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This World and the Next

A wide angle shot shows the huge wall of Arawn's castle in the middle of the dark forest, surrounded by mist. Every inch of it is completely white, and made of small flat stones. Around the walls a town has sprung up. Most of its structures are rectangular houses made of wattle and clay with sod roofs, but all you see are their rectangular doorways, because landfill between them conveys the impression that they were built into a hillside.

Next we see what appears to be Arawn, though we know it is really Pwyll, riding through a forest exactly like that which we have seen before and looking about him wonderingly. He is seen from below, moving toward the camera, which tracks backward at the same pace.

From one side, we see Pwyll on Arawn's horse being joyfully greeted by Arawn's retinue, including several children. They look tiny beside him, for all are human. They are extravagantly dressed, but a uniform translucent grey from head to toe. They are starkly contrasted against the dark green of the trees. Many wear broad brimmed conical hats. The women, wearing bell-shaped ankle length skirts and blouses under tight bodices, tie their hair into a bun over each ear.

The camera pans the great hall in Arawn's castle, skimming over servers bringing in dishes from the kitchen, a harpist performing at the centre of the floor and lords and ladies sitting crosslegged on chairs at the tables, conversing over a variety of dishes. The floors in Faery castles always have flagstones –they are never bare dirt floors. The children are present.

The camera's wanderings end with Pwyll, who sits beside a strikingly beautiful woman. She is Arawn's queen, but she is human and much smaller than he. Every part of the castle and every object within it is white –even the food, which Pwyll appears to enjoy. The animals in this world are white also, without exception.

In a bedchamber of the castle we see a large four poster bed ornately carved in patterns found at Knowth. It has down pillows, a heather stuffed mattress and a fur cover. Against the far wall stands a dresser with drawers. A lady in waiting on the far side of the bed –i.e. the side away from the camera– straightens the fur cover on the bed as the queen waits behind her. The lady curtsies to the queen, who nods graciously. She then leaves as Pwyll enters the bedchamber. From the same camera angle, but closer, we see Pwyll approach the queen. The bed is between us and the two people.

Pwyll (gently, with a stiff bow): "Lady, I must inform you that I am under a spell. I am not allowed to explain the reason, but we may not be intimate until a year and a day have passed. Please forgive me the hurt this may cause you, and understand that it grieves me deeply beyond words. After the spell is lifted all will be explained, and I hope forgiveness will be granted."

He takes her hand in his, bends forward and kisses it tenderly.

We fade in to a stream in a clearing with the woods behind. The land around the stream is rocky, with huge boulders. It is a misty morning.

Part of the mist magically takes the shape of a huge warrior who was invisible before and gradually becomes visible now. He is about sixteen feet tall, larger than any human could possibly be. The camera is looking up at him. He has an illuminated human form, glowing white. He has large feathered wings, and instead of hair he has feathers, yet we can make out that he is fully armed in the Faery style. This means he has on what looks like the top half of overalls, a peaked cap with ear flaps, tubes protecting his upper arms and forearms, his thighs and shins, and gauntlets without fingers and thumbs, but all these are illuminated white. He carries a spear and a triangular shield, both illuminated white. He is mounted on a white horse larger than Pwyll's. He is very beautiful. This is Hafgan.

From Hafgan's perspective we see Pwyll on Arawn's horse on the opposite side of the stream, with translucent white leather armour and shield, and a spear with its tip held point upward. He is motionless, though the horse moves uneasily. Next we see Hafgan as before.

Hafgan (bellows): "Listen, imposter. We fight in single combat and to the death for sole mastery over Arawn's kingdom. If you want him to keep it, have at me now!"

He charges toward the camera, spear tilted forward, beginning to ford the stream. From below, just above the water beside the two horses' legs, we see the men clash. Arawn's spear knocks Hafgan off his horse into the stream. Then from above we see Hafgan, mortally weakened, looking up at the camera.

Hafgan (hoarsely whispering): "Help me."

We see Hafgan from the side looking up, and Pwyll's head in profile, lowered into frame from the upper left of the screen. The two men look into each other's eyes.

Hafgan (whispers): "Kill me."

There is a pause, as Pwyll just continues to look into Hafgan's eyes.

Hafgan (even more weakly, his voice cracked): "Have mercy. I'm going to die anyway."

Pwyll continues to gaze at Hafgan, his eyes full of tears.

Hafgan (making an effort to breathe): "Arawn... told you... that I would become stronger if you killed me. How... can someone be stronger in death?"

There is a pause as he struggles for the strength to speak.

