It is only in appearance that time is a river. It is rather a vast landscape and it is the eye of the beholder that moves. – Thornton Wilder


Two more check-ins with the MALP left on P2A-870 had gone by, and still the downpour continued. O’Neill stalked the corridors of the SGC, a scowl etched into his face, until Teal’c finally convinced the colonel to join him in the gym for a sparring session in an effort to vent his frustration through physical means. Daniel was holed up in his office, researching Brythonic culture and languages in the hope of gleaning some new insight regarding the people of P2A-870 for when the storms finally allowed them to return there. Samantha Carter, intrigued by the new implications her recent calculations held for wormhole physics, had taken to her lab, where she was setting up parameters for some computer modeling that might shed additional light on precisely what the effects of extreme gravitation would be on wormholes of various configurations and under different conditions of energy input. The problem fascinated her in a purely academic way, never mind that it had originated out of the effort to locate and rescue an actual living person.

The research bore similarities to the work that General Hammond had assigned her to handle in her spare time with regard to alternative applications for gate travel. Theoretically, spacetime had more than the commonly accepted four dimensions — three spatial and one temporal — useful in considering most physical questions. Up to eleven dimensions were possible, according to current theory, and exactly how wormholes might affect or be affected by things occurring in these additional dimensions was unknown. One topic the general seemed especially interested in was time-travel, although thus far Carter had come up with little more than a rather large question mark over whether or not such a thing was actually possible using a stargate. She hoped that the new information gathered from their recent experience with extreme gravitation transmitted via an open wormhole might shed some light on the question, however. Not that she actually thought it was possible to direct a wormhole to connect in any sort of controlled manner through time, in the way that Hammond seemed curious about. But clearly someone at the Pentagon was interested enough in the question to have him direct her to research it, and so she would. It was an interesting concept, after all.

Of course, just because she couldn’t see any way to direct a wormhole to a specific point in time the way the stargates directed them to specific points in space, that didn’t mean that time travel via stargate might be completely impossible. Loading the latest set of parameters into the modeling program, she set the program running and went to get a fresh cup of coffee.



The front door was open, as were the windows in most rooms of the big house. Not many homes in Llanavon had glazed windows, but the great stone house occupied by Anwen and Idris had them, thanks to the insistence of Cadogan’s five-times-great-grandfather, Branoc ap Gryg, also known as Branoc Bennaeth, who’d had it built nearly three centuries previously. The rest of Llanavon had sprung up around it over time, on what had been Branoc’s ancestral lands during the five-century interregnal period when Bel had gone inexplicably missing and Tir Awyr and her sister worlds enjoyed freedom. The Goa’uld to whom the Pridani now referred as Bel the Deceiver had returned to retake his domain not more than twenty years after the house was erected. Amazingly, the structure had survived the fighting intact and both it and clan Branoc had gone on to form the nucleus of the village that now occupied the shallow bend in the river called Llafarwy, not far from the stargate.

The dwelling that had come to be known as Bennaeth Bod had windows made of glass brought from Galla: small diamond-shaped panes set in a bronze framework formed larger panels that swung on hinges, to be opened or closed depending on the weather. The light they allowed in bounced off the whitewashed plaster walls and gave the house a bright and airy feel year-round. Today, they’d been swung wide open, and a blessedly warm breeze caressed the side of Cadogan’s face as he sat at the desk in his study, comparing the information on the glowing screen of Sabar’s data tablet with what was written on the wax tablet Gerlad had brought from Dinas Coedwyg. He sighed, noting that some of the figures simply didn’t add up. We’ll most likely have to go there ourselves and have a look at things, he told Sabar.

{Not today, surely?} the symbiote asked.

No, it can wait until tomorrow, at least. They’d only just returned to Llanavon the previous morning, after several days spent coordinating training exercises on Arverenem and two more briefing human operatives on Galla before stopping for a single, meeting-filled day at the Tok’ra base known to the Celts as Caer Ynys or “island fort”. It was something of an apt name, given that it was a fortified and secret enclave of crystalline tunnels deep beneath the surface of a barely-habitable moon in an unoccupied system on the very fringe of Bel’s territory — and what was a moon, or any world, Cadogan supposed, if not an island in space? He shook his head, recollecting his predecessor Berwyn’s odd poetic bent. It had been Berwyn who had given the place its name in his native Pridanic after Sabar chose it as the location for the movement’s second Tok’ra base, the first having been found and destroyed by Bel. Fortunately, there had been ample warning, and no loss of life, though the movement had lost both resources and momentum for quite some time afterward. They had clawed their way back, however.

