Chapter Ninety-Four: Loch Lomond

“Wait, you want me to do what?”

“Leave before this starts.  There’s more than one boat available to take you, and once you’re free of the fighting, you can follow this to get you there.”  Irian handed her a datapane with a large amount of statistical data on it.  It was evident that he had been thinking about this for a while.  There was information about stores of food, materials, directions and a list of crew who were to go with her.  The names caused a stare of incredulity.

“What do you mean by this?”

“You’ve got the future of this world in you right now.  Elanor carries it in her arms.  All we do is for nothing if that fails.  You understand that.  I know you do.  But if I don’t fight, it could all be over now.  I’m not willing to let that happen.  Hariel, Thor, they know the cost.  For that matter, you and Elanor did too.  But the situation is different, is it not, cariad?

She nodded.  He was right, though it didn’t soothe her heart.  “Why did you do this?”

“I think you know that I loved you from the moment I set eyes on you, though you did nothing but scorn me for so long. ‘Trio’r wythnos yn flwyddyn, troi’r flwyddyn yn dair Rwy’n ffaelu troi ‘nghariad i siarad un gair’ and all that.  I’m not going to let you go after finally catching you.”

“That’s sweet and all, but could you translate that for me?”

Irian laughed.  “Turn the week to a year, turn the year into three I can’t turn my true love to speak to me.”

“Your people have a thing for songs of unrequited love, don’t they?”

“Assuredly.  Do you know how the song ends?”

“No.  But I’d like to know.”

“As long as the sea is salty still, I will love you.  And it’s true.  But I think you already knew that.”

She nodded.  “Your face is not as bad as I told you it was.”

Irian laughed.  For a moment, the world fell away and they could simply think of each other.  But the real world can’t ever be put away for long.  There were still more instructions to give.  “When you reach the shores of the loch, take all of you in one craft.  What you carry with you will keep you safe, but I don’t want to think of what would happen to some of you alone.  Every true son and daughter of Cymru has nothing to fear of the lake, and that will extend to you.  But for anyone else, Lomond will be the death of them.  You’ll be safe until I can come to you.  The loch can do nothing to me, so I can come and go as I please.  The Harvest can’t step a toe into that water, though.”

“What do you know, Irian?”

“The afanc has been in our family for generations.  It knows us by our blood, which it apparently can simply smell.  It will let you and those you keep pass, but it will attempt to devour any that come without proper license.  We’ve trusted to their technology too long-this I know works.  If all hope seems lost, and the afanc is somehow overcome, the Twyleg Teg will guard you and yours until I come.”

“How do you know?”

“They will always stand forth to see that Cymraeg does not fall.  They are from a different world as well, though which one I cannot tell.  Their realm is magic, not technology, as far as we ever knew of them.  None who visit them in their kingdom under the hill have returned to tell, so I cannot say.”

“You seem very sure of these protections.”

“Well, I should hope so, for me to speak of them.  There’s a reason that the Harvest never knew of Y Ddraig Goch.  They couldn’t get close enough.”

“When am I supposed to go?”

“Now.  they’re waiting for you.  In the ship’s manifest you will find a box.  The pane will tell you which one.  When you arrive at Inchtavannach, take the box yourself, follow the directions and place it where it specifies.  Do it as soon as you arrive, so that it will have time to complete itself.  After that, you are the mistress of the loch, and you may do as you see fit.  And know I will come to you as soon as I may.  Now go!  We’re going to hit that shore any moment now!”

They shared a final kiss, brief but fierce, and she made her way to the hold where the launch was waiting.  All of her crew were Cymru, though the ones they protected were not.  Not yet, anyway.

When he had watched the launch disappear, he turned his face to the shore.  Thor and Hariel joined him, and Ouray and Kensei Musashi were already waiting.  Ouray asked if it was done.  Irian simply nodded.  Dawn broke behind them.

“It’s a good day to die.”

 

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Published in: on October 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

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