"You see how easily it would make an end of me."

Pwyll: "I cannot strike you when you're down. It would be the triumph of evil."

Hafgan: "But... this time... you're just putting me... out of my misery."

Pwyll (softly): "I see that."

Hafgan: "It would be wrong.... It would be cruel...."

Pwyll: "Who am I, to kill you in cold blood?"

Hafgan: "A good man." He becomes pathetic. "Aren't you that?" He pauses as a paroxysm overwhelms him. "Isn't that what Arawn stands for?"

Pwyll (softly and miserably): "Yes."

Hafgan: "Why prolong my agony?"

Pwyll: "As long as we are alive..."

Hafgan (turning his head to the side, his face contorted): "Who are you to say so?"

Pwyll: "We must try to go on."

He hangs his head in real compassion, resting it on Hafgan's. From the same angle, but from a distance along the stream, we see the two motionless figures. Hafgan lies dead and Pwyll is huddled over him, holding the body in his arms, his head pressed to its head with his face buried against it in genuine grief.

An establishing shot shows Pwyll's castle at Arberth, from the stone gateway beyond which lies a courtyard cobbled with flat grey stones. The large rectangular castle keep is made of smaller stones of this kind. It is surrounded by a rectangular wall, also made of small flat grey stones. Inside this outer wall is a spacious courtyard.

Ostlers take the guests' horses to stables behind the castle keep. It is getting dark, and a warm glow comes from inside the open doorway, where the castellan is receiving Pwyll's guests. The castle is covered with ivy. The forest encroaches on its walls in a very attractive manner. It is at once both enchanted and inviting. We hear the opening strains of 'The Twa' Corbies'.

We enter the dining hall of the castle. Pwyll, restored to his proper form, is celebrating with members of his court. The camera tracks forward past black cloaks and broad brimmed conical hats in the anteroom, and through the two great wooden doors which open to admit its entrance. Each of these doors is carved with the triple spiral design found at Newgrange. The walls are made of small, flat grey stones, as in all Faery castles.

Children are present, as at all gatherings. In the manner of Faery banquets, long tables line the three walls which do not have doors. There are no tablecloths. The host or hosts sit –crosslegged, of course– at the middle of the table against the back wall, and a harpist sits in the centre of the floor, facing the host. The harp is of the portable kind now known as a 'Celtic harp', but seems larger because the Faery are very small. Two opposite walls have fireplaces built into them. We hear the entire tune of 'The Twa' Corbies', which continues from the previous shot.

As at any Faery banquet, the room is lit by seal oil lamps made of chalk. These are shaped like unadorned shallow cups, and are sitting on little wooden shelves extending from the walls above head height. The shelves are charmingly decorated with arrangements of holly and ivy.

The camera tracks past the harpist as Pwyll helps himself from one of several condiment trays and graciously offers the tray to the person next to him. The diners taste their food with appreciation, and eat it delicately with finely made bone knives and forks. The drinking vessels are rams' horns, flattened near the points so that they can easily be balanced on the tables.

On the wall behind Pwyll is a fleece with pictures cut into it displaying sun, moon and planetary symbols. Rich crimson and hunter green predominate, for only the wizards are allowed to wear blue. The high backed armchairs at the dining tables are carved in the same manner as Arawn's bed, but are made of dark wood. A medium range shot shows Pwyll lean backward in his chair, gently moving his horn back and forth between his fingers and thumb. He is obviously in great spirits.

A young man with a keen gaze and a kind, thin face sits at Pwyll's right. This is Manawyddan. He stands out because, like all wizards, he is taller than the Faery folk. Like all wizards he does not have large pointed ears. Some of the Faery have uptilted noses rather than aquiline ones, but all the wizards have aquiline noses. Some of the Faery have low eyelid creases despite their huge eyes, but the wizards do not. And the ordained wizards all have beards and mustaches, which are entirely absent among Faery men. There is no brim on Manawyddan's royal blue conical hat, and he wears a wizard's long robe with the insignia.

Pwyll taps on the table for attention. The murmur of conversation trails off comfortably. Pwyll stands up.

Pwyll (in a clear voice): "It's good to see you all after a year and a day. Even though you don't seem to have missed me at all." He looks pointedly at several guilty parties.

"I must pay a visit to the Gorsedd Arberth tomorrow to give thanks for my successful return. In the meantime I have an announcement to make. We have the great privilege of receiving in this hall a visitor who has the distinction of having been part of the First Great Adventure at the court of Arthur in Cernyw –Manawyddan, son of Llyr."

