Part I: The Vision Over Water
Hania is a dark flame. She is cagey as a starving, feral cat. With lithe wrists like branches in winter, thin fingers and watchful eyes. A latent spark of fear, sometimes shifting to disgust, burns behind them when she studies him. Eyes that disturb Sidimund's sleep at night.
Sidimund is dying but he fears his wife will be the one to haunt him. For what he has done to her, for what he will do to her. The fever is spiking and his mind is losing touch with the world. The buzzing bodies of Sisters flurry around him as they tend the plague victims of the palace. None have time to take his confession. No matter, he doesn't deserve absolution.
Not for what he has done. For what he will do.
Spots of light behind his eyelids are like constellations. Sidimund fears Hania will remain to him as his constant northern star in a frenzied, revolving sky. His soul will be lost forever in the heavens, never arriving at the springtime halls of his ancestors. She will not pray for his spirit's retrieval. Neither will his son.
Sidimund fears Hania as she fears him. But for entirely different reasons. He knows what he has written in his will. But it's too late now to take it back. Any of it. Its too late for Sidimund to do what is right by his wife. This is his last thought as the virus burns his conscious to brittle ash.ns 184.108.40.206da2