The Weeping Empress


This is a list of how often and where the term 'Goddess' appears in the book The Weeping Empress.

Search result for 'Goddess' in The Weeping Empress

Chapter 1: Chapter 1
"... were a spy, you’d already be dead.” “Really? That’s comforting.” “He’s right though. You seem to have the luck of the Goddess on your side. You should have been dead a few times over already.” “Again. So comforting.” She didn’t know where to look. It wasn’t as if ..."

Chapter 3: Chapter 3
"...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 ..."
"... 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 ..."
" 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.” ..."
"... can’t resent the decision of the elders. It was undoubtedly the right one. Furthermore, I’ve reason to now be grateful for it. “For the Goddess said: My children, who are myself, you are dear to me. Because of my love for you, who are me, I wish to spare you those pains that color ..."
"...“Muhjah and, one of the Goddess’ own children, Senka, descended like a pair of demons bent on utter destruction. The nyim and Danbire’s warden lost a number of men. They left death behind as casually as footprints, but that isn’t the important part of my story; it’s merely an interesting aside. When the trouble started, ..."
"...consequently neither did she, but she didn’t stand about in idle confusion. She blazed with a singular bloody fury. She was like a star fallen to earth, and I was unable to tear my eyes away from her. It was as if I could see the aura of the Goddess around her. That might have been enough to convince me, but probably not enough to convince me to come here to you. ..."
" Valdis. She didn’t wish to sound overeager. This would make her appear as if she hadn’t considered the possibility of fallacy, but she didn’t want to appear disbelieving either. If it turned out to be true, she never wanted to be accused of missing a sign from the Goddess. The result was an overthought and vague memorandum that an individual of trustworthy character was currently residing within the confines of Bestire while claiming to have met the Goddess’ messenger. ..."
"...This little in Kranglin’s note was enough for Valdis. She lived each day in measured anticipation of the prophesied one’s arrival. Those of lower rank had no reason to know anything more than the existence of a prophecy vaguely describing the eventual arrival of the Goddess’ Arm to enable recognition. Trusting and naïve in many ways, the sisters were easily led in such a manner. But a select few knew more. Valdis had always assumed it was the same for all large organizations. What Valdis knew that Kranglin didn’t was that the prophesied one’s eminent ..."
"... “Andela, you’re indeed fortunate. To be the first to see the Goddess’ Arm upon the earth is a great honor. It couldn’t have been coincidence that one as faithful as yourself was there to witness her emergence. That you so readily recognized and accepted her identity are signs.” ..."
"... for Valdis to continue. “I need two things,” Valdis explained. “Can I count on you?” “You haven’t yet told me what you need, but if the Goddess has called for me, I’ll surely answer.” A small, somewhat sad smile creased the elderly priestess’ lips. She appreciated her ..."
"...“We’re living in a time of darkness. Our people need hope, comfort, and a sense of spiritual support. This Chiyo that you speak of is the embodiment of these things. She will bring salvation to us all, but she needs time to mature and find her place on the Goddess’ path. In the meantime we have to till the fallow—prepare the way, so to speak. I want to herald her arrival, and you can be the bearer of these tidings. Can you do that for me? Go to the people. Tell your story; proclaim Chiyo Alglaeca the fulfiller of ..."
"... have work to do, too.” Andela nodded. “I would be pleased to do as you ask. I truly felt the influence of the Great Mother Goddess and would proudly share my experience with others. If I can be of even the slightest assistance, I’ll gladly give of myself.” “Good girl,” Valdis ..."
"...the believers and share your story and their lives. It’ll be you who first hears the stories of others as they encounter and recognize her. Encourage this. Collect these stories. Add them to your own as you travel. Tell them far and wide. Become the Right Arm of the Goddess’ scribe, so to speak.” ..."
"... Arm of the Goddess’ scribe, so to speak.” “I would be deeply honored. That you and the Goddess deem me worthy of even a small role is more than I could have ever dreamed. But you know that Chiyo will be extremely unhappy with this?” Valdis nodded. “I don’t doubt it. From your ..."
"... and she looked forward to the days to come. There was only one nagging doubt pushed far back in the recesses of her mind. What is Valdis afraid of? What mars her happiness at the thought of the joyous arrival of the Right Arm of the Goddess? ..."

Chapter 5: Chapter 5
"...These cunning ladies were representatives of the Sacerdotisa, or cult, of the Goddess Kali, held captive so that they couldn’t preach against the Lord Emperor. Though fewer and fewer people came to the services or declared their love of the Holy Mother, the nyim wasn’t able to kill or imprison them. The time of their influence had passed, but they filled an ..."
"...The women bore the situation as calmly as all things. It was their way, but they also knew there was a prophecy that said, in a time of great strife and when freedom was denied them, the Goddess would send her Arm to release them. There was rumor in the order that she, their savior, had arrived. Some in the group wondered if theirs was the foretold imprisonment. This female warrior might not have paid them much mind, but they saw two guards dead and the door ..."
"...As evening fell and the confusion started to die down, the priestesses of the Goddess Kali lay Chiyo in the decorated carriage, with the sheer curtains drawn and lit from within to provide a seemingly ethereal glow, and walked into the courtyard. Many of the guards and staff were surprise. Some of the more devout or openly committed knelt as the procession passed, and ..."

