Extract from ‘Flowerbride'

‘One day, while Lleu was still away, Blodeuwedd looked out from the castle window and saw a flash of mottled brown and red between the trees. It was a stag, and close behind it came a hunter in fierce pursuit. She heard a crash as he brought it down and saw the trail of broken branches and the swathe of shivering leaves that marked its blundering passage. Several hours later, just as dusk was gathering, the hunter came up to the castle gates, bloodied from flaying the carcass. He asked if he might have shelter for the night and Blodeuwedd gave orders to let him in.

The man was Gronwy Pebr, lord of the neighbouring cantrev of Penllyn. When he had bathed, he came into the Great Hall. He was dressed in Lleu's shirt and breeches, for his own were stained and torn. The servants showed him to the seat opposite Blodeuwedd. Greeting her briefly, he sat down and picked up a blackened chicken thigh. He tore the meat from it with his teeth and threw the bone to his waiting hounds. In the same fashion he ate a joint of pork and three guinea-fowl. He lifted a bowl of barley-soup to his lips and tipped his head back to drink it. When he had eaten his fill, he wiped his mouth on the sleeve of Lleu's white shirt. Then he poured a goblet-full of amber wine down his throat. Blodeuwedd watched him, her pupils growing large.

While the minstrels performed their songs and the jesters told their jokes, the hunter raised his goblet and toasted his beautiful hostess. He kept his eyes on her while he emptied another goblet and yet another. The two remained drinking and toasting each other until all the musicians and servants had left the hall.

Once the hunter and the flowerbride were alone he pushed his chair back from the table and came towards her. She stood up, holding his gaze. Her look was wild, her eyes shining. He came up to her and, to his inflamed senses, it seemed as if the lips of a thousand pollen-laden flower heads were opening to him. Intoxicated, he fell towards her, and she took him in her arms.

That night he stayed in Blodeuwedd's chamber. They were in a fever of desire, gripped by the powerful onslaught of the season. Next day they went hawking together. In the evening they dined together as before and that night they made love again.

Nights and days went by and their passion flowed. Then one morning Blodeuwedd started up white-faced, for she remembered it was time for Lleu's return. The lovers clung together in an agony.

‘I cannot lose you,' said the hunter,

‘I will die without you,' said the flowerbride.

‘Then we must kill him,' said the hunter.

Blodeuwedd began to cry. ‘But his life is protected by a magical spell,' she said.

‘Even so, there will be a way,' said Gronwy, ‘and you must find it.'

Then he went back to Penllyn, with Blodeuwedd's tearful promise ringing in his ears.