The Castle of Llyr, Chapter 10 – The Cavern

Taran jumps into the pit after Rhun, who is lying unconscious at the bottom, bleeding from a head wound. Damn those osiers! Fflewddur and Gurgi try to pull Taran and Rhun up with vines, but the ground gives way. They decide they’d do better with all of them lifting Rhun, and Fflewddur and Gurgi jump into the hole as well. The prince conveniently comes to – “Hullo, hullo!” – which I’m happy about, even though I would think that a massive gash to the head would have knocked him out longer than a few minutes. To make matters worse, he falls again while trying to climb out of the hole, and this time the whole pit collapses around the companions and pushes them down into a completely dark crevice. They confirm that they’re all OK, so Rhun’s head wound really must not have been that deep. But poor Gurgi has lost his “fire stones,” and without a light, they’re trapped.

Then Taran remembers Eilonwy’s bauble. He tries to light it, but it doesn’t work for him. Rhun already knows his effect on it, so Fflewddur and Gurgi each take a turn without success. Taran is about to put it back in his pocket, but holds it for a minute. He envisions Eilonwy’s face and imagines the sound of her laugh, and lo and behold, the bauble lights up! That’s the power, that’s the power of love! The glow from the bauble reveals they’re in an enormous cavern. It appears to be deserted, and therefore, Fflewddur concludes, probably not a realm of the Fair Folk (unlike the last giant cavern they were in, in a chapter I recapped exactly 11 months ago)!

Taran is super-stressed because they are the only ones who know which direction Magg took Eilonwy. (But wait, isn’t Kaw still out there? Can’t he go to the search party and set them on the right track? Oh well, I guess Taran doesn’t think the search party will listen to Kaw. Or maybe he thinks Kaw is still busy with Llyan.) Anyway, he gets crabby when Rhun calls “Hullo” to see if anyone else is within hearing range, and scolds him for risking their lives. Taran has taken on Gwydion’s mantle of douchery, and the circle is complete. They hunt for a way out, the path becoming more difficult as they go, and notice a bunch of strangely shaped rocks, including one that looks like “a hen’s egg sticking halfway out of a nest.” As Rhun draws closer to inspect it, the shape starts to move. Whoa! It’s the head of a giant, huddled against the wall and covered in moss and mold. The giant starts to stand up, and shouts, “Puny things! Tremble before me! Tremble, I tell you! I am Glew!”