Chapter 1 : the fires we feel
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GOODBYE, MY DAUGHTER
the fires we feel
Sometimes I wish I could understand. There she stands, more wintry than the northernmost circle of the arctic, more alive than all the demons of the earth. This day has been a long time coming: I should have foreseen it. The wind started to whisper among the rushes long ago, and still I ignored its message. The whistling upon my skin. The flush in my cheeks. The horses, pawing the ground of their stables, demanding to be free.
Adieu, O daughter mine. She is indeed princess of the moor, of the heather and of the eagle’s call. And she will not forget it. She goes now, her head held high, her cape draping over the rump of the mount that only death-watchers may see. Lightning flashes, the beast is startled, and now she gallops, further away from me than ere was she borne.
The candle in my hand threatens to flicker out. Too easily is life snuffed, too easily do we lay waste to what little we have left. I remember her now: her inky hair. Her snow-white nose. Her child’s hands. And I wonder – why the pain, why the child? I alone have raised my daughter: the others have had the support of consorts and friends to rely on. The path is not one walked easily: there is suffering, the constant, age-old ache of suffering, like rough stones bleeding our feet dry through worn pairs of mocassins.
Farewell, sweet child! I will not see her again. And yet the torment I know I should feel has ready subsided. Perhaps God once loved us, but the God I know takes no prisoners. He rides humanity like the wildest of creatures, whips, and ruins with no regard for death and carnage. My God is my acquaintance, perhaps even my friend. He allies himself with the heathen deities of the northern folk, and sacrifices emotion for jealousy.
I look at the streaked sky. The sun is crying good-morning to its world, but I have a heart too heavy for duty. And it is cold: furs may be wrapped around me; I still feel the snow beneath my feet. I look down: the ground is stained crimson with the blood of our Godric’s last kill. A wolf, perhaps? Yes: the imprints made by the hunters is proof enough of that. They are deep, arrogant. The men are proud, there will be meat tonight. And so my thoughts turn to him, culprit of my daughter’s flight. He cannot lay claim to a svelte white body and yet call himself man. But I too have killed a beast. It was a doe, sleeping in the hoary moments before dawn. From across the meadow my arrow sang through the air and silenced her forever. That night, there were revels, fires, flames to honor our king empyrean.
Goodbye, my daughter. I can see her no longer. She is now flown from the nest. My daughter, she is the fledgling.
But if only she knew how to fly.