Up the Gorsedd

Last week Pryderi’s plan for Rhiannon and Manawyddan came out…

Manawyddan smiled, and went down on one knee. “Lady Rhiannon, would you do me the honor of becoming my wife?”

“Yes,” Rhiannon smiled as she leaned down to kiss him on the mouth.

So before the end of the feast, they were married, and Manawyddan stood still several times a day, struck with wonder at how his life had changed in just a few weeks.

As Pryderi was just returned from a long absence, he (prompted by his mother, no doubt) decided to embark on a royal progress around his lands. And Manawyddan went with him, and their wives. As summer dawned on Dyfed, hope sprang up in the land once again, and so did the bonds between the four companions. Pryderi felt more and more like the son Manawyddan never had, Cigfa an enchanting kid, wavering between the excited child she was and the haughty role she occupied, and Rhiannon the dear companion he needed.

Midway through their progress, Pryderi went to the new High King to pay homage, and when he came back the others were at home in Arberth. Life fell into a pleasant rhythm, a joyful heartbeat.

One day they were all relaxing after the midday meal. The afternoon sun streamed through the window and gently bathed everything in its heat. Even through the summer haze the hill of the Gorsedd Arberth could be clearly seen. Manawyddan watched Pryderi’s eyes linger on it with excitement.

“Mother, tell us a story. Tell us about the Gorsedd.” he begged.

Rhiannon smiled and began. “You know, I suppose, that whichever lord sits on the top, he will not depart from thence without either receiving an injury or seeing a wonder.”

And so followed a magical account of the doings of the Gorsedd throughout history. Manawyddan marvelled at the wonders he heard, winding up with (of course) Rhiannon’s own marriage to Pwyll.

“Mother, let us climb it!” cried Pryderi. “You know it is customary that I do so at some point. Why not now?”

Manawyddan stretched out casually, in preparation to rise, ignoring the sliver of doubt in his brain. Why not, indeed? They were all together, an invincible four, what could go wrong?