Feb. 9th, 2009

Rowan, Luis

Feb. 9th, 2009 12:30 pm
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She first came to the village when Sal's curly haired daughter was still small enough to be picked up and tucked under one arm. Sal's daughter was long past full-grown and several years widowed with a curly haired daughter of her own and a slight dark-haired boy who looked like neither her nor her dead love and who saw things in the shadows that no one else saw.

Silver-haired even then She had moved into the empty cottage, just at the edge of the village in the wildest of winter storms and there she had stayed. Soon the village became accustomed to the silent stranger, and stopped bothering her silence with questions and instead began bringing her skeins of wool to dye - they watched her in the summer, from a distance, tending her garden and dye vats and when the wind bought the smell of stale urine and wet wool to their noses were grateful that the cottage was at the very edge of the village. The children bought her baskets of berries, flowers and leaves that she exchanged for charms and trinkets made from thin woven grasses and twigs.

It was she who first noticed Sal's son watching the shadows as though they moved with a life of their own. It was she who had the most patience with the strange dark-eyed child and his odd tempers, after that first time that his mother found him in the cottage playing with a ball of wool and the kittens, happier than anyone had seen him, Sal would often leave him there while she went up to the fields to work with the rest of the village.

So it was she that the boy went to when the things in the shadows began to invade his dreams, showing him other lands and other folk with his true name on their lips - he knew she would not try to stop him, nor to encourage him to go. She sent him with one skein of red wool, of such a colour that he had never seen before (or would again) and the words,

"When the rowans ask for offerings this is what they want, but never give them it all, keep the last piece for yourself".

and she kissed him, full on the lips as he turned to leave the cottage and walk out into the night. In the moonlight she did not look old in his eyes, but very young with berry-red lips but her hair was still the silver of the moon.


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December 2010

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