Floating she found herself worried about her daughter, about Tevet, about Beth. It wasn't that she thought something had happened to her while she was away with her father. Or not at least something physical. It didn't feel like peril but it was woe.

Lisa noticed her unsettledness in her sleep and woke silent and that sudden in the way she did, her dark eyes wide and upward.

"You alright?" she asked.

Aurelie smoothed the sheet along the other woman's breast as in other years she had smoothed the blankets over Teveth. "Yes," she said, "a mother's fears."

Regretted as soon as she said it: Lisa didn't do mother.

"Mmm hmm," Lisa purred, "Let me know if I can help you." Almost instantly she slipped back to sleep in the way she could, a swimmer knifing into dark and dreams, her long flanks stretching and then relaxing as the sleep closed over her.

Aurelie had willed Beth along through life, she knew, luring her from where she sometimes snagged and lingered, bringing her shoreward through dreams and distant worries. Just as surely once she had birthed her. Reaching inward to the smooth space in the center of the terrible and seismic contractions, she had guided her serene daughter, willing her through the channel like a child in a basket. She had felt her coming like a lost memory, sailing from the bay where she floated, placid as the moon, in the buffering waters of her mother's belly.

When they had brought the baby to her, put her daughter to her breast, her cheeks were streaked with blood like a warrior woman and her blue eyes were fierce and clear.