Ann Forster led them up the hill to the high places where the lightning liked to strike. An altar had been set up there of meteoric iron, and carved with letters of an alphabet no one in the district knew. A man had come upriver from Seattle and looked at it and said it wasn’t any language he knew, and he knew Greek and Hebrew and Arabic, and could guess at half a dozen others. So that was that.
Ann Armstrong carried the black cockerel that was going to be be-bled upon the altar. There were grooves cut into it for the blood to run down into the earth. The same man who’d looked at the altar said that was so the earth would be fertile and conceive. “Old fertility ritual,” he said, and looked a little dubious.
Ann Drydon had a strong back and carried the drums. There were three of them, made of rabbit skin. John Drydon raised rabbits.
Annabil Stuart knew the words they chanted on nights when the moon was dark. Whether she’d found them in a book or just made them up out of her head she wouldn’t say. It could have been either one — Annabil was clever.
Annaple Thompson had seen the unicorn years ago before they’d found the altar and followed hir up the mountain and down again. When she came back she spoke prophesy and in tongues. She was also pregnant, which raised some eyebrows. Her daughter was born with eight legs and was beautiful.
Anne Chattox knew the stars and was half-wild. She was a virgin and slept always out-of-doors. She walked a little apart from the others. You could follow her six hours later if your nose was good. She kept the calendar.
Antide Colas was Greek and brought the wine, heavy red stuff that she made herself, potent as summer and as bright. A mouthful was tawny and active as a beehive.
Ann Sampson was an autumn leaf, bright, fragile, annual. She loved men, and men loved her. Her hair was ragged and her nose was lopsided and her eyes were warm and brown. She could sing the birds out of the trees and cities out of the earth.
Anne Bodenham had no talents and was unremarkable in all ways. Which, considering the company and mission they were engaged in, was remarkable in itself. She was friendly and quiet.
And the Queen of Elfhame spoke terms to Crystsunday.