The Chronicles of Rosalia Janus Hawthorne: The Welsh Archive

The Chronicles of Rosalia Janus Hawthorne

Part 1.

The Archive of Clan ap Gruffyd

From Gruffyd ap Hughes, the Welsh Archive

8.8.2/495

I have lit a fire on the headland, the sea is pounding, do not desist from hope, for the time is heavy, my love. The flame tree, as we call it, is about to bloom, the water is silky green and there are stars in it. Though the moon is waning, we must not be disheartened, my heart, amidst all our enemies, I am here. I shall never give in and I love you. I wake earlier each day for the equinox warms my blood and my dreams are vigorous and strong; I know what is calling us and it is not yet time to cede dominion to that utter darkness. I refute it. I will not have my clan go down again to the charnel house.

My flesh is not young nor is it raddled and my arms are strong, desire is in me, hot and syrupy. Waiting. It is no long easy and I had patience for that task once. Our girl is thriving in the Summerhouse though it be cold and winter still groping at us. She does not seem to mind that at all; her eyes are as deep as yours with mystery upon her like a wave, white and foamy, blue with fish; the dolphins will come this morning as it almost sunrise. A pearly day though it will cut up later and still my bones sing of you, beloved, I feel you coming somewhere, not death itself can divide us. The edge of the world is dancing. Much change sings at the hinges of the universe and I will not heed the warnings of the Alpacheks yet. They are useful to me. I sharpen, each morning, the knife you gave to me; it is a deadly thing in its beauty and its purpose. Two eagle feathers fell here a yestereve ago, an omen, the prophecy moves on inexorably and I tell you, I tire of it. Webbed within the skeins of time, we will cut through this time. I feel it in the child; she is as alien as the meerkat we hunted once and never caught. Her eyes surrender nothing.

You know I can still hear how the music in your voice is great, though they will say I am one sided in this, I refuse to deny your purity in song and truth, In that I remain incorruptible. I will, this lifetime, act upon the tapestry itself for I feel the drive of it, can no longer resist it. The fire was the beginning. The predators will not ignore it, it signals war; nor should they; it is my first statement, first kill; no longer to hide in the crevices of the mountain. Long have I healed here with our daughter, and I tell you true Rhiannon, she is well and will sing the valleys back through time. The time to dissemble is done.

Later I will go down to the sands and set your sea harp down for the wind to play. Yea verily, there will be war, but that was always inevitable. Our little one Anwyn Rose is walking now and she asks of you, questions only you can answer. Her hair is fair and strawberry in hue and she is all moon gold and the creatures of this quiet island follow everything she does. I did not accept that she will be the Chosen One. No more victims for the alter of time, it is done. It is a true gift that she lived at all, when they brought her, fresh from your womb. I counted her breaths with her, as mine, until that tiny ember of her spirit took flame. She was so tiny the women here almost despaired but I knew where and when we forged her, my love, and I know what flows in her veins. If you could but see her it would set a smile upon your face; only in dreams I know, and hard, so cruel on you, her mother, but I swear to you Rhiannon she hears your music. I have watched her little feet patterning to the sound of your sea harp. Thus I have moved the plan forward although Tele, my oldest brother in arms, has warned me that they will keep you longer in the darkness and that thought alone has almost unbalanced me for I know how much you need light. My woman of flowers and fire, keep it alive in memory, in the eyes of your mind, in the ventricles of your heart. I, so much more that all the others who love you, know that you are not able to give in. But you may fade, my sweet, and that is what often drives me forward. They think that by imprisoning you, I will make a mistake. How little do they know of us. Your pain is the probe that stills my every judgement and I would not forswear it for all our lives. I will balance it in time. In time. You will not allow me to be less than what I am… but I will have vengeance when the world dances around the flames of its own destruction. For you and Anwyn Rose, my Rhiannon, I will settle it on my own scales of justice. It is strange but I believe that our daughter understands this as she understands how to breathe. It is so simple to a soul so wise. She does not even have to work at it. Morning has come here now; and it hurts me to think how they will not let it come to you, and in this you must believe, each night I send to you in dreaming, all the gold and green and colours that I know. The flowers that you love, colour, so much colour that you are almost blinded with it; and in that colour I ask you my love: stay but the time, I cannot yet, if ever, bear to loose you. But I know you so well and you have become far too still; therefore I am coming.

