A journey’s end is nigh, but ever beyond the reach of mere life.
“I come, Pythonissa,” Barosa called, “lay out the bridge for me.”
If the bridge did not draw for him, he’d wait. The Moon Mother watched for Pythonissa. He would be easy to see if they but looked out. If she but looked out, as if she’d waited for his return. As if he were welcome.
The wind swaled the snow, led it into lines and shapes like words, like warnings.
“Come no nearer,” the signs showed. “We are the end, we are your end, should you choose to walk upon our cracked surface.”
Rocks bared sharp teeth under snowy lips as Moon Mother slid behind the refuge of her Wielder of World Magic. Pythonissa, mistress of all, power of life, his lover, his wife. The mother of his children.
Clouds rose like kettle steam on a fire lit too hot. Seawater hissed in wavelets that thinned the path, crackled the ice, sang of danger to those who ignored the signs.
Barosa would wait.
If necessary, he would die, but he would not step upon her path without her good will or invitation. His news was dire, and to relay it to the woman he loved, to tell her the world would no longer accept her sovereignty, would break his heart, as she would break his body – and his mind.
Love, yes, he bore commitment and love for his wife, for his children, for the life he’d chosen, and he’d been warned, many times, that life would be short if lived with this castle at the end of his journey.
Love chose for him. All love bore a cost, and Barosa deemed it a fair price.
The magic of women was more than any but another woman of the learning could understand, and he understood the least of all. She’d chosen him, not for love, nor for wealth, nor for his looks or charm. These were things he did not have to offer.
What she wanted from him was a purpose, the purpose of all women who wish to be Mother to all magic, to bear the children of the Moon. Her children, always she referred to the three daughters as her children, not his, not theirs. The new power, the trilogy who lit up the windows of the castle with their minor magics, their childish games of sibling rivalry.
The play would end now. They would be sent out, tested.
Her children, the three who would … he shuddered. He’d done his best, warned the people of what would come if they denied her.
“I told them, my love, of what your wrath would be.” The words flew behind his cape with a fresh gust of wind.
Barosa would wait. Cold death touched him, advised him it was time anon, whether here or across the hidden bridge, and that he could wait a while. If Pythonissa knew already of the choices made, she’d let him die easy, out here in the clean cold and salt air. It would show respect.
It was the best death he could hope for, was it not?
The flame on the staff lit the small circle of ice that skreaked and creaked and split asunder. Barosa squared his stance. As with all challenges he’d faced in his life, he would go to this end standing, smiling, confident in his purpose.
* * *
Something a little different for you while I work through the usual blankness and blocks and barriers that come with the early part of the year. Still writing, still editing, still struggling – I won’t call it writer’s block, because I’m writing, just not finishing anything at the moment. It will come. It always does. The addiction to story must be fed, so I give you this morsel, and force you to wait for the next piece … TBA
NB And I hope the formatting isn’t too shocking – still learning!