Rhiannon Mabinogi had always known she was beautiful. It had turned into a running joke in her family: their spaceship lacked a figurehead, and if Rhiannon was ever too sassy, some person or other would threaten to make her their figurehead. Not that she was ever worried – with her quick wits and tongue, there was little she could not get herself out of.
Except her impending marriage to that baseless cur Gwawl.
Okay, so maybe he wasn’t really a baseless cur. Probably she had just been reading too many stories of her ancestral homeland. But she did not like him, and she certainly did not love him. At every port he called at he took the best of the planet’s resources without heed to the needs of its inhabitants. All he wanted to do was monopolize the space economy. And once he had blockaded the Mabinogi home port, there was nothing her father could offer but Rhiannon herself. Maybe baseless cur wasn’t too far from the mark, she thought as she adjusted her veil.
Now the Mabinogi were a proud bunch. As her father walked her down the aisle, he whispered in her ear, “Humiliate him, Rhiannon. Humiliate him.”
This she was already prepared to do. She activated the portal-maker hidden on the dress, and left Gwawl screaming at the altar. She went first to collect her pod and cloaking device, then took off through time to the land of her dreams, the ancient homeland of the Mabinogi, where the man who had enchanted her across the pages dwelt.
She calculated her course to arrive at the mounds of mystery, which the people of Dyfed believed led to another world. It was easy for her to cloak her pod so that it resembled a horse. She kept it at a speed just faster than whatever the speed of her pursuers was, until the king himself, Pwyll of Dyfed, came riding after her. He called out to her to stop, and she slowed.
“Of course I will stop. It would have been easier on your horse if you had asked me earlier.”
“Where have you come from lady? And what are you here for?” His eyes shown with wonder and admiration.
“From a land far away, a land of mystery.”
“You are indeed most powerful, my lady. What brings you to my humble land?”
“You, my king. I flee one I do not love to find the one I do, that I might marry him.”
There was no doubting King Pwyll’s response as he gazed at her. Gwawl would certainly come after her, but she would be ready for him.
Bibliography: Lady Charlotte Guest’s The Mabinogion, link.
Author’s Note: In the original story, Rhiannon comes from the Otherworld through a magical mound. She rides on a horse that is always just ahead of her pursuers, until Pwyll, the king, calls out to her. She is fleeing from an unwanted suitor and is in love with Pwyll. I liked her sassiness and wanted to give more of an explanation of her background. I replaced magic with sci-fi tech.