Chapter 6: Chapter 6
"...They called her “The Righteous.” They said she fought for the people’s freedom and stood strong for those who were weak. They said she sacrificed her body for the lives of those held captive. They said she was the chosen one of the Goddess, her right Arm, acting as her emissary on earth when she rescued the Sacerdotisa. She would do so again when she saved the people from the emperor’s oppression. How do they know about these things, let alone imagine that they know anything of their meaning? It frightens me—these things ..."

Chapter 7: Chapter 7
"...They found that the people from smaller, more rural areas were safer. They maintained a stronger faith in the Great Goddess, and although they paid Chiyo more attention, there was far less risk of exposure. These people held a stronger contempt for the emperor and his subordinates and were, therefore, less likely to betray them. ..."
"...A few less prudent individuals tried getting close to Chiyo. Some were avid believers, who had become too zealous when faced with the physical embodiment of their faith. They only wished to touch her clothing or be seen by the eyes of the Goddess. They bowed, held babies out for blessings, and muttered prayers Chiyo couldn’t understand. One particularly bold girl had grabbed Chiyo in her excitement. Already overly tense, Chiyo had responded with conditioned violence. It had been only Senka’s quick movements that saved the child’s life. He had deftly placed himself ..."
"...mother had been the youngest daughter of an equally old, though less respectable, family. She had been pregnant twice before Senka was born but had miscarried. There had been rumors that she was cursed to bear no children. Those in the village claimed she sought the wisdom of the Goddess Kali to lift the curse, and that children so born always belonged to the Goddess because they would have never been born without her intercession. ..."
"...The escalating ado suggested that she meant to dethrone him, but he had seen no evidence of that either because she and her companions had pointedly never directly attacked him. He dismissed this part of the rumor as nothing more than the influence of the Goddess cult and their prophecies, none of which he believed. It was ridiculous to think that any omnipotent being influenced their world. He had certainly never seen any evidence of it. ..."
"... don’t see any reason why they should.” “People are interested. They’re saying some strange and important things. I’m sure you’ve heard what they say about you: that you’re the Arm of the Goddess come to free her people, etc.” Chiyo looked at him blankly. He knew she had ..."
"...“In that case,” he lowered his voice, “let me put this another way. I’m not willing to allow you to continue to make waves in my kingdom. Because I’m generous, I’m willing to smooth things over by bringing you into the fold, but failing that, the legend of the Goddess’s savior will end here and now.” ..."
"...he tried to pinpoint what had bothered him. It was her lack of concern, he decided. Being held captive by the person whose rule you oppose should scare you. She should have been solicitous and begging for her life or raving about bringing to bear the fury of the Goddess. But she was neither of these things. She was calm and only rudimentarily involved in the conversation. It suggests extreme bravery, delusion, or stupidity. ..."
"...cult, nor force people to give up their long-held beliefs, but he could, over the term of his rule, relabel the belief as passé, thereby undermining the priestesses. It had taken twenty years, but he finally was seeing results. No one aspiring to be cosmopolitan spoke well of the Goddess Kali or her Sacerdotisa. ..."
"... Love,” he offered. “Tell me what I want to know.” “What do you want to know?” she spat back. “I thought you just wanted me to tell the world that the emperor was graced by God and endorsed by the Goddess’s savior.” “There’ll be no need for sarcasm.” “Sarcasm?” ..."

