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    Andy78
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 

The Ddraig-Cyfrinachau - 1. Chapter 1

“Son have a seat.” Those four small, simple words which radically changed Thomas’ life were spoken by his father to him on May 14th 1995. He was six years old at the time, and his dad looked like a giant; that was nearly nine years ago.

He dropped the biggest bombshell imaginable on Thomas that day. That was the day the six year old boy was told that dragons are real; and by real that is really real, as in actually really real. The boy was then told that he was not allowed to tell anyone about them; that it was a secret not to be shared. He was told that his family, as well as other families, are a part of some kind of secret society which has been keeping the existance of dragons hidden from the world for centuries.

“We now commit the body of James Maximillian Llewellyn to the ground. Earth to earth; ashes to ashes; dust to dust.” The priest’s words brought Thomas out of his childhood memory.

He walked over to the gravesite and picked up a handful of earth. He looked down at his father’s coffin with tears in his eyes. “I will never forget you dad.” He slowly allowed the earth to fall from his closed fist onto the coffin.

He felt an arm round his neck. He turned and looked into Alexander Munroe’s eyes, and gave a small smile. “God, I’m going to miss him so much Alex.”

“I have a good idea how you feel. He was much more of a father to me than my own dad ever was.” With everything Alex and Thomas had been through over the years, with all the secrets they had shared, Thomas had kept one thing from Alex. It was the one thing in all the world Thomas wanted to share, but it was also the one thing in all the world that Thomas couldn’t share.

The two of them were closer than brothers, and as Alex had just said, Thomas’ father was more of a dad than his own one ever had been or ever would be; but Thomas knew the laws better than anyone, save perhaps those on the Council. There was no way he could ever tell Alex about his deepest secret, but he so badly wanted to share it; it felt like such a betrayal keeping it hidden. Thomas had even researched the entire legal codices of the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau looking for some kind of loophole or precedent that would allow him to share his secret with Alex, but after checking through all eighteen thousand laws and God alone knows how many thousands of by-laws, legal arguments and council rulings there was nothing; not even a hint at a way to tell Alex and still operate within the law.

“Alex, I’m going on a trip tomorrow. I’ll only be gone a couple of days. It’s a personal matter, and I have to go alone. I’ll see you on Tuesday.”

“What’s up?”

“I’m sorry, I can’t tell you. I really wish I could.”

Alex knew that if Thomas couldn’t tell him about it must be something very personal, so he didn’t push it.

Thomas returned home. As the only living relative, the responsibility for disposal of his father’s personal effects fell to him. There was also the matter of certain secret effects of his father’s; most notable of which was his personal copy of the Ddraig Llyfr.

Thomas went into into his father’s bedroom, and found his Ddraig Llyfr and his Yddraigfawr pendant he had been given upon being named as Ceidwadwy. Thomas started a fire and sat and pondered. He thought about life, death, his father, the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau, his father. He let out a deep sigh, and tossed his father’s copy of the Ddraig Llyfr into the fire. As he watched it burn and char he thought about what the future would hold.

As the day turned to night, Thomas extinguished the fire and collected the ash which was all that remained of the sacred text. He placed half of the ash in one small box, and the remainder in a second box.

The next morning he placed his father’s pendant around his neck for safe keeping and headed into the Chilterns. Thomas arrived at the Ashridge Estate mid-morning. He headed to a section of woodland and was suddenly stopped by a very large bearded man.

“You are trespassing. You must leave this area immediately.”

The sixteen year old Thomas looked up at the six foot tall giant in front of him, and trembled with fear.

“I . . . I . . .”

The man noticed the pendant as the sun glinted off it.

“Forgive me. I did not realise you were a follower. Though you seem very young to own such an honour as the one you are wearing.”

Thomas was momentarily startled. “It was my father’s. He passed away a few days ago, and the funeral was yesterday. I am here to perform his final ritual.”

“My condolences. My name is Jason. Please follow me.”