Manawyddan waves his hands in front of himself in denial of this embarrassment. Pwyll sits down. We see a closer shot of an attractive female courtier at one of the tables, with a male admirer seated on each side of her.

Female courtier: "Pwyll is so..." She rolls her eyes upward, one hand gesturing delicately. "What's the word? I'd rather hear myself chew."

First male courtier (over her head, to the other male courtier): "It's fine when she's cruel. It's when she's kind that no one can bear it."

The female courtier smiles charmingly at him.

Female courtier: "Oh, the great boar hunt of Arthur's day." She throws her head back dramatically. "'The screams of the dead and dying rent the air.... '"

The men are unmoved. She bristles, then clears her throat suggestively, and glares from under her eyelashes at the second male courtier. Again no response. The first male courtier takes his time to remark upon her comment.

First male courtier (calmly): "Good one."

She pouts good naturedly, then tosses her head and speaks to the second male courtier.

Female courtier (with pretended snobbishness): "He's not clever like you." She pointedly attends to the second male courtier, speaking to him in feigned confidence, still in the same overdone tone. "I don't love him any more."

The second male courtier smiles indulgently.

Second male courtier: "Never trusted him."

First male courtier (with an amused smile): "It wasn't that kind of relationship anyway."

The female courtier looks intently at him in mock disappointment.

Female courtier (disgruntled): "Oh."

A wider angle shot shows the middle table from one of the side tables. Pwyll speaks rather loudly and pointedly, intending to be widely heard.

Pwyll: "May I take this opportunity to thank one of the young ladies of this court for her flattering comments, and for ensuring that everyone in Dyfed would benefit from her opinion."

As he speaks, a ripple of laughter runs around the tables, and at the end of his speech a closer shot shows the female courtier, her amused companions on either side. She is looking ahead of her with an unconcerned smirk on her face, then buries her face in her hands, trying not to laugh. As the amusement subsides, Manawyddan turns to Pwyll with concern.

Manawyddan: "Pwyll, think twice about this. No one has been in the Gorsedd Arberth in living memory. It is known as one of the portals to the next world."

Pwyll (cheerfully): "Manawyddan son of Llyr, I thank you for your counsel. But I spent a year and a day in the next world. Maybe I'll visit my old friend."

Manawyddan smiles wanly.

Manawyddan: "After what you have done for him, I'm sure no evil will befall you. But you're the only mortal who will ever go unpunished for entering the mound of Arberth without just cause."

Female courtier's voice (a strangled cry from out of frame, amid the murmur of voices): "Oh, my poor dead grandmother!" It is a ruse to cover up her laughter.

Pwyll frowns curiously and Manawyddan smiles bemusedly as they look past the camera. We see the female courtier trying hard not to laugh, her little round face contorted and her eyes nearly popping out of her head. A couple of male courtiers are coaching her breathing, palms upward in an encouraging gesture. We switch back to Pwyll and Manawyddan.

Pwyll: "Still trying to control her admiration, I see. I have that effect on women."

The ominous sound of a wailing wind provides a background for a wide angle shot of the Gorsedd Arberth at dusk. It is a large burial mound of sediment which has collected over a giant dolmen. We see the dolmen, with its gaping black entrance, and the mound over it looking exactly like a rounded hill with steep sides and a long, almost flat top. It looms black over the meadow below, silhouetted against the streaks of dying light breaking through the dark clouds. The camera slowly zooms in toward the gaping entrance to the tomb.

We fade in to a small meadow surrounded by thick evergreens, bathed in morning sunlight, a tangle of blackberry bushes leading the rainforest back into it. A standing stone is in the foreground. From a steep angle above, we see Pwyll and his retinue climbing up a steep inclination. They all wear peaked bonnets of some kind or other, or else floppy conical toques. Some carry furs.

The female courtier who so regaled the diners at last night's banquet is assisted by the second male courtier. Neither carries anything, for the first male courtier is still being punished by the lady, and follows them laden with furs and a large food basket covered with a cloth. He casts a baleful glance ahead.

We see the climbers from the same angle as before. Some of the ladies need a helping hand now and then, after stopping to fan themselves daintily with large leaves. They are a picturesque group on their outing. The camera focusses upon the female courtier from last night as yet another male admirer passes her on the slope.

Admirer: "How's the grandmother?"

Female courtier (primly, her nose in the air): "Very well, thank you."

Admirer (acidly): "A miraculous recovery, my dear. We must tell Manawyddan."

Female courtier (interrupting him hastily and pointedly): "That really won't be necessary."

