In The Hands Of The Gods

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The Welsh mountains are steeped in myths and legends and have captured the hearts of many locals and travellers and remain central to the myth of King Arthur. Surrounding lakes claim to hold the sword of Excalibur and the legendary Avalon, an island off the Llyn peninsular which is supposed to be the final resting place of King Arthur and Merlin. Yet, some myths and legends go back much, much further. Back to the darker times of mankind, and there remains a handful of people that still remember them.One such legend relates the tale of Bethani; a legend that caught the eager eye of Angharad. It was a mere mention, a trickle of information, no more than a few paragraphs, yet it involved love and servitude to a great goddess.Angharad started her research. She ordered books from the library and when they were not forthcoming started to reach further afield into the worlds of Celtic magic and the supernatural. She had found a few snippets of information, that created in her mind’s eye, the kind of woman that Bethani was and had become and it excited her to her very core. She dressed in clothing that was commensurate with those times, these days they call them Goths.She studied hard at school, or at least that’s what her mother thought she was doing and when she confronted her about all the time she spent in her room she was surprised when Angharad told her that she was researching myths and legends. Her mother looked at her with concern before biting her lower lip.“What myths and legends?” she had asked.“Lots of them, but I’m trying to find out about the legend of Bethani.”Her mother’s mouth opened and then closed quickly. She rested with her back against the doorframe of her daughter’s bedroom and yet she heard the enthusiasm in her daughter’s voice.“Grandad knows all about that, apparently,” she said, before turning her concerned face away from her daughter. It wasn’t a fact that she had wanted to reveal and some memories were best kept hidden. Yet, for some reason, she couldn’t stop herself from doing so and once it was out of her mouth she felt curiously bitter with herself for doing so. She hoped, as much as any mother could hope, that Angharad would let it lie and forget about it.ooOooAngharad knocked on the wooden door of a house that nestled under the giant mountain of Yr Wyddfa. It was more of a small cottage than a house but it was the place her Grandad chose to live out his latter days. He could have lived in luxury, by today’s standards, in either Betws-Y-Coed or Beddgelert and still be within a stone’s throw of the mountain he loved so much.The paint-peeled door slowly opened. An old man appeared around the slit that formed and his croaky voice announced, “Yes. What do you want?”“Grandad, it’s me Angharad. It’s been a while,” she announced with effervescent glee.He knew casino siteleri the name and yet. A smile broke upon his face as he started to recognise his granddaughter. She entered the shack to see dusty cobwebs cling lifelessly to the ceiling and the corners of just about every room. Dust puffed out of the comfy chair that she sat on and her grandad brought her a glass of squash and a few biscuits on a plate. Her eyes were drawn to the sword that looked like Excalibur that had pride of place above the mantelpiece. The conversation was stunted at first; he hadn’t seen Angharad since she was eight and here she was telling him that she was in upper sixth school, studying for her advanced levels and seventeen years of age.  They talked about her, mostly, and he was amazed at how she had grown into a fine looking woman, though he did think the makeup was a bit on the dark side. Her purple lips were not the kind of colour that women wore in his day, but times change.Neither of them seemed to notice the hands on the clock whirl around like time itself had stood still and Angharad’s curiosity got the better of her. There was a question that needed to be asked.“Grandad…” she started, not knowing how to approach the subject and not understanding how an old man, her grandfather of all men, would know more than she could find out in books or the internet for that matter.“…do you know anything about the myths and legends surrounding Bethani?”Her grandad didn’t flinch at the mention of Bethani; staring openly into the fire that crackled in the open grate. Memories that he had not entertained in a while suddenly came flooding back to him. He found himself nodding before he smiled at her. He could see that her eyes were wide with excitement.  What had she read? How much did she know? What had her mother told her?It made him curious but before he decided to tell her what he knew, he wanted to find out from her how much she knew. And so the conversation and exchange of views began. Her grandad entertained one last thought before deciding to tell her everything he knew. He found himself talking quickly as if reciting a mantra. Getting it out of his head in case his head changed its mind.“Bethani is the essence of sexuality that resides in these mountains; a goddess of licentiousness, sexual freedom, a goddess of lust. It is thought that anyone who is taken under her wing will understand the basic needs of mankind. Everyone has their idea of why we are on this Earth, but Bethani made people understand that it all boils down to pleasure. Many have tried to become her, some have spent their life searching for her but few have succeeded. It is said that she has broken many hearts.