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Shared Blood, Shared Sorrow

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Blood follows the mother. It has always been the way of things, even when inheritance passed to the son, and Susan thinks that she should be glad of such an equality in her faith.

She is, would be, if she felt that she had anything to pass on besides pain and grief, the sort of tragedy that flows down a family tree for as long as the branches continue their pursuit of the sun. It could be a curse, some ancient magician who was spurned by her grandmother’s grandmother and decided that it should be the children who suffered. There’s a comfort in the thought, like somehow this disastrous life isn’t of her own making.

She wonders, deep in the night when the wolf claws at the door, if her mother had similar thoughts near the end. As the pills grew stronger and the shadows in her mind lessened, if Sophie had closed her eyes and wished that she’d never been so selfish as to have children. Sophie left before the rest of them, never saw whatever fears she might have had for Ganya realized, and Susan will envy her for that for as long as her heart continues to beat.

Susan doesn’t wish for death, not as her mother did, but the wolf makes a strong argument for contemplation in the timeless hours of the night. She’s done good things, loves so much of what she’s carved from her cursed life, but the cost is forever hiding in the shadows.

It’s the reason why her career has become her child, one that she can pour herself into without regret. All love is unrequited, even that which she gives herself, therefore a little damage down the line is a price she can easily pay. It might be different if she had been born a boy. If it were Ganya who lived, and Susan who died in the war. Ganya would have taken a wife, might have broken the cycle of cursed blood in Susan’s veins. Instead, she is all that remains of her branch of their family tree, and she would not wish her luck upon a soul.

Original source image credited to Hedmuk