Friday, 18 October 2013

The Dying of the Light

“My Lord, here are your guardsmen. Each is worthy of your trust and love. Every man here bears a champion’s name and tales are told of their great renown. Families across the land have welcomed them and feasted them on the hero’s portion. Our enemy’s men tremble and their women frighten children with the mere mention of their names.
Here is Einon ap Geraint, called the Anvil. He stood against their vanguard in the first rush of their charge. They swarmed and swooped in numbers like starlings roosting on a summer evening, but they broke against him as waves against a rocky shore.
Here is Brynmor ap Idris, the Mountain. He slew the enemy’s champion, Grimm the Kinslayer, who boasted that his spear was a gift from their Gods. In that mighty struggle Brynmor took the first thrust from the spear in order to lay hands upon the warrior.  With arms rippling like oaken boughs, he lifted the enemy high above his head then threw him down, breaking his back as the earth trembled and shook with the impact. He cut off the Kinslayer’s head and broke the spear across his knee.
Here is your captain Cadfan, the Battle Raven. In the heat of the fight, his flame shone and dazzled like the setting Sun. He carved a path of blood to their Prince and none could stand against him. Alone at last he faced the royal guard, who fell to his fell sword like ripe corn falls before a scythe, and great was the slaughter of his passing and worthy of song.
The last man here is best known to you. Maldwyn, named Brave Friend, whose butchered body we found shielding yours, broken sword in hand, faithful even to his last breath.
These warriors are the brightest and the best of our people. Each of these mighty men, sworn to defend you, and oath breakers none, now travels with you, in death as they did in life, as you begin your next journey. The wood of your pyre burns fitfully, gathered at night from land still wet with the blood of your enemies. Broken weapons surround you, Arthmael, last Lord of the Cymru, but your hand still holds your royal sword.
Your people have dire need of you, and your champions, against an enemy that lays waste to our homes and families. May your coming be as swift as the next Sun’s rising. The smoke bearing your spirit rises and turns toward the setting Sun. So, until your return, we will sing our songs and look to the West.

430 words

This story was written for Jeff Tsuruoka's Mid-Week Blues Buster #35 and was inspired by this week's song - 'I Am Going To The West' by Connie Dover
It was awarded second place in the contest.
Judge Anna Loy (@ruanna3) said:-
2nd place: Nick Johns
I loved the voice in this piece – it was strong and evoked a very mythic mood. I also enjoyed the Welsh flavour with the names and the storytelling. I really wanted to know about this world. It had a definite “Morte D’Arthur” feel.


  1. This enthralls me and sends shivers down my spine. Here in West wales, I can see everything you wrote! Perfect wording for great heroes!

    1. Thanks Lisa - it's my Welshness coming out. There is a wonderful Welsh word 'Hiraeth'. It has no English literal translation, but means something like, 'a melancholy, wistful, even doomed, longing for your home and roots' I occasionally catch faint echoes of it in some of my writing, even when this is unintended.

    2. Jeff Hollar used 'Hiraeth' in a Monday Mixer a while ago...I was so chuffed!