Admirer (grinning): "Oh, but I insist." Everyone in earshot is laughing.

Female courtier (cutting in quickly, in an unnaturally high voice): "Thank you, I'm sure I can take care of it myself."

We see Pwyll at a steep angle from below, laughing down at them, hands on his hips.

Pwyll: "Come on, slowpokes!"

In a dim light we see, from ground level, the courtiers in assorted groupings on furs inside the tomb of the Gorsedd Arberth. All are asleep or drowsy, except for Pwyll. From less than five feet away we see Pwyll sitting comfortably with his legs crossed and his forearms on his knees. He nudges one of his courtiers, smiling.

Pwyll: "Lad, I thought you were to stand watch, for everyone knows that to be in the Gorsedd Arberth is to see a wonder."

He sees another courtier move, and nudges him awake as the first one falls back asleep.

"Will you stand watch?"

The young man nods, then falls over, unconscious.

Next we see from ground level the second young man fast asleep, and Pwyll sitting behind him talking earnestly to a third young man who is nodding off. After this the camera looks up at Pwyll sitting upright behind the face of the third man, who is fast asleep in the immediate foreground. Pwyll is the only one left awake. His face shows resignation as he looks upward, waiting for something to happen.

Next, from as wide an angle as possible we see the whole scene, with Pwyll kneeling in the middle, dwarfed by the high walls of the tomb, dimly lit from an aperture above. His arms are extended at his sides, elbows bent, and wrists bent back with the palms upward as if to catch something from above. He looks up expectantly, motionless while five seconds pass, as a faint whispering sound gathers like eddying wind.

The small figure of Pwyll is suddenly bathed in brilliant white light from above as the sound becomes overpowering. The light lasts for five seconds, and is gone as suddenly as it came.

Next we see him from outside the entrance to the tomb. Birds are singing and grass is rustling. He steps outside into the daylight as if newborn, expecting a miracle.

We hear 'Through Bushes and Briars' played on solo harp and woodwind. From the top of the mound, the camera looks down steeply upon a woman riding sidesaddle on a golden horse toward the upper part of the frame. The horse is walking at an even, relaxed pace. All of the woman appears golden, as does her clothing, and the horse's saddle and bridle are gold. There are no stirrups on Faery saddles. She is one of the wizards' kind, larger than Pwyll and with small ears. She wears curly toed moccasins with the robe and hat of a wizard.

We see this woman from the waist up as the camera tracks backward at the same pace as her horse. Her face is perfectly serene. Her name is Rhiannon.

From behind we see Pwyll running to catch up with the rider, whom we see in the background, her horse walking away at the same unchanging pace. The side of the mound is on his right. The relationship of the people to their surroundings and to each other never changes despite their movements. We see a closeup of Pwyll in profile, out of breath, struggling to continue.

Then, from ahead of him, we see Pwyll stop hopelessly and bend over to rest his hands on his knees. He looks up, expecting to see the rider far away. We see from his point of view the rider, no farther away than before, her horse's gait unchanged. Although this is not a tracking shot, she does not recede at all but remains the same distance from the camera.

We see Pwyll in profile again, running after the rider, but this time we see him give up during the same shot. As he stands bent with his hands on his knees, we switch to a closeup of this same pose continued from exactly the same angle. He looks up, again expecting to see the rider far away.

There follows an exact duplicate of the previous shot from behind the rider, and again she is not receding even though the camera is unmoving. Then we see Pwyll in profile a third time, running after the rider, but this time he raises one hand and tries to call out. The result is hardly loud enough for himself to hear.

Pwyll (exhausted): "Lady, please stop your horse, that I may speak with you!"

From a static position behind Pwyll, we see him stand exhausted, arms limp at his sides. The rider's horse takes two more of its magical paces and stops. Unhurriedly the rider turns around in the saddle to her left and looks at him over her left shoulder, right hand on the pommel, left hand the back of the saddle. She calls back to Pwyll in a clear, unstressed voice.

Rhiannon: "Why lord, I thought you'd never ask."

In a room at Pwyll's castle we see Rhiannon on one side of the frame and Pwyll on the other, from the waist up. Both are sitting down comfortably.

Pwyll: "I must have called you from the next world by visiting the mound."

Rhiannon: "No, it was I who called you to the mound so that I could pass through to you. And I come from beyond Arawn's world."

She smiles as she continues.

"There are worlds within worlds, you know. In all of them, you're quite famous for your service to him."

Pwyll: "Why did you call me?"

