Lost to mists of time and moonshed blood. Lost to the veil of the fates, Hecate’s woven shroud. Bound in swaddlings, and the little cries of pain, like pinpricks.
She remembered the nurses guiding her about and about the haystack, rubbing her back and whispering.
It comes, it comes, your belly hangs low.
It was cold that night, and her once-steady breaths unravelled into clouds – come fast, come slow, come snow against the windowpane. The wet nurse would not leave her babe to nurse the Thane of Cawdor’s son.
(He was not Cawdor then – it matters NOT!
The Thane of Cawdor was not present for the breaching. Mayhap he did not wish to trespass on a feminine ritual so likely to end in death…death before life, such a feminine ending. A drawing back like the moon slowly bending into the shape of the smallest fingernail.
The Lady felt too much pain to imagine that this, too, could end with a tiny body turning blue in her lap, its fingers still clutching her hand as though it could steal the warmth from her skin and reanimate.
It had been smiling a moment ago, wherefore had it stopped smiling?
It was easier to think of the child as an ‘it’.
Easier to bury her love along with the smallest body she had ever seen, its lips still open as if milking ghostly breast.
The Thane of Cawdor did not know how to comfort his wife, and dealt with his own grief on the battlefield; doubly savage and fiercely loyal, he clung to anything that could give him meaning, unaware that for her there was
No knife could she drive into another’s womb to release the force of a river held under breaking ice. No charm could she use to salt the fields of green. No way could she inflict on another the kind of pain that tore through her.
All was unclear, undefined, unutterable,
until she read the letter from her most worthy Thane of Cawdor.
She could see the path before her then with a clarity as yet unknown, a fire in her bones. What was this feeling? Could it be good, or could it be sin? It filled her up from head to foot and compelled her to cry from the battlements words she could not have admitted to feeling.
The draw of a life beyond definition by her sex, beyond definition by the failure of her sex to engender new creation.
Her deep desire to feel no remorse as she drove the dagger into the weak old man, so ignorant of all things, so undeserving of vitality. Wherefore did her femininity fail her in destruction as well as creation? She desired not to feel, until she reached the point where feeling could not overrule deep desire.
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