The blood that has spilled across my thighs is my own. My Lord, Father and General, told me long ago that when I become a woman, I will come to his bed.  A child from him would unite his blood with the blood of this savage and undeserving world, and usher in a new era.

I have always known this was my destiny and until this day, I welcomed it. He has made me a Captain of his guard, his closest ally. In this world, he needs his allies close to him, near his hands and head. Yet I do not want to tell him I have become a woman. I am, suddenly, afraid. The dream, so different, has troubled me.

I cut my leg with my dagger, a nice bright line of blood, and I call in my serving girl. I tell her, wound dripping, that my sheets have been soiled, and I order her to clean them. Then I wrap my wound. The gash is long enough, and deep enough, that I hope the blood on my sheets will pass as a result of my wound.

My duties as a Captain of my Lord’s Guard take me out to the city. Last night, there was a disturbance in a local tavern that witness accounts lead me to believe was no simple brawl. I interviewed the tavern owner and he tells me that two men, using primitive weaponry, picked fights with the security detail stationed nearby before fleeing into the woods. This is typical for the rebels, to destroy property and leave, scaring business owners into closing and leaving markets empty. Economically, revolution is a disaster for this world. We offer them clean water, farming and mining equipment, but they destroy every gift offered them.

We know that the rebels hide within the thick forest, in a network of trees and geologic formations that resist conventional warfare. I have long wanted to raze the forest to the ground, but my Lord has told me that with enough power, we could actually move entire sections of the forest offworld, where the rich new minerals could be mined effectively, and the rebels disconnected from their networks of supporters.

I want to burn it all. Let the blood of these rebels boil. Let the people see the price of their ignorance. They are lucky that the Lord is far more merciful,than I am. I want to pursue the rebels into the forest, but before I can do so, I am summoned back into the compound by the Weaver. I know better than to ignore her call.

The Witch Mother is holding my soiled sheets when I come back to my rooms. “So,” she says, “You have become a woman.”

I point to my leg. “I was wounded -” I say, but she waves her hand to cut me off.

“Silly girl, do you think that I am so foolish as not to know the color of power? The wound on your leg could never create such a stain.” She turns her head to the side, and beneath her hood, I see the glow of her yellow eyes. “Why would you hide such a thing from me, your mother?”

I look out the window, upon the beautiful fires of the growing city beneath us.

“Did you think,” she said, rising, “that I would not notice? Are you trying to avoid your Master’s bed? After all he has done for you? Do you think yourself so high and mighty?”

I look towards her. “I am nothing,” I say.

She places her cold hands around my face, and her yellow eyes take my mind and bend it to her command. “What are you hiding?” she hisses, and my tongue flaps under her spell.

“I dream of feathers,” I tell her, “and a man I love.” as I say it, I am shocked, but it is true, I love the man I dream of. I cannot lie with her hands weaving a spell around my head.

“Dream no more of these things,” she orders me, her black fingernails digging into my flesh, “instead, make yourself ready for your Lord, to be united with him.” Her eyes consume me, and when she pulls away, I feel relief. The awful weight of hiding a secret from my Lord is gone. Of course I will go to him, to serve him.  I am grateful for the Weaver. How easily I confuse myself without her guidance.

On the way to the throne room of my Lord, I receive a message. The rebels in the town are back, murdering our security forces. I arm my weapon and take a contingent with me to the city. I will not allow them to fade into the forest again. I will bring them to my Lord, and we will have justice.

PART TWO                                                                 PART FOUR