Last Dawn (chapter 1, part 1)

Faraway

Eons ago in a Star System Far Faraway . . .

“The world must be coming to an end, “Sona, the housekeeper called from the hallway, “The heretic has finally changed his mind.” She paused at the archway, listening for a response. Silence. Peering into the cluttered office she wasn’t allowed to enter, Sona glimpsed Lord Myric bent over his computer interface. Unmoving and intently focused he gave no indication of having heard her.

“So tell me,” she continued a bit louder, “has this change been caused by a vision from the Divine Oneness . . . or has the logic of Loren tradition finally found a way through that thick skull?” Nothing. Anger rose in Sona. After months of solidly refusing to commit the sacrifice, she could not believe that he would just give in. Ever since Lady Dorina learned she carried twin girls, her only thought was that the next Uni Oracle would be her daughter. A telepathic link between a living twin and a dead one guaranteed futuresight to the survivor (or so folklore told.) Whenever twins were born, it was traditional for the father to take the smaller child to the nearest Uni Temple and sacrifice the newborn to the Divine Oneness. If the twins were girls, the other child was immediately proclaimed an Uni Oracle, the highest position a Loren female could have.

Though Lady Dorina had lectured nightly the obvious benefits, Myric had never faltered, he said he wouldn’t do it and refused to argue. Though she never understood why he believed that every child born was equally important, Sona had come to admire Lord Myric’s tenacious loyalty to what he believed in.

Not a scholar herself, Sona had accepted the caste system and ritual sacrifices of Loren culture as necessary to maintain order. But Lord Myric didn’t follow rules he didn’t believe in. It was whispered throughout the serving class, he could be trusted to help even the lowest person that applied to him. Lady Dorina knew nothing of the early hours visits by beggars but Sona did and kept quiet her lord’s charity. After all his mother High Priestess Sarena had been praised by all as a truly chosen vessel. Sona was not about to question the ethics of any child of Her Holiness. Lady Dorina on the other hand cared nothing for right or wrong. She followed the rules that were to her advantage and conveniently forgot that which required her own sacrifice. She had money and power. Lady Dorina knew all the right people and never spoke to servants if she could help it.

Now that Lord Myric had inexplicably changed his mind, Sona was irritated.

“Aren’t you going to say anything?” she burst out at the still immobile lump.

“Quiet” the midwife called from the stairs. “Sona do you want to wake the mother and babies!”

Throwing his cloak and gloves in his general direction, Sona huffed back to the kitchen to fume.

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