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Authors: Holly Taylor

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mythology & Folk Tales, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Arthurian, #Epic, #Historical, #Fairy Tales

Night Bird's Reign

BOOK: Night Bird's Reign
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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Part 1

Prologue

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Part 2

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Part 3

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Epilogue

Glossary

Dedication:

To my mother, Patricia Ann Flowers Taylor, who always believed in me.
I miss you, Mom.

Published 2005 by Medallion Press, Inc.

The MEDALLION PRESS LOGO

is a registered tradmark of Medallion Press, Inc.

If you purchased this book without a cover, you should be aware that this book is stolen property. It was reported as “unsold and destroyed” to the publisher, and neither the author nor the publisher has received any payment from this “stripped book.”

Copyright © 2005 by Holly Taylor

Cover Illustration by Adam Mock

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without written permission of the publisher, except where permitted by law.

Printed in the United States of America

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Taylor, Holly, 1965-

Night birds’ reign / Holly Taylor.

p. cm.

ISBN 1-932815-53-8

1. Arthurian romances--Adaptations. I. Title.

PS3620.A945N54 2005

813’.6--dc22

2005019794

The court of Lleu Lawrient lies

Stricken and silent beneath the sky.

The thorns and blighted thistles over

It all, and brambles now,

Where once was magnificence.

Harps and lordly feast, all have passed away.

And the night birds now reign.

Taliesin
Fifth Master Bard
Circa 270

CHARACTERS

Y Dawnus (The Gifted)

The Dreamers

Gwydion ap Awst var Celemon: Dreamer of Kymru, brother of Amatheon, half brother of King Uthyr

Dinaswyn ur Morvryn var Gwenllian: former Dreamer, aunt to Amatheon and Gwydion, Myrrdin’s sister

Cariadas ur Gwydion var Isalyn: Gwydion’s daughter and heir

The Dewin

Myrrdin ap Morvryn var Gwenllian: Ardewin, uncle to Gwydion and Amatheon, brother to Dinaswyn

Rhiannon ur Hefeydd var Indeg: former heir to the Ardewin, mother of Gwenhwyfar

Amatheon ap Awst var Celemon: Gwydion’s brother, Dewin to Hetwin Silver-Brow

Elstar ur Anieron var Ethyllt: Myrrdin’s heir, daughter of Anieron, wife to Elidyr

Llywelyn ap Elidyr var Elstar: Elstar’s oldest son and heir Arianrod ur Brychan var Arianllyn: cousin to Gwydion and Rhiannon

Cynan ap Einon var Darun: Dewin to King Uthyr, later Ardewin, uncle to Gwydion, Amatheon, Rhiannon, and Arianrod

The Druids

Cathbad ap Goreu var Efa: Archdruid, Myrrdin’s cousin

Aergol ap Custennin var Dinaswyn: Cathbad’s heir, Dinaswyn’s son

Sinend ur Aergol var Eurgain: Aergol’s daughter and heir

Menw ap Aergol var Ceindrech: Aergol’s son

The Bards

Anieron ap Cyvarnion var Hunydd: Master Bard, Rhiannon’s uncle

Elidyr ap Dudod var Llawen: Anieron’s nephew and heir, husband to Elstar

Dudod ap Cyvarnion var Hunydd: Anieron’s brother, Elidyr’s father, Rhiannon’s uncle

Cynfar ap Elidyr var Elstar: Elidyr’s youngest son and heir

In Gwytheryn

Rhufon ap Casnar: a descendant of the last steward of Cadair Idris

Tybion ap Rhufon: Rhufon’s son

Lucan ap Tybion: Rhufon’s grandson

In Gwynedd

Uthyr ap Rathtyen var Awst: King of Gwynedd (House of PenHebog), Lord of Rhos, half brother to Gwydion, Amatheon, and Madoc

Ygraine ur Custennin var Elwen: Uthyr’s Queen, sister to Queen Olwen of Ederynion

