Blodeuwedd

Her name meant flower-face, and from the first she spoke with owls, late in the lingering hours when the Sun was abed.

Magicians made her, with meadowsweet and mutterings. She saw her pale hands for the marvels they were, stem-bone and petal-skin, luminous over the leaping pulse. Her eyes began as green as leaves. Turned brown.

The hunter was dark where she was light, and she knew Goronwy was not his name. But he rode a black horse, and his laughter was sharp as polished knives, and he smelt of fine cold metal, like the night.

She took his hand, became the owl.

White wings, and a white cloak, and a white horse, and the mountain wind all around her; there were none who could outride her in the land where she was made.

Rider

Then the years were a dance of light and dark, and she caged the hawk with hemlock in the oak. Let fall the flower-circlet at its feet, and trod the baneful herbs beneath the moon.

The Rider in black was the fox to her owl, and they hunted the Craig together in the night. Looked down at the farm, and saw the window filled with light: the faceless shadow moving on the pane.

The other Rider pointed, said: Your husband, one day soon.

Another? she asked, and knew he heard the bitterness in the nectar, though there was no expression on his face.

We do as we must, he answered, and with that, at least, she could not argue.

She said, instead, He has eyes that see.

The other Rider said, You will blind him.

Blodwen

Her name meant white flowers, the part of herself she showed to him—the soft, the fair; sweet blossom in the spring. But she had watched him since the autumn, with her eyes owl-wide and shining. In the shadow of the rock.

His bones were not like hers. Mountains were in him: strong stone and strong spirit, behind the dark eyes thoughtful in his finely-carven face.

When were you born? and where? he asked. She laughed, and called him Shoni bach, and said The years must keep their tales; by lamplight worked with thread and needle the spells to keep him blind. Mended shirts, and finer work: the cloths upon their table and the hangings on the walls. A thousand thousand stitches in her unseen net of flowers.

And yet, he could enchant her also: seated at the harp. Notes spilling out all glad and golden, liquid and lovely through his hands. Each time she caught her breath, and loved him; remembering her knotted heart.

Still late at night she watched the stars. Listened for the hooves that never came.


For the hawk/hemlock/oak reference, see my fic Hemlock

For the tale of Blodeuwedd see the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogion.

Thanks as always to fromthewildwood for inspiration 3