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In lieu of actual content, a story, from a long time ago.

The tale of King Cedrun and the Sword of Ages

It is told that many years ago, before the Pendragon spread his protecting hand over the land of Kernow, that Cedrun ruled as High King of Kernow, and he was known as Cedrun the Generous, for in his house, none went hungry, nor unclothed, and never was there an empty hand but that a tankard of ale was placed in it or a hot pie. But Cedrun’s generosity was his downfall, as so often happens. For the ignoble will not suffer the noble to prosper, and what greater nobility is there than generosity?

So it was that there was a feast announced, and feasts at Cedrun’s hall were not so common that his people were bored, yet not so rare that they counted him a miser. And this feast was to celebrate the marriage of his daughter Elaine to the son of the Prince of Brissel, for which alliance there was much rejoicing. And all were invited to the feast, and all fed. But to the feast, in fair form but foul temper came a servitor of the demon Machta, who was envious of the peace of Cornwall. And that foul creature stole away with the Sword of Ages; the weapon of the High Kings of Cornwall since there had been a High King, and disappeared into the night with it wrapped in a horse blanket.

Now, when Cedrun saw the sword was gone, his first thought was that there was some threat to his realm, that one of his breseler had taken it up to defend Kernow. But there were no shouts of alarm, and he would have been woken if the land were being attacked. For where should a king be but amongst his people when the blood runs into the land? He then thought that it had been stolen, by either the Kembro or the Sawsnek, and raising a hue and cry, he set his finest trackers and huntsmen to the finding; but no spoor could they follow of human feet. Then, knowing that the sword had been taken by demons, Cedrun gave chase.

And with Cedrun in this chase were Gerens Hewól and Ruan Tér and Maban Hegol and others of his warriors, and hard did they strive to follow the servant of Machta. But tricks and traps were placed in their path, and the Dyvarow were raised from their graves to give the servitor time to reach his fell mistress. And Gerens fell against the Dyvarow, as did Maban, and Ruan and his sister-son encountered the mists and were lost to faerie for this time and others could not keep pace with the rage of the king until Cedrun stood alone.

And he saw the spoor of the demon, and knew that he could not face her alone. And was this not the way of Kernow? We are strong when we fight together, and weak when we tussle amongst ourselves. So Cedrun knew, and falling to his knees, he raised the sword of Gerens Hewól to the heavens, and cried out to his Ancestors, and the land. And these are the words he spoke.

“Ancestors of Kernow; you of the mists and the borders, who watch our lives. You of the night and the morning, who feed our people. You of the fire and the earth and the air and the water who guide us, listen to me.”

And the thunders roared, and the rains fell, and Cedrun knew that the Ancestors were listening.

“The Sword of Ages is stolen, and the demon Machta has it. She wishes nothing but ruin for your realm; that which I hold in trust for you. Warriors of Kernow have fallen in this quest. Will you aid me to complete it?”

And the thunders roared, once, twice, and thrice. And Cedrun knew that his prayers had been answered.

And then a voice spoke; with accent harsh and foreign, almost the accent of the Sawsnek.

“Name yourself, and your allegiance.”

And Cedrun turned and saw a war band there, where none had been before. And this war band were strangely dressed, and foreign, but for that, competent. As their leader, Yggi Hosket spoke, the war band watched all ways, and checked their arms and armour.

And Cedrun said

“I am Cedrun Hél, High King of Kernow and I seek the Sword of Ages, stolen from me by the Demon Machta. My warriors have fallen in this quest, and the Ancestors of Kernow have sent you to aid me.”

And at this, Yggi Hosket and his advisors conferred, and then Pvar Coscath spoke and he said

“The ways of the field and the forest are mine, and the spoor of the demon is as clear before me as if I could see him. Let us make haste, and find him before he leaves these clean lands for the land of darkness beyond.”

And all agreed with the wisdom of Pvar, though Pellus Cusülyer spoke words of caution, as was his way.

And the way was hard fought, and the warriors of the Ancestors most mighty; their strength and wisdom supporting their King through this trial. Demons were fought, and the Dyvarow with the grave mould still falling from their arms as they struck, and others, people of Kernow beguiled and bedazzled by the magics of demons, and they were the only ones spared. For the warriors of the Ancestors were wise as well as mighty, and amongst them were those who cause the Elements to take shape, and they were able to free those who had been enslaved, and return those who had been woken from a deserved sleep. And the demons they slew.

Finally, there came a pause, and over the brow of the hill came the war host of Machta. Demons beyond count, Dyvarow unnumbered. And at their head, the demon Machta herself. And she laughed to see the warriors of the Ancestors, a pitiful dozen, and some yet to see the first growth of beard on their chins. But Cedrun looked around him, and spoke.

“On this day, and in this place, I could not wish for better companions. If I had a thousand here, they would not have the courage and fortitude that the Ancestors have gifted you with. So strike your shields, and raise your battle cry. For today we free Kernow of this infestation.”

And with that, he raised the sword of his fallen warrior, and strode directly towards Machta. And such was her wish to see the blood of a Kernow king on the ground, that she scythed through her own troops, killing twenty with each blow, that she might reach him.

And the warriors of the Ancestors came forward, and with wisdom in his eyes, Yggi Hosket spoke.

“You, Pellus Cusülyer, and you, Pvar Coscath, and you, Tanuk Godsborn – you will destroy the left wing of her army.”

And they nodded, and it was so. And Yggi Hosket spoke again.

“You, Faram Lagas, and you, Zac Younka, and you Logain Bedn Kynda, destroy the right wing of her army.”

And they nodded, and it was so. And Yggi Hosket spoke again, and said

“You, Zantalia Costan Gwidn, you are life. And should any of our warriors fall, then raise them to the battle again.”

And such was the skill of the maiden, and such the strength of her love for those she fought with, that scarce had the sword blow landed before the wound was healed.

And Cedrun saw the strength of the Ancestors, and was heartened. Raising the sword of Gerens Hewól he did battle. Long did he fight, and at times the demon Machta would bear him almost to the ground; but he knew he fought for Kernow, and for the people yet to come, and he prevailed. Three heavy blows he struck against Machta, and each would shatter the skull of a giant; for he carried the strength of Kernow with him, drawing on the strength of his war band as they drew on his, and each becoming the stronger for it.

Finally, the third blow landed, and the demon lay still. Cedrun looked around, and saw no fallen save those of the enemy, and he rejoiced to see the warriors of the Ancestors standing proud amongst the fallen, each looking to each other’s safety.

And a great throng of the folk of Kernow appeared, and gave praise to Cedrun, but he turned to the warriors of the Ancestors and said

“Praise me not, for this was not my victory. Praise those who the Ancestors of Kernow have sent to aid us all. Learn their names, and tell their stories forever more. Feast them, as no heroes of Kernow have been feasted before this day. Praise them!”

A great shout went up from the people, and they made their welcome known to the warriors of the Ancestors. But just as they were to bear them off to the feasting hall, there to pour goblets of mead large enough to drown a pig, and to roast pigs large enough to drown in the goblets, and to feast for the day, and the next, and the next, a woman spoke up from the crowd. And in a quiet voice, she said

“No.”

And Cedrun looked to her, and bowed, and then all his folk did her obeisance. And she said

“These warriors are out of time, and Cornwall needs them once more. Their struggle here is over, but forget not their sacrifice.”

And like the whispers on the wind, the warriors of the Ancestors disappeared.

This tale I know to be true, for I had it from my grandmother, and she from her grandmother before her, and so on and back to one who knew Cedrun himself.
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