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Homecoming: A Prelude to the Myfanwy's People Series

Homecoming

 

A Prelude to the Myfanwy’s People Series

 

 

Joseph H.J. Líaigh

 

 

To my family: my wife, Mandy, and my sons, Timothy, James and John, who have graciously and generously put up with my writing; and to Isabella, for whom this story was originally written.

 

Published in Australia by Leach Publications

PO Box 2123, Parkdale, Vic. 3195, Australia.

Email: [email protected]

 

First published in Australia 2015

Copyright © Leach Publications 2015

Cover design: Caligraphics

Editor: Isabella Kružas

 

All rights reserved. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this publication may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express prior written permission of Leach Publications.

 

The moral rights of the author are asserted.

 

Liaigh, Joseph H.J.

The Homecoming: A Prelude to the Myfanwy’s People Series

 

Cover layout and design by Caligraphics

 

 

Acknowledgments:

 

This book would not have been written without the encouragement and support of my family. I would also like to thank Isabella Kružas, the chief editor for the Myfanwy’s People series, for her encouragement and advice. This story was originally written for her.

 

Prelude

Myfanwy caught her breath as she reached the top of the hill. She wished, not for the first time, that Friar Daffyd would relax his protocols and allow her to use her talent and to simply travel here. It would be so much easier and less time consuming. In fact, if he would let people simply travel here, instead of needing to walk, he would get many more visitors. She sighed, realising that that was precisely why the protocols were in place. A hermit needs his privacy.

The wind pulled at her hair and her cloak. Here, it had a bite, a freshness, which it did not have in the other place. It carried the scent of sea and of forest rather than the taint of six billion people all trying to live on one small planet. She pulled her woollen cloak more tightly around her. She was twelve years old and small for her age, with the pale skin and the brilliant green eyes of her people. Her hair, which was normally a mass of dark curls, was today tied back from her face in a loose pony tail. It had been a long climb and the long dress she was wearing had made the rough path all the more difficult. The dress annoyed her but her mother was yet to accept that jeans were proper attire for a young lady. That would change, she thought, as they became more open to the other world and what it contained. She was afraid that many things might change and that not all those changes would be good. This fear was, in part, the reason she had climbed this hill early in the morning to seek the advice of Friar Daffyd.

After a short rest, she made her way around the hedge that surrounded the top of the hill: a strange hedge of apple tree and roses, yew and oak, bound together by blackberries and thorns. As she followed the hedge, the vista of tended fields and ocean gave way to views of forest and snow capped mountains. Still she kept walking till, on the far side, she came to an opening and a wicker gate. She opened the gate and passed into an avenue of hedge which spiralled into the interior of the enclosure. This ended in a second gate and as she passed through this, she paused.

The enclosure was exactly as she had remembered it. With all the changes in her life, she had been half afraid that this too would have changed: but there it was. It was a circle of green surrounded by the hedge. There was the chapel, the friar’s hermitage, the fruits trees, the vegetable garden, the hens, and the goat. At the centre was a still, dark pond which never showed a ripple on its surface. The chapel looked as it always had, there was smoke coming out of the hermitage chimney, the chooks were busy scratching, the goat looked bored and old Friar Daffyd, in his worn Franciscan habit, was over pruning his fruit trees. This would never change. There was a solidity and a calm here that would resist all the changes of the world. She took a deep breath and felt at peace for the first time in months.

When he saw her, Friar Daffyd immediately left off his pruning.

“Myfanwy! My dear child. Welcome! Welcome!” he called out happily. Myfanwy raced across the grass and gave him an eager hug which he gladly returned.

“Come,” he said. “Sit and tell me all that has befallen you.” They walked across to the pond and sat on the stone bench near its edge. As she looked at him, he noticed that her smile had lost none of its brilliance but there was a hesitancy, a reserve, behind it that had not been there before. He had known that this was likely to happen but it still grieved him to see it.

“So,” he said. “What has happened to you in that other place?” It was just five months since Myfanwy had been sent from Annwn to go to school in England: sent from a land of magic and wild country to a land of technology, crowded with people. He watched as a shadow passed across her face.

