When the child was born, two Great Goddesses attended her birth; they covered the birthing room with their cloaks. Time, the Great Spider, spun her web leaving behind this place for the moment frozen at dusk. It was the hour of twilight and prophecy.
War spoke first in her thunderclap voice, a summon and a judgment at once. Everyone in the birthing room shut their hands over their ears, closed their eyes, but her voice was a lightning bolt, skin-stripping flesh-scorching heat, and it bent their backs into submission; her breath was the desert and forest fire and as her words filled the air, everything smelled of blood and iron and steel blades:
will be a warrior. Her birthright is passion, rage, lust, and glory; I give her the Burning Gift. She will be capable of dragon-fire. Indeed, she may be the highest fire – the third eye and creation itself. She is Sati incarnate, able to will her body or any-body into ash – and no power on earth or any plane will be able to re-assemble what she has destroyed – or created. Her desire will be forged in flames and she will walk the cinder path. For this gift there is a price: one half of her I claim for righteous battle as shield, conch shell, and sword alike. Fire burns all, even those who carry it in their skins. Her body will pay this price, as do all born under My gaze. At her lowest state, she will act from a place of arrogance, and burn herself many times. If she learns she is My daughter, she will reach her highest state, recognise Ego in anyone and anything and will burn it to ashes with her smile – a line of fire, burning through lies and cauterizing the wound.”
When Death spoke, she did so in a stiletto whisper, a black shadow smoke snake thing that curled around the room, filtered easily between fingers, a whisper everyone had heard before, from time to time, from the dark corners of their minds, on their darkest days, a whisper like a stream, a trickling waterfall leading to a black pool in a dark forest, a ceaseless voice that felt just like an unstoppable thought – the kind you could drown in, the kind that felt like your own – and there the people in the birthing room sank in the wine Death poured from her voice:
will be a natural witch, her birthright is the deepest power, churned from oceans and the universe, she is the dark side of the moon, the Blood Moon of harvests and the Blood Moon of the womb; she is the silk of the umbilical cord, clitoris, and foreskin; she is typhoon and gentle brook. She will know Truth, Judgement, and Balance as the Dead know it. Her words will be poison or blessing, curse or boon; she is the manifestation of Destiny. She will have the second sight; the scrying eye, her gaze will be a knife, able to see into and through people, slicing through them and drawing water. Yes, water will be her will. I give her the Gift of Craft. For this gift, there is a price: one half of her essence, I claim for the Underworld, and she will live a full life by years, but it will be a half life because every left step, she will take in My shadow; her mind will pay this price, as do all born under My gaze. Water drowns all, even those who carry it in their skins. She will be born old and will always know too much of love, sorrow, and shame. At her lowest state, she will be porous to all shadows, hidden thoughts – she will be shackled by them, drown in them, or cause others to drown – and she will find herself invaded time and time again by men, by evil itself. If she learns she is My daughter, she will reach her highest state, she will see the dark mysteries of all people, she will never fear Me. She will see the threads of the universe and how they shape reality- the hidden thoughts, the shadow places, the deepest ills- these she will draw out like poison, drink them like wine, and turn them to water in her throat.”