[personal profile] ashkitty suggested Dark Is Rising fic to the prompt The time Bran got involved with Cymdeithas yr Iaith. This is definitely set in the Eirias Triad universe, in the very early 1980s, not long after the events of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau. In which one of Cymdeithas yr Iaith's most promising young leaders is planning a protest over Westminster's foot-dragging approach to Welsh-language television broadcasting....


The sight of four students, three young men and a young woman, seated at a corner table in one of the local pubs was not particularly unusual, even during the late summer when the university was not yet in session. They all had papers in front of them, as well as pints of beer and glasses of water, and at any other time they might have passed for a particularly diligent study group reviewing their notes before the next term began. But anyone who came within earshot -- and it would have to be very close earshot, considering how quietly they all were talking -- soon would have found out that their discussion had nothing to do with equations or case studies or any other kind of academic pursuit.

'So what's the final total?' Bran asked, looking over at Susan, who for the past few minutes had been marking tallies on a crumpled napkin.

'Twenty-two radios, sixteen televisions, eight of those old wooden television cases without the sets themselves -- make that nine, if Alun and Jan get back in time from Rhondda tonight.' A pleased look crossed Susan's face as her figures appeared to add up. 'And about seven hundred copies of the TV licence forms.'

'I've got a stack of back issues of the Radio Times as well, if you need more kindling,' Harri added. 'They might smoke a bit, but they'll be better than nothing.'

'The placards should be finished by tomorrow morning,' Marc said, tapping the table with one finger. 'The leaflets came off the press last night, and Tom's putting out the word this evening for everyone to assemble just before nine, in the usual place.'

Bran nodded, his expression cool and thoughtful as he absorbed the information. 'We'll have perhaps five minutes to get the fire going before someone calls 999, so as I mentioned earlier we'll operate on the perimeter system.' He found a pencil and pulled a piece of scrap paper in front of him, and quickly began to sketch a rough map, describing his illustrations as they took form on the page. 'Within the street layout as shown, this should be the best option to ensure visibility and control of the demonstration. First circle fans out to hold off the bystanders here, second circle takes up the chanting and placards here. There'll be backup waiting on the side streets here and here' -- he scratched two X marks on the map -- 'in case more physical action is called for.' He set the pencil down, and looked up at his comrades. 'The main priority is to keep nonparticipants well clear of the actual fire.'

'Can't imagine there's anyone daft enough to run into a pile of flaming tellys,' Harri said, shaking his head. 'Think we ought to have warning signs in English as well?'

They all snickered with mean-spirited amusement, though Bran was the first to school his face back to seriousness. 'It'll be hot out tomorrow, and if the wind picks up we'll all have to take further precautions. Tie your hair back.' He levelled a meaningful gaze at Marc, whose untidy hair went well past his shoulders. 'No loose clothing. We're not at the point of imitating Buddhist monks here.'

Marc made a face, but one hand nonetheless went up to sweep his hair off to one side. 'And where will you be in all of this?' he said.

'I'll be the one carrying the fire extinguishers.' Bran's eyes seemed to glitter in the dim light. 'They may or may not be used for their intended purpose. That'll depend on what kind of crowd we end up with.'

'Whatever happened to safety first?' Susan said, with an arch half-smile.

'Someone should ask Mrs Thatcher about that.' Bran picked up his glass of water and took a small, prim sip. 'Remind me to do so when I have tea with her next week.'

As ever, it was the running joke that ended the meeting. They all knew their assignments, and it was best to not spend too much time together the night before any planned direct action, in case an outside observer drew one too many conclusions from their activities and decided to raise an alarm in advance. One by one, they finished their drinks and slipped away. Only Bran remained at their table once everyone else had left, studying the diagram he had drawn.

You're good at leading people, Will had said. At the time, he hadn't given it much thought, but the more time he spent with the movement the more natural the whole thing felt. This time, though, his leadership would almost certainly result in arrests, possibly even his own. The authorities were not likely to overlook a massive bonfire of electronic equipment in the city centre on a Saturday morning at the height of the summer tourist season, no matter how well contained they managed to keep the actual flames. Quite a lot was riding on his leadership here, and he would have to face whatever consequences resulted from it.

Still, he couldn't help but smile to himself as he folded the paper and tucked it into his pocket. Just the thought of lighting a modern-day Welsh beacon fire with a stack of English television licences felt deeply satisfying to a degree that he couldn't quite explain. There were more ways than one to make one's voice heard -- and this would only be the start of it.


Notes

One of the early 1970s student-led protests demanding Welsh-language broadcasting involved setting fire to TV licences, and was the incident that partly inspired this story. Considering that Welsh politician Gwynfor Evans threatened a full-on hunger strike to shame the Thatcher government into keeping its promise to establish Welsh-language television broadcasts, it's not difficult to imagine the lengths to which Bran 'Devolution' Davies might have been willing to go, in his younger days.


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