Issabel was mine and I was hers, long before we entered the world on the same dim winter’s morning our mother went out of it. She bore us, like twin snow-bear cubs buried deep in the cold arms of hibernation, into the weak lamplight where we shut our new eyes and yowled at the alien brightness. We thrust our fists at the midwife and nuzzled our wet-nurse, our tiny bodies wrapped in deer skins striped in soot and charcoal, fit for gliding like ghosts through the leaf barren forest.
Instinctively, we knew the darkness was there to protect us. We suckled and grew fat, we crawled, and stood, and walked, and ran across a floor of deep slate between walls of red cedar. We peered through tiny windows of scraped, bleached hide and snow. We built towers with gnawed wolf bones and we banged walrus tusks against father’s copper shield like a drum.