The Grand Magus’s chief pupil was William Williams. From the first there was some extraordinary hatred between us both. This despite the fact he was extraordinarily handsome and I was still young and beautiful. He accounted for his antipathy towards me thus: I had blemished he said the fame of the last “seer” my husband. Everyone had to pretend they didn’t know Williams’s real name. His pupils spoke of him as the Master.
The Grand Magus, they told me, no longer travelled in his astral body, but his pupil did this often. Incredible though it may seem to readers, I have seen him. We invoked him thus: “Master No Name please make us fit by the the shroud and corpse candle initiation to become as great as Lleu Llaw Gyffes — come, come, we drop down dead and rise again!” We fell to the floor in a heap and then stood up again as we said this.
Williams was said to be hundreds of years old, living by the elixir of life he stole from women. He was not human. The Bard assured me that he was superhuman: I believed him sub-human.
He was like an idol in a Druid grotto and as cold and hard. His eyes looked oddly through the poor human people, women mostly, who prostrated daily at his feet. He had many devotees, and he surveyed them with drowsy blue eyes, drawing, reptile-like, those who were necessary to his life. He drained them thoroughly: and they left him dizzy with the strange intoxication of utter exhaustion.
Williams feared that I knew much and where there is fear, hatred comes automatically. Hatred, at least, holds interest. Williams knew that I had learned why his lips were black and that his youth would remain as long as another woman gave him the glands of youth freshly distilled from her living body.
For this is what they want of women: this is their great secret.
I have written to warn those who like me, stirred by the unusual, have fallen at the feet of powerful men with strange powers, unbound by the conventions and without the compassion of ordinary mortals. My unusual life had made me lose count of time. I was not sure whether I lived in the past, the present, or presaged the future, or live in all times. For months I’d hardly leave The Denizen and then I’d be dragged to a druid meeting in Sheffield or Wales. Then it was as if my life in the Taylor Wimpey new build in Golden Lane was a dream and I only woke when I left the apartment block.
In Harlech Castle in north Wales and its surrounds, a madness of the world, or any other, had descended on me. I was happy, like one drugged, wholly submissive to the will of the Bard who was my husband.
Was I ever civilised? Anyone? Or, are we all underneath as wild, as passionate, as uncontrolled as ever? Have we only learnt to hide our real emotions, to deceive the world, perhaps, but never ourselves? I often asked these questions to myself in my few thinking moments.
The Bard and I were educated in different schools. I hated anything not wholly truthful. To him truth and untruth are the same. He lies without compunction, without thought and at other times, is transparently honest. I was clean in my person, fastidious to a fault: he went for weeks without a bath.
I was incapable of hypocrisy and he? Yet, we were husband and wife and I bore him many children. I wondered what was the affinity that had brought us together or did repulsion itself bind?
I had, indeed, thought of the Bard as an incarnation of divinity. An incarnation that dealt with untruth! And I married him thinking him the holiest of men. Perhaps it was only self-pride that held me in its net: for my Bard had prophesied that I was destined to be the mother of the — Messiah.
I believed that prophecy, too, for a time. Williams knew of this prophecy. I did not fear Williams, though he had terrible powers. I have seen whole villages devastated by hailstones brought on by his curse; and one little village alone, marked off by him in his map, as immune, escaped.
I write of that which I have seen, not heard. Of things perpetuated in the name of magic that would make me believe in the burning of witches. There are devils in men and men in devils. The continual warfare of right and wrong will go on till the little earth is snuffed out like another burnt-out candle: but I know that the seeds of every ideal shall remain and that greater than the Grand Magus or Williams is — GOD.