“I think,” she said, softer than light, “I think that one morning, the Papess woke in her tower, and her blankets were so warm, and the sun was so golden, she could not bear it. I think she woke, and dressed, and washed her face in cold water, and rubbed her shaven head. I think she walked among her sisters, and for the first time saw that they were so beautiful, and she loved them. I think she woke up one morning of all her mornings, and found that her heart was white as a silkworm, and the sun was clear as glass on her brow, and she believed then that she could live, and hold peace in her hand like a pearl.”
Tears slipped warm and grateful down Dinarzad’s lovely face, her lips trembled, and she folded her arms around the girl like a mother, like a sister, and kissed her frozen hair. She let her go, and drew down her yellow veil, and returned to the dais – but every so often, she glanced back over her shoulder, into the dark and the branches, into the Garden.
In the Cities of Coin and Spice, Catherynne M. Valente