“You know Ninitah don’t fight.”
“Neither do the monks.” she scoffed.
“Well aren’t you in a rare state this evening.” the monk’s grim expression eased by a silent chuckle.
“You would be too if you had to spend so much time with Ninitah. Why do we even have an Abbey within the walls of the Alt`er?”
“Perhaps that young Nin who looks after you seems a nuisance but surely you haven’t shirked your studies to such an extent that you don’t understand the importance of the Ninitah to the Alt`er.”
“Yes, completeness of the spectrum, body and soul, yes I understand. It’s not Nin Lorrey, although she would try even Our Revered Trasque’s patience. Why do I have to sleep in the convent? Why do I have to wear this stupid skirt over my pants? Why do all the Ninitah hate me?”
Amusement fading into paternal concern, Father Geoffrey replied, “Surely the Mother would never allow such a travesty as hate to abide within her abbey walls ‘Nonda.”
“Perhaps not but I can understand if they don’t know what to think of me.”
“What’s to think? You are Anonda, a devout child of Rahn. You are my pupil and an excellent one at that. I will tell any Nin that if they are uncertain.”
His words had melted her frustration yet a vestige of irritation remained, “I sleep in the convent but I study in the monastery. I wear the skirt of the Ninitah but the jacket of a Monk. I know in my heart that I am not a Nin.”
“’Nonda you are a young woman. Surely I needn’t explain the difficulties of you staying in the monastery.” He explained in a soothing tone.
“Women are Ninitah, I am a woman but I am not a Nin and I can never be a Monk.” The girl’s hands balled into fists as she suppressed any trembles of emotion in her voice.
“You are a gifted member of the Alt`er. I am certain that your destiny will transcend any gender or label such as Monk or Nin.”
The closest thing to a father she had the monks words were comforting. The even tone of his deep voice calmed her as if he had drawn her close and sat her upon his lap. “Thank you Father Geoffrey. What else would you have me do?”
“You may be done for this evening.” dismissed the monk. She bowed respectfully and crossed the bricked courtyard over to the convent. The cool air brushed against her skin but she felt no chill. The moons shone bright overhead and this time she slowly walked the distance, enjoying the calmness of night.