“I saw Gathl, but he was…different. He did not move, nor did he sing, and when I drew near to him, he grew to an enormous size.” Clwyd said. “I have heard that the striders possess fearsome magic, but this is beyond the pale.”

“Ah, I know of what you speak,” the old bird said. “Before the finch-blindness took my sight, I had seen it before. My good friend was once approached by a strider, you see, with a curious object. My friend froze, but they did not harm him. Llew took him not long afterwards, but I saw him again, returned to life, in the strider nest. But he never moved.”

“What do you think it is?” said Clywd.

“I think…that the striders have powerful magic at their disposal, and sometimes it pleases them to take the form of one of us and display it, even after the original has died.” The old bird laughed “I suppose it does save them from raising young in their nest, doesn’t it? But it is yet another of their unknowable ways.”

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