to take flight. He would spend eternity with her. Wherever her spirit flew, he would find her and he will be with her forever.

The white raven watched all of this, a silent tear falling. The outer darkness fell on a moonless night and the white raven watched silent, waiting. Until at last the play of shadow and light faded. The tallow lamp guttered and failed bringing the sealed cavern into darkness.

The white raven ruffled and shifted into a mist, a mist that eddied and seeped between the stones into the cave where it coalesced into her true form of the Goddess. Aeron quietly unlaced the wineskin from her girdled belt, and reverently cradled Myrddyn’s head sprinkling drops of the sacred mead between his lips. He struggled, protesting, resisting but the mead worked her will. “ Fear not my beloved, she has not fled, she shall be with you always.” Myrddyn fell into a sleep of the ages. As He slept, Myrddyn dreamed, dreaming he remembered.

With a nod, Aeron shifted form into mist again, lingering only to swirl about the forms of Nimue and Myrddyn, she seeped her way back out into the world transforming once more into the white raven. She cawed the spell of rebirth and awakening then took flight. Inside the cave, Myrddyn held Nimue close to dream the dreams of healing, the mysteries of ages yet to come.

Nimue found herself lost in a place shrouded in mists, timeless , swirling without form. Eddying possibilities whirled about her. “Where am I? Have I passed between the worlds?” She spoke aloud, challenging, questioning. “ You have passed into the eternity between my faithful daughter.” A voice answered. “I have not yet finished with you .

” Nimue looked about trying to see who had spoken. There was nothing to see except for the mist. The echoes of the words hanging in the air. She felt herself changing, shifting, becoming, something new.

The mist faded. Nimue found herself standing upon a stone, looking at the entrance to the cave. Myrddynn had finished the wall she thought. Then, realizing her last memory before the strange place of mist. A memory of fading, of weakness, the burning in her chest as she fought for breath. Her heart breaking as she watched Myrddyn assemble the stones, as he told her of his plans, that they would be together always.

Awareness dawned. She tried to scream as she realized Myrddyn lay inside and she was here, outside the cave. A loud echoing caw emerged. She tried to reach out to remove the stones and join him. She had no hands, only sleek ebony feathered wings. In confusion and panic she hopped about crying out, until an answering caw spoke to her.

“I told you, I was not yet finished with you .” A great white raven landed next to her.

That same damned bird had haunted her throughout her adult life. Nimue was enraged and began to curse the white raven. The white raven cawed in laughter. “ You were well matched my daughter. Myrddyn spoke so to me as well.” Taking brief flight the white raven settled upon a low oak branch. “Your task is to guard him, to watch him. Myrddyn sleeps and when he wakes, you shall accompany him until his task is finished. Once I am done with him, you shall join him. You will be together, eternity, just as promised.”

The white raven spread her wings and took flight, leaving Nimue there to watch and wait. Guarding this repository of hope and dreams.

There in his crystalline cave, Myrddyn slept dreaming.

Myrddyn dreamt of his youth. Of A time before Gods, before Arthur Riothamus. Myrddyn had been proud, a bright shining warrior, a lord of battles, a slayer, a hero, and a poet of renown.

***** *** **** *** *****

He was very tall, with red-gold hair that hung past his shoulders tied in braids. His fringed brat, was checked in blue and white and his leine was dark forest green. His Breeks were checked in scarlet and black, he was bare of foot. A heavy gold dragon headed torque twisted around his neck. Woad dragons writhing on his forearms as he raised the drinking horn to his lips drinking deeply of the winter mead. Sweet from herbs and fiery from the spices that soothed as they burned their way down his throat. He upended the dregs in libation and carefully placed the ornately knot worked horn next to the intricately worked lap harp that he had lain on the deep peridot dew scattered grass at his feet.

Abruptly he cast his brat aside drawing forth the bright long sword fluidly, gracefully as if in a dance. Standing quietly, an arrogant smile playing at his lips, he waited. The moment had come, he was unafraid. He was still, outwardly calm, empty, inside. Cold like the cool breeze gathering before the storm. His lightning swept eyes glittering madly. Inside he raged, fury’s flames pumping through his veins.

Myrddyn moved smoothly advancing towards his foe’s striking blade as it struck. The blade of his target meeting only a deflecting strike and empty air. Laughing Myrddyn gathered his will striking his now exposed target s shield with an direct thrust, knocking it aside while fluidly continuing strike, cutting deeply into the upper chest with a strike of lightning and thunder. Crimson splashed, like liquid flames.