“It’s not too bad,” she said. “A lot of the kids are nice but…” She paused.

“But?” he prompted gently.

“But,” she continued, “there are a lot of them who don’t like me very much and I think they may have good reason.”

“Myfanwy, all you need to do is to be yourself and people will like you.”

“That’s the problem,” she said. She pointed to a pile of autumn leaves in a corner near the fruit trees. The leaves formed themselves into a large gold and red eagle. They flew around the hermitage before bursting into flames like a phoenix and then settling back down as a neat pile of ash. Friar Daffyd marvelled at the ease and brilliance of her magic. She had the same extraordinary talent as her father. If her brother and sister also had such talent, they would change the fate of Annwn.

“Being myself is the one thing I cannot possibly be. Can you imagine what would happen if I did that in the other world? Being myself is what got me into trouble.”

“How so?” the friar asked softly.

“Well,” she said. “There is this one boy who is really very smart…” An image of a small, dark haired boy with thick glasses appeared in the still surface of the pond. “…and there are others who have decided to make his life a misery. I don’t know why. Perhaps they’re jealous, perhaps they feel intimidated. Anyway, they take every opportunity to ridicule and bully him.” The image of a large, thick set boy with pale blond hair appeared in the pond. There was a brutish arrogance about his face and a hardness in his eyes.

“He is the ringleader,” she said, pointing to the pond image, “and one day he and his friends set out to beat Wilson to a pulp. No one else was going to help him so I had to step in. I stood in their way but that didn’t stop them. They just said ‘Get lost taffy’.” Now she spoke very softly. “I think they would have mistreated me. I think that maybe where they come from, it’s not unusual for a man to hit a woman.” Now Friar Daffyd was worried. This was the kind of thing he had feared might happen. He looked at the blond boy’s face and his heart broke within him to think of the pain that had caused that brutishness and the hardness of those eyes. Yet here these boys were facing a power greater than they could imagine.

“What did you do?” he asked anxiously.

Myfanwy looked down at her hands. “I gave them a rash,” she said. “I made them so itchy that they couldn’t do anything but scratch.” She looked up at him and said earnestly, “It wasn’t permanent. I didn’t really hurt them. As soon as they left Wilson alone, it went away.” Friar Daffyd had to hide a smile. This was nowhere near as bad as he had feared. It was actually quite clever. “The trouble is: they know I did it. Wilson thinks it was just a lucky coincidence but these others aren’t clever enough. They don’t know or understand their world well enough to ignore the evidence of their own eyes. All they know is that they threatened me and then they got a rash the like of which they had never had before. They know I did it. Now they’re afraid of me and they hate me. They call me ‘witch girl’ and tell the others to avoid me.”

“Myfanwy,” the Friar said gently. “In that world you have great power and the greater the power the greater the responsibility. Also, you need to protect us. That world must not learn of our existence.”

Myfanwy nodded sadly. “I know,” she said.

“Look, I would not say ‘Do not use your power’. I think that would be as impossible as asking you not to breathe. As well, it is right to defend those who cannot defend themselves. But great power must be used sparingly and lightly. All I ask is that you be careful.”

“I know,” she said again, “and I am careful. I hold myself in check and hide my talent. It’s just that…that makes it almost impossible to make friends. Friendship needs trust and no matter how much I may like or admire someone, I cannot trust them with who I really am.” The Friar nodded sadly. He could see how much this would worry a heart as naturally open and friendly as hers.

“I’m sorry,” he said, “but you know that we are slowly dying here. We need to know about that world. You need to know about that world. I think this is just a burden that you will have to bear.” He paused. “It’s only for six years,” he suggested hopefully. She looked at him and her expression had a kind of desperation.

“But what if I become stuck like that?” she asked. “What if it becomes an ingrained habit and I am permanently shut in within myself?” She didn’t say ‘like my uncle’ but the thought hung between them. Her Uncle Cadfan taught at a London university. He was always quiet and polite, always dressed in a dark business suit and bowler hat.

