A cool breeze echoes through the corridors, whispering quietly by those who stride past. The breeze relentlessly blows by, snaking about
corners and into crevices. Silvery light beams its way down upon the marble floors, its natural beauty radiating itself, and the serenity
of the palazzo. The corridors give way to an ominous display of light, as the halls end to expose an aperture lined on either side with
delicate white roses. Kneeling, head bowed in deference, is a woman shrouded in an ivory tunic. She reaches a hand up towards the lunar
sky for a moment, chanting a stream of archaic language. Lowering her arm she smiled briefly towards the heavens and began to stand up
when she became aware of a presence behind her. "Greetings, Venerated Son," she lowered her head in reverence, as she somberly turned
"I'm afraid we may not have time for pleasantries, Honored Daughter. It is time."
Nervousness flitted over her masque of calmness, as she cast a quick glance toward the sundial. Ever since she was small, she knew this
day would come, a moment of great beauty or extreme sorrow. It was always a time of sorrow, those who resided in the Temple held great
love and devotion for their studies and beliefs. However, there was to come a time in their lives that Damascus deemed was their moment
of truth. Although the Venerated Ones prepare you for this your entire life, one can never be fully prepared. She shook her head slightly
and pursed her lips in smile of acceptance. "I am ready."
Taislin nodded, and led her back down the aisle. Stopping suddenly, she spun to face the altar once more, and closed her eyes a moment,
imprinting the surroundings into her memory, every nuance of her presence in these gardens was sacred, and could not be forgotten.
Whispering softly into the moonlight, a lone tear slid down her face.
"My life began and will end with you. This sanctuary is my home, my life and essence. No matter where I end up, my spirit shall remain
entombed here for all eternity." She slowly opened her mouth, and for the last time, spoke a blessing that would ensure her return to
this beloved place.
By this time, Taislin had stopped and stared sadly at the young woman. This one had always been one of his favorites; her devotion and
measure of acceptance and understanding matched those of the ancients. It was not often this could be found among his pupils, and now,
would never be found again.
Emitting a light sigh, he headed toward a dark passageway, and ascended the spiral stairs. A quivering hand fumbled his pocket for the
sole key that could unlock the entrance. Reluctantly, he spoke a single word, and turned the key after its placement in the lock, and the
door gave way. The observatory was a place of great sanctity, though the likeness of it was rarely traveled. Its sole purpose was for the
trial of truth that was to take place for the acolytes. It was the Honored One's turn now, and he stepped to the side and watched her eyes
widen at the surroundings. Of all, he knew she would appreciate it, despite what its purpose.
"There must be no delays in this, Honored One. That is why you are given your instruction at an early age; for acceptance and
understanding." She bobbed her head in acquiescence and glided forward, to stop in between the two crystalline pillars. Swiveling once
more, she took a step to take Taislin's hand.
"You have given me so much during my stay, Venerated One. I could not have held such perseverance if it weren't for you. Given what may or
not happen, you will never be lost to me," she placed a hand lightly over her chest, above the heart.
"We will meet again, our time is not over yet." Taislin smiled sadly, and brought her hand to his lips in a gesture of farewell. "Until
then, Honored One, until then." Releasing his hand, she took her place between the pillars once more and invoked life into them,
disappearing as the light of the heavens coalesced.
She blinked slightly as she appeared in a place unfamiliar to her. Small dwellings were situated about, and people scurried to and fro.
Her eyes widened as her shoulder was tap, and she was guided to face the culprit. A tall man, garbed in black stood before her, his flesh
as pale as midnight's embrace. She bowed her head, "Greetings, I am an Honored One of Damascus, who might you call yourself?" A woman
stepped out of the shadows, her face buried into the man's shoulder, crying softly. He studied her for a moment, his dark eyes piercing
her, and she shivered faintly, wrapping her pristine robes about her.
"I am called Alucard," his extended a hand to gesture to the surroundings. "This is where I live," he smirked, "at least for the time
being. I am most pleased in seeing you, I believe that they have done very well," he smiled flittingly, tips of sharp white enamel
emerging, and she gasped.
"Is this to say that you have seen me before? I asked you who you areůAlucard, I expect you to tell me the truth."
"Though she wears the white, she is quite demanding." The woman shot a glare at him and stood up to look at the girl.
She raised an eyebrow slightly and shook her head with an understanding smile, smoothing the sides of her robes with a hand.
"I accept nothing but the truth, it is what I have learned, so I believe. Damascus would accept nothing else."
He sighed and turned his eyes upon hers. "Then for your sake, I hope your Damascus has prepared you. You are our child, you are called
Mayln Vehenemance." Her eyes bulged, and the woman standing next to Alucard reached a hand out to the shaken girl, who shook it away in
"This cannot be my truth! I am an Honored One, my love is for the Temple, and the Temple alone." Gentle words echoed in her ear,
You are Mayln, Honored One. These people will bring no harm to you, they are your blood. Although this is not the path you may have
sought after, it is one you alone can take, and must follow. Your fate is not with us, not now. The Temple will not forget you, and our
time is not over, Mayln. Not over..not over... Taislin's words reverberated through her head, and for the first time in her life,
she fell to her knees in tears.
A hand touched her shoulder and she gasped, expecting the dark man to be there once again, expecting herself to wake from the nightmare
she was given. She sobbed, her head in her hands, sprawled about the familiar marble floors, hugging it as if it was her last breath. "I
do not wish to leave! Please, don't make me do this..." She heard foot steps behind her, and she forced her nimble legs to carry her.
"Do not turn around. You are not permitted to see me. You must accept your fate, this is what Damascus wished for you, because he knew
that you were the only person suited for the task. You are strong, your motivation powerful, and your devotion pure. This is not
banishment, but a step for you to further your potential, and expose yourself to the reality of this realm. Use your instinct, let your
conscience guide you, let Damascus aid you. A token of us will be given to you, in the form of a faerie. Cherish it, and remember always:
you will not be forgotten." She heard no more, and forced back the urge to cry, and shook her head sternly. This is what I was chosen
to do, it will do me no good bawling like a babe in front of my peers. I will accomplish what goals I must with poise and confidence. I
will not let the Venerated One down, I will rise above. She smiled, and dropped her final curtsey in the hall of departure and
cast warm looks at the line of acolytes that surrounded each side of the aisle. Striding forward, she neared the exit, which glowed in the
light of her newfound companion. The exit was not an exit, but an entrance to the beginning of a new life. Stepping through, she embraced
the woman she knew would be standing there and quietly turned to face the Temple. "And you always remember that you will forever be
carried with me, my home before all other, my love before all others, "she held a hand once again to her heart and bowed one last time.
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