Across the promenade, down the cobbled walkway, in the moonlight striking my skin harshly, like the sting of pea-sized hail, for I am damp still from the sacred river. There are the sounds of night-birds, always singing, always calling out in warning. And the sound of the sea, below, crashing against the rocks. The cliff is high, and I traverse the hallowed walkway, with the sound of my sandals dragging slightly.
The Moon, Great Selene, always sets my mood eerily, hovering above, witnessing the scenes of love and other base passions played by humans, even acting as agents of the Gods. I smile, nervous, knowing, having rehearsed my role so well in advance. I have waited so long for this night. So very long.
Inhaling the freedom of youth and virgin maidenhood– enjoying it, tasting it again– for the last time perhaps, I catch the sweet scent of rosemary, burning.
My hands are suddenly moist. A hot wind stirs about me, clinging and humid. My stomach twirls… and lower, I burn for what I have not known. Though I will know much in time, of this I am sure.
I slink forward, clasping my own arms. The heat is unbearable, and I must move. The scent of rosemary is so inviting…
I notice my heart has quickened. Could it be because I am running? Ahead, I have seen them, the fair ones for the Fair God. His priestesses. His women. His many fawning conquests. Dancing. Dancing with abandon; hair loose, limbs loose, tongues loose with loving praise for Him, our God, our Lord, leading us in the moonlight.
I am free now. There was no freedom in maidenhood, only the illusion thereof. Within His grasp, I am free. For I am unbound to the world– free to see it as it truly is, free to witness the tides– and the rise and fall of empires. Free to set His course in motion, for I am one spoke in the great wheel with which He steers the fate of this world. Within Him, we are all free.
But first, we had to make the choice.