Llyn Idwal

Idwal Series

Chapter One

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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]inter had arrived early; would depart late. All week northwest winds carried flurries of snow. The ground was now a carpet of white.
The road behind him now, he looked back towards the last vestige of refuge, expecting to see the smoke from Ogwin Cottage still signaling someone at home. But low cloud, in stealth, had crept along the valley, to create a seamless join on virgin canvas. His mind’s eye traced an artist’s faint charcoal line, which is the uncertain path ahead.
It was already late. Another hour and it will be dark. Muttering a quiet pryer, “Dear God, how shall I find the way?”, the traveller continued.
Fleuron 1 90x35 “There! Faint footprints in the snow. Is my prayer answered?” Moving slowly, head down against the prevailing wind, ‘Only a fool would sally forth not knowing where he is going,’ he reflected. ‘Am I following a fool?’Fleuron 1 90x35Ahead the cwm loom, a hanging valley in the Glyderau range of mountains in northern Snowdonia Linked to each other like outstretched arms; peak to saddle to next peak, and so on, across his view, each summit likened to a head bowed, shedding tears for a poor, lonely penitent seeking Avalon.
Avalon; his perceived sanctuary, so far away. ‘Cwm Idwal, I visited thee once,’ he remembered. “Twas in a dream. Oh, how my heart doth pound; my weary limbs doth ache. Stop and rest now. Rest to dreomonce more of sweet, sweet Avalon.’
With resolve, he makes his way; n’er a glance behind,. For phantoms, he knew, loved to play ticks on those who keep watch to their rear. Dodging amongst the rocks; hiding in the shadows, wraiths are put a few steps behind. The hair on the nape of the young man’s neck stand like bristles on a hogs back. ‘Am I being followed?’ he wonders. ‘Do not give into to such idle conjecture,’ he told himself. ‘There is no one there.’
Cascading melt-water played hide and seek amongst the boulders. Rivulets. Streams. Splashing. Chasing. A prancing, merry reel, joining to become torrents crashing forth. Unchecked. Mountain tears, tumbling to the lake. Stilled by waters deep. Lyn Idwal.
He began to cross the tumbling brook as it enters the lake, steeping stones conveniently placed. ‘A quick glance behind; ’twill not hurt. Allay my fears; that is all. No one there. Yet I feel the presence of another; someone know to me.’ He shook off the trepidation and stepped onto the next rock. His feet were swept away. Finding himself tumbling into ice-cold water, dragged beneath the chilling foam, hands were pushing on his shoulders, pressing his face into the mud. ‘Air; I need air. I cannot breath.’ Yet, the weight upon his back holds him under.
He gropes and feel a stone. Not large, but it would suffice. Desperately grabbing the rock, he swings hard behind him. The youth felt its smack against he know not what. The weight now gone, in desperation he floundered to the surface, expecting to see a monster scurrying away, thwarted in its venture to drag him to an early grave. But there was no one; only the the lake.
A glance at the murky waters, and with a start the youth drew back. For a moment a man’s face showed near the surface, to be dragged away by a shroud of orange cloth.
“We too weep for Our Liege Lord,” the lake doth softly say, if only he could hear it speak.
The wind, however, is not still. “Leave this place!” menacingly, it murmured. “Return from whence you came!”
“From whence I came? I know of no such a place!” the traveller shouted back defiantly.

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