“You were born on a full moon as the new year turned over.”
Uther had heard this story a thousand times, maybe a million. His mother told it to him a certain way, usually on nights when the full moon shone bright in a clear sky. His grandmother told it another way, usually when Uther had annoyed her – or when Uther’s father had done so, or when Uther’s grandfather or uncles or, sometimes, Uther’s mother had irritated Grandmama.
His father told it to him once a year, on his birthday, with a big sip of the celebratory wine, and he told it a different way.
But this was the Priestess, and her way was different still.
“You were born on the Occluded Moon, the Full Moon we cannot see. The skies were black as you came into the world, child, and the old year winked itself out like a candle at its end, and the new year, like you, were born into darkness. The rains fell hard and nasty that night, ice sticking to everything, and your mother cried as the moon refused, even in its fullness, to look at you. You were born to a dark moon, child, to a dark year, to an ending rather than a beginning.”
It was more like the way Grandmama told the story than the way either parent did, but there was a malice in the Priestess’ voice that even Grandmama could not quite match. Continue reading