AN: I do not own The Chronicles of Prydain, alas, for I am clearly not Lloyd Alexander. A big thanks to CompanionWanderer for beta-ing this for me so VERY long ago. I'm finally posting it in hopes that feedback will get me moving on it again.

For months, I am currently using the modern Welsh since I can't find anything older. I'm sticking to Welsh as opposed to the Celtic, since after all, Prydain is based on Wales, even if it's not exactly the same. I'll do more research at a later date, and see if I can come up with anything better once I understand more fully what is going on.

I hope you enjoy it!

~RA


The Fifth Day of Tachwedd

I dreamt last night again. Since the messenger came to us with the news of my brother's death I have been plagued by nightmares. Not the formless fears that as a child once woke me screaming for the mother I never knew, nor the ones that Ellidyr clumsily tried to sooth away before I woke anyone. But a new and all too clear terror. I saw him die.

The words and images are branded on my mind. I can see his dark head thrown back as he breaks his bonds. I can hear the yells of the guards as he charges out of the tent. I can feel the sword that enters his side, and I envy the end of all feeling as the Cruchain takes his offered life. How is it that even Islemach can follow him and I cannot? I shall not take my own life, but that does not keep me from wishing that some one would take it for me. All I had is gone. And here in the dark of night, I can no longer maintain my false pretense of strength. Not even for a book. I had never though to find myself pouring my heart out to a book that is nothing but velum and leather, but then, I had never thought that I should lose my brother and find myself alone and friendless.

I am many things, among them the youngest child and only daughter in a family where the oldest sons were cherished and petted while the youngest was ridiculed, scorned, motherless, and unwanted. Most importantly, I was Ellidyr's sister.

My brother had always been my best friend. Perhaps simply being the nearest in age in the castle of my father, Pen-Llarcau, was enough to draw us to each other. He wasn't always as arrogant as he became, though pride he always had in full measure, the only legacy our father had for him, or for me. I remember when he left for the counsel at Caer Dallben, head held high, his spirit smarting under the lash of my father's parting words to him. Our older brothers - we had four - stood there also, as proud as my father of the figure riding away. None of them mourned his death as I do; he was only a burden to them. Dallben spoke near truly when he said my brother had only his name and his sword, though they were not the only things left to him.

But I am getting ahead of myself. My mother died soon after I was born, and though I was the only daughter, and therefore to be prized as a valuable pawn, I was also considered the cause of my mother's untimely death. For my eldest brother, the two battled each other for the upper hand, and his desire for a good allience won out over his anger and grief over my mother. I believe my father and brothers once desired me to wed Lord Pryderi, but our name could not make up for our poverty in the eyes of the Lord of the Western Marches. And as their hopes of joining our name with the wealth of more prosperous lords faded so did their gestures of affection.

My other brothers simply hated me. Except for Ellidyr. He had been too young to thoroughly understand the cause of our mother's death, and therefore was already attached to me before he learned to understand the reasons. We were everything to each other: father, mother, brother and sister. For Ellidyr could never perform well enough to please our father, who could never forget that I was the cause of my mother's death. Our lives were hard, though not impoverished, but it was a bitter lot for us, as we grew observant enough to notice the difference in treatment between us and our brothers.

When the summons came from Caer Dallben, my father had been testy and my brothers harsh. Dallben was never much respected by them, and they were displeased that he had the presumption to order their presence. They decided that it was an unpleasant and degrading task, and delegated it, as they did any such job, to Ellidyr. He too told me little; it may have been because he did not know much himself, but he did tell me that he intended to win what honor he could, and to return in such a way that would make father proud of him.

Father is hollering for me. I cannot continue now, but must hope to take up my pen at some other time.