Leaning back in his chair, he stretched his legs out beneath the desk, wriggling his toes against the rug. It was too nice a day for boots and he’d kicked off his sandals an hour ago; you didn’t need footwear to sit at a desk going over records and reports. Here in the family seat, the cadlywydd often kept to casual Pridanic clothing, rather than the gray uniform he wore in the more formal environs of his headquarters in Dinas Coedwyg, or in the field. A man had to be able to be comfortable in his own home, after all, and Bennaeth House was his home, in actuality. As the eldest — by far — living member of the clan that included himself, Idris, Tesni, Nenniaw and Dynawd among others, along with any spouses and children, Cadogan was its de facto patriarch. At only forty-two, Idris was nevertheless the eldest, after Cadogan, of the current adults in the direct line with claim to both residence in the house and heirship — Nenniaw and Dynawd were both older, but of a different familial branch within the clan — and so it was he and Anwen, along with their two children, who had been the home’s primary occupants since the passing of Idris and Tesni’s parents six years earlier, victims of Bel’s pique during one of the Goa’uld lord’s rare personal visits to Tyr Awyr. However, Cadogan had always maintained quarters here as well, claiming another of the home’s six sleeping chambers for his own use. Of late, he’d spent far more time here than he had in recent years, but he had enough on his plate as it was, and so the running of the household remained firmly in Idris and Anwen’s capable hands, with plenty of assistance from Tesni, despite her choice to remain in the small nearby cottage she and Eogen had occupied during their tragically brief marriage several years ago.

The thought had often crossed his mind that Tesni really ought to have taken a second mate after Eogen’s death, but she had steadfastly refused, and he’d given up worrying about it after a time. Now, though, he wondered if perhaps she might be leaning in that direction after all. He’d noticed the way she watched Neirin, and while he suspected that she wasn’t even quite yet aware of it herself on a conscious level, there seemed to be a certain interest on her part that crossed the line of mere friendship toward the man the cadlywydd had drawn into his officer corps some eight months ago.

Eight? This was Blodeumis — the blossom-month — and fourth in the cycle of twelve months that made up the local planetary year. Measuring time by the cycle of the stars visible in Tir Awyr’s skies, along with its two moons, which had orbital periods of fourteen and thirty days respectively, his people had long ago divided up the year into eleven months of thirty days each and a short initial month of twenty-eight, marking the equinoxes and solstices as the centerpoints of the seasons they inhabited and placing the beginnings of the seasons at the resulting cross-quarters. The year began and ended at winter solstice, when darkness ceased its march toward supremacy and days began to lengthen again in the hemisphere occupied by the bulk of Tyr Awyr’s human population. Neirin had arrived near the end of Heulwenmis, the sun-drenched seventh month that immediately preceded Tesog, whose name described it well, as it tended to be the hottest, most humid month of the year. So this was his ninth month among them.

{Time goes quickly, doesn’t it?} commented Sabar.

Eight decades past their blending, Cadogan knew the symbiote could pick up on his train of thought most of the time, especially when it filtered through the speech centers of his brain. He was acutely aware of his tendency to subverbalize his own thoughts. Sabar had long since assured him that in his own experience, at least, most humans tended to do the same.

It certainly does, he replied, this time verbalizing deliberately for Sabar’s benefit. Of course, we’ve been quite busy, too.

{It’s taken long enough for the movement to reach that point again, don’t you think?}

Oh, you’ll not get any argument from me on that, Sabar. None at all.

A tap on the open door to the study interrupted the conversation between host and symbiote. Cadogan turned to see Neirin standing in the doorway. “Come in, Neirin. What can I do for you?”

The other man entered and crossed to the desk. “As of this morning, I’ve got two men out with injuries. Coll ab Eudef stepped in a hole of some sort, probably an animal burrow, and twisted his ankle. Tathan ap Neddig smashed two fingers while helping to mend a wall, and they’re on his trigger hand. I just thought you should know.”

“I’ve got time to take a look at them myself.” The cadlywydd opened a drawer in his desk and pulled out his healing device. “All I was doing was going over reports anyway, and they can wait a bit.” He turned the diptych toward Neirin as he felt around beneath the desk with his toes for his wayward sandals. “Whoever wrote up this list has to be wrong somewhere. Do those numbers make sense to you?”