Friar Daffyd smiled. “Ah, Myfanwy of the laughing eyes, I do not think this will happen to you. Cadfan was always a quiet one, even as a child. Anyway, do you not remember all those stories of what happens when a princess is locked in a tower? If some evil ever locks you away, there is surely some warrior or hero out there who will come and set you free.” The pond surface showed an image of blue curving waves and a beach at the foot of tall sandstone cliffs. Startled, Friar Daffyd waved his hand and the image disappeared. He had thought his comment was rhetorical.

“What was that?” Myfanwy asked curiously.

“Nothing to worry about,” the Friar said. “The pond shows many images, not all of them are important. Now, you must be thirsty after your long climb. Come, I will makes us some tea and I think I may have a scone or two.” He led her up to his cottage where they had herbal tea and hot scones and she told him tales of her life in the other world: each amused and amazed in turn at the strangeness of it. As she was leaving, she gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and the brightest of smiles.

“Now look, you come back to see me before you leave again,” he said laughing, “and tell that brother of yours to come and see me too.”

When she had gone, he walked over to the pond and waved his hand across its surface. The image of waves and cliffs returned. Where the waves broke around a rocky point, a young boy of about twelve years old was surfing. He was tall and to the Friar’s untrained eye he seemed to be good at what he was doing. He raced across the face of the wave, crouching beneath the curl, until the wave finally collapsed and dumped him. The Friar continued to watch as he paddled out for the next wave. He had sandy red hair, pale blue eyes and fair skin that had been freckled by the sun. His face was open and honest but there was an unmistakable firmness about it.

“This one,” Friar Daffyd thought, “will not back down. He will not give up and he will not give way. Now, who are you and what is your connection to our Myfanwy?” As he thought this, the young man sat up on his board and looked around him, as if he felt that someone was watching him. All of a sudden the pond went blank and Friar Daffyd was left looking at nothing but a pool of water. He raised his eyebrows in silent surprise. This had never happened before! He was not even sure how it could happen. He walked over to the chapel deep in thought. It was time for prayer and he knew he now had two young people to pray for.

Coming in November, 2015

Myfanwy

The First Book in the Myfanwy’s People Series

A tale of magic, first love, and quantum physics.

Four years after Myfanwy’s first homecoming, Tom, a young Australian surfer, is most unhappy about being made to leave the Australian summer and come to school in London in the middle of an English winter. His unhappiness increases when a mysterious figure magically appears on Westminster Bridge and tries to kill him. Tom, however, is unharmed but in London he discovers a whole world of magic, beauty – and danger. Tom is soon fighting bullies, being hunted by a psychotic magic user and kidnapped by a secret government agency. He also meets Myfanwy, and initial wariness turns to trust and friendship. However, a showdown is coming and it cannot be avoided forever. Tom and Myfanwy must work together to save the world – perhaps even the universe.

Myfanwy is a charming book in every sense. It explores the magic of reality and the reality of magic. It uses great humour and suspense. It is fantasy of the best kind, the kind that sheds light on your own life as it keeps you turning the pages.

Michael McGirr, Best selling author of The Things You Get For Free and The Lost Art of Sleep.


Homecoming: A Prelude to the Myfanwy's People Series

“So,” Friar Daffyd said. “What has happened to you in that other place?” It was just five months since Myfanwy had been sent from Annwn to go to school in England: sent from a land of magic and wild country to a land of technology, crowded with people. He watched as a shadow passed across her face. Myfanwy has returned home, home to a place of magic, to where the wind carries the scent of sea and of forest, rather than the taint of six billion people all trying to live on one small planet. There is a problem, however, and she needs the advice of Friar Daffyd. The Homecoming is a prelude, a foretaste, of the Myfanwy’s People Series. A series of fantasy novels for early to mid-teens.

  • Author: Joseph Liaigh
  • Published: 2015-09-28 10:05:08
  • Words: 2526
Homecoming: A Prelude to the Myfanwy's People Series Homecoming: A Prelude to the Myfanwy's People Series