The birth of this child was neither the easiest nor the most difficult. There wethings Kensa thought would make it hard but in the moment she only had room for the work and the pain. Once again she had sought out a place of solitude, though this year she did not retreat from Hyaline’s winter. She was alone, groaning on the frozen black earth. Only the lightest dusting of snow lay beneath the massive spruce where she labored. It’s trunk was at her back and needles stick in her mane when she curled in on herself, bearing down. It was a cold and messy business, spiritual, raw, lonely until it wasn’t.
She calls the girl Aloy.
It is a few days before Kensa can bring herself to leave Hyaline with her newborn. She lets herself be selfish with those several-dozen hours. This daughter (like her eldest) will probably never be as tame as her brothers, and this time is priceless.
Aloy trips along over the snow-strewn leaves ahead of her mother. She doesn’t know where she is going but listens, she has learned to listen to her dam behind her and alter her path according to the sound of Kensa’s tread. Her mother is never far off, but lets her go on ahead knowingly. She too once had to be first.
Aloy had been born with only buttons before her small ears but today she sports the forward arched horns of a young ibex, black above her irregular, gold crowned blaze. Like that same horned creature she crow hops through Sylva’s leafy carpet, her downy wings raised out from her sides.
This long adventure has made her confident and the filly easily gets too far ahead. Kensa calls out to her, not entirely sure about visiting here, but the infant is oblivious and trots through dusty snow and crunchy leaves with abandon until she sets eyes on a stranger. One ear looks for her mother but the other is trained on him, and she is cautious, tense. Eyes of green (just now a strange silver-green, like lambs-ear or sage) are fixed on him with a savage curiosity that looks a great deal more like a predatory stare. Aloy settles her wings at her sides, unpracticed so that the red down and golden pin feathers must be awkwardly readjusted to comfort. She is a bright and beautiful child, even her awkwardness is muted by her loveliness. His antlers draw her attention. “I’m—”
“Aloy.” Kensa says, her voice carries but though the girl looks back, she knows she is not being called away. Kensa’s cannot miss that her daughter’s horns have become small four-pointed versions of her father’s noble crown. Though the mimicry is dear that is not where she is looking. Kensa’s chest is tight, and she remembers why she never told him. Not because she didn’t want him to know. Not because she didn’t want to share that joy with him. “This is Aloy, Brigade.” Her muzzle brushes against the child’s back, reassuring herself, steadying herself. Raising her head her gemstone eye find his stormy ones carefully, “Yours.” She knows in that instant that she has made a mistake, he should have known before now.