Neirin looked uncomfortable. “To be honest, I couldn’t tell you.”

Something in his tone made Cadogan pause in the search for his footgear. He cocked his head at his officer. “It’s a simple supply list, but for some reason parts of it don’t add up to what my records show we ought to have available.” He tapped a finger next to a line of text scribed into the soft wax. “There, for instance.”

The uncomfortable expression intensified. “Cadogan, I really can’t tell you.”

{That’s an odd response,} Sabar observed silently.

“Neirin, is something wrong?” Cadogan leaned forward, his elbows on the desk.

The other man began to shake his head, then appeared to change his mind. The broad shoulders slumped — just a trace, probably unnoticeable by anyone who hadn’t spent long hours with him, the way that Cadogan and Sabar had. “I can’t read the stuff you call writing, Cadogan.” At the cadlywydd’s shocked look, he elaborated. “Oh, I can read and write just fine — in my own language. In a couple of others, too. I could probably even write Pridanic in my people’s script, if I tried. But your writing system doesn’t look anything like what I’m used to.”

“So the reports I get from you — the ones you don’t just give verbally, I mean —” Cadogan broke off, fixing the filwriad with a questioning look.

Neirin nodded. “Dictated to somebody who can write them down. That goes for anything that comes to me in writing, too; one of my men reads it to me. Same one who does the writing, actually — I’ve made him sort of my clerk, and he thinks he’s just doing it because it’s his job, not because I can’t do it myself.” He picked up the wax tablet, holding it away from him and peering at it. “To you, this is a report. To me, it’s scratches and symbols.” He put the tablet down. “I’ve tried to figure it out on my own, because I can’t exactly go asking someone to teach me to read the local writing. Not when I’m supposed to belong here, and everyone else already can, you know? I’d stand out like a sore thumb, and probably lose the confidence of at least a few of the people under me, too.” His tone held just a touch of bitterness, which also probably would have gone unnoticed by anyone who didn’t know him well enough to catch it.

Cadogan knew him well enough. “Good heavens, when were you planning to tell me?” A thought struck him. “You weren’t, were you? And here I put you in a position where you felt like you couldn’t ask for help.”

Neirin looked embarrassed. “I took the job because I didn’t want to let you down. I honestly thought I could figure the writing thing out on my own, if I spent enough time on it. It isn’t as if it ever comes up in the field; we do everything verbally. Or I figured that…” He trailed off with a shrug, glancing down at the desk and the offending diptych.

Cadogan heard the unspoken words as clearly as if his friend had said them aloud. ‘Or I figured that I’d be going home before it did.’ He shook his head. “Of course. But not being able to read is a liability.”

“I know that; you don’t have to tell me.” The bitterness was stronger this time.

Cadogan mentally kicked himself. “Neirin, I didn’t mean it that way. Forget liability; I imagine it has to be bothering you immensely just for your own sake. To go from being literate to… well, to this.” The cadlywydd shook his head again, this time in irritation at his own lack of insight. “This is partly my fault. I should have guessed you might be used to a different system, or I should at least have thought to ask. You’ve done so well with our spoken language that it was easy to just forget you might not have the written one.” To Sabar, he said, Or you should have thought of it and reminded me.

{I should have. I’m an idiot.} There was chagrin in the symbiote’s tone of thought. {In any case, let’s fix this.}

Neirin spread his hands and raised his head, meeting the cadlywydd’s eyes once more. “Eh, I probably should have said something earlier, Cadogan; you’re right about that. But the way I see it, either I need someone to teach me now, and fast; or I need to step down before it’s a problem in the field, because I’m guessing at some point it will be.”

Cadogan fixed him with a serious look. “Resigning your command isn’t an option, and you know it. I need you right where you are. Literate in Pridanic or not, you’re bloody good at your job. But if you’re as quick a study with our writing as you have been with other things, I really don’t think this is going to be an issue anyway.” His toes finally found his sandals, and he slipped his feet into them and stood, coming around the desk to clasp the other man’s shoulder. “Let’s go see to your injured men, and then we’ll take care of your problem. I hope you won’t mind spending some extra time with Tesni? Or with Anwen, perhaps? Even Idris. Any of them will be happy to teach you our writing system in your free moments. I’ll even help you myself, if you like; at least when I can make time. No one else will ever know.”

Neirin looked relieved. “Thank you. I’d prefer being taught, over the alternative. I like my job.”

