Authors: Marie Brennan
The thread settles into place, binding her own fate. She will see her husband and not know him; recognition will not come until he proves himself to her again.
Her weaving is done. She kneels before the grey-eyed goddess and bows her head, accepting the ignorance that wisdom bestows. The brilliant light of her creation flares and then fades away.
Her maids find her collapsed on the floor and hurry her off to bed. These are the ones whose threads will continue; they have kept faith with their queen, and so they will not be hanged with treacherous Melantho and her sisters. But all of that lies in a future they have not seen. Neither maids nor mistress knows what she has done.
She sleeps a day and a night, and when she rises, her hair is as long as it ever was. She goes about her duties in a daze, which her maids attribute to the absence of her son. Their reasoning is borne out when Telemachos returns, for then it seems that she wakes at last from her dream.
She goes to the head of the hall, looking out over her suitors, the men who have clamored for her hand, believing her to be the means by which they will shape their own fates.
The old beggar stands disregarded at the back of the hall. In this moment, every eye is upon her.
Penelope holds the mighty bow in her hand and speaks for all to hear. “My husband will be the man who can string the bow of Odysseus, and fire an arrow through twelve axe-heads. Thus the Fates have decreed, and on my word, it shall be so.”
Copyright Â© 2014 by Bryn Neuenschwander
Art copyright Â© 2014 by Ashley Mackenzie