Mitar did not believe me when I said that the truth must be known and thought I had accused Yasna because of my jealousy. He said it was clear to him that it was over the man, Vladimir.
‘If Yasna told you that then she is a fool and knows nothing of the human heart,’ I replied insolently, though I was frightened both of him and the one they called Yakshah.
Then he sat opposite me, and looked at me with those terrible yellow eyes, the eyes of a wolf, and said, ‘It’s terrible not be seen, isn’t it?
‘Yes, it is terrible. It was terrible how Yakshah did not see Vesna, nor how much love she had for him.’
Mitar started and then he understood all. Yakshah was mute, but his expression did not deny it, and I could see that he had steeled himself and would not make excuses.
‘We did not want trouble between our people, Yasna and I,’ was all he said.
Mitar considered this, and asked, ‘Do you still claim that Yasna enchanted Vesna in light of this, Morana?’
I shrugged and kept silent. When they saw I would not say more they left. I went o sleep and did not think about it any more. Fate had already decided what the morning would bring.
I could see the Lords had no faith in my power, and did not believe in my word, and so I reconciled myself to my fate, whatever it might be. Both death and exile were unknown lands to me. But then I grew angry. Why should I give my life up? I wondered. There was nothing here but a malicious tongue and an unloving man, both of whom had set the wheels of fate in motion with their selfish deeds. I will speak the truth and let true justice be done, but again I grew afraid that there would be trouble between the two peoples, my own and that of the Outlanders, who could be violent, and who could know where the violence would end?
I could see the moon through the window, and thought I would climb out, past the sleeping guards, past the dogs who knew and trusted me, and make my way down the road before the village wakened.
I was thinking how far I could get when the Lord, Mitar, came to me. He placed his finger over his lips and led me out of the cell and out of the compound, and putting a mantle of fur around me, helped me onto his horse. He led it to the grove of trees where I had called Vesna back and asked if I could call his son, who had died last year.
‘I feel him around me. I know that he is here,’ Mitar said.
‘It is not the season of the moon, and I have no effigy,’ I replied. But Mitar gave me the boy’s horse bridle, and I held in my hands.
‘His name was Urosh.’
The night was dark; the air was clear and cold. I told the Lord to step back, and I circled around, widdershins, inside the grove of trees, faster and faster, holding the bridal up to the sky. I twirled about, until I felt that I was ready, and I called out to Urosh, son of Mitar, to appear. Lightning cracked and the trees shook. Mitar picked me up from where I had fallen, and stood with his arm about me, waiting. No form appeared, only a voice that boomed out of the darkness.
‘Go home, Father. It is not me that you feel around you, but your own thoughts, which are uneasy. I live well here and am eternal. Do not blame yourself for what was done, for I took the risk myself, heedless of your warnings, and drove the horses badly and thus broke my own neck.
‘The girl you will save, for she has done nothing, and it was Yakshah that loved the other, who drowned herself for sorrow.’
Mitar called out and asked for his dead, his wife and infant daughter, but there was no answer, and I could see he was broken. He fell to his knees and did not rise for a long time, and I stayed with him, comforting him.