Arthur ap Uthyr var Ygraine: Uthyr’s son

Morrigan ur Uthyr var Ygraine: Uthyr’s daughter

Madoc ap Rhodri var Rathtyen: Lord of Rhufonoig, half brother to Uthyr

Cai ap Cynyr: Uthyr’s Captain, the PenGwernan; his wife Nest and his son Garanwyn

Susanna ur Erim: Uthyr’s Bard, Griffi’s lover

Griffi ap Iaen: Uthyr’s Druid, Susanna’s lover

Neuad ur Hetwin: Uthyr’s Dewin

Arday ur Medyr: Uthyr’s steward

Duach ap Seithfed: Uthyr’s doorkeeper

Greid ap Gorwys: Master Smith of Gwynedd

Donal: gatekeeper of Tegeingl

Trachymer: Uthyr’s chief huntsman

Jonas: Bard to Diadwa of Creuddyn; his wife Canna

Diadwa ur Trephin: Gwarda of Creuddyn

Berwyn ap Cyrenyr: Diadwa’s Captain

Glwys ap Uchdryd: Diadwa’s Druid

In Prydyn

Rhoram ap Rhydderch var Eurneid: King of Prydyn (House of PenBlaid), Lord of Dyfed

Geriant ap Rhoram var Christina: Rhoram’s son and heir by his first wife

Sanon ur Rhoram var Christina: Rhoram’s daughter by his first wife

Gwenhwyfar ur Rhoram var Rhiannon: Rhoram’s daughter by Rhiannon

Efa ur Nudd: Rhoram’s second wife, sister to Erfin, Lord of Ceredigion

Achren ur Canhustyr: Rhoram’s Captain, the PenCollen

Aidan ap Camber: Achren’s lieutenant

Ellywen ur Saidi: Rhoram’s Druid

Erfin ap Nudd: Lord of Ceredigion, Efa’s brother

Dafydd Penfro: Rhoram’s counselor

Tallwch ap Nwyfre: Rhoram’s doorkeeper

In Rheged

Urien ap Ethyllt var Gwaeddan: King of Rheged (House of PenMarch), Lord of Amgoed

Ellirri ur Rhodri var Rathtyen: Urien’s Queen, sister to Madoc, half sister to Uthyr

Elphin ap Urien var Ellirri: Urien’s oldest son and heir

Owein ap Urien var Ellirri: Urien’s second son

Rhiwallon ap Urien var Ellirri: Urien’s youngest son

Enid ur Urien var Ellirri: Urien’s daughter

Trystan ap Naf: Urien’s Captain, the PenDraenenwen

Teleri ur Brysethach: Trystan’s lieutenant

Esyllt ur Maelwys: Urien’s Bard, March’s wife

Sabrina ur Dadweir: Urien’s Druid

Bledri ap Gwyn: Urien’s Dewin

March Y Meirchion: Urien’s huntsman, Esyllt’s husband

Hetwin Silver-Brow: Lord of Gwinionydd

Cynedyr the Wild: son of Hetwin Silver-Brow

In Ederynion

Olwen ur Custennin var Elwen: Queen of Ederynion (House of PenAlarch), Lady of Ial, sister to Queen Ygraine

Elen ur Olwen var Kilwch: Olwen’s daughter and heir

Lludd ap Olwen var Kilwch: Olwen’s son

Angharad ur Ednyved: Olwen’s Captain, the PenAethnen

Emrys ap Naw: Angharad’s lieutenant

Talhearn ap Coleas: Olwen’s Bard

Iago ap Cof: Olwen’s Druid

Regan ur Corfil: Olwen’s Dewin

Llwyd Cilcoed: Dewin of Caerinion, Olwen’s lover

Alun Cilcoed: Lord of Arystli, Llwyd’s older brother

HISTORICAL FIGURES

Arywen ur Cadwy: the Fifth Archdruid, one of the Great Ones of Lleu Silver-Hand

Bloudewedd ur Sawyl var Eurolwyn: wife of Lleu Lawrient the last High King, lover to King Gorwys

