The Embers of Delphine

Delphine opens the door to the Kuriakon cautiously, so the sudden influx of daylight does not disturb the oracles at their ministrations toward enlightenment. She closes the door quickly, and allows her eyes to adjust to the sudden semi darkness. Walking carefully, she makes her way around the small fires of the oracles. The eddies of smoke and other unidentifiable essences assault her sinuses, and make her eyes water.

Without thinking, Delphine raises Cervus' floral gift to her nose, and breathes in the delicate scent to dissipate the other odours. You make the floral smell a cleansing agent, that clears her lungs of all the detritus inhaled during training. You wish to keep her system clear of the often dangerous airborne substances floating about in the large room. The floral wreathe will continue to filter out other smells, whenever she sniffs it. This is your gift to her, so her body does not become sullied, while she learns to become an oracle.

Delphine does not require chemically induced hallucinations to produce prophetic visions, but she will need Nestre's help to interpret them. You do not approve of Nestre's methods, but she does have a talent for interpreting prophecy, which you gave her. You also understand her very human envy of Delphine's deity given visions, although you don't condone it.

Deep shadows of grey and black cloak the young woman's path as she picks her way among the fires to a far corner of the room. She kneels down before a small pile of brightly burning embers, and warms her hands over them. She is far away from the other oracles for training purposes, and it is chilly in that corner. She realizes with surprise, that the embers are glowing just as brightly as when she left them several hours earlier. It is her duty to keep some semblance of a fire going around the clock, and she works very hard to do so. She carries wood in daily to keep it going.

There is a spring encased in mosaic tile that bubbles up through the stone floor, several feet away. The spray sparkles with its own light, that makes the surrounding tiles glisten like multi cloloured jewels. The water is pure, and ever lasting, as a gift to the very first oracle that prayed here, centuries earlier. Another one of Delphine's duties is to bring water to the other oracles regularly, for drinking, and for tossing droplets on their fires to produce pungent smokes.

She walks over and picks up one of two oaken buckets that sit in readiness, just beyond the tile. She holds it under a particularly energetic water spout, and fills it, and then the other one. There is a hollowed out drinking gourd with a hole in the handle, attached by string to one of the buckets. It makes an oddly echoing  sound as she walks.

The carved handle of the bucket in her left hand is slippery from the spray, and it tips steeply as she passes her corner. She gasps as a quarter of the water spills on her little pile of embers. They sizzle and smoke a bit,  but they do not go out. In seconds the water has evaporated, and the embers once again glow as brightly as ever. She looks around furtively, almost as though she is guilty of doing something wrong. She stares at the embers intently, trying to see if there is some sign or portent in them. She sees nothing unusual in their placement or behaviour, other than the fact that drenching doesn't extinguish them. She wonders if she should tell Nestre or not. She need not wonder. Nestre has already seen, and she is not happy about it.

The End

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