Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong (shadesong) wrote,
Magical Truthsaying Bastard Shadesong

The Things We Value: Pearl

"Freedom Singing" necklace by spoothbrush of Possible Daydreams.

Necklace in freshwater pearl, moonstone, with ruby czech glass. 17.5 inches.

Click here to bid!


Pearls are the wealth of my kingdom; everything here, from goat to cabinet to tapestry to handful of grapes, is bought and paid for in pearls. Pearls swing from my daughters' ears, wrap 'round their delicate wrists. Some things are worth their weight in pearls. I am worth more, for it is I who bring them forth, sing them forth - luminous nacreous spheres tumbling forth, scattering on the ground. It is I who must be protected above all else, the king my husband says - so I am more mine and mint than wife and queen.

I received word today of my sister.

Not Opal, in her own stone tower to the east. My youngest sister, flame-haired and stubbornly silent, who was only a child when I was married off.

The messenger from my childhood home brought, with his scroll of news, one shining ruby. He pressed it furtively in my hand when I handed him pearls for his courier service, and I slid it into my pocket and did not look at it until later, when I was alone.

A ruby. One perfect faceted ruby. Proof that the fairy gift, fairy curse, had worked its magic on my littlest sister.

It must be tonight.

On Opal's wedding night, I began to sing pearls not just for my kingdom, but for myself. Through years, through three pregnancies, through what seems a lifetime, I have sung in secret, hid the excess pearls; my daughters have grown up plunging their hands into those barrels, feeling the pressure on their hands, soft grainy spheres.

A sympathetic laundress found a sympathetic jeweler. She sneaks pearls out to him, and he drills them. I lose half in the bribes, but enough come back to do our work. Rather than needlework, I have taught my daughters knotwork.

I gather my daughters close, strap the baby to my belly, and whisper to them. The eldest must go down first, then the middle girl, then me with the baby - then east and south, to free my sisters. I tell my eldest daughter to sing to herself as she climbs.

I tie the ends to my curtain-rod, and I spill the ladder out into the night sky - perfect white pearls like stars, knotted rungs.

I have always cursed my long-dead mother for naming us so. The fairy told her that we would bring forth whatever she named us for, and in her avarice, she named us for gems. A fairy gift. She could have used it for anything, and she used it for mortal wealth, and never dreamed of the consequences.

I do not know if the gift carries down through generations. But just in case... just in case, I have tried to name my daughters wisely.

Beginning her climb down, Freedom begins to quietly sing.



This is the first of two pieces by spoothbrush - and guess what? She's doing Blogathon too, for Doctors Without Borders! You should go say hi and sponsor her.

Elayna just called asking to be picked up from Explo... apparently she is exhausted and overstimulated from her Six Flags trip today, and she'd rather sleep in than attend the baking class tomorrow. That's cool. And we can always bake when I wake up post-'thon, if she likes. And watch Gilmore Girls. zarhooie is very excited that she'll get to see her internet sister!

And yes, Elayna has been warned that we are blogathonning and that the house will not be as quiet as usual. :)

And this is totally the way to do Blogathon, man. I am still trucking along, all energetic.
Tags: blogathon.2009
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