This is a preview to the chapter Chapter 3 from the book The Weeping Empress by Sadie S Forsythe.
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Andela was an old woman, comfortable in her anonymity. Even though she felt a little remorse for leaving the group and not discovering what would happen to Chiyo, that strange and contradictory woman, she also felt it was her duty to pass the information on to the Sisters of the Sacerdotisa before it was lost. Andela felt certain she was seeing the beginning of something great.
The Sacerdotisa had been around for as long as humans could remember. There had been a time when they had been extremely powerful and when no child had been born without being indoctrinated in the ways of Snake and the Holy Mother. Andela had never officially joined the order, but her family’s holding had been very near one of the sisterhood’s facilities. Her family had been devout believers, and when her father died, leaving her mother to raise Andela and her siblings alone, the local sisters were a great support to them. She had grown up passing through their gates as comfortably as her own. Returning to them was almost instinctive.
It took her two days to reach a settlement containing a Sacerdotisa Church. She went to the morning service and prayed for guidance. She savored the quiet peace of the place and had never failed to feel her heart settle within the walls of the Sacred Goddess. When she felt sufficiently confident in the ordering of her tale, she asked to speak to the highest official present. The request was greeted with poorly disguised incredulity. It was, of course, unusual and pompous to assume oneself worthy of the head mistress’ attention, but Andela insisted all the same.
Upon entering the house mistress’ chambers, Andela realized that the woman was less concerned with decorum than her subordinate and she welcomed Andela with real warmth. Andela bowed low with familiar grace and ease. She was invited to sit and did so.
“I’m told you have something to discuss that you wish to be reported to the sisterhood as a whole,” Kranglin, the house mistress, began.
Andela took the small Goddess-shaped pendant out from under her blouse and rubbed it comfortably. She took a deep breath.
“My name is Andela Masterdon. I was raised just outside of Timeroon as much by the kind sisters there as by my own mother. The teachings of the sisterhood and words of Snake were the stories of my youth. They have brought me many comforts during the hard times of life. I have always held them close to my heart. I preface my story with this so that you can understand that I have had more reason than most to learn not only the proper prayers and teachings of our Great Goddess, but also the lesser-known prophecies that many might know exist but fail to understand.”
“I see. By all means continue,” Kranglin said.
“Timeroon isn’t a wealthy or sophisticated village. It is predominantly populated by farmers. Over the years we have purposefully diversified our crops in an attempt to become further self-reliant, but the presence of a moderate mountain to the north has always posed a challenge to rain. Clouds often loose their momentum before passing it, leaving our village dry. This, as I said, isn’t new, but this year has been particularly arid, and more crops died than anticipated. The elders even authorized the distribution of emergency stores to some of the hardest-hit families.
“The village will survive, but the policies of the emperor leave the nyims no room to consider such circumstances. It’s not a new story: villages forced to send conscripts in place of rations. I’m such a sacrifice. I hated to leave my home, but my life is close to its conclusion. My children are grown. No one depends on me any longer. I can’t resent the decision of the elders. It was undoubtedly the right one. Furthermore, I’ve reason to now be grateful for it.
and all the others, when you
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