1 ~ Daru
Serrala had waited an entire day for Mairta to return to her room with her crutches, yet so far she had heard nothing and no one had come to bring her dinner, or breakfast. This was really beginning to worry her, perhaps she shouldn’t have confided in the woman after all. To think she had actually believed her when she put on that act of being so happy about learning her origins, almost as if what she had told her had fulfilled some sort of ancient prophecy or something.
“This is incredibly stupid,” she muttered to herself as she carefully swung both her legs over the side of the bed. “To think I actually believed that woman.” It was only when she had sat herself upright that Serrala noticed the folded piece of white cloth sitting on the floor next to her bed. There had been nothing there before she went to bed, so someone had obviously come in while she slept. “Well I suppose I should at least see what it is.”
Groaning quietly she bent down and grabbed the cloth between her index and middle fingers pulling the fabric into her lap while settling herself back up right. With an arched brow, she began to unfold the fabric, discovering that what she was actually holding was a simple robe. Simple, but in its own way it was also elegant, for as she explored the outfit’s quality she found fine embroidery around the collar, and the cuff of the sleeves. For some reason it had been sewn the same color of the fabric which made it all but invisible to someone who wasn’t looking for it.
Well who was she to speculate on how these people made their clothing? She was simply happy to get out of the nightgown she’d been wearing since she was brought to this room. Moving carefully she pulled herself into a standing position in front of the bed and removed the dirty nightgown before picking up the robe and pulling it over her head. It fit amazingly well, resting comfortably around her ankles, while the large open sleeves settled a few inches past her wrists.
“Ah so you are awake.”
Arching a brow Serrala turned to look at the door as Mairta let herself inside, carrying a pair of crutches with her. “Crutches…” she mumbled to herself. “When you said you were getting crutches I expected an hour at the most, not an entire day. Did you have to make them yourself?”
“Well, no. But you had to fast for a whole day before you could come with me. I suppose I should have come back and informed you, unfortunately things just got out of hand. Reports came in that Captain Denshia is riding through the rocky pass leading to this town. She has four of the royal scouts with her and we had to make ready for her stay.”
“Of course,” Serrala responded as she fiddled idly with the cuff of her right sleeve.
“I really am sorry, but you need to come with me now. You have to complete the offering before the Captain gets here, or I’m afraid that you won’t be able to.” Mairta stated quickly as she shuffled over to Serrala’s side and handed her the pair of crutches.
“Offering? What offering?” Serrala stuttered as she found herself being ushered out the door.
“It will all become clear shortly, please just trust me. You won’t be harmed I promise you. This is a simple process that every single one of our children goes through at the age of ten.” Serrala opened her mouth to beg more information from the woman but she found it impossible as Mairta urged her to head down a flight of stairs. “Oh this isn’t going to do at all!” Mairta exclaimed suddenly as she observed the painfully slow pace Serrala was traveling. “Clayton come over here will you?”
Having finally reached the bottom of the stairs Serrala watched as a young man came in the front door from the yard. “Yes Mairta?”
“Can you be a dear and help me get Lady Serrala down to the temple? I would like her to complete the offering before our Royal Captain reaches our humble little town.”
Clayton inclined his head in a nod as he smiled and stepped toward Serrala. “Certainly Priestess.”
Serrala had begun to wonder just how this gentleman was going to help her get to the temple, when he gently lifted her off the ground and into his arms. “What, wait, hold on!” She exclaimed as she squirmed slightly in Clayton‘s grasp. “Of all the ways I could have come up with to get to this temple of yours, THIS was not one of them.”
“I’m sorry,” Mairta stated as she grabbed up Serrala’s abandoned crutches. “If I let you hobble down the path to the temple on these crutches we’ll be here all day.”
“Couldn’t you fetch a horse or something? I‘m certain I could ride.” Serrala inquired as she began to blush in embarrassment of the whole situation.
“The Horses are kept at the other end of the city,” Mairta replied with a sigh. “Is Clayton causing you pain?”
Now it was Serrala’s turn to sigh. “No.”
“Alright then. The trip isn’t that long, I’m certain you’ll be able to handle it.” Mairta stated before heading out the door.
No, I don’t have any physical ailments, but my dignity sure isn’t up to par, Serrala silently grumbled to herself. For a moment she pondered hiding her face from any who might see her, however once they had stepped away from the shadow of the building she found herself incapable of following her idea. How could she hide her face when she was surrounded with such beauty?
