Authors: Holly Taylor
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mythology & Folk Tales, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Fantasy, #Arthurian, #Epic, #Historical, #Fairy Tales
TABLE OF CONTENTS
To my mother, Patricia Ann Flowers Taylor, who always believed in me.
I miss you, Mom.
Published 2005 by Medallion Press, Inc.
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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.
1. Arthurian romances--Adaptations. I. Title.
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.
Fifth Master Bard
Y Dawnus (The Gifted)
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
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
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
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
Rhufon ap Casnar: a descendant of the last steward of Cadair Idris
Tybion ap Rhufon: Rhufon’s son
Lucan ap Tybion: Rhufon’s grandson
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
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
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
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
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
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
Llyn Mwyngil Gwytheryn, Kymru Gwernan Mis, 265
Calan Llachar Eve
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.