CHENNAI: Continuing our story of Emperor Maxen who yearns for his dream princess. We see the kingdom in quest of that dream…
The emperor’s messengers searched far and wide for three whole years but could not find the princess or her castle. The valet of the royal chamber advised the woebegone emperor, “My lord, do not be disheartened. Maybe you can revisit the place where your dream began. Why don’t you go to the place where you went hunting that day? Maybe it’ll all come back to you.”
The emperor readily agreed and set out the very next day, tracing his old hunting route. When he reached the valley of the Tiber, he told the valet, “This is where I fell asleep and lost myself in the dream. I seemed to have followed the river to its source.’’
At once the royal valet sent thirteen messengers along the course of the river, all the way to the source. There they came to the high mountain that the emperor had ascended and then descended to a vast plain. They did the same and followed the largest river (the Rhine perhaps,) they found there and came to the North Sea. There was the port with a fleet of ships as the emperor had so vividly described. The messengers boarded the largest of them all, just as the emperor had in his dream and were soon sailing towards the isle of Britain.
Travelling westwards, they came upon the Snowdon mountain from where they could see the sacred isle of Mona (modern day Anglesey) and the plains of Arfon, lying between the mountains and the sea. “This is it!” exclaimed the messengers who were delighted to see the land their emperor had described. “At the end of this beautiful land lies the castle where dwells the lady of our lordship’s dreams. Surely, we’re going to find her.”
They journeyed through the fertile plain of Arfon until they reached the castle of Caernarvon. It was the magnificent castle that the emperor had seen in his dream. The gates were open and so was the door leading to the great hall. They made their way to the central hall to find the two young men seated across a table, intent on a game of chess. Further away, they saw the older man on his ivory throne, carving the golden chess figurines. Beside him sat the beauteous maiden clad in gold. The messengers knelt before her. “Hail, empress of Rome!” The lady was taken by surprise but addressed them politely. “You appear to be honourable men and wear badges of envoys so I shall not doubt your intentions. But surely this is mockery!”
“My lady, pray do not think that we mock you. We’re emissaries of the great emperor of Rome, his lordship, Maxen Wledig. The emperor saw you in his dream and since that day, has not been the same. He has been looking for you everywhere and wishes to wed you. Would you come with us, his emissaries, or would you rather his lordship came here?”
Fortunately for them, the lady was not opposed to the proposition. “If it’s indeed the emperor of Rome so loves me, let him come and ask me himself.’’
Overjoyed, the envoys raced back to Rome and conveyed the good tidings to the emperor. Immediately, the emperor with an entourage set out to the British isles.
He conquered the isle from Beli, the son of Manogan and made his way to plain of Arfon. Finally he found himself standing before the castle of his dreams. “Yes! This is the same castle. My dream was real, after all,” said he as he entered the great hall, this time for real. The two young men in royal finery, playing a game of chess were Kynan and Avaon, sons of Eudav. The old man was Eudav, the son of Caradoc and the beautiful woman of his dreams was Helena, the beloved daughter of Eudav.
“Empress of Rome, all hail!” said Maxen Wledig, kneeling before her. The princess bent forward and kissed him, for she knew this was her destiny. Soon they were married and the emperor gave all of conquered Britain to Helena as a wedding gift.
Three castles were made for her to dwell in — Caernarvon, Caerlleon and Caermarthen. In one of them was born her son Constantine, who later became the emperor of Rome.
The emperor remained in the British isles for seven years with his dream bride, hardly aware of the years that passed. But it was a custom in Rome those days — if the conqueror did not return to his own land within seven years, someone else could take his place. Hence there came a usurper who took over the reins of the empire and sent a threatening letter to Maxen which read thus: “If you come, if you ever come to Rome.” And the Emperor on his part sent a fitting reply, “If I go to Rome and if I go’’
Maxen set sail with his army to reclaim his kingdom, seizing France and Burgundy along the way. Needless to say, his brothers-in-law accompanied him. When they reached Rome and laid siege to it, they found it difficult to take over the fortress.
“Leave it to us,” said Kynan, who with his brother Avaon came up with a plan. They measured the wall of the fortress at midnight and had a ladder made to scale it. Every day at noon, the emperors would stop fighting and sit down to eat their mid-day meals. The British band of men scaled the wall then. Caught unaware and unarmed, the impostor was killed by Kynan and Avaon. Rome belonged to emperor Maxen Wledig again.