Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaBloPoMo Post #19

And now for a bit of fiction...

The Priestess walked the halls of the temple beyond the partition of the sanctuary. Cradling a hot cup of tea with honey in it, she proceeded at a stately pace, meditating on her role as head of the order. It was unprecedented that she dropped part of her title during informal interactions. It was equally unprecedented that the High Priestess of the order would work intimately with her junior priestesses. It had earned her the informal title of "Blessed Mother".

On this morning, she was tired and watching the honey colored light slid through the archways to glow in vibrant pools on the marble flagstones. She walked through these pools, half expecting to feel its warmth catch upon her voluminous skirts like water. From one end of the colonnade to the other, she walked. A pair of acolytes knelt near the midpoint of the passage, scrubbing the stones with wide, soft bristled brushes beside a bucket of cold water. The priestess knew they were watching her from the corners of their eyes.

The dark haired woman stopped near the two younger women. The pair remained steadfastly focused on their task despite the silent presence behind them. "Rise and come with me," she said quietly. The acolytes looked at each other. "Floors always need cleaning. It will keep. Now, come with me," the High Priestess of Yulara prompted gently. The pair kneeling before her looked at each other. One resumed scrubbing as the other stood.

With a small gesture of benediction, the priestess turned and began walking again. "Your sister is still too troubled by the world," the priestess said to her young shadow, "Come, walk by my side, not behind me. We are sisters in our service to the gods." Reluctantly, the acolyte walked to the left of the head of her order. The young woman's short hair shone like spun gold in the morning's light as they walked out into the courtyard.

"My dear, do you know why your sister failed to accept my invitation?" the black clad woman asked. The acolyte chewed her lower lip, unsure what the correct answer was and thus remained silent. The Blessed Mother looked over and smiled indulgently. "The wise choose silence when unsure how to respond, you have done well," she said before taking a sip of her tea.

The pair walked to a bench sheltered by a pair of thin trees with silvery green leaves. The brilliant sunlight bathed the courtyard with blinding beauty. It caught in the tresses of the Blessed Mother and made the touch of gray in her hair silver. "Sit, my child," she said, gesturing beside herself on the bench. Obediently, the young woman sat with her hands folded in her lap. The Blessed Mother looked over at the younger woman.

Her blond hair had been cut short as a sign that she was reborn upon her entry into the order. Unlike other maidens under her care, the Blessed Mother noted this young woman maintained the short hairstyle. Her white robes were pristine beneath her dingy gray work smock. The Blessed Mother remembered herself as a maiden of the order, struggling to maintain the pure white of her own robes.

"Tell me, my Daughter," she said, "What is your heart's dearest wish?" The maiden looked over, surprise in her eyes. "You've not taken the vow of silence," the priestess said with a rich chuckle, "So speak, child." The young woman looked at her hands.

"I wish to serve the gods," answered the acolyte, "As you do, Blessed Mother." The priestess smiled, hearing the undertones of the young woman's answer.

"That requires a great deal of study and sacrifice," she said.

"I know. I am willing to do what I must," the acolyte.

The priestess nodded. "Very well. Return to your chores. Take the vow of silence for one year. Then we shall speak again of this," the older woman said, "If you are truly ready for the sacrifices you must make, a year of silence will be a simple thing."

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