Can I just take a minute to talk about how important Morrigan and Kieran are to me? That in this game there exists a child who is wise and strange and childish and complex even in his few small moments. That there exists a mother whose character does not revolve around her motherhood, whose story is still being told, who is still at the center of big events. Think for a moment about how vanishingly rare that is. She’s a mother, and yet that isn’t what her story is about at all. She’s difficult, she’s flawed, she’s frankly kind of an asshole still. She loves and craves knowledge. She’s a work in progress, but we’re never invited to question her fitness as a mother because of it. She’s shown as a loving, concerned, strict mother, a woman who would sacrifice everything for her child in a heartbeat, without ever seeming to subsume her life to his needs.
That’s….rarer than gems in the Korcari Wilds, and very precious to me.
He has dark hair. It is curly and silky to the touch, but he always manages to come bounding into your arms with mud and brambles entangled into it. It reminds you of another child upon another time, a child with long dark hair who ran with the wolves and flew with the birds and who always came home to a mother and naught else.
(You will never be /that/ mother. You will never be /her/. No, this child will never have to live as you were, he will never have to retreat to the wolves for comfort and protection, he will never have to fly away with the birds to feel free for just a moment before a spiteful tether brings him spiraling back.)
There is a child.
When it is cold he nestles close to your chest, nose against your heart and mind in the realm of the otherworlds. He is safe and he relaxes and does not tense in fear and curl up tight like you did. You protect him and he /trusts/ you to do so because you are his mother and he believes in you and you will never, never let anyone lay a hand on him. Ever. Not while you breathe, and not for a moment after. You always swore you would teach your own children that love is a weakness, you always said you would do as your mother did and teach your child to survive and harden him to the twisted nature of the worlds you call home.
(You loved her, once, back when your smiles were toothy and you scraped your knees and mussed your hair. She never said she loved you. She never said she loved you, yet you said you loved her. She made sure to teach you otherwise. Love was a cancer, she said, love was weakness. She was your mother, and you believed it because mother is supposed to know best.)
Tis unfortunate, how things turned out. You cannot bear to be the cause of a tear or a faltered smile, and the moment you saw him you loved him and could do nothing less. You could not ever do as /she/ did. You could never smash his golden mirror on the rocks. He is a child, a happy, young, innocent little boy, and you want to keep that smile on his perfect face for as long as you can.
(You wanted your mother to die. You had your only friend, your best friend kill your mother. Your mother only raised you, healed you, taught you, because she wanted to use you. She never loved you and never once cared about you, the little girl who wanted to be pretty and who wanted to fly with the birds and see mountains and feel the cold caress of ocean waters. She cared about your flesh because it would be hers one day. The thought of her twists your heart painfully, because although you know each story she told you at night when you woke up with nightmares of demons and each wound eased from your irritated skin - you know all of it was false, something to keep you near so she could use you. But you cannot help yearning for it sometimes.)
You will never use him. You will tell him stories to soothe nightmares because you want to see the fear lessen in his eyes - golden eyes, just like yours - and be replaced with wonder and glee and awe. You will heal each injury, each scrape and cut and blister and bone, because you cannot bear to hear him cry. He cries out for you, and when he does you gather him to your heart and hold him near until he no longer hurts and no longer fears.
(You used to cry out for your mother when you were hurt. After she stopped coming, you stopped crying. It has been so long since you last cried.)
There is a child.
He is as you were, and that fills your hollow chest with a bright bubbling sunlight that will not die quietly. He is bold and daring and returns to you with pretty baubles and shining blades and pilfered goods. You do not take them, you do not break them, you let him play with them and be enthralled by them. They make him smile. And his smile makes you smile.
He is as you were, he is curious. He asks so many questions, reminiscent of your friend from long ago. He asks of where you come from and why you and he hide in the forests instead of flourishing in civilization. He asks of battles long since fought and of princesses long since rescued and of dragons long since slain. You hide nothing from him, because that is what /she/ did, that is what your mother did, and you grew up with a roiling dissatisfaction in your gut and an impatient vacancy in your head, where information she kept from you should have long since settled.
He is as you were and more - a clever child, always playing with the other humans like you once did. You did not like it at first - he is reckless and foolish like you, and uses his magic gladly, and you feared someone would swoop in and take him away from you. But he proved apt, moreso than even you were, at the grand game of whispering his way through crowds. Where the men leered and lusted after you, he has the adoration of the girls who weave flowers into his hair and the fondness of the women who feed him full with sweets, and they shield him as you would. He, with his large eyes and scruffy hair and angel’s face. He manipulates the world with a smile, while you did it with fire.
He is as you are, flying through the light air with gilded feathers, and prowling the darkness with claws and fur. He leaps across chasms and lands as the halla do, he floats down the river lazily with scaled skin and little fins. He frequents the shadows without fear twisting in his belly, because he knows the most fearsome thing there is you. And you will always keep him safe.
He does not fear the night because you have taught him to see the stars.
There is a child.
You knew nothing of love before he had looked you in the eyes for the first time, before you had run your fingers through his damp curls, before he had touched your brambled heart with the hand of a rose. He made your twisted soul bloom with the tender love you never once imagined you would ever feel, the tight hesitant glow that creases your lips and fills your chest with hearthfire.