“Eh?” Several people wondered what Gerraint had in mind.
“I say,” Gwillim spoke up. “But I doubt the holy men, respected as they are, could write a safe passage for men across Ireland. I mean, the Irish and British churches have not been on the best of terms since Arthur, er, we began courting Rome.”
“I meant the Tor,” Gerraint said.
“The mountain in the marshland?” Trevor named the place, but it came out as a question, and Gerraint nodded.
“Might old Chief Mesalwig interfere?” Lancelot asked.
“That’s right.” Gwillim remembered. “You have not exactly been on best of terms since the day he borrowed your Gwynyvar.”
“Impetuous, hot-headed youth,” Arthur responded. “A simple misunderstanding at the time.”
Bedivere looked confused. Uwaine explained. “Every one of us was a hot-headed youth at one time or another. Even Arthur, Gerraint and even Peredur, I assume.” Bedivere looked like he hardly believed it.
Peredur nodded. “Ambosius’ right arm against Vortigen and his Saxons.” Peredur said and held up his right arm to bulge his muscle, but he had an old arm that looked rather frail.
“No, gentlemen,” Gerraint said. “This is one journey I will have to take alone.”
“What? No.” The others objected. Arthur was the only one to ask.
“And what is the point of the Tor, if the Glastonbury monks are not the answer?” Gwillim wondered.
Gerraint paused, as he often did to think through his words before saying too much. He finally shrugged. He thought he might not survive this one; but he would rescue Enid, and Guimier would have a full life with at least her mother there to watch her grow. He confessed to Arthur, first. “Back in the day when you received Excalibur from the Lady of the Lake, the little ones were prepared to join us in the war against Claudus. I would not let them.”
Arthur looked surprised, and rubbed his chin. He about said they could have used the help, but held his tongue.
Gerraint waved his hands. “They ignored me and helped anyway.”
“I know the feeling,” Arthur said quietly.
Gerraint continued. “There were some, though, who were determined. As I slept, they endowed me with such powers as the little ones have. I got pretty mad when I first found out. They said they just wanted to do all they could, and I could not stay mad at them. It was a lovely gift. I have not depended on such, but I have found some things useful now and then.”
They all listened patiently. Most nodded. Some were more than curious. Gerraint turned to Gwillim. “The Labyrinth of the Tor,” Gerraint explained. “It is a road, like all labyrinths. It is a way the little ones can use to get from here to there in a hurry. The one on the Tor links to the home of the old gods at Tara. Unfortunately, I haven’t the strength to take you with me.”
“But the little people have great magic,” Trevor objected. “Why should they need roads?”
“They aren’t particularly little people,” Lancelot said. “Most are human enough in size.”
“Some are bigger,” Arthur got to thinking. “Much bigger than you want.”
“But they are not gods or greater spirits, or even lesser spirits to journey by magic just anywhere,” Gerraint said. “I call them little ones, not because of their size, but because they are the little spirits of the Earth.”
Trevor still did not understand, and Bedivere looked confused again as well. Uwaine took up the explanation as Gerraint turned back to the window.
“They generally need some physical point, some focal point to make the magic work. They need pixie dust, wands, potions and the like. They need something tangible.”
“Like a road,” Gwillim said, putting the thoughts together.
“I don’t like going alone, either,” Gerraint admitted.
“Nor do I.” The men stood. Gwynyvar was in the doorway and a man stood beside her.
“Macreedy!” Gwillim shouted and stepped up to shake the man’s hand. Trevor smiled. Uwaine looked at Gerraint, but Gerraint also smiled. The little ones could generally be counted on for uncanny timing.
“I heard of the trouble,” Macreedy said. “I hastened on with the ladies to be of assistance.”
“Come in. Come in.” Gwillim insisted
Macreedy hesitated. “I heard only Christians were welcome at the table of Arthur.” He looked at Gerraint. Arthur also looked up at Gerraint.
“I can see in your heart to whom you belong,” Gerraint said. “I knew it when you forgave me concerning your sister. You may come with Arthur’s permission.”
“Can you take us by the labyrinth of the Tor?” Arthur asked.
“I, and my six maidens,” Macreedy answered.
“Come and sit,” Arthur said. “We have much to plan.”
Meanwhile, Uwaine started counting. There was himself, Bedivere, Arthur, Peredur, Gwillim and Trevor, which took care of the six maidens. Macreedy could take Lancelot. He felt astounded, but not surprised at the way things worked out, until Gwynyvar spoke up.
“Not cruel. Just an old fool,” Peredur said.
“Not a fool,” Uwaine repeated himself.
The others were still staring at Gwynyvar, none daring to argue with her, when Gwillim spoke up. “But, say. How will Macreedy and his daughters be able to help?”
“I’ll bet Mesalwig will want to go as well, once the adventure is known,” Lancelot spoke at last.
“Luckless and Lolly.” Gerraint spoke as he finally sat. It became a message in his mind to the two to prepare themselves for the journey and meet them in Glastonbury. They had to see to their own little ones, but he got the distinct impression that they would be there. It almost seemed like a return message.
With that, they planned and ate, told stories and just talked, but Gerraint got anxious to leave in the morning.
The tale continues with a visit to Glastonbury Tor, and the road to Tara…Until then, Happy Reading