In the darkness that would never lighten, she let the memories run behind her eyes, of sunny meadows, her mother’s face, the bright hangings on the walls of her father’s house. Not all the lamps of the world could lighten her darkness now, for she was the seer, and to see she had first to be blinded.
She was gifted, they had told her father. She would make a fine offering to the temple. She remembered her father’s face as he weighed up the options: an advantageous marriage, or to have the temple in his debt. A daughter was useful only for what she would bring in exchange. She remembered the cupid smile that twisted his lips when he made up his mind.
Her mother had cried, but it made no difference. They had put out her eyes all the same. She had been small then, a child too tiny to put up a fight. But she knew how to defend herself now. In these years of darkness, she had learned many things.
“I know you’re there,” she said. “I might be blind, but you can’t hide from me. You have a boon to ask, and I can see the future. Will the ship bring back untold wealth, or will it founder and take your investment with it?”
She sensed the tensing of his muscles, the rage that he should be asking a favour of a woman. But the fear was not of her and what she could do, but for his fortune. She smiled inwardly and with her foot stirred the luck, good or bad, in the heap of peacock feathers.
“I see the ship, the storm that strikes as it enters the straits. I see the crew furl the sails, but too late. The ship is blown onto the rocks and is wrecked. The cargo is lost, your investment, all you possessed, at the bottom of the sea with all hands— even the child who stowed away on his first adventure, against his father’s express wishes—your beloved son, father.”
She savoured the sharp pang of horror, and the darkness lifted just a little.