I have sent my men to Danger Point and the young man on lookout on Mount Agony reports of odd movements on the mainland, and he with eyes like young falcon; a cousin of yours he is, Iestyn. Many of the men and women are dwelling in the sea caves with the old people; they have safe haven there, though not freedom. Hard is the waiting, but the heart will yield to that, but not utter defeat. The young men are rebuilding the fleet your father once designed before the great madness overtook him and he succumbed to that dark woman, regardless, the design is excellent; ingenious and cunning. Forgive me, I know you hate to be reminded of him, but the dead must have their due and he did father you. All the dead, the wise, the stupid and the brave, who are we to judge them; many of their deed s were great, though evil in design much good came from them. Strange. The wise old man told me when I was young that it was my task to make the sacrifices of the dead meaningful. It is a hard old time to be born into, but needs must when the devil rides as the old man said. I laid three stones on his grave last Solstice moon.

I believe the stars themselves are changing now. Those great and ancient star charts are no longer settled, they are moving and no longer reliable. When I was a boy my teacher foretold this. For we were boys once, all my brothers and I; we laughed and played and made mischief in the world of childhood; a grace for which only now am I truly thankful. For my father’s patience alone, I am indebted, he was secure enough to let us roam free like untrammeled animals and he bestowed upon us that confidence that will make a wild boy into a resilient man. I miss him, still. Laughter and the hall and the harp and the sweet warmth of my mother’s smile. Some of the clan distrusted my father’s judgement in his sons; he chose to disappoint their singular expectations. A man of deep ironies, he knew the ambitions of his kinsmen only too well. But I and my brothers were innocent of court politics then; and he ensured that we stayed that way in all the country of a childhood unbetrayed by malice. A great man and a wise father. All those gifts that you never tasted my Rhiannon, would that I could give them now. Not so, you are matchless my love, perhaps because you grew up so differently to me. Thus I will give our daughter a childhood beyond cruelty, a garden to grow and to plant each flower of her innocence and a time to play in the world without recourse to fear or hiding; or the ancient curse that we broke to set her free into this world.

Wait for me, Rhiannon. Swear it on the blood bond we forged in the cells of our daughter. Do not lose faith with our credos, though even I know the time is growing quickly and liquid and not even love can solidify the tide that pulls our blood. O beloved I will not write again for a time. It is close to coming to undo me and I cannot permit myself that luxury, not yet. Not ever.

Archive II

The days are ending in this twilit, enchanted island. Too long from stillness I can now no longer hear Rhiannon’s hands upon the tapestry of her music. Only in dreams where nothing is truly lost or truly gained. Stasis. And yet the sea itself is changing and of late I have thought of my mother and how she would have loved the luminescence of the Arum lilies just now in bloom. The whales are hunting the last of their old migratory paths and they will not come this way again. Last season the female of the pod did not whelp and now only the younger males follow the song lines of their ancestry. Taking the deeper path with their haunting music, back to their elders; I will miss that sonorous chant that oft kept me company in the bleak dawns of time, particularly in spring when they played with their young in the tranquil bay that is hidden behind the point. So much to lose and little to gain but waiting and I am anxious in the high summer of my life with a war to fight , a woman lost and a child to hide and shape against the changing of the world. Darkness abides in my heart now, I cannot seem to shift it but for smile of my daughter, the small warmth of her tiny hands. If I could but hear Rhiannon, coming softly through the dawn, her feet barely touching the grass, I would weep with joy. I will never forget the night that she labored to bring our Rose into the world. How my mother had warned me that the women had already forsworn themselves, betrayed her to the enemy; how we waited for that particular cry; a babe and Rhiannon; I almost heard the gush of her blood and then there was my mother and the maid and we rode like all the gates of hell had spewed forth ugliness into our green spring. And I left you behind. Yes I know we had made that agreement. I know, but I will not forget the tearing in my heart at the memory of leaving Rhiannon in a blood stained room at the mercy of our enemies. O Goddess protect me from that memory; it will never settle in my heart and for all that I still know that what we did was well done; it was our only option. Life is unforgiving here. Whether I will ever forgive myself is quite another question.

I will go down to the sea caves later for I feel the King tide coming again, out of turn, against the rhythm of this season. It is too clear this morning and there is both the cruelty of savage memory and the scent of danger. It will not be so long now. That I know only too well.

Later in the day and I have returned here to finish this final transcription. Testimony. A last witness and this much I know this record must travel into the future. The pride of my people was the keeping of clan history, for should the memory of us and our struggles, our beauty and our ways, should that die, we must ask ourselves the question: Was their a truth in the valleys, did not men and women live and die in defiance of evil and make music for the wild creatures and we were not defeated, murdered, yes, but not defeated. Never victorious, never defeated; that was our inheritance and we treasured it and kept it well. I must keep this hope for without it I will have been truly defeated. To this only will I swear: I will not lie down in my grave and be covered by the ashes of forgotten. I will keep it safe; this much will be kept in memory and tale and song and one day there will come a bard again to make it whole and complete. `

