Updated: May 14
Shadow played down by the riverside. Ever since she was a little cherub, this had been the place where the world made sense. The water softly babbled its way over the rocks and off on its journey to the Crown Mountains. Cheerful yellow daffodils swayed in the breeze. Frogs sang to each other from across the river banks.
Today was the last day Shadow will be able to visit this little piece of paradise. As the sun sets, Shadow leaves the river bank. She carries two cups, one full of water and one holding only air. The temple is a one hour walk away. Shadow has to make the walk barefoot and without spilling a single drop of water. The night air is cool and ruffles the feathers of her wings as it sighs on by carrying whispers. Shadow hears the wishes and prayers hidden under the air currents. It is hard not to stop and listen to the pleas of those around her, but she carries on. If she does not complete the awakening eye ceremony then she will be unable to help those who whisper in the night.
The crescent moon rises over head. It gives barely enough light to see by. Shadow slows her steps and it makes the journey take twice as long. At last she sees the gleaming temple on the hill side. Other Seraphim walk into the temple and Shadow is the last to arrive. She walks straight up to the altar at the front. The crowd falls silent. Shadow’s mother stands at the altar in her deep red robes. “Come child, it is time.”
Shadow carefully walks up the five steps to the altar, each one inscribed with an elemental symbol. She hides a gasp that the ever changing mosaic on the floor now depicts an image of her beloved riverside sanctuary. Blue marble tiles swirl to show the play of water over rocks. Tiny bits of jade show off the faces of the frogs that sing from the banks. If Shadow strains hard enough she can almost hear their song. Sparkling citrines create detailed daffodils that dance in the light. Shadow pauses for a moment and then walks forward with one foot on the water of the mosaic and the other on the rocky shore of the mosaic. Her mother smiles.
Shadow reaches the altar. It has transformed into a model of the Crown Mountains. Shadow turns to face the gathered crowd. Her left foot stands on the stony shore and her right is on the cool blue marble. “I have traveled far. Through mirrors that hold memories. I have listened to the cries of the rule breaker and the broken. I have come to serve. No longer will I be Shadow, hiding from the light. I am Temperance, the balance bringer.”
Temperance poured the water from the full cup into the empty. There was a flash of light and the water disappeared mid pour. In its place was a gold medallion. The medallion floated up and came to rest upon Temperance’s brow. She gasped as the cold metal touched her skin. Then she saw. Every whisper in the night carried a face now. A heart crying out for comfort. Temperance took her cups and walked out of the temple. Now her life would truly begin.
The prompts for this story:
Mirrors that hold memories…
Copyright 2020 Klaudia Grady