Cadogan waved the comment off as they headed toward the door. The man had to have known he wasn’t going to let him resign over this. “I’m curious, Neirin. Why didn’t you just ask one of the family yourself, before now? You talk with Tesni; surely you could have asked her. Or me. We spend enough time playing chess, and gwyddbwyll; some of that could have been used for reading lessons.”

A shrug. “It’s an awfully awkward thing to have to ask anyone. And did you ever try asking your commanding officer something like that?”

Cadogan raised an eyebrow. “No, but you couldn’t have asked me as a friend?”

Another shrug. “It’s awkward anyway. Especially when… well, reading used to be something I did a lot of, and not just things I had to read to do my job.”

{So apparently he comes from a world where literacy is as common as it is here, and people read for pleasure,} Sabar commented silently. {Doesn’t narrow it down a lot, though, other than to say it can’t be any world that’s been under Ra’s control in recent times.}

You’re right, of course. Both Cadogan and Sabar were still curious to know where Neirin had come from, but they respected his privacy too much to ask, given that he’d made it clear he didn’t want to discuss the matter. That didn’t prevent them from trying to guess, between themselves, anyway. Knowing that Ra prohibited his human subjects from reading and writing narrowed the field a little, but only a little. There were still thousands of world from which their mysterious friend could have come.

“If you’re accustomed to reading for enjoyment, then this has to have been excruciating for you. We do have a fair bit of literature, Neirin, if stories are something you like.” The hopeful look on the other man’s face told Cadogan he’d struck home. “You and Tesni can borrow some books from my library, and use them for your lessons. My guess is you’ll be reading them on your own in fairly short order.”


The injured men tended to and healed, Cadogan and Neirin made their way back to Bennaeth House and the study. The shelves lining one wall and part of another held an assortment of things, from decorative items, tools and rolled maps to the cadlywydd’s much-loved gwyddbwyll set and other games. They also held a number of precious, leather-bound books. Most had spines marked in the same script that Neirin had been trying, and failing, to decipher for months. A few of the others bore markings in other writing systems, but Cadogan passed those by, going straight to a shelf that held two volumes he felt Neirin would appreciate. Pulling them from their home on the bookshelf, he laid them on the table, inviting the other man to take a seat.

“This book with the darker cover is a collection of folktales, stories the Pridani and other Celts have treasured and told for generations,” he said, gesturing to the book. “Some of them are the same ones you’ve likely heard told aloud on gather nights, either by storytellers or in the form of songs.” Neirin nodded; he’d been in attendance on more than one occasion when such entertainment took place, and had shown an interest in some of the stories. That was why Cadogan had chosen this particular book. “Since you’ll be at least somewhat familiar with a few of the tales, I think that might make this a good book for practice. This other book” — he tapped the lighter leather of its cover — “is filled with maps of all the known areas on the Five Worlds, and explanations of what is found there, along with some of the history of each area. Not only do I think you’ll find it interesting, but it’s good information to have, given what we’re doing these days.”

“Oh, definitely.” Neirin reached out, opening the second book to a random page. A colorful map occupied the left-hand leaf, while on the right was a wealth of writing in the script he would soon be learning. “How are these printed, Cadogan? Not hand-copied, surely?”

“Have you ever seen a printing press? Cast-metal blocks, each with a character, are placed in rows in the press, and inked —” the cadlywydd began.

“Ah, movable type. I’m familiar with how it works,” the filwriad told him, nodding. “I just wasn’t sure it existed here. And different block prints for the maps, too, I’m sure.”

“Exactly. It’s a technology that’s been around for a while on Tyr Awyr. Almost four hundred years, in fact, and it spread from here to our sister worlds.” Cadogan turned back to the shelves, picking through a stack of the wax tablets commonly used for written material whose use was intended to be temporary. “Ah, here we are.” He drew one from the stack. This one was a triptych, three leaves of wax-coated trays, instead of two, though otherwise identical to the diptych in which he’d received the report from Dinas Coedwyg that had led to his discovery of Neirin’s difficulty.

