Cenwulf came into the firelight and he could more clearly see his face.

“Well?” Brandt said gently when Cenwulf came into the firelight and he could more clearly see his face. “Art thou come to see thy Father or thy brother?”

“My brother, I suppose, Brandt. I need to speak to you about Colburga.”

“Ach, so. Colburga has not been her merry self these weeks, or?”

Cenwulf shrugged a shoulder.

“She comes no more to see her old brother.”

She's unhappy.

“She’s unhappy. And I don’t know what to do, because an unhappy Colburga is so far outside of my experience that I am quite lost. I have suddenly realized that I am naturally a very unhappy man myself, but I have had Colburga these past ten years to make me forget that.”

“She weeps for her children, and will not be comforted, because they are not,” Brandt said softly.

Cenwulf passed his hand over his eyes.

“The new baby does not cheer her?”

'The new baby does not cheer her?'

“I’m afraid not. She told me that the new baby doesn’t replace the children she lost, and is one more child that she can lose.”

Brandt shook his head sadly.

“She tells me now she doesn’t want any more children. She will not be touched. I have done and said all I could find to say and do. Will you talk to her, Brandt?”

'Will you talk to her, Brandt?'

“What shall I say? It is indeed hard to be a woman. ‘In sorrow thou shalt bring forth children, and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.’ That is little comfort, though she ought to be reminded.”

“Then go as her brother. Perhaps she needs to talk, or simply to be held. She won’t allow me to touch her. Doesn’t trust me to do nothing more,” he added bitterly. “As if I could hurt her.”

“That is hard indeed. Well, brother, I shall talk to her. Go home to her now. I shall give thee one advice, until I have seen her: wait for her to come to thee. I think she will. When she was a child, she would nurse a hurt alone until she could bear it no longer. Then she would come to her mother or her old brothers to be comforted.”

Cenwulf nodded.

“Good night, brother,” Brandt said.

“Good night, brother,” Cenwulf replied in his poor Saxon. “I thank thee.”

'I thank thee.'