All beginnings are humble, relatively speaking. We all begin in blood and pain. The trick is to rise above that, and become something noble.
Sometimes, rising is not the only choice.
The birth was at sea, although that was not by any means her intent. She intended to make a quick crossing to return home, to have her child in a familiar place even if it meant explaining everything to her father. That was a fate that she feared only slightly more than she feared a shipwreck or piracy at sea. But she had been taught to face her fears.
She was spared the need to explain things to her father, but only because of the sudden storm that arose out of the deep blue sea, and capsized the ship, and washed her and her newborn child away to a watery fate. The storm was the stuff of legends. It rolled the ship to be sure, but the only passengers lost were the young woman and her child. No one could quite remember her name, and the purser’s records seemed to have been damaged by the water, erasing her from the passenger manifest. The captain decided that asking too many more questions was risking more than he thought reasonable, and merely logged the incident as an unexpected wave and went on.
She awoke to find herself and her child safe, in a comfortable room with a view of a garden. The sunlight played among the plants, glinting here and there and making pleasant patterns as the plants swayed and the fish swam—
Fish. Garden. She was puzzled.
Then she recalled the shipwreck, and then just before that the birth. Just as she wondered where he was, a quiet cry called her attention to him where he was resting comfortably in a crib just in reach.
Reassured, she lay back to enjoy watching the patterns in the garden.
And then she remembered how she had got in trouble in the first place. The evening swims in the warm, clear, blue waters. Falling asleep on the veranda overlooking the beach. Waking to find the impossibly beautiful young man admiring her, and the way he startled and bolted back to the sand. How she welcomed him, taught him to not fear her, and eventually to love her, only to lose him when the weather changed.
She never could quite remember his name, or even if she’d told him hers. Or where, exactly, he was from. His accent was faintly not native, but not identifiable. His skin was too perfect, but with a faint shimmer by moonlight. He never arrived in too many clothes. She was shocked at how little she really knew.
And now, here she was, apparently sunk and yet resting in a pleasant sun room under the sea.
She awoke again, with a start, not remembering falling asleep.
There was someone with her, in the shadows. Night had fallen, and the room was illuminated mostly by a school of phosphorescent fish outside the windows making for a shifting and highly unreliable light. All she could see was a figure of a man.
“You remembered me, and you bore me a son. I made promises that I will keep, even if you don’t remember them. Your place is here with me for as long as you wish it to be.”
She remembered the voice. Her heart leapt. It couldn’t possibly be him, could it?