:: ACT I ::

kith n. Old English cȳth , of Germanic origin;

related to couth . The original senses were 'knowledge,'

'one's native land'.

kin n. one's tribe, one's clan

Prologue

"Don't look back," he said.

Years later, telling the tale to my eldest granddaughter, I would understand that he'd been trying to give me a gift – but I was yet a girl then, and a headstrong one at that.

I tore myself out of his arms and ran to the rail, screaming the into the wind. Only the wind answered, carrying the stink of charred flesh with it. I would as liefer had thrown myself over and swum 'tween Scylla and Charybdis to save both kith and kin, but he held me fast and would not let me go 'til the plume of smoke had dipped below the horizon. It was then that my grief overtook me, and I crumpled...

And knew only the darkness.