Chapter 8: Chapter 8
"... in a number of years, showcasing more of his friend’s thoughts than his cavalier words. Goddess, I almost hope that’s it. Let’s just get it over with and get back to normal,” Muhjah exclaimed. Senka cracked a slim, empathetic smile. Although it went unspoken, both men believed ..."
"...Although a stand of trees blocked the sisters from view, Senka knew that they were on their knees, radiant in their reverence as all women were at such times. It was a prayer of joy to send blessings and unobstructed love to the Goddess. When it was finished, there would be dancing. It wouldn’t do to cloud the message with too much solemnity. He stopped and listened. ..."
"...a corporal, if impassive, deity. He appreciated the Sacerdotisa’s attempts to be a joyous impetus and had always treated them with a certain passive respect, but he also believed that, as steeped in blood as he and Muhjah were, they were excluded from the grace and comforts of the Goddess’s cult. Even if he were barred from their sympathies, he took comfort in knowing that they were there and thought maybe that was enough. ..."
"...known to use their position to scare favors from young women. In Huntland it was a wild-eyed banshee who brought justice onto the head of Akan, who had stolen the few fetid scraps left to the poor. In Millianto I held the baby blessed by the hands of the Goddess herself. In Marishana a ghost slaughtered twenty-seven people, seemingly without provocation. In Stastire she freed the imprisoned Goddess. The town of Barnabie, long thought of as a haven of inequity, considers themselves vindicated because the Goddess’s Arm came and passed judgment upon them. She has healed the ill, mended ..."
"...“Despite her efforts, however, Nabirye insisted that she didn’t wish to marry. She felt a calling to the Goddess and wished to serve the people. Rachnel believed this was nothing more than the selfish demands of youth, continued her search, and eventually settled on a young man from a neighboring town. ..."
"...girls. She named them Apiyo and Nakato. Her health was very poor after the birth, and fearing for their upbringing she entrusted them to the care of the Sacerdotisa. Their father was furious because of this. He accused her of thievery and of deceitfulness. Nabirye simply replied that the Goddess had blessed her, and because she had been denied the opportunity to return the blessing, she had been forced to pass the duty to her daughters. She stopped speaking to her husband after that and shortly thereafter died. Apiyo and Nakato, however, grew healthy and strong. They spent their ..."
"... “The moral, of course, is that those chosen by the Goddess must perform their duties one way or another. To deny it is to deny the Goddess herself. Surely you realize that you both and Chiyo find yourselves in just such a situation. You bear a responsibility of which you must be mindful.” ..."
"... days.” She laughed in a mirthless fashion. “Such threats are pointless. The end of my days is surely not far off anyway, but I’ve no reason to deceive you. I prayed to the Goddess that she might send a protector to us and she has done so. I wish only to be of assistance to her.” ..."
"...there was nothing about the two departing men that inspired warmth in her heart. She saw none of the shared human condition that bound people to each other. Despite Muhjah’s affected merriment, their company was cold and uncomfortable. She was relieved when they left her and wondered how the Goddess could entrust precious cargo to such men. She rubbed her amulet absently and went down to the well to pray. ..."

Chapter 9: Chapter 9
"... Hanna over and over. There were tears apparent behind her fluttering lids, and Muhjah had to force himself to look away. Your flesh is of the Goddess. You must care for it. Senka and Muhjah reached Capital City in good time. They had little trouble entering the city itself. Commerce ..."
"...common practice to starve a prisoner before interrogation. It makes them weak and more forthcoming. We’re told that Chiyo’s questioning is to start in earnest tomorrow. The emperor wishes to force her into a statement of support. He wants her to say that she is the Arm of the Goddess, come to free the people by guiding them under the protective wing of the true ruler, the Emperor and Lord of the Land.” ..."
"...“You misunderstand. It doesn’t matter if they do or not. Those with weak faith might well believe it. The true damage is to those who truly believe in Chiyo now and that their suffering might soon come to an end. The Goddess’s representative can’t be coercible or corruptible. To be such would invalidate her compact with Kali. If Chiyo signs such a wretched document, they’ll believe themselves deceived and be disappointed. They’ll return to hopelessness and be less likely to believe in change for the future. The emperor will have truly ..."
"...“Centuries ago,” she continued, “when the capital was built, the cult of the Goddess was powerful. This abbey was one of the first buildings built. Below it is a catacomb and from it shoots off a series of natural tunnels that we have augmented over time. Who knows? Perhaps this hill was once a festering volcano now lost to the annals of time? ..."
"...“In exchange for our help, you must promise to deliver Chiyo, willing or not, to us for Trial. You’ll leave her in our care, allowing us to teach her the ways of the Goddess and fully initiate her into the Sacerdotisa. You may remain as our guest during this time, but Chiyo must stay in seclusion.” ..."
"...“The Trial is called such because it is just that,” she explained as honestly as she could. “It’s difficult, painful, and even possibly fatal. A supplicant must willingly expose herself before the Goddess, and the experience is different for everyone. I can’t promise Chiyo will be unharmed, but I can’t believe the Goddess would send us someone who wasn’t strong enough to endure. I have faith and so should you.” ..."
"...“The problem I see is this,” he finally said, “if you think Chiyo is your divine savior, this Arm of the Goddess, surely you’re willing to do anything to rescue her and if you could do it alone, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. So, it seems to me that you’re going to help us whether we agree to this Trial or not. So, why should we commit ourselves to anything?” ..."
"...him. The last sight of his dying eyes was Senka weaving through the chaos and slipping into his study. Durward died certain Chiyo would be successfully rescued and frightened that he might have missed the truth of her divinity. He might have truly been in the presence of the Goddess’s messenger and sullied her corporeal form. There was no other explanation for the unbelievable events unfolding before him. Punishment would surely follow, and he knew real fear for the first time. ..."
"...torch and more water. The two men washed the wound as best they could and examined the rest of Chiyo’s body for injuries. With a clinical intent, the two rubbed, probed, examined, and memorized every aspect of her body. Every injury was committed to memory to report to the Goddess’s healers and to exact revenge for. ..."
"... almost makes me believe we had a mystical helping hand.” “Then what does that make us?” Muhjah laughed low. “Well, they did always whisper that you already belonged to the Goddess.” Senka grunted. He had borne that stigma all his life. He wasn’t going to argue about it now. ..."
"...those things. But I do know you’re special, and you mustn’t ever forget it. Don’t ever let anyone take that knowledge away from you. Even if you forget your name or this place you call home or me, you must never forget that you were a gift from the Goddess herself. She reached out and, with her own hands, gave you life. ..."
"... gave you life. “How I prayed for you. I prayed so hard for so long. I’m glad to have done my duty and given your father an heir, but I would never have begged the Goddess for that. I prayed because I wanted a child and I have cherished you. I think you know that. “Your father, he ..."
"...Muhjah and Senka noted that Cassia didn’t seem to notice. She trooped along oblivious to their discomfort and thrilled to be in the presence of the Goddess’ Arm, even if she was unconscious. It struck Muhjah that Cassia was somewhat simple and exceptionally faithful, harboring no doubt that Chiyo would wake and bring honor to the Sacerdotisa. ..."