“It all started with Vortigern, a hated warlord that took refuge under the mountain of Yr Wyddfa güvenilir casino after escaping his enemies. He built a castle that was never completed because every night it was destroyed by the giant Idris who arose from his chair, Cadair Idris, to destroy anyone and anything that took refuge under Yr Wyddfa, for he once was besotted with Bethani who rejected his advances in favour of humanity. During this unsettling time, his wife or concubine, I can’t remember which, became besotted with the mysteries that surrounded Yr Wyddfa and especially those relating to one spirit, in particular, Bethani; one that lured women into the realm of pleasure.”Angharad never once took her eyes off her grandad. She became enthralled by his voice; his deep melodious accent related the story like it happened yesterday – like it was personal.  He glanced at the picture of his wife on the mantelpiece that had now curled up at the edges and turned yellow. It made him smile inwardly. He picked up a poker and thrust it into the fire; breaking apart the coagulated blocks of coal and bringing the fire back to life. Much needed warmth immediately spread throughout the room.“Vortigern’s wife was said to have camped at the base of Glaslyn, facing Yr Wyddfa from which she summoned Bethani.”Her grandad looked to the ceiling and sighed. His eyes closed as if to hide a tear that was to leak from the corner of his eye. The ache in his heart became intolerable and he suppressed the urge to cry out in front of his granddaughter.“What happened, grandad?” Prompted Angharad, oblivious to the turmoil that was now eating away at her grandad’s soul.“At midnight on the twenty-fifth of what is now our October, Vortigern’s wife demanded Bethani’s presence. She came to her and pleasured her by the lakeside and at precisely two in the morning, in our time, of course, Bethani took her to a world beyond worlds. Vortigern never recovered from the loss of his wife, though her body was never found you understand, and he swore that every time he looked into the horseshoe of Yr Wyddfa, he saw her smile as if entombed in sexual bliss.”Angharad had noticed her nipples had become hard under her thin cotton top despite the roaring fire. She felt aroused, excited, and by her own granddad’s words.“And that is why –“ added her grandad, “the mountain is called Yr Wyddfa and known as the ‘The Tomb’.”“How do you know all this – stuff? Grandad.”Angharad’s grandad looked away towards the door of the cottage as if wishing it would open and a nymphet dressed in gossamer silk and looking very much like his wife did on their wedding day would walk through and engulf him.“I’m old, my dear, too old,” he replied.At tea time, Angharad left her grandad’s cottage but vowed to return. There were more stories and adventures that canlı casino she wanted to hear. And unbeknown to her, for her grandad, there would be more heartache. ooOooAngharad once more knocked at her grandad’s cottage with her purple bag at her feet. It was precisely a week later, the twenty-fourth of October to be precise and she had arranged with her mother to stay the weekend at her granddad’s. All she had to do now was convince her grandad to let her stay.He was pleased to see her and yet his heart saddened at the thought of her staying the weekend. He knew why she was here, on this precise day, though her excuse of going for a walk in the mountains didn’t hide the fact that he was concerned.At precisely seven o’clock, an hour after their main evening meal Angharad decided to put her plan into action. She laid the pre-prepared note on the table for her grandad to find once he had awoken from his afternoon nap. She quietly lifted the sword from its couplings above the mantelpiece, careful not to drop it and even more careful not to disturb the dust that had settled on it. When she reached the door, she picked up her pre-prepared rucksack with enough water and snacks to keep her going for the evening and exited the door of the cottage at Nant Cynnyd with the quietest click of the lock she could do. She made her way towards Yr Wyddfa.It would be a short walk to Pen-Y-Pass and then she would take, what is known as the Pyg track, along the side of Yr Wyddfa, though she would have to cut back down to the base of the lake at Glasyn; a much shorter route than the miner’s track that winded between the lower lakes of Llyn Llydaw.Angharad reached the base of Glaslyn three hours later. She was cold as she pulled the heavy duvet jacket around her. She ate some snacks and drank some water; wishing she had heated it or brought coffee with her instead. She stared intently at the mountains and tracks for movement but there would be no one in the mountains at this ungodly hour or at this time of the year. The night was as black as the deepest lake and lit only by the clouds that skitted across the sky like ghosts.She waited patiently for midnight to approach. She looked up at the moon that had just risen above the peaks and watched as it poked its eye through the intervening clouds. The shine from the lake made everything look ethereal. For some reason, though she didn’t know why, she started to feel warm; warmer than normal in a down jacket at eleven-thirty at night. She started to prepare all that she needed to do and say. She recited from her notes, looked around at the wall of rock that surrounded her; trying to identify which part of the scenery she should address or whether that didn’t matter.It never once dawned on her that this pilgrimage she embarked upon was foolish. She would wait patiently until the last minute before midnight before she announced her intentions to Yr Wyddfa. And then it dawned on her that she was embarking on a journey where the ending was uncertain. Would she see grandad again? Would she see her mother, her friends?

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