The silver-bluish starlight faded to gray, and the next dawn broke red. The awaking light leapt into the Great Hall through the high bay window on the left side of the room. Knives, spoons and forks struck against porcelain plates as the household enjoyed their breakfast. Merry conversations flowed over as feminine voices shared news with each other.
Morella, elevated on the dais at the end of the rectangular hall, occupied her chair on the high table. Seated amidst a couple of plush cushions, her spine stood painfully rigid while her eyes took everything and everyone in, never resting anywhere.
Every single sound grated on her ears—the torrent of human words that seemed to belong to an alien language, the fire burning in the central hearth, the clinking of the cutlery, the shuffling feet of the servants, the pushing and pulling of seats. All hurt her hearing like nails spiked within her flesh.
From time to time a scream wedged between her teeth but, since not everyone had finished their meal, she never opened her lips to release it, and from all the things she didn’t cry out, bite marks were imprinted on her tongue.
Dione’s question roused once more the ill feelings that had been seething within her from the moment Calan Gaeaf came to an end. All her expectations were frustrated and, since no agent could carry the blame for the abortion of her longings, they threatened to explode within her soul like some long boiling water inside a cauldron.
Morella, knee-deep in her own turmoil after Blodwen’s journey, didn’t part with it to contemplate on the effects this ordeal generated upon Dione. Now, deliberating the situation, it seemed to her that Dione was diamond to her clay, and that maddened her further. Wasn’t Blodwen Dione’s mother as much as her own? So why did Dione continue her course as if life and death were interchangeable puppets in a badly cast representation? Was her love as mercurial as a child’s mood? Or was she made of stuff so granite that all afflictions grazed over her without breaking her or altering her shape?
But the unstated ingratitude of her musings immersed her in acrimony, so she tried to shake them off her mind before they poisoned her further. What right did she have to judge Dione? Hadn’t Dione always stood unwaveringly by her side since childhood? And hadn’t she always offered her protection by being a pillar of stability and strength when the world fell into shambles?
Dione paced before the hearth, absently fingering the wood carvings that decorated the overmantel, her tips sweeping over the horned God and the stags that encircled him only to hover above the sun nestled within the maiden’s palm.
Her back turned to Morella, she let two tears hang from her eyelids like precious gems. Her composure could be easily mistaken for indifference, but suffering should be allowed to run its course and die a natural death, and all things past human reach should be accepted as such.
Blodwen’s passing was so swift and unexpected that the household was shaken from its foundation. Her absence left a trail of keen sorrow, a void that only patience, companionship and forbearance could close and heal.
Dione was a martyr to helplessness. Helpless to prevent Blodwen’s departure from their world and helpless to do battle on the wake of its impact. She had the conviction Morella was as much of a martyr but, while Dione bore it all with infinite stoicism, Morella rebelled, armed with living fire and denial.
Dione pinched her tears between thumb and forefinger, and spun around with legs akimbo; a bitter grimace gnarled her mouth. ‘’A rage against the heavens, a grief against the stars! What is beyond help, should be beyond reflection.’’
Excerpts from my mythic fantasy novel, currently titled The Fruit of Passion.