Something in your mother's acceptance of my cruel words makes me see how, for a moment, I am the pathetic one. I’ve seen those eyes before. I’ve seen them on the faces of Surna girls who come to me to do the dampening and I know they’re carrying unwanted Innachor children inside them. In her eyes, I see for a moment how even the lucky ones who are pretty and pass and marry into Innachor upper ranks—sometimes, even those with a good life and caring husbands—are still every bit of Surna fate.
Oh, she knew it was foolish, but she was still so much a girl—trying on womanhood as one might try on shoes. Her ragdolls still rested on her pillow, arms akimbo. During summer storms she would clutch them to her face and soothe herself to sleep, dreaming of princes and kisses soft as moth wings. The crow's kisses were not as she imagined. They were far better.