Jenny: Gramaire

Master Lucius sat at the atrium table close to the fire, Wulf sprawled at his feet burnishing a fine blade of Damascus steel. The rain drove most everyone indoors save those who could take their work to the barns and byres. Despite the achy cold he always got in his chest, he enjoyed rainsome days and the quiet tones of contemplation the rain drummed on the roof over his head. At the moment he sat with his notes spread out before him, his pen idle in his hand, thinking a little before he began writing. Having come so close to losing his ability to write altogether but a week ago, he relished this moment a little longer.

Domitia came running in out of the rain presently, shaking off the water in the vestibule, greeted by the dogs. It struck him that she was looking a good deal better, and that life in Ambrosius' rath was as beneficial for her as it was for himself. The freedom enjoyed in the valley enabled her clipped wings to grow again. While his own wings were broken beyond repair, and his lungs and heart were unlikely to ever allow him to dash about in the rain as Domitia could, he felt a soaring freedom of spirit which he had not enjoyed in all his life until his arrival in this secluded little Eryrian valley. Like some fresh plot of landscape newly woken, some Edenic field, he felt at complete liberty to walk among these people's minds and to observe and pick the fruit of their own contemplations, at liberty to learn.

He set his pen to the top of his vellum and wrote in bold letters AMBROSIUS' RATH. And underneath he began to write - The weather, as in the rest of Britain, is changeable and clouded. But in Ambrosius' rath I find the social climate to be warm and light. There is an obvious simplicity to the folk here which comes, I find, from those who work the land and have to wait for nothing but God to change the seaons, to bring the rain and dry: a people who are wholly dependent and happy to be dependent on the hand of the Almighty. They all of them exhibit a certain openness of face and speech which belies a remarkable depth within. There is within this valley the Remarkable, the almost Ethereal, a sort of unspoken yet living connection between lord and layman, man and mountain range which harkens back to prepagan times. I can see where the pagans got their stories as they advanced farther and farther from Proto-Man. I can see Jupiter between Lord Ambrosius' brows, Epona in the Guttersnipe's mareish fancy, reckless, fearless Tyr in Artos' arm. And, fueling that fancy, that same insubstantial link between them all that makes this valley such a potent haven in Britain's folded skirts. There are still gods and goddesses in Britain, lightful rulers of Albion, and these are they. Not cast out of heaven, but heaven-placed here to do heaven's biding: light in the darkness, salt in the wound.

This is probably not the last storm we will weather, Tacitus. The valley may see still more warring tribes between her hills. I think it is dawning on Britain that her gods and goddesses are mortal, and bleed like any mortal would. Our golden age - if you can call it a golden age, fought as we have for every ground of it with tooth and nail - may be lapsing into the past as I write. Loki may strip the mistletoe, and fair Baldr may go down. Forgive my pagan terms, but it seems as though wickedness is only testing our chinks to see where we are weakest. We are mortal, and even for Eden autumn came.

I sit here in this quiet hall and I am such a pessimist. There may be other gods and goddesses to rule in Albion after these sleep beneath their copper hills. Or worse - not. Maybe this is all, and when they are called home from the war that will be all. But I hope not. I pray not. In all my loyalty I dream of no other lord than Ambrosius - but in my love of Britain I cannot bear to think that she will be lost to the dark forever. God made her white shores, her swelling emerald green, her damson woods. Surely though she is only a shadow of what she has been, he will not forsake her for ever! Or he may. He may. Who can say what he will do?

He paused, letting the ink from his pen seep into the paper and he looked up and blinked, the words red lines on his vision. "I wish Gwenhywfar were here," he murmured fretfully. Wulf nodded.

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