Chapter 10: Chapter 10
"... have? she thought to herself as she stood and began the slow progress across the room to join her new master. Stand so that Snake might recognize you in the eyes of the Goddess. A page was sent to fetch the abbess, who entered quickly without appearing to rush or compromise her own ..."
"... “What Senka means is that you’re going to have to stay here, and we’ll stay with you. You’re going to be ‘inaugurated into the arms of the blessed Goddess.’ That’s how they described it to us,” he said as if he had memorized a script or repeated it endlessly already. She ..."
"...Chiyo snorted. She wanted to argue, but memories of her recent nightmares stilled her tongue. She understood. The Sacerdotisa had helped her companions free her from the emperor so that she could be handed over to them. Indoctrination by the followers of the Goddess Kali might be interesting, and it wasn’t as if she was all that committed to the Father, Son and Holy Ghost of her childhood. Her family hadn’t been churchgoers to start with. ..."
"... Chiyo almost immediately. She didn’t care to be preached at for the made-up mystique of it all. “We aren’t asking anything of you. It is the Goddess who is demanding everything of you.” Chiyo rolled her eyes, and her impatience was apparent in her tone. “I’m pretty sure I don’t ..."
"...Moran took a long, calming breath. Dealing with nonbelievers had always taxed her. She reminded herself that the prophecy stated that the Arm of the Goddess wouldn’t come from within their ranks. Chiyo is just as the Goddess wishes her to be, even if it irks the hell out of me, she chided herself. Chiyo will have to learn to better balance her femininity with her inner warrior. ..."
"... with her inner warrior. The abbess leaned back and rubbed the bridge of her nose. “First, let me tell you about the Arm of the Goddess. Surely you have heard this name whispered as you pass.” “It’s hardly in whispers anymore, but yes, I’ve heard the name in reference to ..."
"... most recently by the emperor and his lovely inquisitor,” Chiyo responded. “It comes from a prophecy sent to the sisterhood by the blessed Mother and Goddess. It’s said that the Goddess Kali once said: ‘My children, who are myself, you are dear to me. Because I love you, who are ..."
"... “Believe me, I would like nothing more than to be wrong. You’re tactless and brutal. You’ve the countenance of a man and clearly care nothing for our people—not exactly the savior I pictured in my girlhood. We simply have to trust the Goddess’ wisdom in her choice.” Moran ..."
"... would.” Moran laughed. “It proves how little you know of our beliefs. The Goddess comes to no one. She’s always there, but it’s you who must seek her out. There’s no punishment for those who choose not to—no Hades, no command to proselytize. These are not our ways.” “Odd,” ..."
"... me? One of her own wouldn’t do?” “I don’t know. I can’t answer these questions. The Goddess is wise and has her reasons, but I can’t imagine what the transition has been for you. I’m told you were married once and had a child.” “That’s not the half of my ..."
"...mind. If this Goddess really is the one responsible, I want every opportunity for vengeance. I know even thinking of taking revenge on a celestial being is arrogant beyond measure, but I will never get that chance if I refuse the cult now. Then, if there is no true Goddess and this nightmare is the doing of these people, being on the inside is the most damning place to be. ..."
"...known that she had been holding and said, “Really we only want you to spend some time here and then continue to do exactly as you have been. People believe in you. They find hope in your very existence. We’ll officially sanction you as the prophesied Arm of the Goddess, and we’ll ask that you not dispute it.” ..."
"... in her stomach like a cancer. Although it was doubtful that this one small woman was the Goddess, Chiyo couldn’t doubt she was her mouthpiece on earth. A slim smile cracked Chiyo’s lips. Is this even earth? It had never occurred to her before to ask. Chiyo didn’t know how the woman ..."
"...bludgeon us. I was a mere babe when the merciful Kali told me of your predestination. I wept bitter tears—joyous that a savior was to come, frightened at the breadth of time destined to pass before your arrival. I feared I wouldn’t live to witness it for myself. The Goddess has been kind. ..."
"...“You are as the Goddess wishes you to be. However, you’re not yet ready to face the world as her servant. She must work through you, use you, mold you, and guide you. For this you’ve been brought to me, who first spoke your name and called you forth. It is I who must ..."
"... not like it, a ‘broken woman’ describes me as well as any other phrase. “You’ll come with me into the very bowels of this keep, into the womb of the Goddess so to speak, where you will be reborn.” It wasn’t a request. Chiyo saw no escape from this fate. The old woman looked ..."

