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The Gift

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The Gift is the twentieth and penultimate chapter of The High King. Here an unexpected choice is presented to the hero, even as the heroine hears his long-awaited proposal, and joy seems ready to descend on them both. Yet a visit from supernatural beings reminds the hero of his achievements... and of all that he has yet to achieve.

This page contains spoilers. If you do not wish to be spoiled, do not read further.
Golden-trireme

Plot

With Annuvin, the gwythaints and the Huntsmen of Annuvin all destroyed, the allies traveled by ship to Caer Dallben. Gwydion told the Companions that in victory the Sons of Don, along with all their kinsmen and kinswomen, must return to the Summer Country in their golden ships. "All enchantments shall pass away"; the Fair Folk had already shut down their wayposts and closed their realm to foreigners. Fflewddur Fflam did not wish to go, but Taliesin told him that as a member of the House of Don, he too must travel to the immortal Summer Country, where pain and suffering are no more. Dallben and Princess Eilonwy, and
Fates1
all humans with powers of enchantment must go; others who had served the Sons of Don, Taran among them, could go if they so chose. Taran proposed to Eilonwy at last, and she accepted. They would embark tomorrow for the golden land.

Overnight, Taran was uncomfortable about his decision. The witches Orddu, Orwen and Orgoch appeared as beautiful young women and revealed that they too were departing, and left him with the unfinished tapestry of his life. But Taran wondered... when did Orddu ever truly give him anything?

The High King
1. Homecoming | 2. The Letter Sticks | 3. The Prophecy | 4. King Smoit's Castle | 5. The Watcher | 6. A Clutch of Eggs | 7. The King of Mona | 8. The Messengers | 9. The Banner | 10. The Coming of Pryderi | 11. The Fortress | 12. The Red Fallows | 13. Darkness | 14. Daylight | 15. The River of Ice | 16. The Enchanter | 17. The Snowstorm | 18. Mount Dragon | 19. The Death-Lord | 20. The Gift | 21. Farewells

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