, ,

This is an excerpt from a piece of fiction I am currently writing while living here in Germany. I hope you enjoy it. 

The day Fifika was born could have been during a very auspicious alignment of the stars. If she had waited in her mother’s womb a few more weeks, she would have been born on the first warm day of spring. Instead, she was born during one of the last and harshest snowstorms of the year and the stars were ever so misaligned as she drew her first breaths.

As the beautiful Serafima screamed in the pains of labor, the graceful Vadoma attended to her and sang songs of warmth and power. As Serafima gave a final push, the last of the Vezdakasht clan took her first breath. Her mother’s breath froze in the air as she gave her daughter her first and most secret name that would remain unspoken to confuse the evil spirits.  As Vadoma wrapped her granddaughter in blankets, she told her the story of Vezdakashti, a story she would retell many times over the course of their lives together.  A week later a chill still hung in the air when her father baptized her with holy water and named her Fifika.

Fifika was a bright and happy child whose giggle echoed around the caravan night and day. From an early age she was fascinated by the stars and would spend hours on her back studying and contemplating the stars. She imagined new constellations and listened to Vadoma’s tales of the stars and the moon and their names and histories. When she was alone, she would tell herself her own stories. She would retell herself the stories of her ancestors.

Fifika always knew the story of her clan. Run by powerful women the Vezdakasht clan was notorious. Their fame was due to both their terrifying power and the unfathomable beauty. Green eyes and dark hair were their trademarks. Vadoma said all the best stories were grown from dark places in the forest the Vezdakasht’s called their own.

These dark places were part of Fifika’s childhood playgrounds. As she grew, she learned the ways of the woods and the spells of the skies. Both her mother and grandmother taught her their skills with the fiercest pride, although Fifika always found Vadoma to be the more patient teacher. Her mother, Serafima, had prodigious power over men, but her passion for all things often boiled away her ability to concentrate.

Vadoma on the hand was slow and kind. She, like Fifika, could concentrate for hours on the stars, trying to understand their mysterious power.  Vadoma sensed from an early age that Fifika had a strong dose of the Vezdakasht spirit, and predicted great things for her future. Like most grandmothers are wont to do however, she ignore the warnings the stars gave.