Mairta had told her that this was the sacred city of Daru, and now she could see why. This whole place looked as if the goddess herself had ordained it to be built here. The southernmost end of the city was surrounded by a mountain range that parted in only one area, creating a naturally fortified pass to the city. Pillars of granite stood as silent sentinels over the road that curved out from the mountain base and continued to straight up to one of the most exquisite buildings she had ever seen in her life.
“That’s the temple,” Clayton whispered to her as he noted the way she admired the building. “No one knows who constructed it. The legends say that when the Goddess Brighid directed the first of her priestess’s to set up a city in this valley the temple was already here.”
It sounded a bit dubious, yet for some reason Serrala couldn’t help but believe what the man said. Nestled up against the dense foliage of the mountains the temple appeared to have been simply carved out of the very rock itself. For all that she tried she couldn’t find a single joint, or crack that would suggest the temple had been built out of several pieces of granite. Instead, all she saw was a smooth shiny exterior alight with the sun’s brilliant rays. It truly was a wonder to behold, with its immense glass paneled windows, and large curved archways, there wasn’t a single detail that didn’t scream out with perfection.
Directly in front of the temple’s entryway was a vast cobbled courtyard, housing a large bronze brazier, where even in the brightness of the day a fire was burning strong. It was curious, but she didn’t linger on it long as they were soon past it and approaching the twenty-foot high doorway, where her gaze fell on the magnificent statues of a woman that adorned each.
The woman appeared to be neither young, nor old and was wearing a robe similar to that which Serrala had been given. Her stance was strong and positioned with one arm extending upward while the other rested to her side. Looking between the two of them, Serrala found it interesting that the left statue was raising a book into the air, while the other held a sword. Perhaps these people valued intelligence as much as they valued brawn and might? This was something she filed away to inquire of at a later time.
Right now, with Mairta bringing her to the temple for this, offering, she didn’t think she could ask her anything. Serrala didn’t even know what she was expected to be offering and who she was offering it to, but she didn’t wish to offend these people by saying something against this little plan of theirs. All she could do at the moment was go along with it, especially now that she was being carried through the main ceremonial hall of the temple. This was yet another beautiful piece of architecture, a finely decorated open area with high vaulted ceilings and sturdy marble walls.
All of this rich architecture was almost too much for her to bear and just when she thought her brain would explode if she tried to take in any more, they stopped. While Mairta stood near by, Clayton carefully settled her down upon the ground and helped support her own weight until she managed to get the crutches beneath her.
“Thanks Clayton. I think we can handle it from here,” Mairta stated with a smile as Clayton bowed and turned around to leave the temple. “Alright then, this way please.”
Turning her back to Serrala, Mairta moved up onto the raised dais where an altar of marble had been built, and made her way to the back wall. Once she reached, she paused, placing one hand up into a circle that had been carved there. For a moment, Serrala could have sworn she saw the woman’s eyes glow a deep crimson color, but before she could inquire of it, a portion of the wall pushed back and slid to the right.
“It is all up to you from here Lady Serrala. The passage is going to be narrow so I’m afraid you have to leave those crutches with me.”
“You want me to go in there?” Serrala inquired as she looked down into the dark passage.
“Don’t worry it’s not as frightening as it looks. Just step inside and place your hands on either wall.”
Hesitating a moment, Serrala finally shrugged and moved forward into the passage as Mairta took the crutches from her. She then maneuvered herself so that she could comfortably bring her arms up and touch the walls on either side of her. It was difficult, for the hallway was indeed narrow but she managed to find a comfortable fit, and just when she had resigned herself to moving forward the passage door slid closed, plunging her into complete darkness.
“Oh just great,” she muttered to herself. “Put me into a dark, narrow hallway so I can trip and break my other ankle. Why didn’t she just push me down a flight of stairs?”
Still grumbling with irritation she slowly began to make her way down the hallway, as it was quite apparent that it was the only choice she had right now. She already knew that she wouldn’t be moving very fast with her injured ankle, but having to maneuver her way through a dark, unfamiliar hallway made her move even slower. This wasn’t turning out to be a lovely experience so far, and she was about to turn around to demand she be let out of this infernal passage when a burst of cool air brushed over her body.
Despite the fact that this was probably designed as a ploy to push those reluctant individuals forward, she pressed on. If she could get this offering thing over and done with, she’d be able to leave this place and have Mairta leave her alone about it. Where as if she were to turn around, she’d probably find herself back down this hallway in the future.
