“It was no damned accident! They killed my daughter.” The woman who interrupted was dressed in rich reds and oranges, colours echoed in her hair and in her shadows on her brown, wrinkled skin. Her round face was contorted in anger. “She was pollinating, trying to protect the last of the bees, bees those bastards were destroying with their noise and their pollution. They poisoned her!”
She laid a large, crisp sycamore leaf beside her daughter. “Those human vermin have troubled us for the last time.”
“Hush now,” the oldest said. She was as thin as her daughter was fat, and dressed all in white, her narrow, severe face topped by tight-cropped grey hair. She placed a sprig of holly in the coffin and, gifts all given, the women stared at Summer for a long moment.
Their eyes were the jet black of infinity – not empty, blank voids, but mirrors of everything that was and that would ever be, scattered across unbounded depths.
The old woman turned to the still-living members of her family and calmly explained what would happen. “Whether they’re deliberately malicious or just unthinkingly selfish, enough is enough. We’ve tried volcanos and earthquakes, but the warnings haven’t worked. It’s time to don our armour and raise our weapons. It’s time to purge the world.”
The sky darkened, as if it was taking heed of the woman’s words too. In the deepening gloom, glints of icy silver flashed and sparkled in her eyes.
“Daughter.” She looked at the round woman. “Mount your chestnut horse and take your arrows of fire and drought. Burn their crops. Destroy their harvests. Visit a season of famine and starvation upon humankind.”