Everything in nature has a story that goes with it, this is a fact well known to us deities. Some Mortals do not know the stories for thousands of years and other Mortals do not know the stories at all. I, the Goddess will be your narrator and can assure you that no Mortal ear hath heard the story I shall tell you. Have a seat young ones, for the story I tell is as old as a distant constellation my father created five million years ago.
Frost on the ground outside the shores of Avalon was thick, and far from all the other trees stood three birches right next to the road that had been carved into the landscape from the constant use of the certain route by Druids and Elves. These three birches had a dark secret; they were possessed by three dark brethren that had been had been bound there three million years before this story takes place. Despite being bound with all the gods' and demi-gods' power fused as one, these dark brethren still were powerful enough to have control over their prisons and were capable of speech when they deemed to do so. No matter what we did, they remained quite capable of the aforementioned abilities. Because of this, I kept a very close eye on these three brethren which seemed to favor sitting mere steps from the road I mentioned earlier.
My ravens were flying overhead and refusing to land as was their custom, squirrels were scampering about on the ground non-stop, and even the pulse of the earth as it turned seemed restless. I did not like this feeling, it meant that something dark was close at hand and most likely dealt by the hands of the dark brethren. I summoned my ravens and bid them to deliver messages to all the Druids and Elf leaders to be on their guard. My ravens were glad to get away from the restless feelings and flew off to do as I had bidden them. Walking back to Avalon, I chose the road that the brethren sat by motionlessly. I stopped in front of them and their trunks bowed to me mockingly.
"Goddess." Their voices said as one.
"Arawn, Gethin, Dwyn." I said their names, looking at each of them in turn. Always remember young ones, that if you know a powerful beings' name, you hold a weapon as powerful as any magic that has ever and will ever exist in your world. It is the same in the realm of the deities to an extent. I walked off without letting them getting another word in and crossed over to my home of Avalon. My ravens returned to me and told me that all were on their guard and ready to defend the unsuspecting Mortals from the dark that would surely come.
The first thing that came was the usual mist, a sight-hindering thing for Mortals unless they are Druids. The fog became thick and brooding as the Druids and the Elves took turns making rounds up and down the road, always in twos or threes. In the deep of night, Druid Ceron and his daughter Helin were patrolling the road near the bound brethren. There was a swinging light down the road, indicating approaching travelers. As the light neared, it became clear that the travelers were a caravan of gypsies. Ceron walked briskly over to them and informed them that the road was iced over further on, and was in the process of telling them a different route to their destination when the three brethren stirred.
Without warning, Gethin and Dwyn took Helin captive.
"Give us the Mortals, Druid, and your daughter will live." Arawn said coldly.
"Shall we intervene?" My head raven Brac asked, perched on my shoulder, as there was absolute silence and stillness in the scene before us.
I held up a hand. "Let us see what happens first."
Helin's eyes flashed stubbornly, even as she was held fast by the two other brethren. "Don't listen to him, Father. Everyone knows that the three dark brethren never keep their word."
Oh what a delight it was to see Arawn stiffen at her words! She had pierced the veil of their deception with a sharp knife and had reminded her father of a well-known fact. There was silence once again, the caravan of gypsies not entirely sure what was happening, Ceron observing his daughter with a proud glint in his eyes, and Arawn slowly turning to face the young lady that his brothers were holding captive.
"And what makes you say that we never keep our word, young one? You know nothing about us." He said softly and dangerously, his branches rustling.
"If you kept your word the deities wouldn't have bound you to birch trees." Helin replied with a wise calm. Once again, she had pierced the shroud they wove themselves with to deceive. "That much I do know about you three brethren."
Arawn was silent for a long time, his branches rubbing together in a thoughtful manner. Of the brethren, he was the most cunning and had never been outwitted before by anyone that wasn't a deity, yet here was this young Druidess piercing his every guise and outwitting him at every turn. He was both angered and amused by this duel of word and wit. "So you are telling me that if we were the opposite of what you claim we are, then we would no longer be bound?"
One of Helin's eye brows raised slightly. "It would have to be a complete and permanent change."
"Enough of this nonsense, Arawn!" Gethin exclaimed impatiently. "Let's kill them all!" He pressed one of his sharper branches against her neck.
A branch came between her and the sharp branch. "Do not dare to do anything without my say, Gethin!" Arawn hissed quietly, but there could be no mistaking the dangerous edge to his voice.
Gethin quivered in fear as the branch retreated. "My apologies, Arawn." He managed amidst his quivering.
Arawn's branches seemed to incline slightly to his brother before looking back at the young Druidess, who's face showed no emotion. There was absolute silence, a longer silence than had yet been present there. Finally, his trunk inclined just fractionally to her as a sign of her winning. "Release her."
"But Arawn..." Dwyn began to protest, then stopped short at the menacing way his brother glanced at him.
"I said release her!" Arawn spoke in the same hissing voice, the dangerous edge just as tangible as the last time.
Gethin and Dwyn released their prisoner immediately and retreated a safe distance from their angry brother.
Arawn seemed to regain his calm after a few minutes and looked down at Helin. "Well? What are you still standing there for? Go join your father." He said rather sharply, gesturing over to Ceron with one of his branches.
"Thank you." She said so softly only he, Brac, and myself could hear her.
Arawn merely inclined his trunk slightly to her again before walking over to his brethren. "No Mortal, Druid, or Elf shall see us again." He announced and the three dark brethren disappeared into the mist.
Ceron and Helin embraced, then led the celebrating gypsies down the other road with lighter hearts. Even the fog seemed to lift enough for fairly good visibility. True to Arawn's promise, the three brethren were never seen again by anyone on earth. Three centuries down the road, the deities fused together again and unbound them. Gethin and Dwyn married stately fairies of Avalon, while Arawn could merely be seen walking along the shore as if he were waiting for someone. Helin crossed over to join us after her long life was over and met Arawn for the first time in his human form. They took long walks down the shores together and soon were married by myself. The rest, as they say, is history.
'r Darfod... The End