Oh, it’s been a gorgeous Mother’s Day here, bountiful with flowers, chocolates, hugs, playful kiddies, goofy dogs, bunny cuddles, relaxed lunching, soft sunny weather and early morning serenading by a quail (too complicated to go into why I was sleeping overnight in a chair eight feet from our newest ‘rescue’, Aquila-the-Quail).
At this end of the day, I am left reflecting not only on my own familial relations, but on that of my numerous ‘fictional mums’, especially Riana, heroine of The Siaris Quartet.
Riana comes into her own in Reunion, second book of the quartet, with a complex and evolving connection to her lifelong love. At the start of this book he is bound by a dark spell and far from friendly, but spells can wane, and Riana’s intuition is awake to the tiniest glimmer of change. The last thing she expects is for motherhood to find her again. Her two daughters perished twenty thousand years ago, and the circumstances she finds herself in now would not be considered ‘ideal’ for another conception, in any world. But life can take strange turns, and the makers of Siaris take a very big view of their creation and its players.
Riana has a mighty strong will, but how will she face the ultimate test: to do whatever it takes to protect her child, even if it means putting herself at risk, without betraying her responsibilities as a Guardian of Siaris? Part of the ‘epic’ in the second book of this fantasy is the primal force of motherhood, which will dare all to safeguard its young, in real life as in myth and legend. As in real life, Riana’s mothering does not happen in a vacuum, nor in ‘Paradise regained’ (yet), but in a world of contrasting pulls and demands. In this excerpt from Reunion, Riana surfaces from a tangle of reflections to follow the dictate of her heart:
The sourness lifted from Riana’s mind. “Sorry, darling.” She pulled Daimen closer, until his head was resting on her breast. One of his wings stretched down, its tip brushing her knee. His pinions were starting to lengthen, and she’d hardly noticed. She blinked back a sudden rush of tears. Daimen nestled in tightly, as if he couldn’t get close enough to her.
“Mi’ama, are you leaving?”
Riana took in a breath. Daimen’s eyes were raised to her, layer on layer of shadows wheeling in their depths. She stroked his arm, following its longer, less childish contour. Watching where her hand passed, her stomach knotted. Daimen was growing, yes – but his spellsheen was riddled with weaknesses, unable to form properly under the constant violence. At his age, it should have at least three separate constructs – silken comforters, radiant healers, sharp-edged protectors. Instead, she was looking at patches of broken patterns that floated on a fragile web of spell-threads, so destructible.
She’d been putting off a final decision, caught by the thought of what her family had risked to get her out of Mortaidh, dreading Aeron’s reaction. Now, looking at her son, she knew what she had to do, that she couldn’t hesitate any longer.
“Can I come too?”
Daimen’s words broke into her crystallizing train of thought. She kissed his forehead. His scent filled her, reminding her of Deep Corewane, that day at the end of every summer when veils shrouded the Core’s brilliance, leaving the sky heavy and rich. Daimen’s moods, his passions, his sensitivities, would become as intense as the dying summer with age – she already saw the man he would be. But his extremes would be threaded with sweetness, if only he was allowed a space to grow as he should.
She folded a hand around his wing-crest. “No, that you mustn’t do. It wouldn’t be safe for you.”
Daimen’s mouth turned down at the corners. “I’m not safe here.”
Riana pressed her face into his hair. “You will be, sweetheart. I promise.”
Daimen’s lids drooped. He snuggled down further, and fell into a sleep deeper than he’d been permitted for weeks. Riana let her own eyes close, savoring this moment of tranquility. Of release. She didn’t let her mind focus for even a second on Mortaidh, and what the lull meant – no thought on her part must darken Daimen’s dreaming.
The outline of Aeron’s face sharpened in front of her. His thought was turning this way, and Riana could guess why. It was time to speak with him of what she intended to do. He was struggling, and she needed him to stay steady – to look after Daimen in her absence.
However long that will be.
She had to inform someone else first. Goosebumps ran across her skin. She pulled her focus in tight and threaded it south on a line of flickering gold.
Riana, I wish you the best of fortune. And to all the mothers out there in this world, may happiness and peace shine on all your pathways. Happy Mother’s Day!