Many days had passed and the first snows of autumn had fallen and melted away. What survived of Maelgwn’s forces had entered the enchanted valley and found it empty. The village of the Company stood frozen in time, food abandoned on tables, hearths with fresh ashes and pots of water dangling over them, half cooked sides of venison on spits, clothes half in the wash. No gold. No silver. No women to rape or children to steal. No easy blood to spill. Only the silent valley, sighing in the cold wind of winter’s eve. It seemed to them as if the villagers had vanished, as if ghosts had taken them. Rumors abounded the valley was haunted and they fled soon after, without dreams of rich plunder to hold their courage intact.
When they were gone, before the next snow fell, an old woman, wrinkled, shriveled, entered the valley. She led by the hand a single small child, a boy of four. His skin was the color of cream on snow; his hair as black as a raven. They went to the mountainside where the battle had been fought and they found the slain lying all about, the abandoned detritus of kings, who throw men into their causes and forget them when their purpose is served. They walked among the dead and the old woman muttered strange, unknown words. Words, the young boy was wise enough to know, like the Gwragedd spoke. She found each of the Hundred Horsemen, and let fall a little powder of crushed herbs upon their bodies. She kissed gently the brow of Angus, the red knight, and she said a strange thing to him, a thing the boy would never understand the meaning of in all his days. She said, “I forgive you your arrows of iron.” And she sprinkled the powder on him.
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Discover the lost myths of “An Ogham Wood”
Published by Avalonia Esoterica Press