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The year of the bear and the maiden fair

a journal from 480 by Arcas

The Bear

The strangest things can happen when one does something as simple (yet dangerous) as hunting a bear. The slaying of Imber bear by Cadry ap Cadwallon, Melkin of Marwth, Gamond ap Edern and Maelgwyn ap Ceiwyn put them all to the test and allowed the young squires to prove their mettle and valour. The first thing that came from the slaying of the bear was an ill thing. A pregnant woman by the name of Erin had been slain be the beast during the night that the squires waited out the bear. This in turn led to Erins husband Kenryc accusing the young men of cowardliness and slothfulness and claimed that if they had gone after the bear as soon as possible his wife and unborn child would still be alive. Cadry, being a proud young hunter, had his good mood spoiled by these accusations and told the peasant that he should be grateful that they had hunted down the bear at all since otherwise it would have kept terrorizing the village for a long time. Harsh words were traded and when the squires finally left the village grudges were nursed on both sides of the conflict. Kenryc would not soon forget and he would vainly try to come up with some way to revenge himself on the young lord to be. The Maiden Fair

The second and third thing that came from the slaying of the beast was the arrival of a young woman and with her came a magnificent cow. The girl, Brangwen by name, had arrived several days before Cadry rode home to Tisbury and she had stayed as a guest of the Cellydon household. The usually suspicious Cellydons had welcomed the girl since she said that she had come in the name of the goddess Damona to deliver the cow to the young man who had helped slay the Imber bear that had killed so many cows.

When Cadry entered the yard of the manor that would be his in a few short years he called out his regular greetings to different family members and retainers that he had known for as long as he could remember. When approaching the door to the hall he stopped however when he heard an unfamiliar song sound around the houses. He turned towards one of the outhouses and there he first beheld the maiden who was singing and at that moment he lost his heart into her keeping. When she turned around whilst still singing, she gazed directly at Cadry as if she had been expecting him and then she smiled. The young squire, who seldom lacked for words or opinions, was struck mute for the first time in his life. He could only stand gazing at the young red-haired beauty as she walked by him while giving him an enigmatic smile and not saying a single word of greeting or presentation.

Only when she had left his presence did he regain his composure and immediately he headed towards the hall and searched for his uncle and foster mother. He barely got out a few words of greeting before demanding to know who the fair lady that was a guest in the household was. His mother, Lady Cerys was the one who spoke and told him that her name was Brangwen and that she had brought an incredibly fine gift as thanks for Cadrys deeds. Cerys brought her son out to the stable to show him the wondrous bovine but he barely had eyes for the gift and only afterwards would he remember to make a sacrifice to the Lady of Cows for this blessing. The young man only had eyes for the messenger who had brought the gift and to his thinking she had been the greatest gift that anyone, man or god, had ever given him. The guest soon left the manor but stayed in Hillfort hundred and from time to time Cadry would find her out in the forest or out among the other commoners although no one seemed to know where she belonged. When winter finally came and he couldn’t see her anymore he turned quiet and introspective to a degree that he had never been before. He would often request his elder relatives to recount old love stories from tribal times and he would often sing the lovesong of Rhiannon, the song that Brangwen had sung when he first saw her, to himself.

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