Matriarch of House Waarches
I am the lucky child. I am the child of the deep forests of Bosewald. The forests musty with rotting wood and humming with the low rumbling of the unknown darkness.
One of my earliest memories is also the last memory I have of my mother. Her dark hair around her head like a halo, stained with her blood. My father towering over her, mad fury in his eyes. I remember being alone. I remember being cold and hungry. The fire had gone cold and darkness set in. I looked for warmth in my mother’s lap – but there was none left. I slept for a day, two, eternity. I remember what death approaching sounds like. I remember the eyes of a wolf, its breath mixing with mine.
The lucky child got found and saved. The lucky child was to be grateful, hard-working, pious, quiet. The lucky child was to know nothing of the darkness or the forests or of wolves. Marla, the wife of my father’s cousin Johannes, willed it so. Her daughters were kind but charmless, her sons molded after their father. It is a mercy they didn’t live to adulthood. Cousin Johannes was a drunk and a gambler – or so I was told many years later. My main memory of him is the sorrow I felt for myself when he unleashed the wrath of his pitiful, wasted being on Marla and I couldn’t find sympathy for her in my heart. The other memory is that of the day he sent me to be the merchant’s house girl, in the city of Vendig.
I remember when I first saw the girl standing by the road as our cart passed her. Her body was as old as mine, her eyes as old as the stars. She didn’t say a word or move. The man who had been sent to take me to the city to be the merchant’s house girl, stopped to let her climb in to where I was sitting, as if it had been his purpose all along. The girl and I sat whispering, telling each other tales of the past and of the future. Her breath mixed with mine as night fell around us. I could feel the wolves approaching. The man was scared and beat the horse into a panic, but there was no need, only he didn’t know it. The wolves didn’t look at us, their bright eyes piercing the darkness passing us by. The man willed the horse to run, run, run but the wolves had already found their destination and disappeared in the mists that had enveloped the house where we had started our journey that evening.
The lucky child got away. The lucky child grew up to be never alone – the girl Vilkata never left her side since that night where their breaths had mixed. The lucky child didn’t grow up to be beautiful, but desired. The merchant proposed marriage on the first day I was old enough for it to be decent. He possessed three most important qualities: Wealth, high age and the understanding that only with me by his side, he could be the most powerful man in all of Belicht. I accepted his offerings and bore his children. I sharpened the pen he wrote the story of Palon the greatest of the Metzalar with. As our children were approaching adulthood, I stepped into the role of his widow and the heir to his wealth. A page was turned, the story changed. This is the story of Laima.