Saturday, September 1, 2012

Rowan looks suddenly wasted... much of it, no doubt, is due to emotional strain. Well, to hell with that! Marc scoops her up bodily and strides toward the stairs. Rowan is too shocked for speech at first, but that doesn't last....

"Marc! What are you doing? Put me down this instant!"

"No can do, Priestess. You can beat me up for it later if you like, but you and I are going somewhere private where we can have a talk."

Rowan sputters, but falls silent until they reach the widow's walk. Marc sets her down, pulls up chairs for them both, and sits. Rowan follows his example, but her eyes are flashing fire.

"Now, what exactly was that all about?"

"You're angry. Good. That leaves little room for nonsense."

"Nonsense, you say?"

"Nonsense I say and nonsense I mean. When you blame yourself for Pandora's misfortune, you are speaking nonsense and you know it - or rather you would know it if you took a moment to think.

While you were upstairs with Pandora, I spoke with Monty and - what is her name, Ike? It just so happens that Pandora herself didn't know she was pregnant. She showed no signs of it... so, how, exactly, should you have known? Does your goddess grant you certain knowledge of the future?" Rowan tries to interrupt, but Marc overrides her. "You are a healer, cheri - healer and priestess and witch and one thing more." He leans forward, staring intently into her eyes, biting off each word with savage precision. "You are a mortal woman. You stretch yourself far too thin with your many responsibilities, and you blame yourself when things go wrong - things over which you have no influence. You are a priestess, not the goddess herself." His eyes are fierce and Rowan catches a glimpse of the warrior within. "Sit, cheri, and think. Think logically and rationally... you are supremely good at that, except as it applies to yourself. Is there any way you could have known Pandora was pregnant? If not, how can you be responsible for her loss?"

"I always know when a woman is pregnant. I wouldn't call it a skill exactly, it's just the way things are, the way they've been for a long time."

"Good, we make progress. How long has it been since you saw Pandora, beyond just glimpsing her at the Tavern? I take it this ability requires a degree of physical proximity, no?"

"Yes, I have to be almost close enough to touch the person..." Marc can see her mind shuffling backwards through the calendar - how long has it been since she was that close to Pandora?

"You see? This is no one's fault, cheri, just one of those things that happens in the real world. Much as we might wish it to be otherwise, we do not control everything - and me, I say that is a good thing. Look at how thoroughly we fuck up the things we do control, and ask yourself - do you want us to be in charge of destiny, too?"

Rowan bites her lip, thinking that over... and then Alise is there with one of Monty's everything-but-the-kitchen-sink omelets. She blushes crimson as her stomach makes a starving-wolf sound; Alise and Marc grin, then Alise sets down the dishes: the omelet, hash browns, a dish of berries, two slices of toast, a small tub of butter, a jar of honey and a large pitcher of ice water.

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