Once upon a time, my mother was the most beautiful woman in the world.
I would know this to be true even if my father hadn’t told me, because her portrait hangs in our great hall. It is the largest of the three portraits that hang there: there is also a miniature, small enough to hold in one hand, and another painting that is half my height. The women in those paintings look exactly like my mother, but they are not her, for they were painted before she was born, just as her portrait, taller than my father, was painted before I was born.
My mother’s name was Phaidra, and when she died giving birth to me, my father decided it was only right I have it in remembrance of her.