Thomas followed Jason into a nearby cave. They reached what appeared to be a deadend when the rockface slid back revealing a secret passage.

“The steps are slippery, be careful.”

Listening to Jason’s warning, Thomas took a hold of the handrail and carefully followed him down a long flight of stairs.

When he reached the bottom, he saw a carved statue of Yddraigfawr. It was a depiction of her arrival in the world as described in the book of Taliesin; it showed her in all her splendour. It was, coincidentally, Thomas’ favourite scene from the Ddraig Llyfr.

Thomas paused in front of the statue and said a silent prayer before continuing on his way. He reached the inner sanctum; the final resting place of Yddraigfawr. He removed one of the small boxes of ash from his pocket and placed it next to one of thousands of similar boxes which occupied the same vault as the enormous skeletal remains of the creature who had come to be revered as a demi-god. Thomas cried yet again for his recently departed father, but could not remain in the presence of Yddraigfawr for long as he had another stop off to make, and another box to see safely delivered.

He started the long journey to the tiny village of Llanbedr in north western Wales. He arrived late in the evening, so he checked into a small hotel.

The next morning he went to pay a visit to the resident cleric.

“Yes, can I help you?” Surprisingly, the cleric did not have the typical accent associated with the northern Welsh, but instead he spoke with an Irish accent.

“Forgive me for disturbing you so early. My name is Thomas and I have travelled from London to perform the final ritual for my father.”

“I’m sorry, you must have me confused with someone else. I do not understand what you are talking about.” The cleric was about to close the door, when Thomas showed him the pendant. “Your father must have been someone of great significance for him to carry a Ddraig-Calon.”

“He was Ceidwadwy.”

“You are the son of James Maximillian. You have my deepest sympathies. I was present at your father’s investiture. I will take you on the journey to the Mynydd Pen-y-Fal.”

Thomas and the cleric travelled to the sacred shrine deep in the Pen-y-Fal. Thomas placed the box of ash in the vault reserved for Ceidwadwy and lighting a candle, said a final prayer for his father. Just as he was leaving, he was stopped by another cleric.

“Master Llewellyn?”

“Yes, I am Thomas Llewellyn.”

“I have been asked to give you this.” The cleric handed Thomas a parchment envelope. Thomas opened it and read the letter inside, then re-read it twice more to ensure he was really reading what it said. It was a summons from the Inner Council of the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau, and there was a big surprise for Thomas.

He followed the cleric to the chambers of the Council, and of course, there was the obligatory Yddraigfawr statue at the entrance to the chambers.

“Thomas, you know why you have been summoned here?”

“I do, and I thank the Council for this great honour.”

“Your family has served this Council since its inception, and they have always served with honour and distinction. In spite of your young age, and the fact that you have not yet come of age either in the eyes of this council or under the law of the United Kingdom of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, I am proud to announce that by special decree of the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau you will receive your birthright.

“Let the records show that on this date, Friday April 16th in the Year of Our Lord 2004, the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau bestows the honour, the rights, the responsibilities, and the title of Ceidwadwy upon Thomas Taliesin Llewellyn. First Servant, will you do the honours please.”

The high priest approached Thomas. It never ceases to amaze people how active and healthy the high priest of Yddraigfawr is for someone of his age; he is at least eighty-five years old, though according to rumour he is approaching one hundred. He was dressed in full ceremonial robes consisting of a black gown, which trailed along the floor, with an emblem on the front comprising a large red dragon on a field of green. He was also wearing the sash of his office; made from bright purple silk with his various titles and honours sewn on to it at intervals. Upon his bald and wrinkled head sat the Ddraig-Choronbleth, which is made from silver, with a small platinum dragon at the front, in which two small ruby chips are embedded for its eyes. He was also carrying his staff of office; a bronze staff with the head of a dragon and this had two very large rubies for its eyes.

