Because the Roble family was so prestigious, they were a grand source of admiration for the people of Tylweth Teg. However, they were also a grand subject of gossip.
“Have you heard that the Lady Priscilla is cursed?” the townspeople whispered to one another. “She is unable to produce an heir for the baron.”
“If you ask me, it is the baron who is cursed. I heard that Lady Priscilla is colder than corpse.”
“I heard that the baron was once madly in love with a young witch. It was probably she who cursed the Lady Priscilla, and cursed him for marrying her.”
Stories such as these were passed from household to household, until nearly everyone in the kingdom was convinced that the Roble family was, indeed, under a witch’s curse. But no one knew who the young woman was who had cast such a spell on their household.
In his heart, Arlwyn was still loyal to Flora. As months, and then years slipped past, his thoughts continued to drift toward her with powerful longing. Time after time, he had to struggle to restrain himself from mounting a horse and galloping through the woods in search of her. For a part of him knew that if he did, then he would never be able to make himself leave her side.
Instead, he did everything he could to be a good husband to Priscilla. He made sure that her every need was provided for. When she asked for new dresses, or jewels, or even a ridiculously expensive Friesian foal, he gave her these things without question.
But no matter what he did, Priscilla was never satisfied. He did not spend enough time with her. Yet when he did, he was dull, or he said the wrong things and managed to offend her. She constantly nagged him until he lost his patience and raised his voice, and they both stormed off in anger.
He could not be with his true love. Yet life with Priscilla was often unbearable. And so, many a night, he turned to drink.
Often, the servants discovered him passed out drunk in his chamber, and had to carry him to bed.
He would awaken each morning in a hung-over fog, wishing that he could stay in bed and dream of Flora, and make the world disappear.