Unfortunately, a few feet down the hall Serrala was forced to pause as she failed to feel any more ground ahead of her. At first she was alarmed, but instead of panicking she decided to carefully extend her injured foot forward and down a bit to see if she could find a stair, or something. It didn’t take long for her foot to make contact with a hard rocky surface and instantly the area in front of her lit up with a faint white glow. Well, this was nice, and now that she could clearly see the open circular chamber in front of her, she moved forward.
The chamber was plainly built, in fact it really wasn’t really much more than a cave, and was being illuminated by a large circular spot in the middle of the floor. It was unusual, yet she found herself drawn to that very spot, and had herself sitting in its center almost before she had realized what she was doing.
Within seconds, Serrala found herself engulfed by the white light until she was forced to shut her eyes against its brilliant glow. This was new, and she honestly had no idea what, if anything she should be doing, or if there was something, she was expected to say. Perhaps there was some sort of command? Yet as she tried to think of what it could possibly be, she began to feel a well of magical energy growing all around her. This energy continued to grow and push against her until she was completely overcome by it, surrounded head to toe in a blanket of calm and warmth.
That was when she opened her eyes and saw her. Well, she didn’t actually see her, but she could feel the awesome presence that was emanating from someone just off to the left of where she sat. “Who’s there?” She inquired curiously, as she tried to turn herself to face the individual, yet every time she attempted to do so, they moved, always remaining just out of her sight.
“Who do you want me to be Serrala?” The presence inquired of her in a rich, feminine, tone that seemed to come from everywhere at once.
This startled her. Who did she want her to be? What kind of a question was that? Immediately she found herself bombarded with a million possible responses to that one simple question until she settled on a single one. “I want you; I want you to be all that is good in this life, as well as all that is bad. I want you to be life, and I want you to be death. I want you to be the Maiden in all her innocence, to be the Mother in all her life-giving splendor, and I want you to be the Crone who shares her life experiences with those who would seek to know them.”
“Why, That is exactly who I am.”
Feeling confused, yet, some how at ease with that response Serrala made a one last attempt to catch sight of this presence hovering beside her, and this time she was allowed to see her. In all of the endless white that currently surrounded her body, the form of this unearthly woman was the only other solid thing she could see. The woman was a little flush, fogged over with the power that embraced the two of them, but her features were not so indistinct that Serrala didn’t immediately recognize her as the woman depicted in statues all around Daru.
“You’re, Brighid. You’re the Goddess I’ve seen all over Daru,” Serrala stuttered, as she suddenly felt very humble in the presence of this astounding woman.
“Brighid is only one of the names that I am known by. You, dear Serrala have often invoked me with the name of Danu.”
“Yes, I suppose that makes sense,” Serrala mused to herself. “But, what is all this? What am I expected to be doing here?”
“This is new to you and strange, I know, and I apologize. You and the women of Varecht have been wronged for too many years. I have seen it all, every rape, every cruelty. I share in the pains and suffering of every one of you. I weep daily for all the wrongness that is in Varecht. However now is the time for that all to change. Two thousand years I have sat back and watched the men in Varecht continue to remain stubborn and ignorant, I thought that they might learn the last time I laid my hand in Varecht, but apparently I was too lenient.”
“Serrala, I have summoned you and Ashise to this land of T’seiryn to learn. I want you to learn all that you can from these people until it comes time for you to return to Varecht. I will not lie to you, the road ahead isn’t going to be easy but I promise you that it will be worth it. I am prepared to bestow upon you the power that is rightfully yours, but first I ask that you offer yourself to me, body and soul. I need you to trust me, to know that no matter what happens, there will be happiness and you will make it through.”
“I have trusted you all of my life. How could I not trust you now? If you want me to give myself over to you completely, I will do it without a single moment of hesitation. But please tell me, why did you wait so long?”
“Time is not pertinent in this issue. Mortals may measure their lives in hours and years instead of living each day to its fullest. But immortals, such as me do not deem to judge our existence in such a manner. Two thousand of your mortal years are but a moment in an otherwise long and unending existence. My attention has returned to Varecht now. Would you, a mortal, pass judgment upon me because you deem my intervention overdue?”
“No. I, I’m sorry. I did not mean it to come out that way.” Embarrassed, she turned her face away from the woman.
