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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 - 13. Chapter 13

They arrived at Wendover station just before noon and walked to the nearby sanctuary.

As they approached, a large, burly man appeared, but he immediately recognised Thomas from his last visit. “Ceidwadwy, we have been expecting you. You must be Alex,” he said, extending a hand the size of bear’s paw.

“Yes,” Alex said, taking the proffered paw and saw his own hand disappear. “This is my mum, Joanne.”

“Greetings to you all. Alex and Thomas, congratulations on your bonding. I hope you two have a long, happy life together.”

“Thank you,” said Thomas.

They walked into the sanctuary, and just inside was a small grotto. Thomas entered, followed closely by Alex and Joanne.

There was an altar in the middle of the grotto, with a statue in the centre which had an inscription underneath in Welsh.

“What does that say, Thomas?” asked Alex pointing to the inscription.

“It says ‘Erected in memory of Professor Gillian Childs and her team’.” Thomas laid his ‘tribute’ on the altar, which consisted of a wreath and a solitary violet.

“I can understand the wreath Thomas, but why the violet?”

“It’s simple Alex; violets were Professor Child’s favourite flower. Alex, since we are bonded, you are required to join me in this prayer. Joanne, you can either join in or not. We are here to honour the memory of Gillian Childs and those who died with her on that dreaded day. We pray, not to Yddraigfawr or to any of the ancient gods, but we pray to our god; the god of Christianity. Can I ask that you bow your heads.”

Thomas then said his prayer in Welsh (I will provide you with the English translation), “Heavenly Father, I pray for forgiveness for what happened that day, and I pray that Gillian Childs and her team are nestled in the bosom of Your kingdom. I pray that you continue to watch over their families, as we have done. By Your grace, we have learned from what happened that day. I pray that You grant Professor Childs and her team the resurrection that You have promised us all. I pray that when the time comes, I and my kin are granted admittance to Your kingdom. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of The Holy Ghost. Amen.”

“Amen,” Alex and Joanne echoed simultaneously.

“I don’t know what you said Thomas, but it sounded beautiful,” Alex said. So, Thomas told them, in English, what he had said.

“How often do you come here and say that prayer?” Joanne asked.

“The Ceidwadwy comes here within one month of his investiture to say the prayer and that is the only time he or she is required to come here to say the prayer; after that, one of the docents here will continue to say the prayer on a daily basis. The only other times I would be required to say the prayer myself in future are either when I visit the sanctuary or, if I am lucky, on one of the Chwarterblynedd.”

“On the what?” asked Alex.

“Oh sorry, it means quarter years. The quarter years are the twenty-fifth, fiftieth, and seventy-fifth anniversaries of an individual’s investiture to The Inner Council. Both my father and grandfather celebrated their first Chwarterblynedd, but it’s been many generations since somebody celebrated their second.”

“I would have thought the more modern people would have reached fifty years as opposed to the older generations who had a much lower life expectancy.”

“You are right Alex, but with a longer life span combined with a much more peaceful existence, means that those on The Inner Council die at a much older age; that meant that those who replaced them are older. So, owing to the age at which people join the Council, many of them die after forty or forty five years of service, meaning they just fall short of their second Chwarterblynedd. It’s not unusual these days for a new Inner Council investee to be thirty five or forty years old; so they would have to live to be eighty or ninety years old to celebrate their second Chwarterblynedd; what happened in my case was a rarity. My dad’s death was unexpected and he was still very young; we thought I’d have finished university and had a few years in the real world before I would even have to think about being called to service. Before my investiture, the youngest inductee in the last hundred and fifty years was twenty six years old. I’m the first real candidate with any chance of living to see their third Chwarterblynedd this side of The Wars of the Roses.”

“Has any ever celebrated their third Chwart . . . anniversary thing,” Joanne finished, laughing over her stumble on the Welsh.

