by thefourpartland

This is the third in a short #FridayFlash serial based in The Four Part Land. Events that take place here will have a large impact in upcoming TFPL novels.

Sighing, he settled himself down for the night, for although it was early, his planned arising and departure would entail a short rest, and he needs be fresh on the morrow to lead out those others who travelled with him. And so, when Annwyd awoke in the pre-dawn darkness, he did not need to clear his eyes as he struggled into the hide armour and heavy pack that he would carry. Striding out to the eastern edge of the camp, he looked ahead, watching for the rising of the sun as the others gathered at his back, and Bwrw Eira Ddyn stood to the side. The first arc of the sun crested the far horizon, a golden glow that lit the sky, and Annwyd Arwedda cried out “Hymdaithwn!” as he marched down the frozen plain of the tundra, his spear lifted high, both pointing the way and in a gesture of farewell to those who remained behind.

Two days passed, and then another, as Annwyd Arwedda and those with him left the high winter grounds of the Fferedig Ddynion, and began the march down to the Afrada Dirio, that giant belt of burned land, scoured into a desert by a frigid winter and a blistering summer. Riven of all but the hardiest creatures, it was across this plain of battered ground that the travellers would head, cutting through the northern end to reach the warmer and softer land beyond.

Much as Annwyd despised travel across that stretch of ruined earth, he recognized that it served as a better shield to him and his people than any that he could carry. The inhospitable terrain warded away those who would attempt the journey, and made moving large bodies of men impossible. Thus it was that no army had ever attempted the Fferedig Ddynion, even at the height of the Empire of Bhreac Veryan and their warrior legions. Yet Annwyd wished to lead his people out, across this scarred terrain, and to do it in mass, the migration of a culture from a harsh and cold climate to a warmer, more lenient land, regardless of those who stood in his way.

Annwyd felt marginalized, both as a people and as a person. He was placed on the fringe of his own culture, partly through his own actions, yet his whole nation was an afterthought, a bare hint of a thought amongst the greater countries. He had spent some of his youth travelling amongst them, and those he had spoken to had not even known the name of his people, nor cared. The Fferedig Ddynion were a footnote, an afterthought. They existed simply to give a name to a place on a map, and Annwyd wished to teach those callous people what that name could do, and that it was not a name to be ignored and forgotten. Annwyd Arwedda’s pride had been trammelled, and he would stand it no more.

His mood was shared amongst the people with whom he travelled, strongly enough that they would leave their homes and their normal lives to journey with him, and just maybe form the core of his support as he returned to lead his people. Thus they strode across the land, a thin, straggling line of men and women under heavy packs, and wrapped deep in fur, Annwyd’s hope to finding a new home.

Two weeks into the journey, and the pilgrims stood astride a spine, a low ridge of hill that ran down through the Afrada Dirio. To the west stood the mountains from which they had come, distance and cloud hiding all but the barest details of the white plateau, while to the east, the land sloped gently down, foreboding at first, but the farthest sight of the eye showed land tending towards the genteel. A smile of pleasure broke out across Annwyd Arwedda’s face, and those of his compatriots around him. Once more he cried forth “Hymdaithwn!”, and he led onwards towards their new home.

The land beyond the wastes called to them, and each step after they had seen their goal was faster than the one that preceded it. Their food ran low, but such was their faith in the eden that they approached that the travellers merely pressed on faster, and Annwyd spent his moments always searching, peering for that first moment when they began the passage across the boundary and into the healthy, green lands. He wished to be the first to see their new home, and always strode tall and proud, first in the line, even when others should rightfully have taken that scouting position.


  1. ThomG on 10.15.2010

    I certainly like how you spin a tale. Great feeling this has – the whole serial – and I was captured and drawn into the world you’ve created.

  2. Icy Sedgwick on 10.15.2010

    You’ve really built a world here, one I can really imagine. Very interested to see what comes next!

    Only one nitpicking point – where you’ve said “to do it in mass”, don’t you mean “en masse”?

  3. Adam Byatt on 10.15.2010

    Loving this series. Getting more and more detailed and intrigued every week.
    Adam B @revhappiness

  4. The Four Part Land on 10.15.2010

    Thank you all for the kind words. This particular story was written at work as one of a cluster of stories to provide depth and background to the events that take place in the main books of TFPL. Breaking an Empire, which is my #TuesdaySerial at the moment, is the centrepiece story of that effort. I’m hoping to have that particular anthology finished sometime next year.

    @Icy yes, I meant en masse, but my quick eyeball edit missed it.

  5. Kari Fay on 10.16.2010

    Another excellent installment. This really is feeling quite epic!

  6. The Four Part Land on 10.16.2010

    Epic? That’s certainly the style I was going for, but I’m also slightly amused, as this is the 7th longest piece set in TFPL. It’s certainly a lead in to much longer things, though. And then again, epic is much more about style and material than length.

    I hope you continue to enjoy it as it goes forward.

  7. Maria Kelly on 10.17.2010

    Wow. Once again I say I can’t wait to read these books. Great job with world building and setting. Great descriptions all around.

  8. Eric J. Krause on 10.18.2010

    I have to agree with everyone that the world is really well built and described. This was an excellent read!

  9. The Four Part Land on 10.19.2010

    Thanks guys.

    I sat down 6 summer ago and built the outline of the world in conversations with my Mum, who actually came up with a lot of the various foods and animals that are kicking around in the background, as well as drawing the map of TFPL.

    Of course, Fferedig Ddynion is nowhere on that map at all, I added it in later in a large blank spot called “Wasteland”.

    I’d say the story is about half-way done now, in terms of length.

    Annwyd will make a return in the as-yet-unnamed 4th TFPL book, which will be the second book in the Chloddio trilogy. It’ll be nice having him back.

  10. Laurita on 10.20.2010

    Well, it took me a while to catch up, but I’m glad I took the time. You’ve created quite a world, full of wonderful little details. Excellent.

  11. The Four Part Land on 10.20.2010

    Thanks. Really glad you’re enjoying the story.

    I’ve got a few more tucked away in my back pocket that I’ll be posting while working on Laeccan Waters.

  12. Steve Green on 10.31.2010

    The story is building nicely, I particularly liked the third paragraph.

    I can’t help but think that others may have claims on this Eden that they are expecting to inherit.

  13. The Four Part Land on 11.03.2010

    There are many claims on this Eden, and the most powerful, yet distant, are those of Tri-Hauwcerton itself, for their are the liege lords of these people. They’re also a bit touchy about people taking their farmland, and they have a very highly trained army.

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