Red and White: Part 4

Last week, Llefelys provided answers to Lludd’s problems…

“So Lludd came home, fired with hope. Immediately he called for a peace treaty between himself and the invaders. They crowded into his court, tall, dark and proud. They looked like insects themselves as they stood there, buzzing with negativity.”

“Lludd looked discreetly around the room, noticing his servants, shadowed by tapestry and holding pitchers of the magic water. He held a handkerchief high in the air. At once the buzzing stopped as the people turned to look at him, impatient for the negotiations to begin.”

“Now! Water flew in glittering arcs across the room, and suddenly, the people were gone. No signs of struggle, of sadness to go. They simply ceased to be.”

“One down, two to go.”

“Lludd’s own part of Britain was measured in both directions, and the mid-point was found to be at Oxford. There a hole was prepared according to Llefelys’s instructions, on May-eve. As the moon rose, Lludd watched the dragons come swooping in from opposite directions, meeting in the air above the hidden mead-pool.”

“Then came the shriek. Lludd yelled in pain and folded his ears in with his hands. He groaned to think of the sorrow falling on his people, again. But this was the last time.”

“As dawn was breaking, the dragons fluttered down, worn out, and landed on the white cloth, which slowly began to sink into the mead. The dragons’ eyes lit up and they lapped eagerly, until they were swaying where they sat and at last fell over, snoring.”

“They were wrapped up and taken to Dinas Emrys, where they were buried.”

“Two down, one to go.”

“When all that was done, Lludd ordered a great feast to be prepared, and invited all the principal kings and nobles of the land. On the night before the feast, he armed himself, and sat in a dark corner of the food storage hall, with a big barrel of freezing cold water by his side.”

“As the shadows lengthened, faint, silvery tones of music began to steal through the walls. Lludd listened, enraptured. This was no ordinary music. This was something wonderful!”

““He felt his eyelids drooping, and suddenly snapped awake. Of course, this was part of the magic. He plunged his head into the barrel, gasping at the stinging water.””

““The minutes and the music wore on, and after several more plunges into the barrel, Lludd watched in amazement as a huge hulking man, in full armour, came into the room. He carried a large sack, which he started to fill, tossing huge beef joints with just one hand.””

““Stay where you are, man.” Lludd said coldly as he stepped forwards.”

“The huge head turned, regarding Lludd as we might regard a fly.”

““Man, you have done me and my people great insults, and have carried off much spoil besides,” continued Lludd. “Upon my soul, you shall not do us any more injury, unless your strength is greater than mine.””

“The man frowned, “Very well!” He put down the hamper and rushed at Lludd.”

“There followed the greatest battle Lludd had ever fought. He pushed, and he pulled. His limbs began to burn, while his opponent seemed to be unaffected. But finally he toppled the man to the ground and pinned him.”

““Mercy!” cried the man.”

““Tell me how I can give you mercy, after all the injuries you have given me and my people,” growled Lludd.”

““Everything I have taken from you I will repay,” the man begged. “And I will be your vassal for the rest of my life.””

“These terms satisfied Lludd, and upon a strict oath of good behaviour, the man was released.”

“And this is how Lludd freed Britain from the three plagues, and why you, my liege, can’t build on this hill. The end.”

Back in the tent below Dinas Emrys, Vortigern looked hard at the boy.

“You are a young man of great talent, to have so much learning at a young age. What is your name?”

The boy rose and bowed in thanks. “My name is Merlin, my king.”