…The weather is being unkind again.
There are other reasons this time, however, for our sense of anticipation for the first of the Glastonbury talks being perhaps less enthusiastic than it might be. The intrusion of Christmas left little enough time for promotion of the event and then a last minute revision in the form of the talk has added further uncertainty. Morgana appears to have gone missing and Ben too seems to be less than his usual communicatory self. Doubtless he will currently be stranded in Motorway Hell somewhere in the middle of the country. Still, we are back at ‘The George’, which is no bad thing, and have just tucked in to an incredibly easy to demolish dish of braised-pork with apple and cream sauce. The Preceptor from the Templar arras eyes me in a somewhat accusatory fashion and I take to wondering which texts he would have used to bolster the faith of the ‘faithful’ during their long crusades.
“I know which one I would use,” says Wen.
“And the Lord spoke concerning the mustard seed,” says Wen.
“Which is like the smallest of seeds.”
“But which if it falls upon prepared soil,” says Wen.
“Produces the largest of plants…”
“…And shelters the birds of Heaven,” says Wen.
“And that same evening he said to his followers, ‘Come, let us pass over to the other side.”
“But when they embarked on ship a great storm arose,” says Wen.
“And the followers went to him in consternation saying, ‘We will surely perish’.”
“To which the Lord replied, ‘What is it that you fear? How is it that you have no faith?’” says Wen.
“And the storm was immediately quelled.”
“And if each of us could only adequately answer those two questions,” says Wen.
“Then our sojourn here would be very brief.”
…I see you.
I called, and you have come.
The time is now.
I know you fear what you will find and the veils you will part.
I see it in your eyes… in your footsteps… in the tilt of your head.
Wind in hair the colour of faded bracken, beside you he who sees the world with the eyes of the heart, while you see with eyes aflame.
I know your name… though you do not.
Not yet, little sister.
…Wen is keen to go to Winchester.
Not because it is renowned, historically, as one of the holiest places of Old Albion, oh no.
Not because it used to be our capital city and still houses a rather splendid looking Cathedral built to the same geometric proportions as the now ruined Abbey in Glastonbury, nope, not for that reason either.
So what then?
Wen wants to go to Winchester because it has got her name in it.
She now refers to it as Wen-Chester!
It is, though, partly my own fault.
I did encourage her with the ‘Wen-Co-Bank’ thing… but only as a joke!
How was I to know she would take it seriously?
How was I to know that Old Albion would be choc-a-block with ‘Wen’ words?
Teeming with them… festooned even…positively seething… a bit like I am now but in a different sense…
They contain the power of bringing into being; the power of making.
Mine was never spoken, after my choosing.
And after the flames only one remained to hold it safe; he could not speak it, his voice ever given to the gods except in service.
We never spoke, never whiled away the winter darkness…our voices touched only to serve the seeing.
Yet he saw me as clearly as I see you now, a mirror of destiny across the bridge of time…
…An empty vessel of the gods.
…I mean, there is even a Win Hill, which is Wen Hill now of course and which, to make matters infinitely worse, actually resembles Glastonbury Tor from one angle, or is that Crook Hill? With all these hills it is very easy to become confused, and which means that, ‘yes’ Wen, it is one of Our Hills and ‘yes’ Wen, we are going to have to climb it.
“How come there are no hills called Don?”
“There’s a Don valley…”
“It’s not the same.”
“…And there is a Don-Caster of course…”
“Don-Caster is no Winchester though is it?”
“And if there’s a valley and a town there has to be a river of course.”
“The River Don, hmm, a bit girly, rivers are usually women you know.”
“And… there’s always the Children of Don! There’s actually a whole mythological branch in Wales given over to them.”
“Yes, you’re right, there is, isn’t there, are you still in touch with Hat?”
“I am still in touch with Hat but there’s also Ba-Don Hill which hosted Arthur’s victorious battle and ‘don’ in Celtic place names appears to actually mean a ‘hill’.
“There, I just knew it! I am a child of the hills after all.”
“Of course you are dear, but that still doesn’t alter the fact that Win Hill was the pre-eminent peak of what is now ‘The Peaks’ and was probably once regarded by the native populace as sacred and hence sacrosanct.”
“All of which means that we are very definitely going to have to climb it.”