1. Welcome

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And the king of the Otherworld said to Pwyll , "I will make a strong bond of friendship with you. I'll do that by giving you my place in Annwfn... and my form and appearance will be upon you so that neither the chamber-boy nor the steward nor anybody else that has ever served me will know that you are not I. And,' he continued 'it will be that way until we'll meet again..."

- The First Branch of the Mabinogion


Silence can be a form of violence, and Wynne's mother wielded that weapon with the skill of an executioner

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Silence can be a form of violence, and Wynne's mother wielded that weapon with the skill of an executioner. Tree branches slapped and scraped down the side of her Grandmother's car. It'd been over an hour since they left Swansea. An hour with mum slumped in the passenger seat with her head rested against the window like a sullen child.

Grandmother didn't listen to the radio. She didn't allow food or drink in her vehicle. And she most certainly didn't want to be called Nan, Granny, or any other pet name. Three times she'd referred to Wynne as Gwen. And twice that she'd said she didn't want any funny business—as if she'd picked Mum up from clown school rather than a three-week stint at rehab.

Wynne checked her phone for the eightieth time. No signal. She should have continued staying at Jade's place. Jade's mum didn't mind. And Jade's house had internet and existed in civilization. It was a mistake to give in when Mum pleaded with her to come along.

"It'll be like a holiday," she'd said.

Bollocks. Prison more like. Mum may have burned all her bridges in Swansea, but Wynne hadn't. Not that it mattered in the end. Here she was suffering with her, because of her. As usual.

They turned down a bumpy driveway and came to a stop in front of a white-plastered house with a glass conservatory attached. Grandmother switched off the ignition and popped open the boot. "We're here." She exited the car without waiting for a reply.

As soon as the door clicked shut, Wynne leant forward into the front seat.

"What was that all about?"

Her mum huffed and rolled her head to her. "What was what all about, Luv?"

"You ignoring her the entire ride, leaving me to do all the talking."

"No one made you talk to her, Wynne."

"True, but it'd have been pretty rude not to, considering she's giving us a place to live."

Mum huffed again and turned away. "Leave me alone. I don't need you picking on me too." She got out of the car and slammed the door shut, leaving Wynne by herself.

Wynne took a deep breath. One night. She'd stay tonight and then first thing in the morning find a bus back. That was if buses even operated this deep in Wales. Her grandmother knocked on the window. Wynne got out, collected her suitcase and followed her into the house.

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