Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd, the Warrior Princess of Deheubarth

By Laurel A. Rockefeller

Action & adventure, Biography & memoir, Women's fiction, Children's, Historical fiction, Young adult

Paperback, eBook

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543
2 mins

 

Three nights later Prince Gruffydd found himself unable to sleep. Dressing himself in the dark he put on his warmest cloak and headed into the main courtyard for some fresh air.

The sky above him glistened with stars that seemed especially bright after the storm that greeted him before. In the starlight stood a lady with red hair neatly braided down her back and covered only with a simple circlet. Gruffydd approached her, “Noswaith dda, f’arglwyddes.”

The lady turned to him, “Noswaith dda, f'arglwydd.”

“You do not cover your hair like most ladies do,” observed Gruffydd.

“Cymraes ydw i. I have no need for English fashions.”

“They say even the great ladies in Scotland wear the veil.”

“The nobles of Scotland care more about money than they do honour. The Normans bought them. You cannot buy me.”

“Spoken like a true lady of this land,” smiled Gruffydd.

“Aberffraw is my home. I need no other.”

“Well said, f’arglwyddes.” Gruffydd took a step closer to her, “May I beg your indulgence and inquire of your name?”

“Gwenllian ydw i,” she smiled. “Gwenllian ferch Gruffydd ap Cynan.”

Gruffydd fell to his knees, “F’arglwyddes!”

“Gruffydd ap Rhys ydych chi?” asked Gwenllian.

“Ydw. How long have you known my name, Your Highness?”

“It is not hard to guess who you are, Gruffydd. And since your brother’s gait is impaired by his injuries it is only logical that you would be the heir to Rhys ap Tewder’s throne.”

“The English are a cruel enemy to fight,” affirmed Gruffydd.

“Do you think I know nothing of warfare? My mother is a daughter of the king of Dublin. My father has fought his entire life to free Gwynedd from English control. Do you think only my brother Owain studies the arts of war? Nay, my lord. I am Welsh, not some Norman lady who lives to breed at her father and husband’s pleasure. When it is time for me to marry it shall be of my own choosing!”

“Of that I have no doubt, Your Highness.”

“Why do you call me that?”

“Why not? You are a princess and if I may be so bold, a very beautiful young woman.”

“Perhaps it is the starlight. Perhaps in the light of day you will think otherwise.”

“I am willing to find out. Are you willing to let me see you by daylight?”

“Before or after you touch me as King Henry touched your sister?” asked Gwenllian astutely.

“I swear to you my lady I shall not touch you in such a manner short of binding myself to you in accord with the laws and customs of this land.”

“So be it then,” agreed Gwenllian as she turned to return inside.

“May I see you another time? By daylight or starlight or candle? I care not how I see you, my lady. Please, I ask you, may I see you again?”

“You are our guest. If it pleases you for me to join you when you dine, you need only ask my father and I will come.”



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