Prayers to Maru

Enisthasia’s wings felt heavy as she flew through the door leading into the temple. The statue of the four-faced Godden towered over their subjects, flying without wings. She recognized Narivall, who knelt before Lyfa, in her eternal summer beauty. He’d been here on more than one occasion, perhaps still asking whether or not he ought to marry Harashta.

Enisthasia knew better than to offer her own input. Narivall was not asking for guidance. He was asking for some sign that said he should follow his heart, and Enisthasia knew he would ask Harashta to marry him, at some point, and that it would not be a very long or happy marriage when he did.

She recognized a few other faces in temple. It was surprisingly full today, considering it was no holiday. Platforms bolted to the walls ran around the entire circumference of the room, going in a slow spiral to house well over a thousand people. In truth, most people here had congregated before Gamaer. The harvest season was well and truly here, and even in the city, people knew to pray for a good yield. They knew to ask Gamaer for happiness and warm weather, for these were the months that the goddess of the west winds stood mighty. Gamaer, goddess of death, could be cold and cruel to those who did not properly acknowledge her power.

But Enisthasia was not here for Gamaer. She’d already lit a candle, prayed the proper prayers. No, today, Enisthasia landed before Maru, god of the east winds. A dozen candles were lit before him, casting a pale glow compared to the blinding light before Gamaer. Lighting a candle to bring Maru’s attention to her, she launched off the ground and found a platform to stand on. Most were empty on this side of the temple, and, unlike Gamaer’s platforms, she didn’t have to share with anyone.

Enisthasia folded her wings subserviently and knelt before the god of youth.

***

Later, Enisthasia paused on the doorstep of her home, seven floors up. She realized she was not ready to go inside, not yet. The wind was cool on her wings, the sun’s light cascaded down, creating tall shadows, and there was no expectation of her. No, that would change the moment she stepped inside.

“Enisthasia? Is that you out there?” A hoarse, feeble voice called from within.

The moment was broken. Enisthasia, with a sigh she was careful to keep quiet, swept aside the curtains. Her father leaned on his cane, his feathers gray, the vanes of the wings broken and unkempt. It was disheartening, to see him like this. She remembered, when she was younger, how he used to soar through the sky, doing twirls and loop-the-loops that still made her stomach queasy just to think about.

“Just enjoying the nice weather, Father,” Enisthasia replied with a smile. “Perhaps we should leave the curtains opened to let that nice breeze in.”

He flapped his free hand as if to say whatever you like.

She hoped Maru answered her prayers. The god would be quiet for quite some time, but she needed him. She needed her father to be around for many years yet.

The curtains rattled on their hooks as she drew them back. It did little to let the wind through–it was blowing in the wrong direction–but the eddying spiraled some of the cool breeze into the house.

Her father coughed, suddenly. It was dry, and hoarse, as it too often was. Enisthasia rushed over to their water pitcher and poured some of it into a cup. He downed it thirstily, little rivulets dripping down his chin. When he was finished, she took the cup away from him so he could wipe his chin.

“What did you pray for, then?” He asked, his voice sounding a little better now.

“A good harvest,” she said with a smile. “Plenty of others were praying for the same. If Lyfa favors us, it will be quite the bounty indeed.”

To Enisthasia’s relief, her father seemed none the wiser to the lie.

This story was based off of my Princess in the Tower series from my old Mad Chronicler blog.


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