My Master, Llwyd ap Crachan Llwyd, had given me the name Crach. Ffinnant is a tiny Hamlet hidden deep in the mountains of Wales and is where I was born. I recall little of my life before becoming an apprentice but there are remembrances and dreams of past joy and happiness. My parents were of normal stature. Father was a woodcutter by trade. His strength was well-known and till this day revered by those who knew him. Mother was quiet, kind and gifted with the sight of prophecy. I dimly recall visitors to our tiny home, seeking counsel and rewarding her service with gifts of chicken, duck and goose. On reflection, I may have, in some small way, inherited some of my father’s strength and my mother’s gift of prophecy.
Master had never indicated any of this was true, but why take me as an apprentice unless something hidden deeply within revealed a vision telling of a journey together? He would teach and I would learn. For ten years, lessons often started early in the morning before the sun rose and continued late on into the darkness. We spent many weeks, sometimes months, away from my Master’s small cottage. We walked, trudged, staggered, but never rushed, down valley and up to mountain top. We often slept in caves, under huge boulders, many times soaked to the skin by lashing rain. Winter was no different from any other season, we just wore more clothes, thus making my little frame heavier. Still, now I was strong and quite fearless for a small fellow, with wisdom and skill growing by the day.
In April of 1375, just as the cock crowed, I plated our food for the first meal of the day as I usually did. I had prepared, served and cleaned up after breakfast, in fact all meals shared, every day since my first with my Master. I did not know this day would be my last. The mid-morning sun shone brightly through a lush canopy of new leaf, budding above our heads. Shadows danced across the ground as small gusts of wind bristled branches, new and old, above. Cleaning bowls and spoons in the cold waters of the pool formed by a shallow stream, trickling over jagged rocks, I was lost in thought of nothing in particular. I often was!
“Crach!” Llwyd ap Crachan Llwyd stood and beckoned me to join him. “Leave that for now. There is something of great importance that I must tell you. Come here!”