Your birth was auspicious, you know—no, no caul to be torn into. You arrived during a storm. The nurse laid you on my chest as a snowsquall gridlocked every skyway and side-street. You first latched at my breast while blizzard winds whipped icy flakes into a blinding fury. There is nothing more sacred than the quiet hours and soft luminescence that follow heavy snow.
I should have believed you when you told me the first time.
You’ve always known who you are. As soon as language settled on your tongue you let it be known: things were not as they seemed. And that we should call you Ahyeya. I smiled. Things spoken from the mouths of babes.
Would you believe me if I said I didn’t think of the translation then?
Your eyes grew star-speckled and each morning I hummed while brushing away the moths that coated the glass of your bedroom each night. You began to sleep-talk in forgotten tongues and I simply fell asleep to your ancient lullabies.
My willpower is great. There are a great many things I chose not to see.
I spoke your name aloud and held it in my heart daily, yet chose not to hear. Ahyeya means healer.
Sometimes I miss the temple—the scent of smoking agarwood, the volcanic glass tiles smooth and warm beneath bare feet, the soft glow of the all-fire pulsing behind pearlescent sconces. And I am sorry we never celebrated your decadium, it’s just that, if you were right, and I presented you to the Divine…
No, I was not ready. And my thoughts have not changed: the world does not deserve you. Am I so wrong for thinking so?
The spring after your decadium you spoke the words that snatched away my blinders leaving me flinching in the bright light—“I am to be Font.”
Your conviction has always landed cold on my spine and warm behind my eyes—I bore you, and raised you, and have never once held my truth or purpose as clearly as you do. Yes, I should have listened the first time. Perhaps then I would have known that you meant to present yourself at the temple. Perhaps I would have been brave enough to go with you.
They tell me the Divine greeted you with dazzling light. Shades of pink and red flowed from the idol and bathed you in the Divine’s loving glow.
They tell me all present wept. That your face was beatific.
I am to understand that this was the stimulus. And that the catalyst happened long ago.
Eventually the High Minister and a team of scholars were sent to fetch you. They smiled, patiently. Bowed slightly. Told me, it was an honor.
I turned away, saying I was quite sure I didn’t know what they meant. The High Minister held my gaze, then spoke slowly: You are but a grain of sand in an hourglass. The world turns, will you turn with it? Or be swept under?
They read it in the stars, you know. The scholars always know when a Font has been born; eventually celestial bodies will align to show them where. The Heavens themselves would have given us away. By the time I understood, it was too late. (Some would argue that fate is as it was, as it would always be, and my feelings on the matter are forever moot, but I disagree and digress.) Had I known, from the day you were born we would have circled the globe in an airship. Lived among the clouds, feet never touching land. We’d have joined one of the floating cities of Orleans. Let the stars attempt to track us then when we never spend a second night in the same place.
I say this to Bezen and she looks at me with soft eyes. “What would you have done when the stillness took her? When her body became too heavy for you to move on your own? Would you have continued to lead chase even then?” Bezen says she understands, but the pity that clings to her words grates at me. Her child became true-Font ten winters ago; he is black marble, veined with gold. Those weighed heavy with grief bathe in the waters that pool in the heavenly basin they’ve built at his feet. I’ve never heard Bezen speak his given name, but he is known world-over as He Who Heals Sorrows.
Two Font-children born within the same quintum. Some scholars find this worrisome. I hear them whispering among the halls of the great palace. They feel we are on the precipice of some unseen change. It irks them to not know.
“Do the stars not speak?” I sneer as the scholars inhale between questions; they strive to find commonalities between me and Bezen and the other living Font-Parent. Uxel’s child was old even when I was born. There is a suggestion that bearing a Font prolongs the life of the parent; I think this unspeakably cruel.
I saw Uxel’s child once when I was young, on a visit to the capital. Known only by the mononym Mars, they are dove-grey granite with an iron core. Those who would, lay down in their rust-stained waters and leave their bitterness behind. Mars’ tears have left orange-black streaks down their placid face, down their frozen robes. Their left hand turned first, they say, forever curled into a tight fist. I sometimes think Mars is like me—ever fighting the things ordained for them.
You named yourself, and I forget that sometimes.
Word has gotten out. The circuits are buzzing with the news. There is a ceremony planned to introduce you to the world. This is the last time we are to be alone. It has been five moons since you moved last and even then it was only a fluttering of the eyelids, a turn of the head.
Amethyst becomes you.
Lavender and smoke.
The smooth quartz of you a reflection of your purity in the eyes of the Divine.
While I was busy grieving, your atoms were busy rearranging themselves into something highly ordered, more favorable for bearing blessings. I hold your hand and touch our foreheads together and remind myself that you were never mine. Your first duty is to yourself. You read my heart as I think this, I am certain. My skin buzzes where we touch. I hear your name, your third name, like an inscription across the back of my brain. You honor me, so.
They will know you as The Finder.
Fear is a liar, in you they will find truth.
The denizens travel by heli-wings, rickshaw rocket, and velocitrains to bathe in the water of your ever-flowing tears. The crowd in the plaza is monumental. In your crystalline shadow they weep and exalt “Blessed are the Healers!” and clutch at your outstretched hands. They know nothing of our stolen years, your given name, nor your chosen one. Nothing of the snowstorm during which I held you first. My fears made manifest and yet, I cannot find the dread that has been a companion these long years.
I press through the throngs.
Streams of sunlight give you the impression of luminescence from within.
I climb the basin that encircles you and step one foot into the water there.
© 2022 K.S. Walker