The men in the sea caves are not hungry, they feed well and the small boats they built are long and sleek like dolphins. Tele, my brother, is working with them, he is the black to my light, I have only to watch his face, his pale cold eyes and see what is written. Though he is not a cruel man; he is like many; he has forgotten laughter, music, the small joys of the world. For that alone I shall kill many, for my brother was a gentle child who loved animals. He is warped now, beyond his purpose. So many ways to kill a man or to scar the spirit is but the first part of that abrasion. I wish that I had greater wisdom, perhaps I could heal some of the illness that mars my people. But I have not time for that; it is long work and meticulous and needs a slow hand, a breath, the swathe of bird’s wings. We were not born to that. It will be a half moon season ‘til we leave. I have sent bird messages to you my, my love, and the little one is wrapped now in the eagle wings. She is playing by the sea, unknowing that she runs and jumps in the twilight of the world. I have not the heart to listen to the mothers and stop his waywardness. She will come to discipline soon enough. I have taught her the way of the Tree beloved, heart’s ease there may be in it for her.

She senses much, it is what causes her to be so difficult, if that she is, so finely tuned to the turning under the world.

There is a wind rising this eve and the fires are early. The woman came today to lay formal leave taking, Leila is leading them; she is strong and I do trust her with the task, for she understands the depth of it; to survive beyond the madness that is approaching; to lay quiescent like a seed in the desert’ it will not be easy but of all of them Leila is pure camouflage, pure chameleon. And she understands. So few of my people will undertake the long view and yet we must; it is the only way. Without it we are what the enemy expects of us, soul-less, un-human, incapable of thought. Let them think this in their silver cities with new thick fat bodies and their strange unblinking eyes.

Long ago was it said that to understand victory was to understand defeat and the wisdom of the tribe was that victory lay in understanding the enemy: thus I have failed, for they are quite beyond me. I cannot or will not comprehend them.

It is a long time now not to write to you, though I had hope of one day finding much, fortunate they had called us in the springtime of our lives before the enemy came to slight us with plague; how we have rotted, in the roots. We are dying, my heart, a death of little things. How could we not have known this; what strangeness it is to live in these blurry days. If I had tears of salt to waste I’d spare them now. The vessels are almost ready, much store have we set in them. The weather is changing. The irony, black, black, of new growth in the trees are budding under tree skin, blood flows leafly through them, the blue of sky, I can almost smell the apples and bittersweet is that memory. Apple blossom and you; your warm thighs in the pink of spring. It was surely a dream come after winter to taunt me. As old Llyr once said ‘O let me not be mad, not mad Lear’

The lost letter of Rhiannon of Ceridwen

archived in 2/58.08 by Annalyn,

Chief Bard to ap Hughes, Clan Leader, Deos.

(Translation taken by Lady Llewellyn)

I am writing to you in the blackness but I feel the shaping of each word. This I write in the old Runic way that the scribes had on Mona Isle. I have almost forgotten your voice Gruffyd but not quite. I keep it like a dark flame in the bottom in the caves which are buried beneath the mountains in my mind.

So let me write it true though it will cut you. I was ever one to do so, I cannot change it now. So many men have used my body I have lost count. Their smell is ingrained beneath my skin and I know I am losing the battle. I have never failed for lack of courage but this is different. It is an erosion of my flesh that has finally broken a barrier into my secret glade. The hearth where I keep the memory of you and my Rose. But I am so tired, now, Gruffyd. I fade like an old moon.

Beloved hear me! Take no personal vengeance for this, know it and accommodate it. I had to tell you for I have never been able to conceal the truth from you. Better from me than others.

No they have not broken me, Inside I am like winter and now I must retreat. To die here alone is my only victory; and I do it willingly of course. That was always the point.

So hear me now Gruffyd across time, space and the energy of stars. Bear you my Rose to adulthood and guard her well. She is The Chosen but not for this sacrifice, she is the one to whom the Oldest of all gave true choice and the Oldest one gave a Voice. We gave her laughter and song and all the graces she needs.

She is the seed of the future, the last of the Dragon Claw Clan; she will be a mother of nations.

So told my beloved, that rage of yours is no longer appropriate to what has been done to me. I bore it well; and one cannot be used unless one consents. I consented to nothing but my love for you. Thus it was and thus it will be through centuries, Gruffyd until we two come again.

Heart’s ease my love. Look for me in moonlight, in the space green and gold that the stars reflect. I am the comet of the future.

I will not say words of love they are not necessary anymore.

Music, beloved in all the music there is I am. There as an echo of each note played.

Believe me and keep faith with our credos

But for now I go to the Single Benediction of death.

O Rose, live long and be you as a rose is beautiful and perilous.

The future is in the palm of your star filled hands

Be you sweet my little one and travel well

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