Crach Ffinnant – Volume III – Ravens and Dragons

currently being published by Words Matter Publishing

written by Lazarus Carpenter

Our dragon friends are united with the ravens and this is as it should be.
“To be able to succeed, we will need all the magic and guile the three of us together can muster.  All ravens are now loyal to Crach and, by association, also to the dragons.  Now, we are all brothers.”  Carron stared at the great dragon who, I swear to you, I saw smile in a way only a dragon can. 
“As the Cock crowed”
“Essex stepped towards Edmund, his fist raised in anger and frustration.  Instinctively Edmund stepped back three paces, his right hand moving to grip his sword.” 
“I asked him to stand on the pontoon and net some fish.” The Abbot stated.  “He must have fallen in by being over-balanced, judging by the sight of the net so heavily laden.” 
“I am afraid, my old friends, from the account I heard, it seems it was stressed by their spy that a dwarf and a shepherd were overheard whispering about dragons in a smoky corner of a hostelry.
“The face armour of the horses changing their appearance considerably to one of a most evil presence.  Some were like gargoyles, others hideous deformities of what would once have been a recognisable and beautiful creature.”
” Henry stabbed the dagger into the table with a thud and left it shaking in situ as he banged his fist down to reinforce the royal command.”
Owain leaned back in his chair and toasted his feet in front of the fire.
“What, in heaven’s name, will happen next, dear Crach? Everything moves with the speed of breath.”
” Merlina looked so small next to the large mare.  The top of her head did not even reach the mare’s neck.  Crow poured oats into a nosebag and hooked it over Merlina’s head.  She wasted no time in filling her empty tummy.  There they stood, both horse and pony, resting, relaxed and eating, which was just what they both deserved.”
“As Edmund and his companions returned down the stairs, Sam was rubbing his greasy hands on the apron which was strapped tightly around his large paunch.”
“I finally let Merlina retire to the paddock at Syncharth. I now rode the warhorse and had named her Cwtch. She was a very solid mare and when riding her, I felt two major things. One, I was a long way from the ground and two, it was a long way to fall!”
“A tear appeared in the corner of the great dragon’s golden eye.” 
Lifting my legs, Emrys effortlessly slipped on my boots.  “There we are, Sir.  Boots on.” 
“A dwarf with an enormous belly and large purple nose, picked up the sacred horn and blew three long deep blasts that echoed throughout the chamber. “
“Erasmus slumped over the table, putting his head onto his arms.  He avoided sleep because it was invaded by nightmares as, indeed, were his waking hours.  He tried to think of something to warm his thoughts and heart and let his mind drift to Glastonbury.”
” Henry ripped a leg from a chicken and proceeded to devour it to the bone.  The royal wolfhounds would eat well this night. “
” Coming to the end of the valley, I could see the outline of the Abbey silhouetted in the distance against the afternoon sun.  We could be there in less than half an hour.
” I sat on a mound of straw with my back against the stable wall and did something I have not done in a long while, I lit my pipe and had a long relaxing smoke of wormwood. 
“One of you will continue to ride to London with your despatches, except you will go alone this time.”
“I returned to my book as Owain, head down, continued with his response to Hotspur, the sound of the quill penetrating the silence, scratching its way across the parchment.”
“They flew high into the sky as far away from the City as their wings could take them. Henry did not give them a second thought and was totally ignorant to the gravity of that which he had just witnessed. The ravens, as predicted, had left.”
“As Faerydae and I talked, Tan-y-Mynedd had fallen asleep. An enormous scaled head rested on huge legs. He had one eye closed and the other eye open. You will remember, dragons always sleep like this.”
“The sight in front of their eyes was unbelievable.  The flag of the King no longer flew, it was replaced by The Red Dragon! “
“When they saw the light for the first time, they were quite shocked and confused.  But the curious dragon stepped outside the cave into full daylight, looked around and flew to a nearby rock from where he had a clear view down the valley.” 
Owain and Tudur simultaneously looked up to sky.  The others followed their gaze, several of them pointing skywards. 
“Dragon ….. A dragon!” 
“Sat on a large white stallion, was Henry Percy, Hotspur, looking a formidable sight as the sun reflected from his armour.”
“In silent shock, Edmund and his companion watched with amazement as the dragon feasted on the deceased horse.”
“Tan-y-Mynedd dozed with one eye open and Carron the Raven stood motionless – a big black bird, magical and serene, a silhouette on the ridge keeping watch on all below.”
“Owain howled with laughter as I relayed the Edmund saga.”
“Edmund stood at the counter, still a little hung over and with a blinding headache, leaning against it for support.”
 “He is sleeping.  A draught of Faerydae’s potion has done its work.” 
“You have what?” Stormed Hotspur. 
“The King’s ear.” Edmund replied, turning around to see where the voice had come from. Upon seeing Henry Percy, his arrogance subsided a little, but not by much. 
Gwilym, together with seven of their men, had drawn the sticks carved with a cross last night.  A total of forty-two men chose a stick each from a bag and those who picked the eight selected would now face the King’s executioner in Chester, as agreed with Hotspur. 
A shadowy figure rode into camp and by the time he had dismounted, yet another visitor had arrived for this important meeting Owain had requested.   
I snuggled under Tan-y-Mynedd’s wing, his armour protecting us both from freezing to death.  I was blessed to have such a friend.
The circling dragon expelled a huge breath of flame, stretching downwards with an intensity of heat which ignited the barn in the flash of an eye.
As the shimmering form of Llwyd ap Crachan Llwyd faded.  I had one thought in my mind. 
“Justice will prevail!”