“It’s all right Joanne, you’ve got a long time to practice getting your Welsh right. To answer your question, according to the archives there was only one person who lived to see her Chwarterblynedd. Her name was Branwen and she lived in the third century AD; she was only a child of six when she was invested as First Servant.”

“How could somebody so young become First Servant?”

“Well Alex, according to our historical archives she was invested while the previous First Servant, her aunt, was still alive; so she was a kind of co-First Servant. Records indicate that her aunt was seriously ill, and although she was expected to live a number of years, she was unable to carry out many of her religious functions. Branwen, as her sole heir, was the natural choice for the next First Servant, but it was necessary that she be fully instructed and prepared for what the role of First Servant entailed. As it transpired, Branwen’s aunt survived for another twenty four years before eventually succumbing to her condition.”

“If her aunt was that ill, why wasn’t she simply removed as First Servant?”

“For the same reason you can’t simply remove Queen Elizabeth the Second if she became unwell. The positions within the Inner Council are for life. The only ways out are either through death or by voluntarily stepping down; which is almost unheard of.”

They followed the docent into a grotto just before the grand temple. There was another altar, this one with a statue of Yddraigfawr on it. Thomas said a brief prayer, and then turned to the docent and said, “I ask for the presentation of the Marker Stones for my family.”

The docent retrieved two small ornate boxes from underneath the altar, “Step forward please.”

Alex and his mum stepped up to the altar. The docent removed the statue of Taranis and said, “To Alex, the one who is bonded to Thomas, and to Joanne, the one who has pledged to watch over Thomas, I present the First Marker.”

Since Thomas had already told Joanne and Alex what he had planned to do, he had instructed them on what to do during the ceremony. Alex took hold of the First Marker and bowed slightly to it and then it handed it to his mum who did the same thing before returning it t the docent.

The docent then removed the statue of Cailleach and said, “To Alex, the one who is bonded to Thomas, and to Joanne, the one who has pledged to watch over Thomas, I present the Second Marker.”

Alex took hold of the Second Marker and bowed slightly to it and then he handed it to his mum who did the same thing before returning it to the docent.

“The Marker Stones will shield you from the magic that protects this sanctuary. Carry one of the Marker Stones each when you enter the inner shrine.” The docent handed the statue of Taranis to Alex and the statue of Cailleach to Joanne.

Although neither of them really believed in the magic, and to be honest Thomas wasn’t entirely sure if he believed in it all either, they chose to respect the traditions; just as Thomas always had.

“Alex, Joanne. Allow me to introduce you to Yddraigfawr.”

Alex and Joanne were amazed when they saw the skeleton; it filled the cavern, they could see the thin bones which showed where her wings would have been, and they could feel the magic coming off of it in waves. Thomas saw the look of total shock on the faces of Alex and Joanne and had to stifle a laugh.

“I had no idea she would be so big Thomas,” Joanne said in barely a whisper.

“Well now you can understand why she was seen as being a goddess when she first appeared.”

After they had spent a few minutes looking at the great skeleton, Thomas said, “Follow me. I want to show you something.” They followed Thomas down onto the floor of the shrine and approached the bony remains. They stopped about twenty feet away, and Thomas said, “Here. This is what I wanted to show you. Remember after my dad’s funeral I went away for a few days? Well this was my first stop. This box here contains half of the ashes from his copy of the Ddraig Llyfr; all of these boxes contain ashes from Ddraig Llyfr belonging to Ceidwadwy, First Servants and other Council members going back to the mid 1600s when this tomb was first discovered.”

“So where is the other half of the ashes?”

“They are kept at our sanctuary in Wales. We’ll go there tomorrow as it takes a while to reach there.”

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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I love the ritual, how it's all so simple yet so powerful. Gods would I love to see that dragon :)

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On 07/31/2012 06:15 AM, Nephylim said:
I love the ritual, how it's all so simple yet so powerful. Gods would I love to see that dragon :)
Thanks for the review Nephy.

 

You are not alone, I'd love to see her as well!

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