Friday, February 29, 2008

Peak of Perfection

For the February Wordsmiths challenge:


Mother says “Moidrak has called you, and you’re about to go on a wonderful journey. You’re going to take the Cup of Consecration, and then we can begin.”

I have heard this before, many times, yet because it is now my name being spoken in the invocation, the words have a resonance I’d never heard before. The call to ultimate service is a warm whisper of eternal life, eternal love, eternal adoration, real and beautiful as the rosettes on the ceiling of the convent’s vast kitchens, and I am glad to answer.

Getting to the Table of Covenant had not been easy for a girl like me, born in the gutter, raised as a maid, culled from the herd of orphans by the Mother Immaculate herself to service. Mother had told me that the light in my eyes spoke of great things, and so it seems she was right. It’s not every day a nobody like me gets to be Grafted. Graftees are normally rich women, old and venerated, ready to give the rest of their lives to the service of Moidrak, not some milk-pale firm-hipped kitchen whelp like me.

And yet. Here I am, on the Table of Supplication, getting Grafted. The needles sting as they dip into my arms. My tears are joyful.

Nia, sleep.”

So I do.

Nia, it is over. You must now concentrate on being very very still or the Graft will not take. All your years of service will be for nothing. You don’t want that, do you”? the Mother’s voice beseeches me, calming as a stream.

No, I do not want that. The pain in my eyes is immense, but the Drugs of Obedience and Veneration keep me quiet and my limbs immovable, even though there is rebellion and fear in me. Moidrak has promised I will surmount this if I am a true Graftee. This is what I want more than life itself, and so I heal myself through sleep.

And awaken. My eyes still cannot open.

The world feels strange. Its seems like up is down. There is weight on my cheeks, my belly sags, the Graft line tugs a million prickles in my skin. I cannot see. I sleep.

Nia, it is time.” Mother’s voice echoes. I awaken, longing to stretch my arms and legs, but suffering against the body in service to Moidrak is the fondest of wish of all Graftees, so I am lucky.

Nurses open my eyes with tiny snip of scissors to the Sacred Threads. That is all. There will be no more release. I open my eyes, afraid and excited. I am a Graftee now. Success.

Mother is so small from up here. I can hear voices of venerated old women whispering welcome. I am pressed to the ceiling, the starflung centerpiece of the glittering temple peak, my eyes the center of the Four Arcs of Solchar, my body the invitation to heaven.

Not bad for a girl from the gutter. Not bad at all.

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