Rhiannon: "I need you to save me. My name is Rhiannon. I am betrothed against my will to a man named Gwawl." She looks down. "He's not right for me. I have come to ask whether you will have me instead. If you pledge yourself to me my family will let him go, for you are highly regarded in our world."

Pwyll: "Lady, I would rather have you than any woman. I will free you from this man."

An establishing shot shows that we are in Rhiannon's world, at a banquet. Everything and everyone is golden, even the sunlight –except, of course, Pwyll. He sits with Rhiannon at a long table with numerous relatives, including children. Rhiannon is wearing a brimless conical cap and a wizard's long robe. Golden food is served with panache on golden dishes, and golden flowers hang in garlands from golden rafters. We see a closeup of Rhiannon leaning her head adoringly on Pwyll's shoulder.

Rhiannon: "I can't believe that we're betrothed."

We see from behind a man's back the golden doors of the banquet hall open to disclose the scene we have just observed. The camera tracks behind him as he limps forward to the centre of the floor directly in front of Pwyll and Rhiannon. He is wearing golden rags, and golden bandages around an apparently injured golden leg. He uses a golden staff. It is Gwawl in disguise. We never see his face.

Gwawl: "Prince Pwyll, my congratulations to you on this happy day. I am a poor mendicant craving a favour of you in your good fortune."

We see Pwyll in closeup, leaning back indulgently.

Pwyll: "Whatever you ask shall be granted."

We see the same banquet hall from the opposite direction, from behind the table, and the festivities are over. The table displays the usual rather depressing untidiness of parties that are definitely finished. There are some overturned drinking horns, there's a bit of spilt food, and only pickings are on the plates and trays.

Rhiannon and Pwyll are in the middle of the floor, facing each other with arms slightly raised at their sides, palms up. They lean slightly forward and look at each other with desolate expressions –open mouths and eyes looking upward from slightly downturned faces.

Pwyll (almost wailing): "How could I have known it was Gwawl?"

Rhiannon (almost screeching): "Well you didn't need to say he could have whatever he wanted!"

Pwyll (almost moaning): "I was in a good mood." He rolls his eyes and looks at the ceiling hopelessly.

Rhiannon (hotly glaring at him, hands on her hips): "I think there is no man stupider than you." Her tone becomes acid. "It's a wonder you don't keel over and fall on the floor for sheer lack of brain power." She suddenly gathers energy. "I'll have to think of some way to make Gwawl return your promise."

Pwyll (straightening up): "How can you do that?"

Rhiannon (pointing at him): "Just do what I tell you."

An establishing shot shows the banquet hall exactly as we first saw it except that Gwawl, in golden wizard's garments, is sitting with Rhiannon, who is stiff as a poker. A solo harp plays the tune of 'Old King Cole' –but it must be the Faery version. Again we see, from behind a man's back, the great gold doors open. Again the camera tracks behind the man as he walks to the centre of the floor.

This man is a hunchback, dressed in a gold jester's costume made of diamond shaped patches, with a zig zag hem. He wears a Punch and Judy style mask and a jester's hat with four floppy conical protrusions and a zig zag rim. He carries a small gold sack. It is Pwyll in disguise. Rhiannon's magic has made his skin and hair gold for the occasion. He stops in front of Gwawl, and so does the camera.

Gwawl: "What can we do for you, jester?"

Pwyll: "I ask only that in your time of happiness you fill my sack with food."

Gwawl (indulgently): "That should be easy enough." We see him standing over the table, murmuring to those near him as they contribute. "How about the mussels? The prawns too. And that nutmeat would be nice." The others murmur helpful suggestions too quietly to be understood.

We fade in to Pwyll seen from Gwawl's point of view, standing over the half full bag with his palms up in mock surprise.

Pwyll: "Fancy that! No matter what you give me, it's not enough."

Gwawl's voice (out of frame, sounding hollow): "Our servants have put half the feast in it."

Pwyll: "Well, it's a magic bag. The lord presiding has to stamp on the food twice and say ‘Enough has been put in here’."

Gwawl's voice (drily): "Enough indeed." He becomes annoyed. "Is that what I must do to get you out of here?"

Pwyll (the very picture of irritating servility): "Lord, you've given me your word at your betrothal feast–"

Gwawl's voice (interrupting impatiently): "I know all that. Now what do I have to do?"

He enters the left of the frame. Pwyll kneels in an obsequious manner to open the bag, then closes it suddenly.

Gwawl (irritably): "More problems?"

Pwyll (with feigned timidity): "Lord, a cloth. I can't let you get my food dirty."