Bran ap Iweridd: the Fifth Dreamer, one of the Great Ones of Lleu Silver-Hand

Lleu Lawrient (Silver-Hand): last High King of Kymru, murdered by Bloudewedd and Gorwys

Gorwys of Penllyn: consort of Queen Siwan of Prydyn, lover of Bloudewedd, murderer of High King Lleu

Idris ap Coachar: the First High King of Kymru

Macsen ap Edern: the Second High King of Kymru

Mannawyddan ap Iweridd: the Fifth Ardewin, brother of Bran, one of the Great Ones of Lleu Silver-Hand

Taliesin ap Arthen: the Fifth Master Bard, one of the Great Ones of Lleu Silver-Hand

The Shining Ones

Cerridwen: Protectress of Kymru, Mistress of the Wild Hunt, Queen of the Wood, wife of Cerrunnos

Cerrunnos: Protector of Kymru, Master of the Wild Hunt, Lord of the Animals, husband of Cerridwen

Annwyn: god of death, Lord of Chaos and the Otherworld, husband of Aertan

Aertan: goddess of fate, the Weaver, wife of Annwyn

Taran: father god, King of the Winds, god of the Bards, husband of Modron

Modron: mother goddess, the Great Mother, goddess of the Druids, wife of Taran

Mabon: King of the Sun, Lord of Fire, god of the Dreamers, husband of Nantsovelta

Nantsovelta: Queen of the Moon, Lady of the Waters, goddess of the Dewin, wife of Mabon

Camulos: god of war, twin to Agrona, Y Rhyfelwr—the warrior twin

Agrona: goddess of war, twin to Camulos, Y Rhyfelwr—the warrior twin

Sirona of the Stars: goddess of stars, wife to Grannos

Grannos the Header: god of healing, Star of the North

Part 1

The Dream

The dim night is silent,

And its darkness

Covers all of Kymru.

The sun in the bed of the sea,

And the moon silvering the flood.

Math of Falias
First Master Bard
Circa 148

Prologue

Llyn Mwyngil Gwytheryn, Kymru Gwernan Mis, 265

Calan Llachar Eve

T
he Dreamer dismounted from his tired horse. Bran’s long, sweat-soaked, auburn hair hung lankly around his drawn face, strands of it tangling in his close-cropped beard. His silvery eyes glittered as he surveyed the now still battlefield.

Too late, he thought. He had come too late, and there was nothing to be done now but to search for the body of the friend he had loved. As a drowning man clings to a scrap of floating wreckage, he clung to a ragged hope that he would find his friend still alive. But although he resolutely refused to acknowledge it, his heart already knew the truth.

He held out his hand and called Druid’s Fire, for night had long since fallen, and it was Calan Llachar Eve, so there was no moon to illuminate the bloody scene.

The fire flickered orange and blue as it danced in the palm of his hand as he began to search the still faces of the dead on the shores of Llyn Mwyngil.

He had not thought there would be so many bodies. But Lleu’s warriors had fought hard to save their High King’s life. Fought until they could fight no more; felled by superior numbers, and the carefully laid plans of their lord’s betrayer; fought until every last one of them was dead, lying cold and still on the breast of Kymru.

He stooped down, turning over the body of a man he thought he knew. Yes, it was Rhufar, Lleu’s huntsman. The dead man’s tanned, leathery face was peaceful now, but his cold hand was still clutching his spear as though he had not yet given up, as though he still had hopes of fighting on. And there was Clydno, Lleu’s doorkeeper, his face upturned to the sky. There were so many wounds on his body that it was not easy to tell which one might have killed him.

Bran went forward over the blood-soaked ground, knowing that Lleu was here somewhere; knowing Lleu had not escaped; knowing Lleu was dead; knowing he had come far, far too late.

Oh, he had come as soon as he had known. But the Shining Ones had not seen fit to send him a dream, so he had not known in time. He had only known a few hours ago when a dread had settled on his heart as he journeyed to Cadair Idris, thinking to spend Calan Llachar with Lleu and his Great Ones. He had tried to Mind-Speak to his friend, to apprise the High King that he was coming and had met only blank silence.

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