Princess Nest: Chapter 8

Nest ferch Rhys was born around 1085 – the  daughter of Rhys ap Tewdwr (Rhys ap Tudor Maw), King of the Deheubarth,  and Gwladys ferch Rhiwallon ap Cynfyn of Powys. At only 13 Nest became the mistress of Henry I before he became king. During her life she bore  nine children to  five different men, was at one time abducted and generally led an eventful life for a woman of her time. Despite this, there is not a lot of information about her. This series is based on some essential historical research and our own imagination.

Image by Laurette Chapuis from Pixabay

In the weeks to follow the game continued. How she came to learn such coquetry I cannot say but there were times when my pretty came home to me with triumph in her eyes. She relished the power she found in her young, as yet untried female body and she held the man it seemed in her tiny palm, even before he was permitted to take possession of her.

There were the spells. Of course, there were the spells. I gathered all the brightness the spring had to offer and in secret we petitioned the old Goddess to fill my girl with her glamour and power.  If I had been concerned that Our Moon lady might not find us in our new land, or that her powers might be diminished, Nest had no such misgivings.

Then one bright morning, waking in our sweet bed, she turned to me. I felt her eyes upon me as I woke in a pool of sunshine. “It must be done”, she said with a shiver, “or the time will be lost.”

I nodded. Henry had been at the castle for three weeks. It was longer than he normally stayed, and it was obvious why he was here still. But the king grew restless and soon he would be away, campaigning, conquering, quelling. A king must be about the business of rulership, from which there is no rest. Undoubtedly Henry would go with him and who knew when he might return.

I will not say that Nest gave herself to Henry that night. I have always said and will to my dying breath that she took him, and virgin that she was, she bound him to her with all the power she had in her young body, and with all the magic the great Goddess bestowed upon her.

For me, I lay alone in that bed all that night and could not keep out the chill. For thirteen years since she had been laid into my arms, a squalling scrap of life, I had moulded my body around hers, or hers around mine, each night in blessed sleep. Now no sleep came and when I heard her footsteps upon our stairs and I lifted myself from my sewing by the window, I rose to greet, not a child anymore, but a woman grown.

She stood in the doorway, her hand upon the latch as though she expected some reproof, and what came from her were tears.

I folded her into my arms, my heart beating with fear. A flurry of imaginings, dark and dangerous filled my mind. Had he harmed her? Had she been rejected, cast aside already?

 And then she spoke, and she laughed. “Silly goose,” she said, as though she read my thoughts. “I am just so tired and I missed you, and seeing you here so worried made me weep for you.”

And when I undressed her and covered her warmly in our bed, she caught my hand and kissed it and said, “I think we have our protector, Olwen.” And then she added as her eyes closed: “But to be certain, sure, there will need to be a child.”

And I felt my stomach clench because I knew she spoke the truth. My little girl must be a mother. There were no other choices, and it must be soon.

Our petitions and spells were now to take on a new urgency.

Kitty Parsons

Kitty knows that she will always be an incomer, but this is to be her sixth summers. The wet and grey days of winters have not diminished her love of Pembrokeshire, but she is always grateful for the golden light of spring and summer. Her love of the sea sustains her even through the darkest of days and she can often be found at high tide bobbing about in Fishguard harbour at high tide, often with seals in attendance. When not freezing in water she is usually at her computer. She says" Pembrokeshire.online has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

You may also like...

2 Responses

  1. olwen heenan says:

    Loved this taster of a good story. Will inquire about the book.

    • Kitty Parsons says:

      Only available in the magazine Olwen. You will find all the chapters here in pembrokeshire.online. Glad you have enjoyed what you have read so far. Let us know what you think of the previous chapters and look out for future chapters.