Flemish Masters!
    Aelwen sat down with a tray of honey cakes and cheese with a steaming pot of tea. “You understand our concerns, then.” Kymeth nodded. Dafydd had been difficult to keep here on the frontier. No one knew how much he saw as an infant, how much any infant sees or knows. 

    But as he grew up, it became unavoidable that he had been changed somehow that Black Night. Arwel and kin arrived before the ogres could put the farmstead to the torch but not before they had gruesomely killed Arwel’s brother, Rhain, as well as the whole family. Except for Dafydd, who was hidden away by his mother, Gwyneth. Dafydd probably would have been found as well had the ogres not grown insatiably hungry upon killing the last fighting human alive, and Dafydd likely saw the whole thing. 
“He keeps looking to the hills and we have to watch him so closely. He wanders off. He’s seeking something and we just aren’t sure…”
“Woman, he needs to go to Ty Arawn. Of that I am sure,” Arwel cut in. “It’s been 10 years but to him it just happened yesterday. He seeks to avenge his family and will get himself killed in the process. He’ll get a bunch of his kin killed as well if he isn’t properly trained.”

Arawn (in Cymru)
    Aelwen stared at her tea with heavy eyes. “He’s a good boy. It’s so much he carries. Too much.” Kymeth hugged her. Katrin and Mae walked into the room carrying bundles of blankets.“Where is the rest of the tribe?” asked Aelwen.
“Rae is helping Jon and Ama make ready for travel. I think Dafydd was going to show them some thing and then they were going to be right back…”

    Arwel and Aelwen looked at each other darkly as the first horn sounded in the valley. Immediately it was followed by others throughout the valley along with shouts and curses from men outside the house.

    “Damn ogres,” Arwel muttered as he started out the door with spear in hand.


    “I don’t think this is a good idea at all, Dafydd,” Rae said as they headed out across the bridge. It wasn’t crossing the bridge they had come across last night that bothered Rae. It was the next one to the north, closer to the heavily wooded mountain that formed the edge of the valley and in some respects the end of the world here. Jon and Ama kept right up with Dafydd, neither one wanting to admit they were more than a bit concerned as well. “Rae, are you scared?” Dafydd threw back over his shoulder. Rae fumed a bit but kept walking. She wasn’t going to be accused of being fearful by a ten year old! “It’s not much further. Really, guys. The view is amazing!” Dafydd practically skipped ahead with excitement.

They are running off to the right of the picture

    “Ok, a bit of a climb here.” He started up the hillside which turned into a bluff quickly. He clambered up vines and tree roots until he stood at the top looking down on his followers. “Well, are you coming up or not?”

    Jon and Ama managed to clamber up the hill fairly quickly but Rae was really having troubles with the climb. She sat for a moment after about the third fall and decided finding an easier path was in order. Dafydd called out to her, “We can see you! Head off a bit to your left. Not much of a path but it’s a lot easier than the bluff!” Rae headed over and then into the woods up the draw at Dafydd’s direction, anger growing with every step.

    “Come on! I didn’t think was going to take us all day! It’s just over here. Look!”

    Dafydd led them to a crack in the hill, probably about 8’ high and 3’ wide. It looked much smaller with vine overgrowth and several large boulders outside of it which broke up the outline. “Isn’t it great?”

    Rae was not amused at all. “This is an extremely bad idea, young man. No one knows we are here and we have no business being here in the…where are you going? Stop!”

    Dafydd winked at Ama and cuffed Jon on the arm as he darted inside the cave. Jon and Ama looked once at Rae and then ducked inside as well. Rae heard giggling and laughing inside, so, exasperated, she went in also.

Rae is NOT having it!
    Her eyes adjusted quickly to the dim light coming in from the bright morning outside. She gasped when she saw a table and chairs in the small chamber with another chamber deeper in. Everything was quiet now and she heard the others moving in there but not talking. Giggling, yes. Talking? No.

    “Jon and Ama, come out here right now!” Rae said definitively.

    They walked out, eyes fixed on Rae. It was dawning on them exactly what they had done. “I’m sorry,” they said, almost in unison.

    “Dafydd, we are leaving now. It would be best for you if you came along immediately,” Rae pronounced. Dafydd came out and started to say something but the words stuck in his throat. He was looking out towards the cave entrance with his eyes wide. He raised a hand and pointed. “They’ve come back,” he whispered.

    “That is the most ridiculously stupid trick and it is not going to work. I will let Uncle Arwel decide what’s to be done with you when we get back. If I let you get back. I tell you what, young man…AIIIIEEE” Rae screamed as she was hoisted from the entryway. in a net.

Scary ogre!
    Immediately a large man appeared at the cave entrance and roared. He roared in such a way that it was clear this was more of an “it” than a “he”. Jon’s eyes grew wide as he grabbed for his dagger. Ama ran as fast she could out to the entrance and managed to run right past the raging creature! It turned to grab her and BANG! Dafydd slammed into it running as hard as he could. He managed to knock the thing off balance and it fell off the ledge in front of the cave. Stunned for a moment, it sought to rise but Dafydd was on top of it like lightning. Dafydd let loose a scream of rage that rattled through the valley and shocked Jon as he ran up to help. Dafydd needed help but it was not help Jon could give.

    Ama had started to run down the path Rae had come up when she was met by Arwel and kin. Horns continued to sound as men from the valley ran with runes flashing and glowing, speed enhanced by family devotion and hatred of all ogres. Ama quickly told them about Rae and the men ran into the woods beyond the cave. In just a few minutes they returned with Rae, who looked shaken, but more embarrassed than hurt.

    As Arwel and kin came back with Rae, Kymeth and Aelwen had made it up the hillside. They started to look for Dafydd and Jon when Jon appeared. “Mam, he won’t stop.”

    "Who? What?” Kymeth asked worriedly.

    “Dafydd. Come see.”

    They all walked over to the ledge and looked down. There sat Dafydd atop the ogre, stabbing the chest over and over. Really, what was left of the chest. Rise and fall. Occasionally there would be a “clink” as the blade struck the rock through the bloody mess.

    Kymeth approached the young man. His face was blank and he continued with both hands on the hilt and his eyes closed. Rise and fall. Rise and fall. “clink”. Rise and fall.

    Kymeth began to sing, quietly at first but progressively louder. She sat next to him and continued singing a song of motherly love and tender moments, a song of rest and peace. After what seemed an eternity to Aelwen and everyone standing with her, Dafydd rolled into Kymeth’s lap and fell sound asleep. As he slipped securely into stolen dreams, the heirloom dagger slipped from his loosened hands.


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