The Awkward Conversation

Last week Teirnyon and his wife arrived at the court and met Rhiannon…

The porter at the door of the great hall let them in at Rhiannon’s knock, bowing. Teirnyon looked round at the knots of people. Where was Pwyll?

Rhiannon suddenly sped up, towards the far end of the hall where a man with bright golden hair conversed with several older men. Pwyll!

Pwyll turned as Rhiannon touched his arm, and Teirnyon caught sight of his face. He had changed so much! Teirnyon could hardly recognise the sober man that whispered with Rhiannon.

Pwyll glanced at the travellers as Rhiannon pointed, and his face lit up into the old grin. Despite himself, Teirnyon felt an answering smile touch the corners of his mouth as Pwyll came swiftly towards them.

“Teirnyon, is it really you?” he cried.

“My lord,” Teirnyon bowed quickly, “Yes, I’m back.”

“You are a welcome sight,” Pwyll caught him as he rose from his bow and pulled him into a hug.

On any other occasion the same words would have flowed easily from Teirnyon’s lips. He pressed his mouth together, “My lord, may I introduce you to my wife?”

His wife smiled and held out her hand, “I have heard a lot about you, Lord Pwyll.”

“So this is the woman who captivated my close friend!” Pwyll bowed to her and kissed her hand, “I and my wife look forward to making your acquaintance. And is this your son?” he asked, with a slight dimming of his smile.

“Well, as is usually the case with many things, there is a tale behind that, my lord,” Teirnyon murmured, dropping his eyes to the floor.

“Well, I look forward to hearing it,” Pwyll replied, clearly puzzled. “Why don’t you tell it at dinner?”

“I have every intention of doing so,” Teirnyon forced the words out of himself.

“Well, let us sit down,” said Pwyll, after a confused pause. “Come and sit between me and Rhiannon, old friend. It is good to have you here.”

The dinner proceeded. Pwyll seemed to be in a very good mood and talked and laughed with Teirnyon, while their respective spouses leaned round them to listen in. Teirnyon made every effort to match Pwyll’s high spirits but knew he was failing miserably.

“Well,” Pwyll said at last, when the food had been removed, and flagons of wine were set on the table, “Something is bothering you, old friend. Are you alright? Can I help you with anything?”

Teirnyon gritted his teeth as he smiled his thanks, “If I could just tell my tale, my lord.”

“Very well.” Surprised, Pwyll signalled for quiet.

Teirnyon got up, feeling a hundred eyes on him. Now was the moment.