Part 53

With the Spirit of the Fallen…


White hot pain burned between her legs, blood ran down her thighs. Her mind blinded by fear, her voice, a scream felt miles away. The flagstones, hard, cold, slick and unfriendly against her straining body. The edge of consciousness, threatened to consume her with welcoming blackness as the whole room was blurred through tear rimmed eyes…

A carrion crow swept down from the rafters, perched upon the chair back and called a shrilling cry, echoing throughout the tower drawing her mate who landed closer to Alleia.

“It is time.” The female crow morphed into a most unusual looking woman, jet black and naked, save for a cloak of feathers which cascaded down her back. Her hands were claws, her feet claws. Nose long and sharp, keen eyes. She approached Alleia and cocked her head, the Crow-Woman’s actions were so bird like. Her mate shook off his feathered disguise and knelt to lift Alleia into his strong arms.

“Where to?” He stood, spread his cloak of wings, bending his knees to spring.

“To the Grave. Where it ended, is where it shall begin again. Our Mother has prepared the land and her silent summoning has drawn The Dragon Prince. She will be safe there.”

The Crow-Man nodded in accord and with Alleia in his arms they took flight, right through wood and stone as though they were nothing but dust in the air.

Alleia herself was half dazed and amazed, her rational mind tried to explain the event as an illusion, an hallucination on the verge of death. She imagined she dreamed of a glade, surrounded by so many wild flowers, curious bees, butterflies, exotic birds. It was dusk, yet the sun was warm upon her skin and the Crow-Woman proved to be a gentle midwife. Moss soft at her back, the pain subsided, or became more bearable… She wasn’t sure which…

A Dragon stood guard, keeping the menfolk at a respectable safe distance. Though Alleia hardly saw them… Panting… Pushing… Straining… Following the Crow-Woman’s constant words of encouragement. Alleia felt the final breach as her babe drew breath and wailed with life, tiny strong lungs shattering the still. Hot tears poured down her face as the Crow-Woman handed Alleia the tiny wriggling boy…

She almost expected the glade to vanish, for the illusion to fade and return again to the bitter empty tower alone, but the sun softly set, bathing the sky in a warm red glow. It was beautiful, everything felt beautiful and peaceful…

“He will need to feed.” The Crow-Woman aided the inexperienced mother, helping to get her cleaned and comfortable. The Dragon thoughtfully provided a generous lump of burnished coal from her fire-throat to keep Mother and babe cosy.

“You will be safe here. The menfolk will guard us.”

Though Alleia could not find sleep, she watched her child nursing peacefully and silently wished that his life would be perfect. In that moment, she held in her arms true love, unconditional and innocent.

Alleia knew the face from Kane’s old sketch… Yet the girl she saw at that moment was not flesh and blood, she was ethereal, she glided without moving her feet over to Alleia, her smile was warm and generous. This was her grave site after all and the babe was part of her magic. It appeared fitting that she blessed the birth with her presence, but she soon vanished into the star light…


Anne Harrison 22.03.17

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