A hand enters the frame with a gold cloth which Gwawl drops on Pwyll's hands. Pwyll places it over the food in the bag with a careful pat.

Gwawl: "Everything fine?" Pwyll nods. Gwawl steps into the bag.

We cut to Rhiannon standing behind the table, pointing her right forefinger at Gwawl, a ferocious expression on her face.

Rhiannon (in a terrible voice): "Now let justice be done!"

From slightly above we see the bag, no larger than before, in the centre of the floor. It is pulled tight and something is struggling inside. Pwyll is crouching over it, knotting the drawstring. Muffled cries of someone small come from inside the bag, though the voice is identifiably Gwawl's, without a raise of pitch.

Gwawl (from inside the bag): "Let me out!"

We see Rhiannon as before.

Rhiannon (still in a terrible voice): "First release Pwyll from his promise."

We see Pwyll and the bag as before.

Gwawl: "No!"

We return to Rhiannon.

Rhiannon (spitefully): "Then you can be married in the bag, and eat your wedding feast in it."

We return to Pwyll and the bag.

Gwawl: "All right, I give in."

Pwyll starts to remove his mask, revealing his true features.

In a room of a golden castle we see a middle aged bearded man from the waist up, obviously a wizard in Rhiannon's world. He is facing the camera. Everything about him is golden. Rhiannon and Pwyll, their backs to the camera, are facing him.

Wizard (looking searchingly at Rhiannon): "You know what it means when someone goes back. All our being is focussed on going forward, on graduating from our realm to the next of which ours is only a part. This man is two realms behind you. His whole being is moving toward places where you have already gone. Can you really want to return to his world of sickness and hardship?"

Rhiannon (looking down): "Yes."

Wizard: "But the human journey is toward knowledge. We seek to become better with each life that we lead. We do not go back into ignorance. It is unheard of."

We see Rhiannon in closeup, looking him in the eyes.

Rhiannon (drily): "I haven't noticed that people in our world are so improved. There must be something wrong with your theory."

We see the wizard in closeup, looking concerned.

Wizard: "It's what life is all about, going forward."

We see Rhiannon looking intently at him.

Rhiannon: "Well, I am going back."

Wizard’s voice (out of frame): "Why?"

Rhiannon: "For the sake of his journey. Remember, he is making one too."

From Rhiannon's point of view we see Pwyll looking at her gratefully. Then we see the wizard, who is very serious.

Wizard (in wonder): "Never has anyone from our world come down... for the sake of someone in a lesser world. Never has one of us gone back for love. This is an action worthy of the Mother herself."

Rhiannon's voice (out of frame): "By going back we may go forward. It is one of the mysteries."

We return to the camera angle with which we began. The wizard is looking at Rhiannon intently.

Wizard: "You are the greatest of us all."

Rhiannon looks down in embarrassment. Then the wizard sighs.

"But you must know what you're getting into. Each world can see only the worlds within it, not those beyond it. If you go with this man, you will not be able to see your homeland." He pauses. "But there is more."

He takes a deep breath.

"People do not last as long in that world as they do here. Soon you will grow old and lose your beauty, and you may regret your decision."

We see Rhiannon with her chin up.

Rhiannon: "Women in that world give up their beauty for love all the time."

We see the three people as before. The wizard is looking at Rhiannon affectionately.

Wizard (softly): "I have a wedding present for you, Rhiannon."

He cups his hands, and as he throws them upward seven golden swallows magically fly out of them and flutter overhead.

"These birds will stay with you for as long as you live, and will do your bidding. And all who see them will know that these are the birds of Rhiannon. They cannot keep you from growing old, but they will make it happen more slowly, and as long as you hear them sing your heart will be young."

The camera tilts upward to focus on the birds, bright against the darker gold of the rafters, and we hear them twitter.

An establishing shot shows the castle walls at Arberth from outside the gate. It is constructed like Arawn's castle, though of course in a natural grey, and overgrown with green ivy. Around and below the castle we can see part of a town, houses built into the hillside for warmth. Smoke rises from holes in their moss covered sod roofs.

In a closer shot we see tradesmen and vendors in cloaks, wearing broad brimmed conical hats or peaked caps with ear flaps, mill around the castle courtyard. Others move in and out through the wide gateway whose two huge doors have been swung inward. Some bring their wares in carts, and some hang them around their necks. A mother enters with four children to do some shopping. A boy herds a flock of sheep along the road past the gate.

