Chapter 4 Summary
As Gaudior carries Charles Wallace through the heavens, the stars sing as they turn on their axes, causing the most beautiful harmonies to play. Soon Charles Wallace and his mount are assaulted with an overwhelming stench of death and decay. Gaudior explains that they have arrived at a Projection of a future of the Echthroi. The surface is solidified lava, with heat rising from it. A misshapen creature shuffles toward them. Charles Wallace chants Patrick’s Rune, and snow begins to fall. Gaudior rises up into the heavens and Charles Wallace fights a drowsiness that threatens to overtake him. Soon, he lands in a new When, much later than the time of Harcels, but still far in the past. The star-watching rock has eroded, and the lake has become bigger. From her bedroom, Meg sees a young man, knowing that Charles Wallace is Within him. His name is Madoc, son of Owain, king of Gwynedd.
Madoc sings a song that asks where the Old Man’s Daughter is. It is his wedding day, and he is clothed for the ceremony. An Old Man joins Madoc, promising that his daughter Zyll, Madoc’s bride, will come soon. He says he had had a dream long ago that a stranger would come from a distant land, far across a lake greater than the one before them. Madoc explains that he and his brother came from across the sea because they were two of seven brothers of a king who was dying. There was fighting among the brothers over the powers to be left by their father.
The Old Man expresses concern that Madoc will wish to go back across the waters, but Madoc explains that his ship has been destroyed and his crew is dead. His brother Gwydyr also is dead, and Madoc needs to find his body so that he can sing a song over him that will release his spirit to the gods. The Old Man says that he must let his brother, and his old gods, go and accept the gods of the People of the Wind, the tribe into which he is marrying. The People Across the Lake had found Gwydyr, dead from the bite of a serpent. They buried his body and promptly forgot the location of the grave, as they were frightened of death. The Old Man says that the People of the Wind have no such fear, which comes from the ancient terror of the coming of evil spirits. Madoc had tried to find Gwydyr’s grave but had become lost. He was rescued by Zyll and brought back to her tribe.
Zyll and other members of the tribe soon arrive at the lakeside for the ceremony. They hear drum beats from across the lake. Soon they see three canoes carrying people towards them. Madoc is shocked to see Gwydyr in one of them.