Myrddyn had transformed, becoming the hammer of the gods, the cold cruel cut of fate. With a flick of his wrist, he shook the blood and gore from his bright blade and simply turned away. The Saecsen, eyes already glazing in death, collapsed loosely to the ground. Myrddyn had become deaths herald. He was vengeance, the balance of the scales. A hero and poet born to the sword. He is Brigante. He is slaughters bright and shinning whore. Laughter and tears, sorrow and rage. Myrddyn gathered up his things, and walked away calling for his hounds as he went.

Three large Ravens ruffled their feathers and cawed amongst themselves. Contemplating the scene below them as they perched in an ancient oak.

” Oh He will do! He will most assuredly do!” the largest raven spoke aloud, her eyes glittering black and greedy as she settled to the ground for her feast. Noisily slaking her thirst upon the sacrifice laid before her. The other two shared a glance as the fiery sapphire eyed one abruptly flew away following the warrior. Aeron the emerald eyed one remained perched in amongst the mistletoe. Silently thinking, a single silvered tear crept slowly from her eye. Andraste, the ebon diamond eyed raven cried out, joyously cawing while she feasted in victory, drunk on the wine of violence.

Brigantia, the sky eyed one, flew in victory, the shadow of her wings succoring the warrior as she flew. Aeron wept in grief. For it is from her tears, that the fullness of her name is drawn.

Aeron bright flash of the striking sword. Aeronwen, Sacred carnage, the bright sacred one. Aeronowy the bright river of slaughter. Her tears of sorrows form that lake and river with it’s white rapids that carry her name.

She is mistress of both warriors and poets. The bright Goddess of inspiration. The lady of the lake, queen of sovereignty and fate.

Poetry is forged through pain, in madness, grief and loss. On the anvil of the broken heart, tears are forged. Wound wept blood the ink that shapes poets words.

Andraste is victory, who’s price is pain and death. Brigantia wields the hammer that forges as it tests. Aeronowy bleeds the tears that bring the poets awen. The prophetic verse of awe.

Myrddyn dreamed on, wandering, remembering. The sword, oh yes the sword shone magnificent. red-gold pommel and hilt shone, writhing with intertwined dragons in the ancient style. The pommel set with a singlesmooth polished emerald, the size of a small hens egg. The grip, nearly two hands width in length, and Myrddyn did not have small hands.

The blade, by all the gods, the blade, fully the length of Myrddyn’s out stretched arm. Pattern welded, the twists and folds mesmerizing, intoxicating in their patterns. The blade writhed with ripples like some fast flowing stream flash frozen, shaped into a bright shining blade. Nevertheless lying still on the stone shelf. It seemed to move to dance and flow in place.

Myrddynn stared in awe. He was frightened to touch it. Instinctively he knew that everything would change. His entire world would be altered the moment he touched that magnificent sword. He dropped to his knees, he could not turn away, Myrddyn was truly afraid for the first time in his life.

Myrddyn had known fear, all of the tribes had come to know fear in the time since the Romans had abandoned Britain and the Sasanachs had come. This was a different form of fear, a fear for his very soul. He was hesitant, unsure of what to do.

“It is yours to take up Myrddyn.” He whirled about at sound of the voice only to freeze in place and gape at the apparition before him.

She was indescribably beautiful, taller than most men, with blood-red hair plaited in intricate braids that hung to her slim waist. Her eyes shone, lightning swept emeralds that burned like the swords pommel, a brilliant summers grass green.

“You are wise to be afraid. She will indeed change everything. She is yours to take up and yours to lay down again. She is why you were made.” The sound of her voice echoed in Myrddyn’s mind driving cold chills that ran both up and down his spine. Stammering Myrddyn replied, ” Milady , I am no great warrior, I am only a small chieftain, a bard at best. I cannot take up this blade of gods and kings! ”

” Only A bard!” She exclaimed as she drew him to his feet pulling him into a close embrace. She kissed him full on the lips. Myrddyn being married as well as a Brigante, was by no means chaste. This, this was no mere kiss. This was fire and lightning, it was flames and ice, madness and joy. Power washed over and through him in that eternal moment. Lightning enchanting his mind, bright flashes that opened his eyes to awe.

He knew her name. What bard, what warrior did not know Aeronowy, bright river of slaughter, Aeronwen ,Goddess of battle and of the rivers white foaming rapids, bright awe of the bards, lady of the sword, mistress of fate. The Gwynnyffyrr.

Before he could whisper her name, she was gone. leaving Myrddyn alone with that magnificent sword. Her taste still warm, burning like hot spiced mead on his lips. Myrddyn reached out grasping the sword, Becoming one with his blazing dain.

Fate, is never imposed by the gods, it is merely offered, one must choose whether or not to accept the challenge, a hero must freely choose the sacrifice. Myrddyn, had made his choice, he had chosen his path, fate chosen, sealed with a kiss.

The favor of the gods is the heroes reward,

Tragedy by any other name.

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