“Kneel.” Even though he was smiling and spoke with a very gentle voice and soft Welsh accent, there was absolutely no doubt in Thomas’ mind that it was a command. He knelt in front of the high priest, and he said a prayer over Thomas. Unfortunately, Thomas did not know or understand the words the priest spoke, for they were spoken in the ancient language; only the most senior of the council members are permitted to learn this language.

Thomas of course knew the history of the language. All those who serve the order are taught about it, and Thomas’ father had imparted what information he was permitted to Thomas. A language, which outside scholars say, died out sometime between five and ten thousand years ago and was not a written language. Bless those scholars, if only they could hear the priests speaking the language and see the numerous texts that the Ddraig-Cyfrinachau has that are written in it. Though Thomas’ father was the first person to freely admit that he was impressed with scholar’s attempts at reconstructing the ancient language based on modern day daughter languages, some of their reconstructions were scarily accurate. As a result, the council has been forced to place spies in the academic world. If outsiders were to learn the ancient language, even if only a few words, they will begin to make discoveries which men have died for and men have killed to protect for three millennia. There are secrets, which the world is just not ready to know; there are secrets, which the world will never be ready to know.

The priest began speaking in English, which broke Thomas’ reverie. “In the name of Yddraigfawr, I anoint thee Thomas Taliesin Llewellyn as Ceidwadwy.” He touched him on the left shoulder with his dragon-staff, and then kissed Thomas on the forehead. “Rise, my child.”

The newest and, according to archival records, the youngest ever Ceidwadwy stood up, and the head of the council approached him. “Thomas, you are now one of the Inner Council and I welcome you. You are the one hundred and twelfth person to hold this honoured title, and the twenty-seventh in your own family.” As the council leader said the words ‘Inner Council’, Thomas suddenly realised that he would now be allowed to learn the ancient language; why that meant so much to him he didn’t know, but it did.


Pronunciation guide (These proper names are all derived from Welsh):
Yddraigfawr is pronounced “Uh-thryg-vow-er”
Ceidwadwy is pronounced “Keye-doo-ad-ooe”
Ddraig-Cyfrinachau is pronounced “Thryg Kuh-vrin-ach-eye”
Ddraig Llyfr is pronounced “Thryg luh-vir”
Mynydd Pen-y-Fal is pronounced “Munith Penny-Val” – this mountain (and the village of Llanbedr) really exist
Copyright © 2012 Andy78; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
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Chapter Comments

On 03/24/2012 04:50 AM, Dolores Esteban said:
Oh, you actually started the story. I do love it. Great!
I was a little slow off the mark with the advertising, sorry about that :) . Though glad you're loving it.
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And another idea I just didn't have time to write has taken hold of someone else. I love how you are running with it. It is so very different from what you put up, but then again this is the beginning and we have a lot to learn to see if your short story will fit into this. Glad to see you continuing it. Can't wait to read it all.

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On 03/24/2012 10:54 AM, comicfan said:
And another idea I just didn't have time to write has taken hold of someone else. I love how you are running with it. It is so very different from what you put up, but then again this is the beginning and we have a lot to learn to see if your short story will fit into this. Glad to see you continuing it. Can't wait to read it all.
Thanks for the feedback. I'm not quite sure yet where this is going to go or end up, but I am really enjoying expanding on what started out as a prompt.
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Very interesting. Your Welsh pronounciation is (not a criticism) hilarious. I'm looking forward to seeing how Thomas managed his new responsibility so... onwards I go

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On 06/12/2012 06:13 PM, Nephylim said:
Very interesting. Your Welsh pronounciation is (not a criticism) hilarious. I'm looking forward to seeing how Thomas managed his new responsibility so... onwards I go
Wow, my first review by Nephy.

 

I'm glad you like the story so far, and hope it lives up to expectations.

 

I try my best with Welsh and I love the language, but like many who learned it late in life, I still struggle with pronunciation. Hope I haven't butchered the language too much.

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On 09/13/2012 05:00 AM, Taliesin69 said:
A great chapter. really well written.
Thanks for reading and review.
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