The Fight

Last week we left Pwyll charging at Hafgan…

They struck. Hafgan’s spear hit Pwyll’s shield and glanced off, but Pwyll’s spear hit true, parting the shield down the middle, breaking through Hafgan’s armour, and sending Hafgan flying backwards off the saddle.

Pwyll dismounted and stood over his fallen enemy, who lay sprawled in the middle of the river, his blood fanning out of him.

With a shaky arm, Hafgan pushed back his visor, revealing a white face twisted in agony. “King,” he gasped, “I do not know what reason you have for killing me, but, since you have begun, finish your work!”

In spite of his firmly guarded heart, Pwyll felt a spasm of pity. But he held firm to Arawn’s words.

“King,” he said to Hafgan, “It may be that I will repent my work today. I will not slay you.”

“Ahhhh,” Hafgan cried, his face wrinkling up as pain coursed through him. “Lords, bear me hence, my time for death has come.”

The nobles of Hafgan, who had watched this drama speechlessly, now came forward like ones in a dream, and bore away the body of their lord.

Pwyll watched the procession disappear round the hill. A strange deed he had had to do today…

He turned to his nobles, “My lords,” he called, “Who ought to be my subjects?”

“Lord,” answered his nobles with one voice, “All people are, for now there is no king over the Otherworld but you.”

“Yes,” responded Pwyll, “Send out the word for everyone to come and pay homage, and he that comes peacefully will be welcomed, but he that does not come will be made to by the force of arms. And send out delegations of men to secure Hafgan’s dominion.”

He turned and rode back to the palace, and until noon of the next day lords from all over Annwn came to pay him homage. Then Pwyll gave out that he was going riding. From the hilltop he turned to look back one final time on his home for the past year. Even though it was not like comfortable, familiar Arberth, he had lived there, and gotten attached to the people and places, which he would never see again. He jerked his horse’s head away and rode for Glyn Cych.