Monday, January 19, 2009

Call Me Not Goddess Chapter 2

When I look upon the battleground I see not the violence, the pain, the wrongness. I see deaths. I see men I am taking with me. Men whose bodies will be snuffled by my hounds, checked for fading life signs. Men whose bodies will be eaten by my ravens, consumed to in order to find their places in the afterlife. My raves can taste bravery or cowardice, goodness or cruelty, happiness with life, or a constant strife to find a place. While I spend my mornings dutifully washing the armor of those to die in battle that day so they shine in death, and my afternoons ferrying the dead to the afterlife they've chosen, My mind is not entirely on the men. I am a Goddess. I feel for the women left at the camps, prostitutes, wives, cooks. All waiting for someone to return to them. When men die in battle, there is glory. The women of the losing army have only rape and ownership to look forward to, the women of the winning side have abandonment and drunken molestations to look forward to. While they are aware of the risks, many are too attached to someone else to leave. I want to care for them. Once in a while I wash armor made for a man, but worn by a woman. It is for that woman I utter a sigh of relief. Her struggle is over, while all other women, everywhere have so much father to go. I am a goddess of death, of grief, but also of compassion for warriors, and are not women soldiers in another sense? I may ferry death to battlefields, but I love too. Cuchulain taught me naught else but that even I am susceptible to my emotions. For I am Woman too.

Ravens are flying over the battlefield, Howling can be heard from beyond the tree line, beating out a chilling lament for the folly of man. Folly it is, for even though I am here, on this battlefield I have no right to, I am not here because of my own causes. The feudal system is failing me, failing everyone but the lords, men who feel they have the right over life and death of the men they should be protecting. What do I care if their crops fail and there is nothing to feed their engorged mouths?

I am following my heart, like any other ninny who fancies herself in love with a man. I have stolen the armor of a dead man. It is good leather, studded with metal for added protection. He left a sword too. Not that I know how to use it other than to swing the sharp end at anyone coming at me, but he no longer needed it.

Corrin is out here somewhere, swinging his sword with ease of use, and I will find him. I am his wife in his heart, and the child I carry is his. My family knows not that I have followed him here, and neither does he. None of them know about my baby either. Fortunately the armor is covering my swelling belly enough, and I look like a slight, pudgy man under everything. There is some safety in that. At least if we lose, I am mostly likely to die here, on the field, rather than back at the camps where to women wait for their men (to pay them or love them or both) in trepidation and fear. There will be no slavery for me.

I say a silent prayer to the Morrigan that if Corrin does not leave this field, neither do I. Also that if I am discovered, that I get to die honorably, like a man of battle. Perhaps the Queen of the ravens will take pity on me, a girl-child wanting to be a warrior for her Beloved. If anyone understand me, surely it is She who loved a warrior, Cuchulain, and was betrayed by him. She who had to wash her beloveds armor, and ferry him to his afterlife.

The sounds men make as they die are horrifying, and the stench worse. I seem to be doing okay, but then again, I am fighting farmers with as much knowledge of their weapons as I have, which is to say none.

There! Corrin! I see him! He's surrounded by men on horses and he is on his feet, holding his own. Three horse lie felled about him, bu there are more. There are always more. I stopped to admire Corrin's movements, he is graceful with a sword! But now there are more coming at me. I swing my way to Corrin's side, but do not say anything to him. Distracting him might mean his death. He hacks first at the horse to get the men on their feet. I do the same. One horse down! Now to kill the man. I swing at his neck before he can get a leg out from under the dying beast. Corrin is faster. He's gotten two more down. We keep fighting and suddenly there are no more. He looks at me for a moment, but there is no recognition who who I am, only that I helped, and in his blood fury, knows not to swing at me.

Now there are more to kill. Suddenly someone who knows what they are doing has hit me under my arm, sinking a sword into my side, piercing a lung. I can feel myself drowning in my blood. I look to Corrin, get one last glimpse of him as I fade into blackness, his grace and beauty taking what little I have left of breath away. So much for the child, for surely it is done for as well. It is too early for it to come into the world, and who would think to cut it from my body before my blood ceases to flow?

I close my eyes and wings enfold me, whisper that I am safe and loved and to let go. Everything will be fine if I can just surrender. At least my last sight was of Corrin. I let go.

I have washed the armor of a woman today. I have led her beloved to her body, he discovered the child and saved it. Perhaps the baby will not die, it was close to term. Ah! He is weeping, but there will be joy in raising a baby. Perhaps he will put down the sword and take up the mantle of fatherhood. I stay only long enough to hear him calling for a woman who has her milk. The child has every chance to live. I am taking the mother away now, to a place where she will be reborn and find Corrin again, but not in this life. Later. Much later.

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