The form of the goddess smiled as she reached out a gentle hand to turn Serrala’s face back in her direction. “There is no need to apologize sweet Serrala. It is in your nature to act this way.”
“I have so many questions, but I don’t want to come off as being, annoying. You said you brought both Ashise and me here. Why haven’t I seen her then? Where is she? Why have you chosen us? What do you have in store?” She could have gone on, but it was at this point that the goddess lifted her hand to silence her.
“Relax yourself my dear… I shall answer most of your questions in due time. Right now, I just need you to listen to me.”
2 ~ Daru: Outside
“Yes? What is it little one?” Mairta inquired as she stopped pacing across the dais in the temple to regard the child who had come up beside her.
“My father has asked I be sent to fetch you,” the girl responded quietly. “Captain Denshia is almost at the city gates. I am to take your place in waiting for the offering to be finished.”
Mairta frowned as she listened to the child. She didn’t want to leave her post, but as High Priestess it would be required of her to greet the Captain. Why did this always happen to her? This could be the most important offering ceremony in her life and she was being pulled away. Perhaps she could bring the Captain back to the temple? Yes, that just might work. Offering the girl a gentle smile she patted her on the head. “Be mindful of how important this job is little one. I shall try to return as quickly as I can.”
This was just lovely, just lovely. Lady Serrala had already been down in the offering chamber for two hours, and it took most children just one hour to complete the whole ceremony. At first she assumed the extra hour was because Serrala was a grown woman and that she might find it difficult to allow the ceremony to proceed smoothly. Yet still the woman hadn’t emerged and Mairta was beginning to become worried. If things progressed in silence for too much longer she might be forced to interrupt the ceremony and remove her from the chamber.
Right now though, she had to put those thoughts behind her. The Captain, she noted with dismay, had already arrived in Daru and was standing next to Clayton while the four scouts she’d brought with her began to unpack their horses.
“Captain Denshia,” Mairta called out in greeting as she bowed before her. “I’m so incredibly sorry I didn’t greet you when you rode into Daru.”
Now the captain wasn’t a large woman. In fact, she and Mairta were equal as far as height went, yet when she wanted to, she could be a rather intimidating individual. Especially when she came dressed in her best uniform, and had her long chestnut brown hair bound at the nape of her neck with a strip of leather. Then she turned her forest green eyes on Mairta and the gaze was enough to make her want to look for a place to hide.
“You are the High Priestess of Daru?” She inquired with a hint of disappointment.
“High Priestess Mairta Menlaus at your service my lady,” Mairta replied as she once again offered the captain a bow.
“I expected someone a bit, older,” the Captain stated unfavorably. “I trust you have a good reason for not being more prompt?”
“Yes, again I apologize captain. A few days ago we had a young woman come to us in need of completing her offering to the great mother, and despite her being into her twenties, I saw no reason to turn her away. Yesterday I ordered she be prepared for the process by abstaining from food.” She paused with a sigh; she really wasn’t in the mood to explain herself to a woman that she, in the grand scheme of things, out ranked in both title and power. “To make a long story short, I didn’t know that you were coming until this morning. Since the poor woman starved herself yesterday I went ahead with the offering ceremony anyway. Normally this wouldn’t have been a problem, but it’s been over two hours now and she hasn’t come out. Despite this fact I had to come out here and greet you instead of standing watch inside the temple, as I should be doing, in case there happens to be a serious problem.”
The Captain arched her brow as the tone in Mairta’s voiced change from polite respect to that of annoyance. But she listened to what the woman had to say, and even mentally flagged two interesting bits of information before clearing her throat to make her response. “I’m sorry if we have caused you any inconvenience in our unannounced arrival here within Daru. Prince Mairon sent us out rather unexpectedly. Nevertheless we are here, and I have to ask you this; when exactly did this woman come to Daru?”
Mairta paused a second to count how many days it had been since Serrala had been found at the bottom of one of their ritual storage pits. “I would have to say at least five days now. Actually, today makes it six.”
“Six days? Was she dressed different than we’re accustomed to? Did she perhaps act a little weird? Not knowing about certain aspects of our lives?”
By the time the Captain had gotten to her second question Mairta was alarmed, the mystery of what the royal scouts were doing in Daru suddenly solved. “Before I answer your questions Captain Denshia I am forced to ask, why are you here in the Sacred City of Daru?”
