• Vol. 01
  • Chapter 04
Image by

Come closer, if you dare.

        Come closer. I know you see me.

        Look upon me, last of Y Gwragedd Annwn, fey maidens of the mountain lakes. Wonder at my strange beauty, ever-changing, never-changing; clouds to water, water to cloud; ebb and flow, ebb and flow. I was newborn with this morning’s rainfall … but am older too than the great salmon of knowledge, lurking in the depths of Llyn Llifon, secret as murderous thoughts. I was formed from snowmelt cascading from the peaks at noon … yet I am more ancient than the owl of Cwm Cowlyd, and have seen more summers fall back into winter than even the sharp-eyed eagle of Gwern Abwy.

        Come closer, if you will.

        Look around. These slopes were once covered in trees whose flowers scented the valley. Laughing shepherd-boys pressed their faces against the water’s skin to catch a glimpse of my breasts. I opened my arms and loved each one to death.

        A race of men came and uprooted the trees.

        Another forest grew, sacred trees – oak, ash and thorn – where poets wandered, wrapping their thoughts in riddles, rhyming their hearts’ mournful longings. I embraced them, one by one, and let the wind blow away their words.

        More men came with their axes.


Come closer, if you dare.

        Now a third forest of black pines starves the earth of sunlight; small creatures creep into its darkness to shiver and die. Few venture into this valley save the hewers and hackers, measuring, gauging, and quantifying what lies beneath. And those I let slip and slide down the shingle to a cold and loveless end.

        But now you come, a dreamer, a visionary, seeking traces of bygone ages, the might have been, could have been, and the once-upon-a-time. Ah, the things I can show you. Come closer, if you dare.

        Come to me. Come.