Saxon music is unlike anything Gwydion's ever heard, foriegn, exotic. The harper is playing a fine piece of ambiance, replete with notes that evaporate like smoke and pizzicato strings. The grooves are thick and swampy, the riffs chime and then singe, and Gwydion is imbued with an eerie calm as he drowns himself in liquor. Gwydion has seen what he came to see. Now that he has, he would like to forget it.

He likes the people in this place, and feels he could stay here forever. Bawdy, coarse Saxons. Reviling. It's funny, he thinks, because these aren't the kind of people he'd imagine himself keeping company with.

That's it, isn't it? he muses. It's all about company. Maybe you choose your company, maybe it chooses you.

They don't really realize he's there. A wallflower, a fixture, a hunched figure in the corner which they naviagate around yet never notice. Still, letting fragmented conversation wash over him, Gwydion feels a kinship with these cordial people. Or he may just be drunk. The hours wind their way through, advancing, crawling away – whichever.

"I have to get home," Gwydion says to nobody, sitting upright. It doesn't matter that the wave-battered cliffs of Lothian are unfathomable miles away. He's lost all claim to all that ties him to his life before this night. A muscular twitch in the larger organism, Gwydion accedes to fate. He'll set out to accomplish the task ordained him, whatever his misgivings. "One more for the road," with a bitter grin. Hails the server, pours himself fire-water until it sloshes out of the brimming glass, and drinks in silence, alone. No one saw him enter, and no one sees him leave. A nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past. Could be anyone, anybody; someone coming, someone going. A member of the crowd, one of the silent majority. The one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all.

Gwydion feels wild inside, like he can do anything. In transient freedom he runs across the shabbily cobbled street, feeling like his shoes are the only thing holding him to the ground. Here, he has no treachery to guard like a dog licking its wounds.

Here he fights for Arthur – so one day he may be all the more fortified against him, knowing his enemy's own tricks – of course. Whatever his motive, he fights well. The Saxons have taken to calling him Mordred; he's been told it means 'evil council'. It may not be a compliment; outwitting a Saxon is insultingly simple. Yet the name is startlingly appropriate. Evil council is called for if Gwydion is to succeed, as he must. There is no other way.


Impossible as it seems, time must be passing, Gwydion muses. The horizon is stained with sunset and a breeze has stirred up, running its fingers through his hair. He tilts his head back, looks at the sky in a belladonic haze, and then wanders aimlessly… taking a left turn here and there on a whim in a strange Saxon city, Gwyd- Mordred, hasn't the slightest clue where he's expecting to end up. Maybe somewhere wonderful. Maybe nowhere at all. Maybe it doesn't even matter which way he chooses. Maybe…

Mordred veers off into an alley, comes out on the other side into some no-man's land, piled filth and decrepit huts. The world, he thinks, this world is a terrible place to be.