Aha! There you are! I expected to find you in the library but to no avail. We were speaking of gardens and of regret were we not? It is time I showed you Her Hanging Gardens; although they are not as splendid as En-zu’s, they are still nectar for the eyes.

Come, come! See the works of Her greatest. Built from white and layered in green. It bursts forth in colour in the morning sun.

These gentle gardeners are Sisters, for they tend here. They have the rustle of trees and the blossom of flowers; their diligent servitude forever rewarded in the new life She grants us. For She is Peace and perfect in every way.

The Gardens are tranquil, for Nature is tranquil. The gentle drip of the water from the aqueducts sings to us a nostalgic melancholy and the hope that springs anew. Water. It is our lifeblood. For She is the rain and perfect in every way.

Come, let me show you the Well of Mercy. We tell of the mystical properties of this particular Well. A Sister, elderly and venerable sits there in attendance. Do you espy the Sister in black?  She is the Clerk; for she records the names of the accursed. The people of the Valley press their thumbprint to a disc of clay. On the reverse, they etch the name of those who do them harm. They pay this venerable and wise Clerk a token to Her for this service. She drops the soul into the water and the curse remains until the stone is removed or the days are finished. For She is Justice and perfect in every way.

Do you have any enemies? Perhaps people to whom have done you foul? Come, there is clay a-plenty! If you are gracious to suffer more of my woeful prose, then I shall tell you the tale of the Well; of the Wife En-kai and the adulterous Husba

 ——————

The Sakrisan broke off suddenly. His arms still fixed aloft, gesturing at the white brick of the well. His hands trembled. For no more than five steps away stood Delah, picking herbs. She looked up, sensing company. Her red curls poured fluidily across her face, revealing her open, honest eyes. The Sakrisan stood transfixed, a statue preparing to die. His grey eyes, unblinking and dilated.

The spell dissipated; looking at his hands and arms anew, he broke away. Flowing red robes billowed behind him as he made an abrupt and furtive exit from the Gardens and back into the temple. He did not look back. The surprise and worry showed on Delah’s face, she made to move to the Sakrisan; raising a tentative hand.

The temple door slammed shut. The World stops.

Her perplexed face etched with anxiety, looks on for a time. She turns. The Earth spins again upon its axis.

  ——————

Hello? Can I assist you? My name is Delah, I am a Sister of the Valley and a conduit for Her love. For we are all part of Her. Even me! For She is Love and perfect in every way.

Perhaps, seeing as though the Sakrisan seems indisposed, may I offer my services as a guide? The Plateau and Valley are truly wonderful places and there is so much so see. Come walk with me, let take you by the hand and lead you through the land. You are quite safe. Shall I tell you a tale as we go? Of love, of grain or of course of Her greatness; our Mother. For She bears us all and is perfect in every way.

You were talking of peace? I know just where that be found a-plenty. Come travel, fly through time with me. I know just the song; it speaks of travel and places and the wondrous Earth. It will pass the time wisely, come see of Her birth.

Through field and river, valley and lake;

Wherever She goes, Her shape the land take.

Across our Valley, across broad seas,

To where others do settle, living in sweet ease.

From Her hand and Her heart comes the height and the pit,

From under the Earth, She is warmed and sunlit.

 

At night, when alls quiet, She is the bright star;

She sits in the sky, looking down from afar,

Guiding us home, from wherever we are.

From near or afar,

She brings us back home.”

To Chapter Thirteen – Separation

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