Lycaenion and Hakia are already there. The only people allowed to actually hear the results from the priestesses lips, are the competitors. But it seems like it never stays a secret long. By the next sunrise, the whole of Drucilla will know the outcome. That is how it always is. Hakia turns and smiles at me. All I get from Lycaenion is a smug grin. She already thinks she has won. We will see.
Hakia gestures, causing her lavender robe to shift, and Lycaenion and I to kneel in front of the Head Priestess, and she places her hands on our heads. Looking at he floor, I see the symbol of Drucilla. The jasmine blossom is the emblem of the city. It represents the Spirits. It grows by the light of the sun, but it is easier to find at night. It grows in the heat of summer in the middle of the forest and always has a sister near by.
The priestess begins the ritual by stating the origin of the world. “Sesi's twins, Saule and Sauda, befriended Seika and Seda, in the beginning of time. They all created the world together. They balance each other and the island where we live.”
She continues by saying how we honor the Spirits. “It is not wise to either give more thanks to one spirit, or less to another. We honor all of the spirits by doing challenges. We honor the sun by starting and ending at her signal. We honor the summer by using her bounty of life. Honor is given to the forest by appreciating the cover from danger and discovery it gives us. Only do we go against a sister of similar age. Never an elder, for that would be shameful to the sister spirit. We honor darkness by using its cloaking gift to better our selves.” When this is done, we both promise to accept that even if we have not won, we are different and will win another time, another day.
Then we are permitted to rise, and we wait to see who will have the honor of walking away as the champion. Hakia looks at both of us and starts with me.
“Klymenstra, you have caught nine pheasants on this glorious night. I have measured what your dogs have brought me and your number is 20.”
I can see Lycaenion's jaw drop. I am surprised as well. For only nine pheasants, that is a lot.
“You are next, Lycaenion. Are you ready?”
“I am ready.”
“Lycaenion, you have caught eight pheasants. Your number is 17.”