Now it was the Captains turn to pause in thought, however she wasn’t fond of playing mind games with people. “Prince Mairon is searching for a woman in her early twenties; she will come off a bit strange, and will not be dressed in garb befitting our climate. We believe that she is foreign to T’seiryn and will more then likely have no knowledge of our rules and or customs. Prince Mairon has asked that we find her, and bring her back to the palace so that he can do all in his power to return her home.”
“Why would the prince be interested in a foreign woman?” Mairta inquired curiously. “Has she done something wrong? Or does he find himself so bored in Fahrei that he has to invent things to bother himself with?”
“I am not allowed to disclose that information Priestess. Though I will tell you that another such woman showed up in Fahrei seven days ago, some people are speaking of the prophecy, I however tend to not lend myself to such nonsense. I’m just here to complete my job.”
“Indeed. Why don’t we speak more on this matter at the evening meal?” Mairta proposed as she ran this information through her head. “I do believe that I can aid you, but there are some things that I must attend to before I can disclose any information to you. Not to mention, I’m sure you and your women would like to wash and dress in some clean garments after being out on the road for two days.”
Pausing a moment the Captain turned and looked at the four scouts she’d brought with her. “Very well Priestess I’ll trust you’re acting in everyone’s best interest.”
“Of course Captain. Let me go ahead and show you to the rooms we’ve had made up for you and yours.”
3 ~ Daru: Inside
Inside the white existence of the ceremonial chamber Serrala had lost all concept of time, she didn’t know if she’d been here for five minutes, or five hours, and truthfully, she really didn’t care. This experience was unlike anything she had ever come across in her life. It wasn’t every day that one found themselves sitting no more than two feet away from a Goddess. Luckily she had been told that Ashise would be going through this same ceremony, because otherwise she would never believe her.
She had also been told that she would be able to see her friend within the next week. All of this seemed too good to be true, they were away from Varecht, they were free from Saven’s tyranny, and they wouldn’t have to jump at anyone’s command for quite sometime. Serrala had been given so much new information that she simply wanted to shout out in jubilation! From this day forward she was going to live a better life.
“There is but one more thing you must complete before you can leave the ceremonial chamber Serrala, you have to go through the awakening.”
“The awakening?” Serrala inquired with an arch of her brow.
“Of your power,” replied the goddess as she extended a hand outward. “Stand up Serrala, take my hand.” She paused as she waited for the woman to do as she had asked. “I want you to relax yourself and close your eyes. Very good. Now, you’re going to feel a warmth come over your body. Whatever you do, I don’t want you to resist it. I promise you that you will come to no harm.”
Serrala gasped as in a matter of seconds she found herself completely engulfed in an intrusive warm sensation that immediately began prying into every single surface of her body. She wanted to fight back, her instincts were screaming for her to fight back, but she wouldn’t. Every time her control slipped the sensation only pushed harder. It wouldn’t let her go, and she wouldn’t let herself fight it. For a while she and the energy existed in this state of stubborn acceptance of each other, it continued to swallow her body in a warmth that seeped down into the very marrow of her bones, and she continued to let it. This was all going fine until the energy attempted to penetrate into her mind.
It was easy to convince herself to let the energy to take over the rest of her body, however allowing it into her memories was another story altogether. She knew she had pledged herself to the goddess in body, mind and soul, yet she really wasn’t ready to allow this foreign energy into the most private areas of her heart and mind. Thus she began to fight against it, holding it back and pushing it as far away from her head as hard as she could. Somewhere she heard the goddess give a gentle reprimand against her actions, but she ignored it, she just couldn’t give in.
She had no idea just how long she had struggled with this energy, but eventually she came to a point where she found herself drained, her strength gone. In the instant her strength faltered, the energy made its move, taking over her entire body until she couldn’t think, or even exist by herself.
4 ~ Daru: Outside
Seven hours, seven, Mairta just couldn’t get that out of her head. Five hours ago she’d gotten Captain Denshia and her women settled, and three hours ago she had held a lengthy conversation with Denshia during the evening meal. Clayton’s daughter had been replaced with an acolyte two hours ago, and Mairta had spent every moment since then tending to various other duties around town. Now, she simply couldn’t wait to hear from Serrala any longer.