Chapter 11: Chapter 11
"...She learned about the social history of the empire, the Cult of the Goddess, the classification of snakes by their scale patterns, common cures, birdcalls, current fashions (which was a particularly odd juxtaposition coming from a habit-clad priestess), rice winemaking, and more. They spent hours on seemingly trivial information and then skimmed over ostensibly important facts. ..."
"...Chiyo had come into Relda’s care planning to callously take in what information she could while fostering her hatred for the Goddess and all of the cult’s representatives. She wanted to maintain the face of cooperation while secretly finding the means to undermine and destroy the order. But as time crept by, she and Relda came to know each other well. They could tell when the other had something to say, ..."
"...He’d been warned when she descended into the Goddess’s chamber, that it would be quite some time before she returned, but the longer she was gone, the more he suspected there was a devious plot and that Chiyo was again trapped and in need of assistance. He took to skulking the various hallways, eavesdropping on conversations, and looking ..."
"...The Goddess, who was all things, died, and the universe wept. The tears of the ground, animals, plants, people, and spirits washed her body. They wrapped themselves around her, who was them, and their sorrow filled the air that was her. The ground turned to stone in its grief and would ..."
"...At this the Goddess, who was all things, even in death, saw and was moved. She loved all that was her. She missed the feel of them running and scurrying. She missed the fall of the rain and the sway of the grasses. She missed the joy of her children as if it ..."
"... in earnest to express their joy. The snake, alone among all things that were the Goddess, did not rejoice. Its blood barely flowed. It sat stony-eyed and sulking. The Goddess, who is all things, asked the snake, was he not pleased that she had returned. “Oh yes,” he replied. “So ..."
"... might know this I will leave each year and return anew. You will see.” The snake quaked, and the Goddess who is all things saw this. Wishing to comfort him, she reached down and whispered softly to the snake. “You needn’t fear, my child who is me. I will give you a gift. You will ..."
"...will see my time flow as water to the sea, as your own green scales upon the earth that is me. From today you will know the coming of events, large and small. My will will never be unknown to you, so rejoice my child, for I am your Goddess, and I have returned to you.” ..."
"... am your Goddess, and I have returned to you.” “And so it is to the snake that we, the Sacerdotisa, look for knowledge and contact with the Goddess Kali. It must be to the snake you go to learn what it is that the Goddess wishes of you.” Chiyo listened intently. It wasn’t the first ..."
"...“The official doctrine says that the Goddess Kali, out of divine generosity, then sent the snake to the Sacerdotisa to guide them onto the proper path in life, and through the Sacerdotisa all of humanity would know of her love. For many generations this was, in part, true. The cult was powerful and was able to ..."
"...“To us, like the snake, the blessed Goddess Kali is all things. Her love for us is boundless, but no love is without pain, and we have caused her a great grievance. It is shameful, and it initially came to us through the snake’s love for her.” She paused and settled herself further into her chair. She ..."
"... to repay. “My family secretly worshiped the Goddess, so I was well aware of the legends. The current emperor was still only a child, and his father had demonized the sisterhood. It was dangerous to be known as followers of Kali, but in our home she was worshiped above all others. “What I ..."
"...“People, on a whole, behave predictably. It’s relatively rare that anyone does anything wholly unexpected, and generally people tend to protect those who are important to them at the expense of others. Although not human, the snake was no different, and he loved the Goddess Kali above all else. He thought it right and proper for others to love her as well. ..."
"... no place for her, and she resigned herself to gladly watching from afar. “The snake saw the faith of humans faltering. He saw his beloved Goddess’s acceptance and willingness to let them go. It infuriated him. “The animals of the land, air, and sea love the Goddess that is themselves, ..."
"...“The animals of the land, air, and sea love the Goddess that is themselves, he pondered. Each spring they gleefully await and celebrate her return. How can these humans dare to forget? They take advantage of her abundance and love while pretending she doesn’t exist. It’s shameful. It can’t be allowed. He felt he had to do something about it. ..."
"...“He thought for a long time about how he could stop it from happening. Eventually he decided he would take a group of these humans and remind them of the power and love of the Goddess. He would make them powerful among man so that it couldn’t be missed. Through them he would ensure the Goddess wasn’t forgotten. ..."
"... forgotten. “Then, like now, humans had no means of sensing things to come. It would be a relatively easy matter for the snake to impress them with basic prophetic feats. Had the Goddess not given just such a gift? Perhaps, he told himself, this had been her plan all along. “His chest ..."
"... himself, this had been her plan all along. “His chest swelled with pride. No creature but he could accomplish it, and, thus, no creature could more readily show his love for the Goddess Kali. He was pleased with his plan and set out immediately. “His first challenge was, of course, to ..."
"...“The snake charged Keme and her early Sacerdotisa with ensuring that humanity never again sacrilegiously forgot the Goddess. They traveled far and wide, bringing wisdom and foresight with them. By all accounts they were successful. The knowledge of the Goddess, which had been waning, was revived and the Cult of the Sacerdotisa became one of the cornerstones of society. No political decision of any weight was made ..."
"... suppression. “Meanwhile the Goddess watched the growth of her new followers. They often called to her as the snake had taught them. She listened and loved them as she always had. She loved her children who were herself, but they were dying in her name, and it grieved her. “Her children ..."
"... complication. “When she could watch it no longer, she brought the snake to her. He was proud of his intercession. It pleased him to see the praise given to his Goddess. However, his Goddess wasn’t pleased with him. Her first words were devastating to him. “‘Snake, do you not ..."
"... anything else,’ he responded in a horrified little voice. “‘Do you distrust my decisions?’ “He shook his head. ‘Of course not,’ he answered. ‘You are the Goddess of all.” “‘Then why have you gone against my wishes with the humans?’ “‘Ah, the humans!’ “His ..."
"... “It was a rhetorical question. Kali could see that he didn’t. It grieved her that the snake saw the future events, but he saw nothing that had given him pause. What were the tears of a few future humans to his love for his Goddess? he had thought. Kali watched as he struggled with her words. ..."
"... this will end here.’ “Her tone was cold. The snake shivered and shrunk back from his beloved Goddess. He clearly understood that she was displeased, but he didn’t see why. He would do anything to reverse her lifeless tone and again be her dearest snake. “Kali regrettably took back ..."
"... “The Sacerdotisa received no more insight into the things to come. They performed their rituals and prayers to the snake, the representative of the Goddess Kali, but the oracles no longer had visions. The snake no longer visited, and prayers weren’t answered. The Goddess was silent. ..."
"...“This fact was kept quiet within the order, a secret so closely guarded that most within the ranks didn’t, and still don’t, know. So time passed. The emperor’s efforts to suppress the Sacerdotisa continued, and without the prophecies the sisterhood more often fell prey. The worship of the Goddess Kali was marginalized. Her rituals were usurped and given new meanings. Her name became associated with superstition, and those who continued to give her praise began to do so in secret. ..."
"... mistake. She would send to us her Arm to do her works on earth. “Through you we hope to set humanity back on the right course and redeem ourselves and the snake in the eyes of the Goddess so that she might return to us.” When Relda stopped, silence descended. Listening to the origins of ..."
"...When Relda stopped, silence descended. Listening to the origins of the Sacerdotisa was interesting, but not as fascinating as hearing that Relda and the Sacerdotisa were desperately scrambling to reestablish themselves. Their very existence was currently a lie. They received no more guidance from their Goddess than anyone else did. Their prayers carried no more weight than hers. ..."
"... come in?” Chiyo replied. “Uh huh, it was foretold that the Goddess would provide the means of her own rebirth. Very few know of any of this. There aren’t many who would understand and even fewer who would be able to do the distasteful things expected of us.” “So you have told all ..."
"... from their earthly woes while using me to tend to your theological dilemma? That’s pretty cold.” “You aren’t the only one the Goddess has asked difficult tasks of,” Relda said. She suddenly seemed small and fragile as though there were at visible burden on her shoulders. Chiyo had ..."
"...Chiyo noted that she seemed to be working through how to convey something important. “But I don’t believe it is exactly as you’ve said. Olwen and her girls intended to pass the task through each generation until you were located. Bringing you here probably required the intercession of the Goddess herself, and I don’t presume to question her methods.” ..."
" Olwen knows whom to look for, but it I hadn’t already been sent back she wouldn’t know whom to find. You have got to be kidding me.” Chiyo flumped back onto her chair. “But Relda, it can’t be right. How can I be the representative of the Mother Goddess? Surely as she is the earth and its cyclical nature of reproduction, she is round and soft. Surely she is beautiful in her very nature and womanly in every way. I’m not any of those things anymore. There is nothing soft about me. I don’t even have periods anymore! ..."
"...“I can’t speak to her reasons, but surely you’re what the Goddess has chosen. Women play many roles in life; some of them are lovely and soft. Women are idealized for these soothing attributes, but most real women know that such a gentle manner is useless in the face of hardship. What good would a soft-skinned beauty be in these hard ..."

