I have ridden as fast as I could towards Tisbury manor, outpacing even my master, Lord Amig. He gave me permission to hurry home after the messenger arrived in Sarum, telling that my mother, Lady Brangwen, had taken seriously ill as she gave birth to my newest little brother Brannoch. The birth seemed to have gone well but three days after a shadow fell across the manor and the messenger told me that Ol’ Tiss had been seen by many of manor servants. They claimed that he seemed wroth and that he had swept his blade towards the house.
Entering the courtyard of my home like the hounds of the wild hunt was behind me, I can sense that something is very wrong. I get of my horse and charge towards the manor house. I see many familiar faces standing around doing nothing except staring in fear at the house. From within I can hear screaming and crying. Guillaume, my father’s manservant, stops me by the door. Before I can push past the thin Aquitanian he says in his lightly accented voice “Your mother is very ill and only the priestess Bellyra is allowed inside per your mother’s orders”. I briefly stare at him and something in my gaze must be terrifying for he visibly pales and lets me pass by him.
A large fire is burning in the hearth and the air inside smells of the usual herbs and plants but also of blood. My mother lies in her bed and she is screaming in agony unlike any I have ever heard, even when she gave birth to Gweneth. The young priestess Bellyra, no older than myself, looks terrified and she is crying. A sheep lies dead on the floor with its throat slit in a sacrificial circle. When I approach I can see that my mother’s face is paler than death itself and the lower parts of her dress is stained with a large amount of blood. Knowing hesitation and fear unlike any I have ever felt before I manage to croak out “Mother?”. Mother’s eyes open briefly and for an instance there is no recognition, only pain and distress and despair.
Suddenly a silence falls over the hall as mother stops screaming and Bellyra suddenly grows quiet. It is as if something has stolen all the sound in the world. Mother, still in pain, beckons me towards the bed, biting back her pain, lucid for a brief moment. She grabs my collar and pulls me closer and starts whispering in my ear. She whispers secrets long since hidden.
She tells me who her mother really is, she says it is the sorceress Nineveh.
She tells me that my father must seek her out, that she can help him find Gweneth and help him find out more about the daughters of the wolf.
She tells me that she is dying because the gods are angered by the sacrilege committed by the Fenrir, but the she has taken their punishment upon herself so that the family might be spared.
She tells me that she loves me and that I must tell my father that she loves him and that she will find him in the next life.
She cries as she says these last words and drags me close to herself like she did when I was a small boy. The pain is returning again and it is overwhelming her. She just screams and cries as it takes her and I stay by her bedside until dusk sets.
Finally, she becomes quiet as her spirit leaves her body and her tribulation is over. I sit by her side until morning comes and shines its meagre lights through the opened door. The rest of the household comes and take care of her remains.
I leave the house and walks up towards the old burial hill. I fall to my knees before the old oak and just start screaming out all my agony, all my sorrow and all my anger. I scream until my voice breaks and yet I persist until my breath is gone and I can do nothing but collapse upon the roots of the ancient tree. Sleep or unconsciousness claim me.
It isn’t until later during the afternoon when someone dares wake me. A gentle hand shakes me back to waking world. Above me stands the One-in-Three, the triplets, Ffinan, Fferyll, Fflergant. Distant cousins from the Jagent side of the Cellydons, they and their father fought like madmen in the battle of the two walls and helped take the second wall together with my father. For this bravery, count Tegfan made them knights after the battle. The triplets accompanied the Salisbury troops back home in order to be closer to the main branch of the family whilst their father stayed with Count Tegfan. The triplets have taken up service with Countess Ellen as household knights.
With their aid I return to the house once again to see my master Lord Amig, who has arrived during my sleep.