The squeeze of his hand knocked all the secrecy out of me. I closed my eyes, attempting to recapture it, but failed.
"It's about my mother." I peeked from beneath my lashes to gage his reaction. He was surprised, but looked intently on at me. "When I threatened those sievere with The Sea Lady, when I mentioned Una, when they backed away from me... it's all because Una, The Sea Lady, she is my mother." I snuck another look at him, but once again, he only appeared to be waiting for the rest of my story. I took a deep breath and continued. "Being the Sea Lady is a great responsibility, a responsibility that I would call a burden. A human would consider her our ruler, but it's more complex than that. She has no political power over any sievere, no power whatsoever. It is only that every sievere looks to her, and fears her all the same, because of her great power. She sees everything connected with the sea in any way. She will have known of the attack before it began, she will know of each visit I payed you, and she will know of this conversation. She is omniscient. And so becomes... well what you would call a god I suppose."
"So, your mother is a goddess?"
"No. She is only treated as one." There was ice in my voice and I felt it cut the air, but could not stop it before it caused the flinch in Destran's face. "I apologise. My mother and I are not on good terms."
"Well, like you, I am expected to take her role when she dies. And I do not want it."
"I hesitate to ask once more... why not?"
"Because. I do not want to be a slave to my people. I do not want to be adored and feared for a power which allows me to know every thing down to the very details of my own death before it happens. I do not want that knowledge."
"But it would allow you to prevent deaths, wars..."
"...NO!" My voice had raised and was slightly cracked. The others glanced over and I lowered my voice again. "It would not. I cannot alter a course that has been shown to me. All visions the Sea Lady sees are set in stone. They will not change."
"But surely nothing is set in stone? One action could change..."
"If that were so, why did she let the boat that carried her daughter and her friends be attacked? Why did she allow Levina to bring the Vandrial? Why did she allow me to..." I saw the concern in Destran's eyes and knew I must look wild as I struggled to hold in the words that would have burst from my lips then. His hand tightened on mine.
"So your mother and you do not get on because she wishes you to follow in her footsteps? Can you not refuse?"
"If I had a sister, she could take on the role. But I have no sibling, and therefore the role falls to me."
"Why can't any sievere take the role?"
"I am a direct descendent of Kalia, the sievere who fell in love with a human and started the place you call Trephin? When she returned to the sea, and that human dived in after her, they created a child of the water, a sievere, who had a great knowledge of both sea and land. Since she mated with a sievere, her children lost the ability to see the future of the land, and from then, a female of that line has taken the role of The Sea Lady, to tell the future of all things connected with the ocean."
Destran considered this for a moment, staring out at the waves and the setting sun. I was content to just stay by his side and watch the view too, until he spoke.
"Perhaps it will not be so bad..."
I felt the anger inside me reach my eyes again.
"Don't." I spat sharply, before apologising once again and cupping his face briefly. "My mother has no time for me. She is the servant of her people, and I am just another in the crowd. I have never had any time with her, to just be mother and daughter. I do not want that, for my children, for my mate. I want to be there, watch them grown, spend every minute I can with them until I have to release them to their own lives. My mother only began to take an interest in me when I had reached a stage where I no longer wanted a mother to fuss over me. I want my children to know I love them for their entire life."
Destran seemed lost for words after this tender speech, so I simply turned my head back to the waves and considered the subject we had touched on earlier. The song. If he was hearing it still, it meant I had touched some part of him he had not discovered yet. And that meant that I would have to be even more careful around him, in case he were to develop emotions that were not supposed to be there, and only existed because of the song.
I was afraid that my speech about children and my mother would have helped that along.