Will said, 'Taliesin?'
'A name,' Gwion said. 'Just another name.'
- Silver on the Tree
If Taliesin gathers his thought and sends it plunging, like a stone, down through the depths of memory - if he lets it sink, slowly and silently, to the very bottom - that is where he will find himself, his first self, Gwion Bach. It is not whole, this remembering; of all the things that came to him from those three forbidden drops the knowledge of being-fully-human is the most lost to him, the most hidden. As he now can recall it, his first and only boyhood was spent in waking dreams of how it might feel to be a rabbit or a fish, swift in the grass and sleek under the water, as he stirred the brew of possibilities not meant for him. Time moved more slowly then, in one direction; he sees, now, that it passed with the thick golden inevitability of honey dripping from the cracked comb.
Then came the moment - the pain in his hand, the reflex that brought his fingers to his mouth and the fire to his blood, neurons bones and sinews dancing and collapsing into all the different shapes of his dreaming, and more - and in the next split instant the great booming knell of the poisoned cauldron; its reverberations wake him still, heart pounding, only to find that it's the ringing of the day-bell or the sweet brazen music of horns that has tolled him from his sleep.
And through all the terrors and the transformations and the telling of long years he would change nothing, not one thing. For the makings pour from his hands and his lips; he knows the being of stars and swords and all glittering creations, the breathing and the still; he knows what it is to be consumed and to die and to be born.
When he first sees them, the young Old One and the Pendragon, Taliesin feels again the dizzying breathless drop as time buckles around and beneath him; they have never been, they have always been, they stand there forever and are gone, sundered from him by the great rolling waves that are swallowing the Land that he loves. 'You may call me Gwion,' he says, to both of them but especially to Will, the Old One who is a boy still but more than a boy, the same age as Gwion Bach when the world was changed because of three drops of burning liquid; and that is why he names himself with the name that he has all but forgotten, because Will is too young, yet, and too caught up in the Light's battle with the Dark to know what they will become to each other or to see how their fates shall at last be intertwined.