Coffee Break Read – Owl Joins The Nest

She made to stand and I halted her with one hand. ‘Was it yourself who sustained me while I slept?’
‘It was, Great Lady.’
I pulled her head towards me and placed my fingers on each cheek and then on her forehead.
‘You are marked as under my protection now. It is a small thing, but all I have to give you.’
A reddish tear ran down her cheek. ‘Not so small to a Mother whose Mate has found another he likes better.’
‘Is that the case?’
‘It is lady. The copper coins your scribe paid me will ensure that the small one and I eat for another moon.’
I turned an inquiring face to my own Mate, who picked up my thought and smiled.
‘Where are you and the small one living?’ he asked. ‘The nest of the drones of my ex-mate’s household. They have been kind.’
‘There is room in this nest. We should have accepted a fertile female long since, but I have no desire for anyone but my Mate. Should you decide to come and live here, I will do my duty by you, but I will not pleasure you. Could you live under those circumstances?’
I thought the young Mother looked obscurely relieved, but she answered with proper modesty. ‘I could. If the Lady would not be made unhappy.’
‘I would not. Sister. How do they call you?’
‘Very well Owl. You shall be my nest sister. I am called Aaspa, you would say Swift Stinger, and our Mate is Aascko, Fast Killer.’
Owl looked as if tears were close once more, so I pulled her to me and caressed her smooth skin, feeling a response beyond sisterhood. Aha, I thought, that is how you are made little one. I spoke to her in my most honeyed of tones.
‘Be happy, small sister. And how is the little one called.’
‘He has no name. My Mate would not name him.’
She looked towards Aascko who showed his fangs in a gentle smile.
‘I name him Owlet until he grows enough to find his own name.’
Owl beamed at us, then turned to the care of her babe whom she wrapped in down and placed on a ledge to sleep.

From Aaspa’s Eyes by Jane Jago

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