Chapter 12: Chapter 12
"... as a support. He was like a shadow, always there to rise up from his own darkness and catch her. Dreams are the playing field of the faithful. In them Snake lays the flesh of the Goddess bare. Chiyo lay a on a hard but not uncomfortable sedan. The excitement of the women around her made the ..."
"... no one was there. She was alone. She snaked her own arms around her tight flat waist and wailed. So alone! It was as if a part of her had been removed, like the earth without the Goddess who is it. She was abandoned, alone, and scared. Somewhere in the fog, just beyond her field ..."
"... she got dressed. The Sacerdotisa had left her another pretty, lightweight dress. Its fabric was almost gossamerlike. It felt like a cloud against her skin as she walked. The straps were thin and crossed in the back. No part of it touched the Goddess’s mark, she noticed. Having dressed, ..."
"... skin.” “Good. I’ll not ask what the Goddess has sent to you. You’ll find no one else will either. To each, that is a private message. I’m told, however, that you thrashed about violently, making the artist’s work difficult. I hope the experience wasn’t too troubling.” Chiyo ..."
"...“My patient daughters, long have we waited, hard have we toiled, and meek have we been. Standing before you is she whom we have awaited—the Right Arm of the Goddess! She was lost, and the Goddess found her. She stumbled, and the Goddess held her up. She has given of herself, sacrificed what was dearest to her, and fought to protect us. She is our savior in the flesh. The Goddess has asked much of her and demands more ..."
"...morning light was long in coming. Chiyo had been awake for some time, watching the first pink rays peek over the hills in the distance. She was eager to be away from this place. The individual priestesses had been good to her, but they wanted much in return. Their Goddess had cleared a path for her, and although she didn’t yet know where it led, she could follow no other. She could still feel the thick silk pulling at her like marionette wire. It choked and angered her. ..."

