August – 1026 YD
Gesula Temple, Lenyol
Three years passed. The Spring Equinox arrived.
__Kesia and Lasair stood in the elegant gold dresses of their coming-of-age ceremony. Beside them were Toran, in golden tunic and trousers, and Mellena, in a soft red dress. All were taller, fuller, and on the cusp of adulthood.
__As they had many years previously, they awaited Priest Caleb with nerves while their families took their seats inside the temple. A warm breeze blew from the east.
The musicians began to play, and Caleb appeared. He lead them inside and through the crowd to the altar which bore three golden goblets.
__ ‘Spring has returned. With its flowers and nurturing rain, we bring forth four youths to step beyond the protective cloaks of their parents and trademasters, and into the light of adulthood. They have completed their studies in carpentry, shepherding, herbalism, and scribing, and enrich our village for doing so. Toran has studied under my own guidance these last years, and though I shall miss his company, I know the libraries of our region keenly await his careful eye.’ He turned to the altar. ‘The time has come for you to devote yourselves to the Great Mother, and willingly submit yourselves to her protection and love. You will drink of the wine of her harvest, golden and sweet, and read ‘In Giving’ from Monairc III.’
__ Mellena stood by; the three native youths recited:
“The Golden Light will break the night
And keep those lost from harm
Binding life to life a tether forms
An anchor in the storm
Though shadows come, and roads are marred
Love will come when called
And when our light fades, into Your fold
We shall by end return.”
From the single candle in the altar’s centre, three cords of light spiralled, twirling toward the chests of Kesia, Lasair, and Toran. Each felt an intense heat, and resisted the urge to squeal. It felt as though their hearts were encased momentarily in fire—discomfiture bordering on pain—as their parents looked anxiously on: and then it passed, as the hairs on each of their heads rippled and lightened, shedding their soft brown hue in favour of a more pronounced gold. Thus had they bound themselves to the Queen of the Gold Dragons.
__ The musicians began to play again, a beautiful piece which warmed the proud hearts of the audience. At its conclusion, applause broke out, and Priest Caleb bowed in departure; since their time had come, drinking was permitted, and he excused himself from the inevitable mess which would ensue.