It was time for her to go back to the temple, and so she quickly dismissed herself from the women she’d been talking to. The conversation had been rather dull anyway, and she had little remorse in cutting it short. Her only concern right now was Serrala; anything else could wait until a later time. She even resolved herself to using every short cut she knew in order to get to the temple from her friend’s house. Yet still she didn’t manage to avoid everyone, and she couldn’t help but smirk as the Captain emerged from the shadows of the temple courtyard.
“How long have you been standing there?” Mairta inquired as she came to a stop less than a foot from where the Captain stood.
“About an hour now,” replied Denshia. “I figured you wouldn’t wait much longer to check on the woman. She’s already been inside longer than anyone in the history of T’seiryn.”
“Indeed, but if this is related to the pro…phe…cy…” Her brow furrowed as Mairta stopped mid-sentence. “Do you hear that?”
Confused, Denshia paused a moment to listen. “Hear what?”
Mairta opened her mouth to elaborate, but before she managed to say even one word the sound grew louder. In fact as she and the captain continued to listen they began to grow a bit worried. The sound they were hearing was a deep rumbling, a rumbling so deep that the very ground they were standing on began to tremble, causing them both to seek support against a nearby stone column.
“What’s going on?” The captain inquired in alarm as she grabbed hold of Mairta to keep her from falling.
“I have no idea!” Exclaimed Mairta in a tone that sounded a bit more panicked than she intended.
With nothing else to be done about it, the two women stood, holding onto each other during the entire five-minute ordeal. Even when it had stopped, they didn’t move, they stood, waiting, until both women were capable of assuring themselves that it indeed was over. Mairta was absolutely terror stricken, but as her eyes fell upon the front of the temple she gasped, instantly removing herself from the Captain’s side.
It wasn’t that there was any structural damage to the temple, in fact the only destruction she could see from where she was, was a few broken flowerpots. The thing that she was staring at was the brilliant silver light that was emanating from the mountain behind the temple. It was unlike anything she had ever seen before. Yet even as she watched the light receded, sinking down into the heart of the temple, until the windows and doorway seemed to glow with it.
“Mairta… What is going on?”
Mairta chose not to answer the Captain’s inquiry before she began moving toward the temple. However before she had managed to take no more than two steps, the doors of the temple blew open of their own volition. Alarmed, she stopped, her breath catching in her throat as a form began to emerge from within its depths.
“Mairta who is that?”
Once again she failed to answer the captain, her eyes dancing over the approaching figure as she tried, in vain to figure out who it was. The light that filled the temple followed and surrounded the figure, obscuring them from view in such a manner that it made it nigh impossible to tell if what she was seeing was even human. She wanted to get closer, but the fear that this whole display would be lost if she so much as moved one step held her in place. She waited, and as she waited, the light began to disappear. At first it ascended skyward, then as the now recognizable figure stopped, it shot downward in a huge arc instantly becoming absorbed within the woman’s body.
“Mairta! Who is that?”
Mairta gasped as she stared, in amazement at the now stationary form of Serrala, her brain completely incapable of forming any words to answer the Captain’s question.
“Mairta?” Concerned, the captain reached out and grabbed the Priestess by the arm pulling her away from the figure standing before them. “Mairta, who is that?”
“That is Serrala,” Mairta finally replied as she gave the captain a quick glance. “This is the woman I told you about.”
“But her eyes!” The captain exclaimed in alarm. “Her eyes are glowing Silver!”
Mairta found herself smiling as she turned to look once again upon Serrala. “Yes. Yes they are.”
On Satenyi, if you wanted to know how strong someone’s power was, you judged it by the color that their eyes turned when they invoked magic. The people with the least amount of power controlled the Purple branch, their abilities didn’t amount to much, and they could only master the most trivial of skills, often leaving them to become workers and servants to those of higher power. The next branch up, were those of the Emerald Green, these people were healers and herbalists, their sole purpose to minister to those who were ailing and in need of attention. Above them came the Blue Sapphire, those who controlled this branch were considered protectors. They learned the first of the offensive spells, the spells that could stun or even injure an attacker, they also learned spells that could create protective shields about the caster and anyone else they might need to shelter from danger.
At the very top of the power tree came those who controlled the Crimson branch. These people have access to some of the more dangerous of spells and abilities, spells that can maim, kill, and destroy. However they are also the most spiritual and intelligent of all the branches, tending to hold positions of governmental control, or sitting as High Priests and Priestess’ in one of the many temples within T’seiryn.
