Jessica knelt down on the cold marble floor and pressed her palm together in the traditional manner of prayer.  Her pack fell from her shoulder softly on to the floor at her side.  She lifted her peaceful periwinkle eyes to the intricate, jewel-encrusted ceiling, took in a deep breath of the heavy August air, and closed her eyes.

“Blessings be to Kantra,” she murmured politely under her breath, tasting her chalky lipstick on her tongue.  “Goddess of All Things, Lady of Justice.”  A gentle breeze wafted through the drafty old cathedral.  It fluttered up against the tall stained glass windows like faithful butterflies.  Jessica could feel the colors in her subconscious, like sugary sweets.  The drafts were one of the reasons she loved coming to this old cathedral.  They added a level of spiritualism to her experience that no well insulated modern church could duplicate.  She opened her eyes, stood slowly, and approached the wax-coated altar.  She let her bag sit where it fell.  No man, woman, or child would dare to steal in the House of the Goddess.

From its intricate bronze holder, the princess lifted a large yellowed candle and held its charred wick over one of the other, already burning candles.  She held it in her hand for a moment, or perhaps a decade- in holy places, time has no sway.  She held the candle until she felt the hot wax drizzle over her thumb, and even then, it was only a great act of willpower that made her release it.  With a feeling of immense emptiness, she replaced the candle in its holder.  She backed away slowly, silently, chewing on her lower lip.  Four paces back, she knelt again next to her abandoned pack, eyes closed.

“Goddess, I light my candle to represent my devotion to you,” she whispered unevenly.  Jessica paused and took in a deep breath, pushing images of her father from her mind as quickly as they entered.  “I- I thank you for safe passage, which you graciously allowed to me, and do humbly request your continued blessings on the house of fa Laure.  Most importantly, I ask that you guard over my father’s soul.”  For a moment, her breath choked in her throat, but after a moment, it was free again.  “Please Goddess, please keep his spirit safe until the time is right for him to return to this mortal plane.”  Another breath, and then, “I ask these things in your name.”  She opened her eyes and tapped her forehead, lips, and bosom with the middle and forefinger of her right hand.  “Praise be to Kantra.”

Slowly, Jessica rose.  Her autumn-colored skirt fell like a pile of leaves around her ankles.  She lifted her pack back over her shoulders and backed out of the cathedral, nodding to the patient monks who opened the heavy wooden doors for her.  On the steps of the cathedral, she raised her eyes to the clear blue sky and stretched out her arms as though they were wings.  A legion of pigeons pecked at breadcrumbs around her feet.

Praise be to Kantra, indeed, she thought to herself as she examined the world around her.  She smiled.

It’s good to be home.


Word: Spiritualism.  ||  Time: 15 minutes.  ||  Character: Jessica fa Laure.


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something to think about

"You know, I don't know if you'll understand this or not, but sometimes, even when I'm feeling very low, I'll see some little thing that will somehow renew my faith. Something like that leaf, for instance - clinging to its tree despite wind and storm. You know, that makes me think that courage and tenacity are about the greatest values a man can have. Suddenly my old confidence is back and I know things aren't half as bad as I make them out to be. Suddenly I know that with the strength of his convictions a man can move mountains, and I can proceed with full confidence in the basic goodness of my fellow man. I know that now. I know it." ~ End of Act I in the musical You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

competing for the house cup

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