Gunnora's Gift [Witch World Series #3]
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by Elisabeth Waters
Description: Kyria had been an only child and wanted a big family. As a child, she had carefully learned everything her mother had to teach her, thinking 'someday I'll be teaching all of this to my daughters.' Why wouldn't the Goddess grant her even one child?
eBook Publisher: Marion Zimmer Bradley Literary Works Trust, 1990 Tales of the Witch World 3
eBookwise Release Date: October 2007
19 Reader Ratings:
Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [19 KB]
Reading time: 9-13 min.
I'm going to Gunnora's shrine because I haven't borne a child in eight years of marriage, but I'm certainly not going to tell you that, Kyria thought, smiling politely at the innkeeper. She returned a non-committal reply to what he had no doubt intended as a civil question, then set about the business of arranging for food and a night's lodging for herself, her pony, her dog, and her hawk. The innkeeper insisted, however, that all the animals sleep in the stables, pointing out that the dog was almost as big as the pony anyhow.
Kyria acquiesced with a sigh. She would have been glad of the dog's company--she slept with her at home when her husband was gone; that way she didn't wake up shivering in the middle of the night. Still, this was the last inn before she reached the shrine; for the next few days they would all be camping out together and could make what sleeping arrangements they pleased.
The inn was not crowded, so she had a room to herself. But, as she had feared, she woke up in the dark time before dawn, shivering violently. She doubled the blankets up at the foot of the bed and scrunched down under them, pulling the pillow with her to stop the drafts around her neck. She wouldn't be able to sleep much in this position, but at least it was warmer. She would really have preferred to be asleep; for now there was nothing for her to do but think, and her thoughts these days were not pleasant.
Harne would not send her away for her failure to bear him a child; she knew that. Even if he didn't care for her, and she had reason to think he did--he had always been kind to her, ever since she was turned over to him as a nervous fifteen-year-old bride--she was the key to his possession of her father's hold. But her father had certainly not been happy that her mother bore him no child save this one daughter, and she certainly didn't think that Harne would be content forever with no child of his body to be his heir.
And now she knew that it was her fault. Last week, while riding out past one of the tenant cottages, she had felt someone watching her and turned to see a boy, about ten years old, staring at her with Harne's peculiar grey-green eyes. While she stared back in astonishment a woman had come out of the cottage, looked from her to the boy, and hastily dragged him inside. For a moment Kyria had considered following, to ask what this meant, but the woman had looked terrified, and Kyria had always been reluctant to make anyone unhappy. At the time she had been a bit in shock, and she had always hated awkward scenes. This one promised to be very awkward indeed.
The boy was Harne's son; that much was sure. If it were merely a chance resemblance, the woman, presumably his mother, would have had no reason to be afraid of Kyria's seeing him. After all, he had clearly been born before Harne married Kyria. Past was past; Kyria had no right to complain about anything Harne had done before he married her. But why had the woman looked so frightened? Was Harne still seeing her? Were there other, younger children?