Around the Motherhouse Blog

Warrior's Release

While the warrior's eyes saw the flock of sparks that danced against the black sky as fingertips of red and gold released them from the top of the bonfire, her mind did not register their beauty. She was aware of the rough texture of the stump upon which she was perched, but again, the thought did not register in her conscious mind. In fact, at the moment, her mind was blank. The noise of the women who had gathered around the fire, the coolness of the night air, the blazing heat of the big fire all seemed to be very far away. She simply sat, staring into the base of the flames.

The Priestess sat nearby, quietly monitoring Tem and shooing off well intentioned women who would have approached the warrior and in doing so would have broken the energy of the moment.

This year's Hallows ritual had deeply touched the big warrior. IN fact, the Priestess had designed this Rite with Tem's heart very much on her mind.

The Priestess had known the moment Tem noticed that the ritual team had placed items from the outpost on and around the other offerings at the Ancestor's place in the circle. Tem had frozen in her tracks, recognizing the belongings of her family. Bean had taken her elbow, and guided her to her position in the circle. Tem had participated fully in the Rite, but her eyes had frequently wandered back to the spot.

The warrior's physical wounds had healed months ago. And she had gradually blended into the routine of the village, finding satisfying work to do and settling into a group of close friends. She had even had a brief romantic liaison with a local woman. But the Healer and the Priestess had spoken and they knew that the heart of the big warrior was still fragile and tender. And that deep down, Tem still held herself responsible for the tragedy at the outpost that had shattered her former life.

Of course, the incident was in no way Tem's fault. The warriors that the Queen had sent to investigate confirmed that there was nothing Tem could have done differently, except perhaps to have been in the camp when it was attacked. But they had concluded that Tem would have simply been killed with her mate, her friends and the children.

The Priestess had hoped that this Rite would help Tem to let go of her pain and to turn toward the future at last. And watching Tem stare at the flames now, she thought it may have worked.

It took a minute before she realized that the wetness running down the warrior's chest was coming from her eyes. Tem made no sound. Her face did not change. The Priestess waited. Finally, Tem took a deep breath and let out a great sigh. She quickly moved to sit gently next to the warrior. The Priestess looked into the flames, leaning slightly forward and resting her forearms on her knees. Again she waited. Little bumps rose up on her skin as the cool breeze sauntered past.

After a moment, she heard a rustling and felt the weight of a warm soft cloak fall across her shoulders. She leaned back accepted the small piece of chocolate the warrior held out to her. Placing the sweet half-way into her mouth, she turned to face the warrior. Tem's eyes glinted mischievously as she bit into the other half of the treat, kissing the Priestess gently at the same time.

"Next year, perhaps you can be Guardian of the Rite." The Priestess said lightly, smiling into the warrior's now-focused eyes.

"Next year, perhaps I won't stop at just one kiss."