Moon day

In truth, I would rather write this account tomorrow, for I am fatigued, but my memory will fade if so. Heiye accompanied me to the temple of the Daughter, me in my peasant guise and him in rough clothing that made a suitable accompanying note. I climbed the white marble steps and made no game of my slowness and infirmity, for my months confined have left my breath short and my legs easily tired. My straw conical hat continues to do a fine job at cutting the rain. I shed cloak and hat and left them without with Heiye playing dutiful grandson.

My priestess, Mishta, settled herself to meditate beside me. Her face was grave but not alarmed.

“I have spoken with a priest,” she said. “He is not convinced I am serious.”

“The seriousness of this cannot be doubted.”

“It can be, when we know nothing.”

I took a chance, then, and named a province where I knew of plans that no rumor had yet spoken of. It is either not yet known or a forbidden subject, and when I spoke I knew not which.

Her silence told me, in the trembling of her hands pressed together in prayer, the flutter of her eyelashes shadowy over dark skin.

“I will tell him.”

We were silent for a time together.

“Tell me what troubles you,” she said after a while.

“It is not my place.”

“It is everyone’s place to have troubles.”

“I mean it is not my place to speak on these matters. I do not wish to.”

“Are you compelled?”

“Only by my heart and honor.”

“Those are good reasons.”

“But not reasons good enough to try to make myself master of other’s fates. I am no master, nor even a man.”

“Perhaps you shall be mistress to them, then,” she said, her tone sharpening.

“As to a grand household? I would laugh, were it not unseemly.”

“Am I the worst in my priesthood for being a woman?”

“I have found you wise and benevolent.”

“That is not an answer. Am I the worst for being a woman?”

“Of course not. We are just different.”

“If you are given the strength to take part in great matters, and are called upon to do so, then the gods will it. That is my belief, and you are right to consult the high priest so that we may both have our minds put at ease. Lady – goodwoman, shall I say – I have only known you a year, but I say to you, I would trust you with this. I think you equal to it.”

What else could I say? I said thank you, and forbade myself from shedding tears. She does not know of my months of fears and despairs. Let her think me endlessly strong, equal to grand decisions. Perhaps through her interceding with the gods, I will be made so.

Leave a comment

Your comment