While every branch has their specific duties, each branch above the Purple have the ability to expand. For example, an emerald can be seen doing the simple tasks of the lesser Purple, just as a Sapphire or Crimson can be expected to heal someone if an Emerald can’t be located. This structure of abilities has been in place in T’seiryn as far back as any historical record can be traced. However one thousand and five hundred years ago a priestess exploring a series of old caves in the Pirnae Mountain range came across some documents that foretold of two other branches of power. These branches were Silver, and Gold. Both branches were said to be more powerful than even the Crimson and that those individuals capable of wielding one or the other would be close to godly in regards to their abilities.
All the same, at the time, the documents weren’t given much attention. No one had ever heard of anyone wielding such great power, furthermore no one believed that it was even physically possible for someone to control that much power and live. Thus the documents were set aside and forgotten about until Chimala Taidegan, the most powerful woman to ever control the crimson branch received a prophesy upon her deathbed. This prophecy foretold the coming of two women who would come to them from a land none had ever heard of. These women would be powerful, and they would be righteous. With one woman controlling the Silver, and the other controlling the Gold, they would bring about a glorious new era for everyone living in T’seiryn.
Snapping out of her blank stare, Mairta blinked and looked in the direction of the temple before returning to Serrala. “Yes Lady Serrala?”
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Serrala tried to hide her amusement, but failed. “I went through your offering ceremony as you told me to. Did I do something wrong? Do you not like the outcome?”
“My sweet woman no one can perform the offering ceremony wrong,” explained Mairta with a smile. “There is no written ritual that dictates what one is expected to do once they enter that hallway. As for the outcome, am I disappointed? No, no my lovely lady, I am thrilled!”
“But she controls the Silver!” Captain Denshia exclaimed once again, as if she just couldn’t wrap her head around this phenomenon. “How can you be thrilled about that!? This single woman now has the ability to destroy all of T’seiryn!”
Furrowing her brow Serrala stepped around Mairta and approached the Captain, the result of which made Denshia take a few steps back. “Why would you speak such ill things of me? You do not know me, yet you presume to prophesize ill omens about what I will and will not do with an ability just given to me? You can say I know nothing of your customs, you can also declare that I know nothing of why this silver power frightens you. But do not presume say that I would wish ill upon your lands and upon your people because of my ignorance.”
“Forgive me Lady Serrala,” the Captain replied respectfully, issuing her a bow. “I did not mean to offend, but here in T’seiryn no one has ever been able to master the Silver branch of power. In fact, up until you stepped from that temple a few moments ago, the Silver was regarded as more of a myth, than fact.”
“You both have mentioned that I control the Silver; to my knowledge silver is a color and a metal. What then, do you mean by saying that I control it?”
Mairta paused and frowned. Had she neglected to explain things to the woman before putting her through the ceremony? Yes, in her haste she most obviously must have, and that was a large oversight on her part. Well, she would just have to remedy that now. Turning on a heel she approached one of the more respected priestess’ within her order. “Isarma, I need you to take a few of the acolytes, as well as one or two Priestess’ and go into the city. The people are likely to be growing restless, just assure them that everything is fine and that they should go back to their homes for the evening. I’d also like you to make sure that none of the buildings suffered any damage, any families who may have become displaced, or homeless should be brought to the temple and made comfortable for the night.”
“As you wish, High Priestess,” replied the woman as she curtsied and went to complete her tasks.
Good, that was a few less tasks she had to worry about and thus she returned to Denshia and Serrala. “I must apologize lady Serrala, in my haste to have you put through the offering ceremony I forgot to explain things to you. If you will follow me I’ll be more then happy to enlighten you in the nature of our magical powers and how we judge them. Oh, but let me fetch you some crutches first.”
“No thank you,” Serrala stated as she smiled. “The last time you said you were getting me crutches you disappeared for a day. Besides, I don’t need them.” To prove her statement Serrala proceeded to perform a little dance around the two of them. “I haven’t felt this wonderful in years. I left your chamber rather enlightened; the ankle was a simple thing to heal.”
Mairta was amazed. No one came out of the ceremonial chamber with the knowledge of how to heal a wound as complicated as hers had been. Even Mairta’s own skill in healing hadn’t been able to completely mend the woman’s ankle. She’d had fractures and torn ligaments that even the most skilled healers in T’seiryn wouldn’t have been able to heal completely. However, as she proceeded to lead the Captain and Serrala into the temple, she was hit with the realization that this probably wasn’t going to be the last time this woman amazed her.