In a bedchamber of the castle we see Rhiannon in a white shift. Her skin is now like that of anyone else in Dyfed and her hair has become the same very dark brown. She is sitting on a birthing chair leaning back with her knees up and head back, obviously in labour. There are seven other women present, all dressed simply in grey and white. Two bring in a tub of warm water at one side of the chamber. One bathes Rhiannon's head with a moist towel while another holds a basin of cool water behind her. On Rhiannon's other side a fifth woman holds extra towels. At Rhiannon's feet two women assist with the birth itself.

A closeup from alongside, neither up nor down, shows a newborn baby in swaddling clothes inside a little rabbit fur bunting, obviously laid on a large bed. The baby is sleeping, and its head is to the left of the frame. Its ears are bandaged, since they have been operated on to make them pointed. A pair of golden hands belonging to a man come into the upper right corner of the frame. They pick the baby up, bunting and all, lifting it out of frame, and we are left looking at where the baby has been, hearing the sound of the kidnapper's footsteps on the wooden floor receding as he moves farther away. Throughout this shot the ambient sound has been very clear.

We see one of the women who assisted at the birth, entering a room in great agitation and haste. She moves into the left side of the frame, her face stricken with horror.

Woman (whispers): "The baby! The baby's gone!"

There is immediately the sound of great commotion as the other women get up. The first woman disappears back through the doorway to be replaced by a flood of worried heads rushing through after her. They are the heads of the other six women who assisted at the birth.

We look directly down at Rhiannon's face upon a pillow. She is fast asleep, her hair strewn about her. Two pairs of women's hands descend from above and smear blood on her cheeks.

A closeup shows the first woman who discovered the baby's absence. She looks frightened.

Woman: "I've never seen such ferocity in a woman."

The camera tracks sideways to the right, bringing a second woman's face into view.

Second woman: "She fought us like a wild beast. See our cuts and bruises."

The woman raises her arms, wrists together, so that parts of her hands enter the frame. The camera continues its journey to the third woman.

Third woman: "To kill her own baby! It was horrible!"

The camera moves on to the fourth woman, then the fifth, sixth and seventh.

Fourth woman: "It was a madness that came upon her."

Fifth woman (worriedly): "She wasn't responsible for her actions."

Sixth woman (nervously): "We did everything we could, but we arrived too late."

Seventh woman (with a look of horror): "She was there with blood all around, and a terrible look on her face."

We see Rhiannon, sitting propped up by pillows. She has an expression of gentle suffering and speaks to the women, who are out of frame, behind and slightly to the left of the camera.

Rhiannon (gently, coaxingly): "You can tell me what happened to the baby."

There is a silence.

"You poor things. You're so frightened. If you tell the truth I promise no harm shall come to you. I know you're sorry, and nothing can bring back my baby now." Her voice breaks.

An establishing shot shows Pwyll's throne room, looking across the large expanse at the far wall, where Rhiannon's throne on the right side of the frame is empty. Every throne of the Faery is on a slightly raised dais, and is made of dark carved wood. Pwyll is on his throne at the left.

Pwyll (assertively): "Seven times nothing is nothing." Next we see him on his throne, in centre frame. The camera is directly in front of him, looking up.

First counsellor's voice: "Seven respectable citizens."

Pwyll: "Testimonial evidence."

There is a pause. Pwyll makes an effort to be understood.

"Look. I never pretended to be a wizard, I don't have the gift."

From Pwyll's point of view we look slightly down at three counsellors staring at the floor of the throne room as they stand in front of the prince.

Pwyll's voice (out of frame now, continuing without pause): "I never pretended to have great knowledge. All I have is my heart. But that has been good enough for my people until now. And my heart tells me Rhiannon could not kill her baby."

Second counsellor: "But lord, it's seven against one. Seven people can't all be wrong."

Third counsellor: "You're the only person who believes in her."

We see him in closeup, partly in profile, looking slightly above and to the right of the camera cajolingly with palms upward.

"Everyone else is convinced she's guilty. A whole population can't be wrong."

There is a slight pause.

"Can it."

It's not a question. The camera lingers a split second too long on his face.

We see Pwyll from across the table in his council chamber. He is sitting with two of his most trusted warriors, one on each side. The warriors are wearing the leather armour of the Faery.

First warrior: "Lord, Princess Rhiannon's punishment has been decided."

Pwyll (shouting): "Who has decided it?"

First warrior: "A council of the people, lord."

Pwyll (still shouting, and turning to the warrior aggressively): "And who consulted me?"

First warrior: "Lord, the severity of the crime warranted unusual procedures."

Pwyll (slightly calmer, but contemptuous, leaning back): "And what is this... punishment?"

