I, Tristfardd, have been given the task of setting down this history by my parents. Most of the work I know to be true, knowing the people involved and hearing it in their own words. Of other deeds that occurred or thoughts expressed, I give what long consideration and scant clues have availed me. To those I wrong by giving a false account I humbly ask pardon. Those who are dead are beyond the hand of mine for good or ill. In representing their thoughts and words I have tried to err on the side of goodness. I pray that I have not wronged anyone, but man in his pride often overreaches himself.
My mother set me this task thinking that I could learn from the effort. My father thinks it is a great tale, one well worth telling to others. He does not think writing it on parchment does justice to it; never recounting his own experiences the same way twice. Pax dei sit illis.
It is the story of Deidre, my mother, and the fate of the Green House. My mother does not talk of her life before she met Aedan, my father. I shall first tell you about my sister, Ali, Deidre’s daughter, like her in many ways, unlike her in others.
My history begins during the reign of Otto, Imperator, before he won the great victory at Lech …
* * *
Finally finished she called to Gudbrand. With his help she made it back over the ledge. There, relieved that it was over, she rested on all fours, panting. Her fingers and toes ached, her back burned.
Gudbrand commented, “That is man’s work.”
She bobbed her head in agreement. “I will hold the rope.”
He laughed and flipped his new sword in the air, catching it by the hilt. Then he pointed at the bladders. “Why? Isn’t it water?”
She turned her head back to look at her shadow. The sun felt good and made a crisp outline. Before she had gone over the edge she hadn’t noticed the wind. Her head could feel it, so could the rest of her body. Spring did not rule the mountains yet and she wore only a light garment. It was only discomfort; she would warm up on the way down.
Twisting she flopped down to a sitting position, then straightened up with her legs crossed. “Water. Yes. Good for magic, too.” She had no desire to describe why this water had magic and other water didn’t.
He caught this; he was learning her moods quickly.
Rising she went to stand at the edge of the ledge. He joined her as she stood looking out.
The view spread out as far as the eye could see. In the distance, the water of the two lakes shone with a beautiful blue, their own blue and that of the sky. Overhead a few large birds circled; the eagles that gave the mountains their name. Trees grew lower down. Fields on hills showed clearly. A few thatched huts could be seen. The lovely green tints of spring drew the eye from place to place. A glinting of light indicated the distant sea.