Bard's Drafting Journal

Y Mabinogion

The First Branch of the Mabinogi

Pwyll dreamt. Grey-black clouds swirled around him in a storm as he let his hounds free. He chased them on horseback, the thrill of the hunt hot in his veins. The dogs turned a corner, chasing the scent of the game and letting out their cries.

The eye of the storm stared deep into his soul.

Pwyll woke with a start. The dream had felt so real. He wiped the sweat from his forehead, looked out through the window. The hour was still early, the night a dark, silent calm upon the court of Arbeth. Still, the morning light was not far off. He thought back to his dream, and knew right then he wanted to hunt.

The Prince of Dyfed got up and dressed into his robe. A handful of courtesans were about, to whom he told to ready his horse and hunting gear. “By noon I shall return.” He told them, heading to gather his hounds.

Pwyll spared no time to eat—the dream called him to hunt far too strongly. Serfs dressed him into his hunting gear and helped him upon his horse. He bade them a brief farewell, setting forth towards his favourite hunting ground: Glyn Cuch. A fair ride away, but none could beat it.

Upon arriving at Glyn Cuch, it took little time for his dogs to pick up a trail of scent, whining, eager to follow. Pwyll let them go, giving chase behind his hounds, darting from tree to tree into ever deeper parts of the forest.

Then came the cry of hounds. Not his hounds, nor the cry of any dog or wolf he’d ever heard. He came upon a clearing, where he and his dogs found another pack surrounding a great stag. These dogs were of a pale, ghostly white, shining at times by the early morning light. Their ears and their eyes, though, were of blood red. They were far greater than any canine Pwyll had ever seen, their size shy of a bear.

With leaps and slashing claws, the mighty stag was brought down swiftly. Pwyll looked at it and knew it was a great prize, and so chased off the foreign hounds and took the kill for himself, severing the head and feeding his dogs upon it.

Just then, the leaves fell still, as did the swaying of grass and the wind. Pwyll looked about, and saw his hounds too frozen in time. He walked to his mare, finding it to be, as with everything else, frozen still. A cold chill settled upon the clearing and his breath turned to steam as it left his lips. Overcast clouds hid the stars and the growing blue of the morning sky beneath a dark shroud.

“Sir, I know who you are, yet I shall not greet you.” Spoke a voice from behind.

Pwyll turned as the rider dismounted a dapple-grey horse. The stranger wore a cloak of light grey, but as Pwyll looked into his eyes, he recognised them immediately.

Dark grey, black and swirling, the eyes of the storm from his dream.

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