written by Lazarus Carpenter http://www.lazaruscarpenterauthor.com
A dwarf stepped to one side of the makeshift stage, beating a drum almost twice his size. Another appeared opposite, playing a long flute. Melodies unheard before by me, played an increasingly fast jig.
“Sit, Crach …. come and sit beside me there is much to tell!”
My short legs, as strong may they be, had to move very swiftly to keep up with Fwynned the Shepherd who was my guide across mountains, over the Marches to Shrewsbury.
I might not even get my feet wet! I felt a sense of relief as I stood by the bank, looking at the first stepping stone which was well within reach, even for my short stride.
It tripped on a furrow which made this fine stallion stop dead in its tracks, thus the wagon jolted to an abrupt halt. Instantly, two of the loosely bound barrels fell to the ground with an enormous crash. One burst into pieces, strips of wood splintering as the contents exploded, allowing gallons of ale to form pools amongst the furrows before sinking into the mud.
The dwarves played on and on as more and more of the crowd became tickled into dance.
A fire was roaring amidst large stones laid in a circle. Smoke was drifting, curling upwards and creating mystical shapes that, once formed, were quick to vanish within the ether of all that is.
Wolf lifted its head and glanced with huge eyes directly at me!
A wolf sat at each side, one as black as night, the other as white as driven snow.
‘An English Knight wearing a blue plume in a silver helmet, atop a horse as black as the night.
“That is Worcester, Crach.”
He brought his left fist up and struck Edmund hard in the face, drawing blood from a shattered nose. Edmund fell to the ground with one hand holding his face, blood dripping through his fingers. Glyndwr stepped back and stood tall against the bully.
Edmund pulled hard on the reins, the bit chaffing in his stallion’s mouth as it reared to a halt.
I looked at their smiling faces, light from the fire casting dancing shadows around us all.
Across the street a pestle and mortar hung over a shop doorway with herbs growing from its neck.
For a moment or two, he sat staring at the three scrolls laying on the table in front of him before stretching his arm over them and dropping his finger at random, picking up the selected scroll.
We saw great visions foretold across the sky in the shapes of many horsemen carrying English flags, galloping and splashing in foamy white waves.
“Perhaps we should consider that to all who may come here whilst you are under this roof, our mutual disguises must hold fast?”
Torches blazed at both sides of the entrance to the Inn.
The hue of grey radiating from the surface of the river cast a darkness over the water, lit only by the reflections of hundreds of small lights shimmering from buildings along the bank.
Master Healan sat cocooned within a bright purple glow, emmenating from inside him, shimmering in a flickering blue hue.
As I stared at my reflection, a fish jumped from the depths, spiralled in the air and splashed the surface of the water with a flapping tail, before diving deep again.
The clouds of smoke dissipated a little, revealing a glorious battle sword floating above the table, as if held by invisible hands. An amber stone decorated its hilt, resonating magic from the heavens.
She looked a strong mare, even though small. No more than a pony but still she stood well above me!
“Tan-y-Mynedd the Fire-Dragon is a teacher and of a great age unknown, whereas his reputation for wisdom precedes all.”
The raven stirred, coal black feathers fluttered, large brown, all-seeing eyes twitched back and forth. Extending a thick neck and with its great black wings outstretched, it leaned forward, screeching, its sharp huge beak warning me to stop in my tracks and stand still. I did!
Suddenly and without warning, Merlina reared, screaming, as an enormous boar crashed through the undergrowth in front of us, savagely roaring. Its eyes were red with fear and anger, its tusks flashing white.
We buried Llywd ap Crachan Llywd under an old oak tree at the edge of the forest the next morning.
“This is unusual for a stone to land on its side but also a great omen that the runes give to us.”
Tan-y-Mynedd the Dragon landed heavily on the ground.
A young Crach Ffinnant in soft pastels
and a slightly older Crach in pen and acrylic paint
The front cover picture for Crach Ffinnant – The Prophecy
and the rear cover
The end result!