He opened the tablet to confirm that it was indeed blank, and plucked the stylus from the leather sleeve attached near the triptych’s spine. “You can use this as a primer and also for writing practice. If you like, I’ll have Tesni or Idris get you one of the printed letter-charts that the children use in school, and you can use it for reference. For right now, though, let me just write the characters out for you. You may as well get used to my hand anyway, since you’ll be seeing a lot of it.” He grinned, sitting down cat-corner from Neirin and beginning to write in the soft wax. “This script is based loosely on one used by both the Tok’ra and the Goa’uld, but with modifications. There are sounds in Pridanic that the original script was never originally designed to convey, as well as some sounds it can convey but no Celtic language uses, so for human use several characters have been added while dropping the unused ones, just to help prevent the human system from being confused with the other. Each character represents a particular sound, except for a few that can represent multiple sounds. Don’t worry; you’ll be able to tell by context which sound is appropriate.”

He glanced up to see Neirin wearing a relieved expression. “So far, it doesn’t sound all that different from the way the system I’m used to works. I was afraid maybe you used symbols for entire words, or at least syllables, although it didn’t look like there were really quite enough for that.”

“There aren’t. We only have thirty-eight letters, and six of those are only used in specialized cases. For numbers, one through nine each has a symbol, and there’s a symbol for zero as well. Unlike the spoken counting system based on twenties, when we write numbers it’s all based on ones and tens, and units of tens, because that’s easier to do in this script. Once we get beyond nine, the symbol on the left represents the ten. For each level above — hundreds, thousands, and so on — the largest unit moves one place to the left. Is that the same as what you’re used to?”

“Exactly the same, and it’s the one part I thought I might have figured out, though not entirely. Back to words for a second, though. What about marks to show the end of a sentence, or do you put something at the beginning instead? How about notations for questions, or other things?”

“I’ll write those out, too. They’re quite simple.” Cadogan continued marking symbols on the tablet in a bold, even hand. “Really, you shouldn’t have any problem. Take your time; don’t feel like you have to rush, but since you’re already accustomed to reading and writing, it’s just a matter of getting used to a different set of symbols and I don’t expect you’ll find it terribly difficult once you get started. If someone had sat down with you months ago and given you some kind of key to link the sounds to the symbols, I’m guessing you genuinely could have figured out the rest on your own, Neirin, just as you tried to do. But you didn’t have a key.”

“It’s been frustrating, I’ll tell you that much.” Now that he’d actually admitted the problem and steps were being taken to correct it, Neirin seemed to be less embarrassed. More than anything, his mood now was one of impatience to get started, if Cadogan’s guess was any good.

{I’m going to bet he’ll have this resolved before midsummer,} Sabar commented to his host.

I might be surprised if it even takes that long, Cadogan told him. Especially with Tesni helping him. With her assistance, he learned our language extraordinarily fast, so clearly her approach is one that works for him.

As if summoned by her uncle’s thoughts, Tesni appeared in the doorway. “Anwen told me I would find you both here,” she said by way of greeting.

Cadogan noted that her eyes went to Neirin before himself. What he wasn’t quite prepared for, however, was the expression — quickly hidden away — on Neirin’s face at her arrival. It appeared that whatever interest he thought he’d seen on Tesni’s part might have some answer on Neirin’s.

Overhearing the thought, Sabar commented, {And if so, then isn’t that a good thing?}

It is, at that. Something tells me that neither one of them is going to mind spending the extra time together that reading lessons will require. Not that I thought they would, anyway.

The symbiote chuckled. {You sly fox. You want something to develop between them.}

Not so much wanting it in the sense of trying to make it happen, Cadogan explained, as thinking that if it does occur, which now appears likely, it might be good for both of them. I really don’t know what’s happened to these friends of Neirin’s that he expects to come for him, but if they haven’t done so in this long, and he isn’t interested in telling you and me where he comes from so that we can tell him how to get home, then it looks as if he will be here from now on, whether he realizes it yet or not. Having an even stronger connection here would be good for Neirin, and you and I have both always felt that Tesni ought to take another mate. I know she loved Eogen, and that she’s afraid of losing someone else, but those are the risks one takes in life.

{Like you and me, since Menna and Larenan?} Menna had been Cadogan’s wife for more than a quarter-century before he and Sabar blended, and had in fact become the host to another of Sabar’s Tok’ra friends, Larenan, a year or so later. Cadogan and Menna being already married, Larenan and Sabar had chosen to initiate a relationship of their own. Unfortunately, after somewhat fewer than fifty short years as a blended pair, Larenan and Menna had been killed while fighting Bel’s Jaffa in a raid on Arverenem. Tesni didn’t even remember her Aunt Menna, having been a mere toddler at the time. Worse yet, none of Menna and Cadogan’s direct descendants still survived, which was why Idris, as the great-grandson of Cadogan’s younger brother, was the current heir to Bennaeth Bod and whatever titular clan leadership still existed for Clan Branoc, should misfortune take Cadogan from them. As for Cadogan himself, and Sabar, neither had been inclined in the thirty-odd years since Menna’s and Larenan’s deaths to pursue more than an occasional, temporary mating from among the Tok’ra that made up Sabar’s unorthodox band.

