The High King, Chapter 8 – The Messengers

Yet another POV shift! This time we catch up with Kaw on his scouting mission. He stays focused as he journeys from Caer Dallben toward Annuvin, flying all day and only stopping to rest when the evening shadows grow too dark for him to search out warriors. He eventually spots a band of Huntsmen, perches in a nearby tree to eavesdrop on their conversation, and learns their destination is Caer Dathyl.

One of the Huntsmen spots the crow and tries to shoot him with an arrow. Dodging the arrow (and jabbering “neener-neener” at the Huntsman), Kaw is suddenly set upon by a pack of gwythaints. He escapes them by flying into the thick brush of the forest, but his wing is wounded in the process. The next morning, in terrible pain, he realizes he must change course in order to survive. Almost at the point of death, he finally arrives in the valley of Medwyn.

Medwyn treats Kaw’s wound, and tells him it will be a while before he can fly again. He recognizes Kaw, of course, having known his father Kadwyr, “when he was a spindly-legged fledgling.” Medwyn has forgotten Taran’s name, although he remembers Melynlas, which is humorous and fitting – he remembers the names and lineages of all the animals in Prydain, but human names escape him. He recalls that the Pig-Keeper has a good heart, though, and tells Kaw to serve him well.

Kaw tells Medwyn – in his own language, since apparently Medwyn’s command of Crowish is better than Kaw’s of English – about his quest, and that he’s seen warriors gathering and heading for Caer Dathyl. Medwyn is troubled and tells the eagle, Edyrnion, and the wolves, Brynach and Briavael, to spread the alarm across the animal kingdom. As the “one who built a ship when the dark waters flooded Prydain” and bore the ancestors of all the animals to safety, he calls them now to battle: “Let every creature turn tooth, beak, and claw against all who serve Arawn Death-Lord.”