Thursday, April 28, 2011

Archolia Chapter 25 - The Peteran Priest

For her next test, Ermine has to sacrifice something that she holds dear.  She must make a fresh batch of naptime tea and pour it down the well.  She wants to be obedient, but her tea is the only thing that gets her even half way through the night.
As Ermine heads back to the church, she spots a woman weeping.
“Sister what troubles you?  Why do you weep?” Ermine asks.

The woman turns to face her. 
“What troubles you?” Ermine  asks again.

“I saw need to repent for my sins.  I have stolen from others and I feel I must pay for my crimes, but I know I shall be sent to the stocks.”
Hearing this and remembering her own suffering at the stocks, Ermine prayers for the Watcher’s favor over this lady who goes by the name of Shady Alexandria.  “Please be with her!”
“Go now in peace child for the Watcher will be with you!” Ermine assures Alexandria.
Back at her sleeping quarters, Ermine takes care of a few chores; going over the fountain’s instructions in her head.  She will have to find the necessary herbs to make the tea.
Outside the church are various bushes.  Ermine goes out to inspect them looking for herbs that she will need.
She finds what she needs.
Right after moving in, Ermine discovered an old cask in a storage closet.  She has always used this to brew her tea. She uses it again.
Moments later, she carries a fresh batch of the tea.  She does not understand why this must be poured down a fountain, but she has faith that there is a purpose.
As instructed, Ermine drinks a sample of the tea…
…before pouring the rest down the well in front of the church.  She has depended on her naptime tea for so long that she feels as if her lifeline has gone down the well with it.
Again, Ermine tends to a few duties.  First she stops at the messenger post and pays her taxes.
She then spends time writing for the Watcher.
She closes her eyes, barely grasping her pen, and allows the Watcher to write through her.
Sacred text after sacred text comes forth.  Ermine is sure that whatever is being scribed will become a part of some of her upcoming sermons.
Now that she is feeling tired, she lies down to follow the fountain’s next set of instructions.  She attempts to get some rest because she has to return to the fountain for her final test.
Sister Ermine is able to rest for a couple of hours, but her rest is not complete.  It is time to revisit the fountain.
The sun is bright and Ermine’s journey to the fountain is without challenge.
Sister Ermine once again falls to her knees in front of the fountain where she is given a final riddle to test her faith.  Her fate is determined by this riddle.  Sister Ermine carefully answers the question…
…but she returns a failure.  Ermine answered the riddle based on her knowledge and not her faith.  She is disappointed, yet humbled that the Watcher has sent her on this mission.  Maybe she can find another way to get a good night’s sleep, but for now she is stuck with her flaw.

Archolia Chapter 24 - The Peteran Priest

Sister Ermine returns to the church and spends time in prayer at the Vow Pall.  She begs the Watcher’s forgiveness for  her brawl.
Now that she has the map, she sets out for the forest as the stars and moon light her way.
The full moon paints a perfect backdrop for her mission.
At any other time in her life, Ermine would probably be very hesitant about wandering into the forest at night.  But just like in other situations in life, need sometimes overrides fear.
Ermine marches into the forest guided by her strong need to find this fountain.  She wants to know what it is like to fall asleep and stay asleep.  Not just every once in a while, but all the time.
She stops for one quick moment to check her map, then she returns it to her pouch and enters the dark woods.
Ermine steps into the forest and begins her journey, stopping only as necessary to check the map.  According to the map, the fountain is hidden at the foothills beyond the forest.  Although she follows the map closely, Ermine loses her path once or twice, but somehow manages to get back on track each time.
Dawn is approaching before Ermine locates the fountain.  The beauty of its shimmering flowing water makes her fall to her knees.  She feels that this is a holy place.  She closes her eyes and can hear the fountain speaking to her. “You have done well and  have passed the test of devotion.”
Ermine returns to Archolia with further instructions.  To her dismay she has more tests to pass in order to be healed.  The voice of the fountain instructs her to infuse water from the fountain with water from the well at the town square.
She has come too far to turn back now, so she goes to the well as instructed.
She pours a flask of the fountain water into the well, as villagers look on.  Her being the priest, they do not question her actions.
She continues to pour hoping that there would be some sort of reaction, but nothing happens.
She listens closely, turning her ear to the well to await further instruction.  She can hear a faint voice.  “Now for your test of sacrifice,” she hears and listens carefully to the details of her next test. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Archolia Chapter 23 - The Peteran Priest

Sister Ermine approaches the thief.

“You stole something that I need!”  Ermine says, throwing all fear to the wayside.
The thief is thrown off by the fact that Ermine would approach her in such a way.  Ermine raises a hand to emphasize her point and the thief actually recoils, thinking that Ermine means to strike her.
She is not intimidated for long.  “I know not what you speak of.  You gave to me freely.”

“ I seek no trouble.  Keep the simoles, I want the map that you stole from the monk.”
“I know not what you speak of.  The monk attacked me,” the thief  says, eyes looking downward, foot kicking rocks to conceal her untruth.

Ermine  thinks about the night she spent at the stocks.  She recalls the humiliation and pain.  She is not going to allow this thief to stop her from her mission.
“Sister, I have spent a long time punished for a crime that I did not commit.  In fact, for a crime that you committed! Give me the map or I shall take it by force!”
“I care not!  You will get nothing from me!”
The thief continues, “You are just talk.  Go pray to your Watcher and ask him for a map,” the thief says mocking Ermine.
“Go away from here at once or I shall call for the constable to return you to the stocks.”
“No!  You cannot continue to hurt good people. You will give me the map!”
Ermine continues, “How do you live with yourself?” 

The thief does not want to hear anything else from Ermine.  She covers her ear and pretends not to listen.
Ermine is done with this thief’s  games.  She prays that the Watcher protects her and reaches in to physically grab the map.  

The thief pushes her and slaps her face.  The two begin to brawl.
Fists fly, legs kick and faces are slapped.  Sister Ermine makes contact with one of the thief’s previous leg injuries.
As the thief attempts to use her hand to protect her injured leg, Ermine grabs her, flips her over and slams her hard on the ground. 
“OK…OK…here is the map.  You could have just asked!”  The thief says before handing Ermine the map and attempting to walk away on her injured leg.
As she limps away, Ermine realizes that she is not done with the thief.  “Hold it one moment.  I have more business with you,” Ermine calls out.

“What, do you now want to strike my injured head as well?”
“No, I want to pray the Watcher’s favor over you,” Ermine says and begins to pray.

The thief cannot believe that sister Ermine would do this after all that she has done to her.  She is so surprised that she hesitantly joins Ermine in prayer.
As they join in prayer, the Watcher’s glow surrounds them.
They are both filled with the power and love of the Watcher.
Ermine proceeds to minister to her.  “The Watcher has a greater plan for your life.  You need not steal and rob to have your needs filled.”
The thief feels the call of the Watcher and Ermine leads her in the convert’s prayer.
The thief’s eyes are filled with tears and her heart is filled with joy. Despite her dirty, grimy, unwashed body…Sister Ermine grabs her and gives her a hug. “You are good, sister,” the thief whispers.
She cannot recall the last time anyone has felt compassion or extended mercy onto her, but she is grateful.
“Thank you sister.”

“Do not thank me, thank the Watcher…and please, if you need anything – do not steal it.  Come and see me and I shall do my best to see that you get what it tis you need.”
Ermine leaves to return to the church as the thief limps away.