Chapter 22: Riddles or Views?

It was mid-afternoon.

The girl looked across at Elorrie. Elorrie gazed into the sweeping gardens, her eyes filled with wonder, but also some deep misery. Aliryia wandered across to Elorrie and smiled, but the other just gave her a blank look.

“Sister, shall we go to see our room?”

“I’ve seen it, it’s nothing great: small, purple, nice, I suppose, for something in this place.”

“Sister, this is a place where beauty roams free, and everyone is given a taste of new life,” Aliryia spread her arms out wide to indicate the sitting room and the scenes outside the window.

“Oh?” Elorrie’s pink mouth formed a cute circle as she spoke, “Is it?”

Aliryia furrowed her brow with a frown.

“What are you saying, Sister?”

“Well…” Elorrie nibbled at her thumb nail, unsure how to word her query. Finally she said:

“Aliryia, tell me, honestly: do you trust the people here?”

“I shall trust whomever proves to me that they can be the most trustworthy.”

“Okay. But that new one…Maine, there’s something about her that gives me the shivers. I don’t know whether she should be allowed in somewhere as precious as this.”

Aliryia paused, unsure how to combat the moral dilemma inside her mind.

“If she is an honest and true person, she will prove her worth to us. If not, it will become so very obvious.”

“You speak so many riddles!” Cried Elorrie, getting up and walking out of the room.

Aliryia bit her lip, wondering if she had upset the other girl.

Is it right for me to give my view so bluntly? Should there be such friction in the house already?

Aliryia decided to wait until Eru had returned from the outing into town, in order so that they could talk. After all, Aliryia’s position, as counsellor, was to keep an eye on the others.


The evening was drawing in, deep, dark and velvety, by the time that Eru and the others who had gone into town returned.

They were all chattering away in a jolly manner; the long trip had gone well, but Eru was walking slowly at the back of the group, and Aliryia found it easy to pull her aside.

“Dark sister, may I have a word?”

“What’s up, Aliryia?” Eru nodded.

“I have a worry that we do not know what kinds of people there are who will make their way to The Sistren. Already, there are young girls who are drawn to tears, and other who cause fear or friction.”

“What are you saying, Aliryia?” Anger sparkled around Erulastiel’s words. “Do you think that The Sistren is a bad idea? What do you suggest I do? Abandon those who don’t quite fit in? Now where would that put our motto?”

Aliryia almost jumped backwards in fright.

“I am sorry. I never meant to hurt anyone else!”

 Eru sighed and put a hand to her forehead.

“No, I’m sorry, Aliryia. It’s been a busy day, and I’ve got a bit of a headache. What did you mean by ‘hurt anyone else’, Aliryia…?”

“I think I may have upset Elorrie with my words…” Aliryia sighed, “I only wanted to comfort her troubled mind, but it seems that I overstepped a mark.”

“Do you want me to have a word with her?” Eru said kindly.

“No, no, I shall…um…” Aliryia trailed away, and she hurriedly looked down at her fingers, which were tapping together. After a second, Eru walked away, not knowing what exactly to say, and Aliryia watched as her own hands vanished beneath each other. Soon the tingling sensation was spreading up all Aliryia’s body and, as she looked into a mirror hanging on the wall, she became as translucent in body as a window pane.

As night continued to fall, midnight blue, and The Sistren settled down at the end of its third day, Aliryia wandered through the halls, in a lonely and sleep-deprived manner, inspecting every little part of The Sistren, even though, at this time of night, no-one could inspect her.

The End

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