This is a short “in progress” chapter of one of the later books that I will add segments to as it goes along:
A cloistered temple, tall and elegant, with intricately ornamented imitations of nature etched throughout. Trees and suns frozen and cold in the marble, their only life in the flickering dance of the candles.
How Marae’ana loathed it. The high walls were oppressive and the maze of corridors herded the faithful into the chapel like mindless beasts only to fill them with rhetoric and vain hopes from books that she doubted were even written by the Seven Scribes of the Oracle Dragon. She would have joined the war against the invaders if she had been allowed, but her family followed the words of the Triad and adhered to every law and stricture that was handed down without wondering from where it had originated. If the leaders of the village said that a rule was set by the mouth of the Triad, then they obeyed; and expected her to do likewise. Happily and without question. For it was all for their own safety and the preservation of the fae society after all. She thought she would go insane if she heard that edict one more time.
Preservation, it was the reason the faerlins did anything anymore. For the last hundred years all she had heard was how important it was for everyone to do as they were told, stay away from other cities, not to reenter the Wood, and to find a mate as soon as possible in order to have a large family so that the fae could prosper once more. Like the balance of Jorthus could be tipped by one more crying fae babe. Rolling her eyes as they shuffled into the sanctuary of the Temple of Phorein, as they had twice a week for the last sixty years, Marae’ana counted in her mind how many times her father would nod towards a faerlin lord and smile at her eagerly as if this would make her suddenly reconsider the man as a suitor.
She was past her three hundred and seventieth year, but had managed to remain unclaimed by any faerlin males, an issue that greatly concerned her parents though she had felt it more of a personal accomplishment considering the choices that had presented themselves. It was not for the lack of offers, for her family was wealthy and she had procured much of her inheritance after the Darquone wars a century ago and had invested it well in secret, so that she would not have to feel reliant upon her family to care for her future. She just had not found the right moment to tell them that she wished to leave the faerlin lands. This would crush her parents for they felt that as long as everyone pretended that life was continuing as it always had, then it would be so. Peace formed from ignoring the news that filtered in from the human cities and the lands to the north.
But she wanted to shout, she wanted to shake them all and make them face the fact that the world was at war and that they would have to do something besides sit in their walled cities with their eyes shut, imagining that what they heard spewed from the pulpits was the true word of the Oracle or the real path that the nations were treading. They were being lied to, she felt sure of it but besides rumors heard second hand from travelers and rebels, she had little proof with which to convince her relatives that there was something wrong. These stone fortresses and enclosed towers were not the place for the fae. Their strength and powers were being greedily hidden from the world like they were misers protecting a horde of silver that would be depleted if shared. But the rebels that she had heard were urging the young to step out of the faerlin cities and take a stand against the invaders, those they called The Fist.
Of course each time she had asked opinions about this of the older more influential generation, the elders always dissuaded her and told her that to keep away from the outside troubles and find peace she needed to not listen to the lies of dissidents trying to scare her. The elders insisted that her concerns should be in making Jorthus greater by building a good, strong family here in the safety of the new faerlin cities.
She missed the woods, but after the devastation caused by the darquone and the fear of another invasion, the faerlins had passed a law that none should travel into the Fae Wood again until the Triad said that it was cleared of the evil.
The Triad, she mused as they all took a seat in the tall chapel center. All things were given to the faerlins by the Triad. And to question where the Triad got their words was to blaspheme against the emmissars. For they were the incarnates immortal after all; she wanted to snort out loud at the tired notion that was ingrained into every fae child from infancy. That was another issue that the rebels spoke on, that not only were the Triad and Reginnae no longer real Incarnates, but that the words they passed on to their people were no longer given from the emmissars or the Oracle. Marae’ana had heard one elven servant whispering that the Fae Lords had hired highwaymen to waylay the couriers distributing the most recent Words scribed from the Oracle in order to substitute their own and keep the multitude complacent and in ignorance of what was really happening outside their walls. That same servant she had heard speak of the last real prophecy that had been given to the faerlins in this land was right before the darquone attacked and it had to do with a harbinger of doom and a dead man walking among the living. Though the servant seemed very vague on the exact wording.
It had been several years since Marae’ana had overheard this and it had made her seek out news from rebel sources and rumors of what was happening to the north, but as much as she heard and felt that there was something more that could be done by the hand of the faerlins, she was but one woman and she had to make her steps careful in these nervous times for many that spoke out or questioned the Triad’s wisdom would disappear; and what worried her more was that if they reappeared they would have a curiously different mindset and a sickeningly simple smile on their faces.
It was enough to keep her quietly going through the steps of compliance and she kept her prayers for change to herself. So, she sat beside her father and mother in the eyes of all the fine and upstanding faerlins and their ever-watchful clerics and leaders with her heart burning for something else.