Chapter 9

April 15, 2006

Sorry this took so long!

She shivered.

The granite floor was cold when she put her feet down. It woke her up though, and she made her way a little hesitantly to the washing bowl on the small table next to the door. The water was cold, but ultimately delightful. It woke her up immediately. She wiped her face after feeling around for the towel, her thoughts were drifting away. There was the promise to be kept and duties to be fulfilled. Right now, Ruka’s daughter was her main priority. She had to get the child away to a place where she could train in safety and be allowed to grow.

Of course, the maiden knew the right place, but she knew that once she left, the timer would begin. And moving at the wrong time would be disastrous. Hesitation could kill them though. It was times like these that she wished she could speak to her siblings; it had been two years since their last conversation.

“Lady?” someone knocked at her door.

“Yes?” She put the towel aside. The person sounded like a small child.

“Your attendance is required at the morning’s festivities, Lady Sukina.” She heard the sound of footsteps scampering away, not awaiting her answer. Sighing quietly, she completed her washing up and dressed up in one of the simpler gowns.

As she pulled her gown over her head, she realised it was the Spring Equinox. In her place of birth, it would be the Festival of the Spring Blossoms. The flowers would be beautiful at this time, it would be a time of life and renewal…

She stopped moving.

Life and Death, born anew.
Let the Players move again
Summer has a gentle rain
Winter brings a wicked brew.

A chill ran up her spine. Spring was Renewal, Autumn was Players. Summer’s Gentle Rain…

She began cursing, and for someone who supposedly had lived a sheltered life, she could curse rather well. Of course, she DID repeat herself after the first twenty minutes, but by then she had left her room and had slung a bag over her shoulder, heading towards the kitchen. No one dared to question why a Novice was missing the services by the dark look on her face and the horrible words coming under her breath. Of course, the only ones walking around now were novices, so they avoided her. The kitchen was bustling with life, but no one noticed her walking into the pantry. As she left though, she was stopped by the head Chef.

“And where do you think you’re going off to?” The tall, ruddy woman stood in her way.

“There’s been an urgent request from the GameMistress. I must take the child down to the Fields,” she looked at the woman almost defiantly. The Chef would know of which child she spoke; there were not many female children taken in by the Alin’sa if not of their blood.

“Why?”

The maiden had anticipated this. She pulled out a small coin from her person and showed it. Nestled in the palm of her hand was a golden coin with just the image of a Key. All Clergy were required to give way to a Key Holder. This was the only rule that all temples had been required by their respectives Patrons to obey without question. The Chef and the maiden knew this, and the Chef was insanely curious as to how the maiden had a Key Holder coin in her possession. However, she had to obey. Sukina stood on her tiptoes as though to whisper something into her ear, but it was merely a guise to confuse anyone watching (Writer’s note: and me too. Oh hush!).

She then left the kitchen unhurriedly, but once out of sight she ran. Time was ticking now, and she had only a few minutes to reach the Gate. Stopping by the creche, she managed to locate Ruka’s daughter, who was sullen as she was dressed and prepared for travelling. The Priestess in charge was not as strict as the Chef, so Sukina did not have to take out the coin again. She did pester the maiden with questions as they dressed Ruka’s child. Sukina answered the best that she could, and then they left.

They did not make their way to the Temple Gates, but descended deeper into the Temple, bypassing the Inner Sanctum. The young child did not question Sukina as they hurried, but she looked rather sullen and relunctant. She could not help a glint of curiousity when they stopped in front of an old door, carved and decorated with runes, hieroglyphs and odd squarish characters. Sukina put her palm on the lock and it glowed.

“Miarasq Unci,” she whispered. The little girl recognised the words, I am Key.

The lock glowed, and then the runes came alive. They lighted up in a myriad of colors, followed by the hieroglyphs and then the suqarish characters. The door opened on it’s own volition, and Sukina took the child’s hand carefully in hers as they entered the room. They stepped into the room.

~~~

And out of another door. Directly in front of them were crates, and they made their way gingerly pass them. Sunlight streamed in through a small window high above; they looked like they were in a basement cellar. For the first time in a long time, the child felt right. She was home.

“This was where you were born, isn’t it, Vanessa?” for the first time, the maiden used the child’s birth name. The child nodded mutely. The maiden continued speaking, her voice very soft and gentle. “We all feel most at home in the world we were born in. Except Keys. They belong to everyone, and therefore, no one. By that same token, they have no true home,” she led the child up the stairs, warning her to be careful of her step.

And we are the true eternal wanderers. The maiden completed the sentence in her mind.

The little girl pushed the door open to a very modern looking kitchen full of cooks looking surprised at people appearing from the cellar.

1019 words. Which add up to… 1061 + 1019 + 1203 = 3283, which means I have another… (Revised my wordcount to 10k due to new part-time job and current job)

10 000 – 3283 = 6717 words left. ^_^

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