Chapter 13: Chapter 13
"... about.” Moran looked at Relda’s small, rod-straight back and sensed an out-of-place tension. It clashed against her own feelings of well being. Have we not sent the Goddess’s Arm out into the world to do Kali’s bidding? It is a time of celebration, isn’t it? “Have we done ..."
"... it? “Have we done the right thing?” Moran wondered aloud. “We have done the only thing we can do. It is a small price to pay for long-lasting peace among the people. It is as the Goddess wishes it.” Moran nodded. “Like her, all things die in the end, but is that truly ..."
"... into the distance. “No, I don’t think that is the Goddess’s plan for her,” Relda stated firmly. “Still, I have to admit there’s a certain amount of selfish relief in seeing her leave. Up until the very end, I wondered if we all were going to die.” “I’ve no doubt she ..."
"... She’s biding her time, but she’ll do as we wish in the end. Give her time. She really has no other option.” “Praise be to the Goddess then.” The two gave the horizon one last look and then returned indoors. **** For the first few hours of the journey, Chiyo ..."
"... much longer. “Where are we going?” The two men looked toward Chiyo for an answer. She avoided their eyes uncomfortably. She was supposed to have an answer for them because the blessed Goddess was supposed to have told her what to do. Chiyo rubbed at her right arm. It ached from ..."
"...unbelievably soft and was shaped to fit her arm almost perfectly. Even though it was loose enough to allow her to move freely but tight enough not to flap about, her skin wasn’t used to this new partnership yet. In time it would comfortably cover every centimeter of the Goddess’s mark, but not yet. ..."
"... Chiyo cringed. “Don’t say it that way. If I can I would like to avoid it, but I don’t even know what it is. ‘Free the people and redeem humanity in the eyes of the Goddess.’ What does that mean? Free the people from what? They can’t expect me to head up some coup d'état.” ..."

Chapter 14: Chapter 14
"...environment just to reduce the words’ melancholic affect on her. She had memorized the pages’ content long ago, but when serious thought was required, she always pulled the book from its locked drawer. She needed the buffer that her illustrations provided, the comfort of quotidian totems, and the Mother Goddess’s moral support, and on those pages Kali was looking out at her. ..."
"... As she so often did, Valdis traced her beloved Goddess’s squat, rounded figure. Kali had always been a balm for her, and Valdis prayed for guidance and strength of will. She wished to leave the long, uncomfortable path she walked. It plagued her, drove her, and was finally ending. A ..."
"...The two women studied each other. It was a conversation they’d had hundreds of times before. Relda could bemoan the necessity of their mission, but as the honorary of Kali’s audience, she never truly wavered. Valdis, having never been honored with the Goddess’s presence, had no room to doubt. She couldn’t afford to be anything but fully committed. Thus, neither woman ever took any other position. ..."
"...Relda nodded. “Such solace soothes the mind but does so little for the soul. Anyhow, to continue—she has been fully versed in the mystique of Kali and the myth of the Goddess’s Arm. She’s quick to grasp things, so she had little difficulty understanding the symbolic and inspirational role we’re asking her to play. She isn’t one to seek the limelight, so she wasn’t particularly pleased, but considering all she has to do is continue as she has been doing, she ..."
"...“As agreed, she’s been told that the Goddess’s Arm’s purpose is to redeem the Sacerdotisa and right the spiritual wrongs of the past. I intimated that we would again be sent premonitions and visions as a result of her efforts. We might, therefore, regain our social status and climb again to the top of the social strata. ..."
"...“I feel confident that as the Goddess has asked, Chiyo will remove us from the future. The Sacerdotisa won’t be remembered, however, even I have no way to know by what mechanism this might be accomplished. Perhaps she’ll simply slaughter us all. The most we can do is provide the infrastructure to support the people once ..."
"... Valdis further to argue against it again. “When she has really done as we intend—destroyed us and dirtied and rubbed out the very name of our great Goddess Kali, it is she who will fill the void in the people’s lives,” she said instead. Relda looked at her counterpart and nodded. ..."
"... haven’t you, Relda?” Relda had tried to respond and tell the Great Goddess how very much she loved these woods. She had wanted to tell her how much she appreciated them as the gift they were. But despite her strong feelings, all she had done was nod dumbly. “Yes, I knew you had. I ..."
"... to malinger and die is a cruelty I can’t bear. Better a swift execution, a—coup de grâce.” Relda had been aghast; to hear such words from her loving Goddess had chilled her. “Is there nothing to be done?” “No, nothing. The humans occupy a special place in my heart. ..."
" the window, leaving Relda to her memories for the moment. She looked out at the darkness and wished again that the Mother hadn’t asked this of them. How peaceful it must be to be among the blissfully ignorant and to feel secure in the belief that the great Goddess would always be there for you? ..."
"...She and Relda were the only two people who truly understood that the purpose of the Goddess’s Arm was to cut off her head. Even Olwen had been told she was searching for the means of reviving the Sacerdotisa’s greatness so that they might free the people from their oppressors. It was a lonely space to inhabit—the informed among the ignorant. ..."