That’s a little different, Sabar. For one thing, you and I are just a bit busy lately. For another, we had a good long run together, Menna and I. Seventy-five years is a longer marriage than most humans get, and I don’t feel especially cheated, even though I do miss both Menna and Larenan. You had fewer years with them, of course, and it was an especially short span by Tok’ra standards, but fifty years is still a healthy chunk of time. Tesni only had Eogen for two years, and they were both very young. I’ve no idea whether Neirin currently has a wife on his world, but something tells me he doesn’t, though a man his age may well have been wed at one time. In any case, I can tell he’s a good man, and I would be happy to see him with Tesni.

{Oh, I would too; don’t think otherwise.}

During their exchange, Tesni had deposited a stack of wax tablets on the desk. “The courier was here from Galla, and left these for you, though she said she had to get back. How she knew to come here rather than to Dinas Coedwyg, I have no idea.”

“We left word with Sefys at Caer Ynys that we would be here for a day or two before going to Dinas Coedwyg, and she would have checked in there on the way from Galla.” Sefys was Sabar’s Tok’ra adjutant, charged with overseeing matters at the hidden base when Sabar and Cadogan were elsewhere.

“Ah.” Tesni moved to look over Neirin’s shoulder at the book of maps still open on the table. Cadogan watched as he glanced up at her, and saw the quick smile they exchanged.

“Tesni, do you have a bit of free time?” the cadlywydd asked.

“Of course. What do you need?”

Cadogan noted that Neirin looked just a bit uncomfortable for a second. Then the broad shoulders lifted in a shrug, as if to say, As well Tesni as anyone to help me.

“Sit down,” Cadogan bade his niece. She pulled out the chair next to Neirin and sat, while the cadlywydd moved to take a seat at the head of the table, cat-corner again from the filwriad.

“Tesni,” he began, “Neirin has brought it to my attention that he’s having a bit of a problem, and it occurs to me that you might be able to help him solve it.” He went on to outline the difficulty his officer was experiencing, noting as he did so that the look Tesni directed at her friend was one of concern, but never of pity, not even for an instant.

Sabar noted it too. {She’s the perfect choice to teach him.}

I knew she would be.

When the cadlywydd finished explaining, Tesni turned to Neirin. “Why in the world didn’t you ask me for help before this?” she asked in exasperation. Cadogan could hear affection in her tone, even as she scolded the man next to her.

For his part, Neirin took the scolding manfully; almost cheerfully, given the look on his face. Cadogan suspected this had more to do with its source than with anything else. “I thought I could figure it out on my own. I was wrong, and now I wish I had asked earlier. But you’ll help?”

“Silly question. Of course I will. When do you want to begin?”

Cadogan interjected his opinion. “As far as I’m concerned, both of you can spend the rest of today on this, for starters. Does that work for you, Neirin?”

A nod.


“Certainly, Uncle.”

The cadlywydd grinned. “Then the two of you go and find some quiet place to work. Tesni, figure out what you might need from the schoolhouse and I’ll see that you get it, without anyone asking questions. No one is to know about this situation outside of the immediate family, and I’m only involving them to make sure that Neirin has plenty of help. You, me, Idris, Anwen, perhaps Ris and Tegwyn. That’s it; not even Nenniaw or Dynawd need to know.”

The two stood, teacher and student, taking up books and triptych and making their way to the door. Neirin paused at the threshold. “Cadogan.”

The cadlywydd met his gaze. “What is it?”

“Thank you.” The dark eyes held a palpable mixture of relief and gratitude.

“No thanks necessary; I didn’t do anything. Go on and get to work.” He gave the filwriad a smile.

Neirin returned a smart nod and left the room to catch up with Tesni.

{So, you agree they’ll have this solved by midsummer?} Sabar asked.

Completely, or as close as makes little difference, Cadogan assured him. Neirin is intelligent as anything, and Tesni’s a good teacher. They’ll get it done.

<— Chapter 18 – Signals

Chapter 20 – Tutelage—>