First warrior: "That she sit on a mounting block at the castle gate to the end of her days, telling passers by of her crime, and that she carry visitors inside on her back like a beast of burden."

Pwyll (shouting again and banging the table with his fist): "This is an outrage! That woman is innocent!"

He gets up and prepares to go, but the first warrior grips him by the forearm. He is surprised at the affront.

First warrior: "Lord, if you do not allow this punishment we will have to take the matter out of your hands."

Pwyll struggles all the time this is being said.

Second warrior (gripping him by the other forearm as the struggle continues): "Lord, we must restrain you. It is the will of the people."

Without ambient sound, 'I Gave my Love a Cherry' is played softly and slowly by flute and harp. An establishing shot shows the castle entrance with Rhiannon in rags sitting hunched over on a mounting block at the gate. The mounting block is a large cross section of a fallen tree. Rhiannon has to get off the block to allow a departing visitor to use it, after which she sits down again.

People are passing through the gateway into the cobblestoned courtyard. Five are leaving, including a shepherd with a small herd of sheep. Three are entering, two on foot and one with a pony and cart, which has no trouble moving through the light dusting of snow on the ground.

All three coming in are men. Each one who enters stops to talk to Rhiannon. She speaks without raising her head. The man with the horse and cart shakes his head and leads his horse in. The two on foot seem amused and speak to each other a moment. Then one gets astride her back and she carries him in as the second waits his turn, hands on hips, observing the spectacle.

The music continues as we see Pwyll at an ivy framed window of the castle. The shutters are open, and he is leaning with his elbows on the window sill, his head bent over his upper arms in grief and his forearms vertical, showing that his wrists are bound together by wooden cuffs, attached to a ring on the wall with wooden chains. The music fades away, and we hear ambient sound coming from the courtyard outside.

First man's voice: "Like this? Here, horsey."

First woman's voice: "Give 'er a whipping."

Second man's voice (joining the first woman's): "Yeah, give 'er a whipping. The old nag's gettin' slow."

Second woman's voice: "Lay off 'er."

Third man's voice (joining the second woman's): "Lay off 'er."

Fourth man's voice: "See if she can take two at one go." Somebody laughs.

An establishing shot in the throne room of the castle shows Pwyll being led to his throne by the two warriors we have seen before, who lock his hands into wooden cuffs nailed to the throne's arms. Pwyll looks disgruntled. Then the camera tracks behind the thick red-gold hair of a young boy as he walks across the floor of the throne room behind his foster father Teyrnon, a modestly dressed farmer. They are going toward the throne.

The boy is only the second person we have seen with hair this colour and texture in a society for which silky dark brown hair is standard. On both sides of the room we see courtiers bending their heads to see it, putting their hands to their mouths in astonishment and remarking to each other. We hear gasps and murmurs and a rustling of skirts.

The camera halts when Teyrnon and the boy stop in front of the throne. Next we see Teyrnon from the boy's point of view beside him. Teyrnon is bowing.

Teyrnon: "Lord, I have something important to ask of you."

Pwyll: "Speak."

Teyrnon: "Do you see a resemblance between yourself and this boy?"

We see Teyrnon from the other side, in profile, looking up at the king. Nobody speaks. Suddenly the sides of Teyrnon's mouth twitch and the corners of his eyes crinkle.

Teyrnon: "Just a little?"

From below we see Rhiannon in closeup, restored to her throne which is identical to Pwyll's. She is looking down from centre frame. She is magnificently dressed and resplendently beautiful, and wears a royal blue magician's hat and robe.

Rhiannon: "We are eternally grateful."

Teyrnon's voice: "Lady, your ordeal echoes the atrocities endured during Mother's descent into Tiamat"

Rhiannon(breathless): "I'm sure I do not deserve such a comparison." She pauses, overwhelmed by the compliment. "Thank you." She regains her composure. "You say you found the baby the same day my son was born?"

Teyrnon's voice (out of frame): "Yes, lady."

Rhiannon: "And it was newborn?"

Teyrnon's voice: "Yes, lady." There is another pause.

Rhiannon: "What did you call him?"

Teyrnon's voice: "Goldenhair, lady."

Rhiannon (smiling gently): "Yes, that's extraordinary, isn't it? There is giant blood in my husband's family." She becomes reflective. "I will name him Pryderi." She looks at Teyrnon apologetically, smiling wrily, but her happiness shines through. Her voice softens slightly. "After all, I am his mother."

back to introduction for next episode

photo of a Dyfed dolmen courtesy Chris Collyer
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