Chapter 15: Chapter 15
"...Chiyo donned a dress to blend in while in Capital City. It wasn’t the wispy gossamer of the Goddess, but a coarse, white, loose-weave wool outfit. She carried no sword. Senka wore both his and hers. It left him looking a little over-armed but not particularly worthy of attention. He remained always at her side. ..."
"...Why am I still wearing this? she asked herself. She wanted to take it off. The green monster underneath the sleeve of her dress seemed to burn her, as if it was tightening ever so slowly in anticipation. Is this what it wants? Is it what our master, the Goddess, wants? Is it what I want? I can’t tell the difference anymore. ..."

Chapter 16: Chapter 16
"...bright in the forest of deep colors, but she thought that was all the better. They tied it vice-tight around her waist. It was a brocade prison, built around her one layer at a time. She stood very still so as not to disturb their work. She remembered the Goddess’s vision and the silken bars around her heart all to well. All she could do was pull weakly at the strands and see what happened. ..."
"... backed away and bowed low. He took a deep breath and said, “The time of old has passed. The time of new has arrived. May it bring peace and prosperity to Dashkalil. All hail, the Empress, Right Arm of the Goddess, Savior of the People, Chiyo Alglacea!” The crowd behind him bowed and ..."
"...They felt Chiyo’s eyes, or the beast behind them, watch their every step greedily. Valdis had long ago accepted her fate, but under that hungry stare, she felt real fear for the first time. It made her question the Goddess’s assertion that destruction was their only safe path. Could Relda have been mistaken in her prophecy? Her step faltered. Relda’s cool dry hand grasped her sweaty one, and her resolve strengthened again. How easy it is to make the same mistakes, even once you know the outcome, Valdis pondered. ..."
"...From her bent position, Valdis said, “We, the Sacerdotisa of the Goddess Kali, have long awaited your arrival, and I, Valdis, Maven of the Sisterhood of the Snake, have waited a long time to meet you, the foretold Savior and Right Arm of the Goddess Kali. We have worshiped her, prayed to her, and taught the people of her, but it’s ..."
"... think it will be long.” “Relda, tell me again that we’ve done the right thing.” “We’ve done the only thing we could. We’ve done as the Goddess has asked of us. We’ve set her free.” Valdis glanced once more at the scene behind her. The shocked hush of the room was almost ..."
"...This was her prison and she saw no means of escape, but she didn’t want to be a complete puppet either. Perhaps she couldn’t avoid being used by the Goddess herself, but her human representatives were another matter. Valdis and Relda had just handed her the means to her vengeance. She was a poised and ready force de frappe. They gave her sovereignty, and with it she would destroy even the memory of them to sate her own desire ..."
"...She ripped Salvation from its saya with a savagery reserved for the battlefield and raised it high above her head so it shone in the afternoon sunlight. Her sleeve fell back revealing the body of the Goddess’s tattoo running the length of her arm. The sight of it sent another cheer racing through the crowd below. ..."
"...Chiyo allowed it to run its course and then shouted, “I am Chiyo Alglacea, Empress of Dashkalil, Right Arm of the Goddess Kali, Bearer of Salvation, and the Savior of the People. I declare myself. I stand before you not as a woman but as the sole representative of you, the sole intermediary between you and the heavens. I have been tasked with ensuring the well being of you, your children, ..."

Chapter 17: Epilogue
"...They were currently in a small chapel museum, displaying relics of a long defunct religion around a Goddess he had never heard of. It had been so far unimpressive, too many snakes for his taste, but his daughter thought that they might look cool on a T-shirt. He had seen chalices, molded patterns, a few woven items, and even fewer tattered, withering pieces of text. It was ..."

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