Look at them, the twins, ambitious, rambunctious, ready to the rule besting each other; little Terrence, bright warrior in the Queen's (his mother's) eyes -- sons, heirs, worthy by their birth.
Renata knew she had been sold. Nothing so crass was said, or thought by any but her. She was betrothed to a man she had hardly met -- seen perhaps on numerous occasions in close repartee with the adults who had sold her. She was part of a treaty, a sealing of a deal for mutual gain. What should she complain of? She was to be a Queen, of a nearby Kingdom -- with all the rights of a young and pliant slave. Though she had not engaged in conversation with her husband to be, she knew enough of him to understand he would not be seeking her counsel, consolation, or companionship. He would expect to enjoy her body at his whim, at least while she was young and comely. He would provide the comforts of his opulent home and the companionship of guards and gossips, watchfully assuring her loyalty and continued ignorance of any means to power.
It could be a pleasant enough life, one certainly admired by girlfolk, frivolous women, or those in need of romantic fantasy. There would be no lack of the kind of luxury she had grown up within. Another woman would have been content if not thrilled by the prospect of such a destiny. Renata was not that other woman. She had always believed in a special destiny, perhaps implanted at birth by her dying mother's promise.
Long that Full Moon night she stood on the balcony, staring at Lady Moon, breathing in sweet night blooming herbs from the garden. She fancied hearing faint music in the rustling wind. Slowly, not knowing that her body moved, she danced, the wind carrying her like a lover's arms caught up in dancing slow and closer than a kiss. She felt helpless, unloved, unsupported. She felt a slow, undulating anger move through muscles and mind.
"Goddess?" Her voice quavered at the audacity; but she felt surer of her course.
"Goddess, I am your child." Nothing had ever felt more true.
"I am of you; and in need of your aid. You know I have not asked anything of you before. We are an independent, self-dependent kind. We enjoy challenge, figuring out the puzzles, crafting our own prize, facing the demons square on with defiance and grace. I know these are your attributes when I seem myself thus behaving.
Tonight I am lost. I have lost my lust for challenge. I am defeated, unable to marshal the means to fight.
I beseech you, turn to you in supplication. Tell me, what can I do? How can I escape this false fate that will seize and drain my very soul, if I can find no exit?"
She continued in the ecstasy of the dance, eyes closed still facing moonlight. She felt a calming presence, so near, palpable. The perfume was like sleep, intoxicating, evoking dreams. That funny way that dreams have, half-baked images, fragments take on narrative.
She was somehow, without memory of travel, deep in the forest, archetypal forest. It was deadly dark; but the trees, the moss, flower petals, glowed, an unearthly light from an unannounced source.
She was drawn to a particular tree, indistinguishable from many others, yet a presence unto itself. Without segue, a shovel was in her hands, shoveling. Her apron pockets (an apron that had apparently fashioned itself and appeared atop her dress) had supplied themselves with a mixture of particular herbs, most of which were unfamiliar. Somehow her arms and shovel had excavated ground to reveal the roots of the tree.
Strange roots, these, alive. Yes, I know roots of a growing tree are alive; but these were lively. They wriggled, pulsed, seemed to dance, though in circumscribed place.
The shovel was now a knife. She cut open a finger of root. It bled copiously, a brilliant green. She mixed the root blood with the herbs from her pockets. A song came from her lips, from her throat, from her gut, bubbling through her as the herbs and tree blood mixed into a viscous paste.
"Root of desire calls
binds the seven seas
spills through centuries
cast out among the stars
essence of who you are.
Feel the root of desire
enflame your heart
realize your part
play its haunting melody
charm vibrations repair your fears,
released from harm, from chains
find your destiny
rooted in the throes of desire."
She recognized the Goddess's chalice that held the potent mixture as it touched her lips. Drinking the potion of the root, she felt light and free. Viscous green light poured through her, igniting every capillary, every neuronal fiber. The dream receded; and she slept deeply.
The Goddess smiles, spent for this evening. She fills her chalice with consecrated wine to drink, savor intoxication of liquid fire, as embers of her night's workings settle, gently, into history.