View Full Version : Markova's Lament

2006-12-28, 09:28 AM
She wakes, but does not open her eyes.
She listens briefly to the sound of flowing liquid, rainwater moving down through tiny tunnels in the rock. It reminds her of her motherís womb, the darkness and the flow of blood around her body. It reminds her of her Motherís womb, the darkness and the flow of blood around her soul. Safety.
She feels the roughness of the lizard skins that cushion her while she meditates, and opens her eyes, seeing the others rising, sleeping and some few arranging themselves for rest. She rises and stumbles briefly on the rough rock of the cavernís floor. A young male, having just risen, reaches out to steady her, and her fingers weave thanks. He bows slightly, and turns to dress.
She watches for a moment as he slips into a soft leather bodysuit, something to protect against the chafing of armour. A warrior, she thinks, and watches admiringly at the grace with which he moves.
She does not dress, as she is headed for the nursery this evening, not the barracks. When she enters, she is greeting first by the distinctive smells; drowlings, lactation and piss-caked sand. She looks around and sees another young male waving to her, ready to leave for a meal or rest. He leaves and she watches, tickling a milk-fat drowling beneath the chin. It gurgles happily, cloud-white eyes bright and hair only a silvery fuzz on its head. She smiles, and turns away to another.
A spider is crawling on the floor, and she crushes it with a finger. As she washes off the remains she smiles, imagining listing her own name as she writes the hunt records. Slain: one spider. She shakes her head and returns to the children.
Later, as she finishes her meal, a flutter of fingers near the entrance tells her that a hunting party has arrived, and she is needed. She walks quickly through the unlit tunnels, stumbling now and then on unexpected roughness. Thinking again of the graceful warrior, she wishes she had been blessed with such poise.
The huntmaster has been waiting for her in the chambers of records, and she weaves an apology. The other female replies that she found the wait restful, that no apology is needed. She smiles, and smooths her tunic. The hunter is taller and finely muscled.
She writes as the hunter describes the nightís catch. Pigment slides from a shard of bone onto the parchment, detailing wounds and kills and sizes. She smiles obligingly as the hunter describes a particularly impressive animal, she loves to hear the boasting recollections, the pride of a true, measurable accomplishment.
She finishes and they rise from the floor. She congratulates the hunter on an impressive catch, and feels the hunterís hand against her back. It descends, ribs to flank to buttock, inviting. She turns slightly, smiles, touches the hunterís forearm in acceptance.
Later, they are together. They are breathing hard, the flow of their blood fast, their skins damp with sweat. She feels the soft fur beneath her, hears the hunterís breath steady and bloodflow slow as she begins to rest. She smiles. Life is good.

She wakes, but does not open her eyes.
She listens briefly to the sound of flowing liquid, broadcast throughout the complex on imperceptible speakers. It reminds her of the smooth flow of blood through a loverís veins. Pleasure.
She feels the smoothness of her silk sheets, the warmth of the young males at her sides. She rises, and sees that they still rest. She does not stumble.
The attendant at her door as she leaves admires Her grace, of the delicate interplay of strong muscles. She has told him that she does not wish to eat now, that food should be sent to her office. He bowed, and left to convey Her orders.
She enters the nursery, answering the respectful bows and fluttered prayers with a warm gaze and a smile. She breathes the sweet air, drowlings, lactation and the lingering odour of ozone that will not be banished despite all efforts. The drowlings relax and smile as she passes, luxuriating in the sense of safety Her presence gives them. She smiles sadly, knowing the troubles they will face when they are grown.
She has dressed. Cotton shirt and loose linen suit, both as white as the hair that flows down to her thighs. This room is lit, if only by luminescent mosses growing and glowing on the rocks encircled by water and worked stone in the centre. A desk, a chair, a gently flowing water feature. An office. A place to do the business that feeds the little drowlings, that provided the caverns for their shelter. A business that has crowned her Queen.
She sips at the drink and nibbles at the food as people in suits report to her, giving her numbers and statistics and facts. Some address her as ĎYour Darknessí, some as ĎMs Markovaí. She answers them with acknowledgement and instructions, and they leave to carry out her wishes, weaving her webs.
She gazes at a dim computer screen, reading through the torrent of information it provides her with and thinking of a time when things were simple and she was weak and this did not mean the extinction of her species. Life is hard, and she knows that she will never put to rest the dream-memories of a time and a world where is was not.