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118 Blodeuwedd

Bluh-DAY-wed







Exposition

Remember when you reached the prairie? And the relief you felt for such welcoming, delicate terrain?


Remember spotting all the little burrow holes of countless wildlife? And the charming hoots from the prairie owls’ roosting within?


Remember when that silly gnome, for all its attempted gruffness, sprung from nowhere and tried to give you a stern warning? And how adorable and unconvincing he was?


Remember when the hoots grew more frequent and encompassing? And how it brought warmth and a smile to your face?


Remember when you bedded down for sleep to take you in its easy embrace amidst the beautiful open grasslands? And your sleep was so sound as it was gently cradled by the white-noise permeation of all things across the open, breezy air?


Remember when you felt and heard and basked in the growing of the grass all around you? And that just overnight it became so tall that the sun only trickled in to wake you with the smallest of its beams?


Remember feeling stunned for a moment, then mesmerized? And then pricked so hard by thorns that were not there at dusk?


Remember when panic set in so harshly that you began to bleed profusely thanks to the racing of your heart? And with every twitch and strain you just made it worse and worse…and worse?


Remember when you couldn’t even manage to stand thanks to the dragging pain of thoughtless, careless protruding needles? And how every thought and care of your own turned to the protruding signs and the obvious warnings?


Remember when you were going to die beneath an impossible bush of thorns, within an impossible field of tall grass, amid the chortling hoots of prairie owls? Of course you remember. It’s happening right now.

 


Introduction

James: Math Fab

Freeman: Flower Face

Source: Bestiary 2, pg. 41

Reading List:

Pathfinder Lore

Appearance

·         Standing reasonably tall (Medium), these creatures appear to be a bit scrawny, with clawed hands and toes and massive mane of tangled vines and flowers that flows down to cover most of its torso like a big beard, and a thinner layer grows from its body in thinner covering it’s back and hips.

·         It doesn’t just sprout from its head but from its noseless face as well.

·         Like a plant version of Hypertrichosis, a.k.a. Werewolf Syndrome.

·         Its arms and legs are viny, almost abstract wooden patterns and lines all along them

·         Its eyes are dark black and its mouth has a borderline underbite with jagged teeth inside a wide and wicked grin.


Ecology

·         Like many fey and especially nymphs, they dwell around parts where the boundaries between the First World and the Material Plane have grown thin.

·         Their connection to these regions is powerful enough to rival a nymph’s even, but there is little to no mistake they are very different creatures.

·         Nymphs hold strong connections to the natural world, but Blodeuwedds swing the other direction a bit.

·         They are guardians of a sort to these thin boundary areas and the pathways that cross between the realms. Their connection to this role prevents them from forming bonds that are overly strong to either side over the other.

·         And because they are never truly a part of either, they grow “cynical and sharp-tongued” to anyone who would seek to travel between. Regardless of their intentions and goals.


Sidebar

·         Nymphs consider Blodeuwedds to be too wild and unrefined, and in return Blodeuwedds consider Nymphs to be “spoiled and pampered” who take their beautiful homes for granted.

·         Despite their inherent bitterness, very few Blodeuwedds ever cross into acts of evil as they don’t allow such thoughts and emotions to control them. But nor do they show any signs of kindness towards their rival Nymphs.


1e

·         Not much is mentioned other than they tend to protect meadows and plains, hiding in areas of special natural beauty and protecting them from being destroyed or corrupted.

·         Much like a dryad does for a forest.

Mythology and Folklore

·         Welsh Folklore!

·         Blodeuwedd was the wife of the Welsh hero Lleu Llaw Gyffes. And is a central character in the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (one of the earliest collections of prose stories in Britain, from Middle Welsh between 12th-15th centuries.

·         She is featured in the final portion called Math fab Mathonwy

·         Leu’s mother planed a tinged upon him (the Welsh equivalent of the Irish geas, and destiny or doom). It was that he may neve have a human wife.

·         To counter this, he had the aid of the magicians Math, King of Gwydeen and his nephew Gwydion (Leu is Gwydion’s nephew).



“[take] the flowers of the oak, and the flowers of the broom, and the flowers of the meadowsweet, and from those they conjured up the fairest and most beautiful maiden anyone had ever seen. And they baptized her in the way that they did at that time and named her Blodeuwedd.”

·         Blodeuwedd meant “Flower Faced” at the time, and today still means something like Flower Arrangement.

·         Later, while Lleu was away, Blodeuwedd had an affair with Gronw Pebr, Lord of Penllyn.

·         The two conspired to murder Lleu, and somehow Blodeuwedd tricked her husband into revealing how he can be killed.

·         He cannot be kill during the day or night, indoors or outdoors, while riding or walking, clothed or naked, nor by any lawful weapon made.

·         He must be killed at dusk, wrapped in a net, with one foot in a bath and one foot on a black goat, by a riverbank and by a spear forged for a year during hours when everyone is in Mass.

·         They somehow...arrange the death ahhaha

·         Gronw himself manages to strike Lleu with the spear and with all these details met and instead of dying Lleu transforms into an Eagle.

·         The magician Gwydion tracts Lleu down in his eagle form, and finds him perched ontop an oak tree. He lures him down with an englyn (a Welsh and Cornish type of short poem) and switches him back to human form.

·         Gwydion and Math both nurse Lleu back to health and they together with Gwynedd reclaim his stolen lands from Gronw and Blodeuwedd.

·         Gwydion turns Blodeuwedd into an owl and proclaims:


“You will not dare to show your face ever again in the light of day ever again, and that will be because of enmity between you and all other birds. It will be in their nature to harass you and despise you wherever they find you. And you will not lose your name – that will always be "Bloddeuwedd."


·         Blodeuwedd becomes another word for owl. And apparently Owls and other birds tend to not get along. This is part of the punishment.

·         Meanwhile Gronw hightails it back to Penllyn and sends emissaries to beg for forgiveness.

·         He is denied. Instead Lleu insists he must stand on the bank of the River Cynfael and take a blow from the spear he created.

·         He begs his own warband for someone to stand in for him. No one volunteers.

·         He concedes on the condition that he is allowed to have a large stone placed between himself and Lleu when he throws the spear.

·         Lleu agrees, and then throws it so hard it pierces the stone and kills Gronw anyway.

There is a holed-stone in Wales known as Grown’s Stone that still stands today.


Comparison

·         There is an obvious nod to “rivalry” with the creature that I think refers to the ultimate demise of the Blodeuwedd character being turned into an owl, who is supposed to be a rival with all other birds.

·         And the plant-like nature of the creature and the character having been created from flowers.



Mechanics

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