Sharpening the Knife
Once there had been the voice of a Goddess heard on the hill. Victoria was eight now; for six years, no Goddess. Victoria’s mother was High Priestess, so, for six years, no mother. Victoria’s cousins said she had gone away to look for the Goddess. Somehow, though, she was still in the temple. Victoria had seen her go in, attended by slaves and a man with a knife. There had been wailing in the inner sanctum. Victoria’s aunt had hurried her away, crying. Her mother had not looked back.
She never came back out. Victoria had asked her aunt, her uncle, and countless temple slaves where her mother was, and had only ever been given sad looks. Some of the young temple maidens had even cried.
There was talk of Victoria taking her mother’s place at age twelve. There was a test to be passed, or somesuch. Victoria did not want to take her mother’s place. She wanted her mother back.
That was why she was out on the hills before sunrise in her uncle’s cloak, so big it wrapped double around her and made her look like a walking cushion. Tucked in the folds she had a water bottle and a pendant depicting the Goddess-As-Mother. Victoria prayed to the tiny figure with her little faceless baby every night.
You can find the complete version of Sharpening the Knife in issue 61 of TBD.