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from Aradia's Diaspora by Susan Woerner

Copyright © 2018–2020 Susan Woerner

Scene 54

It had been nearly a month, if I understood how to correctly read the phases of the moon, since the bovine priestesses and Kyr had left to honor their dead. No one knew - not even the priestesses - how long they might be gone. My hopes for the Kyr to join us somewhere along the way to face the Malefici were nil. Isobeau and Arion had rode off to find Ruis and Passlande probably two weeks ago. Time sat on my shoulders like giant hands pressing down, each day a little more pressure, making my neck and back ache.

I hadn’t been sleeping well through all this, though I felt Ursel and Artio’s workouts providing much needed aerobic exercise. That and I had taken to jogging the hallways each morning before breakfast. I knew how out of shape I was and so did everyone else who heard be huffing and puffing around each corner. I got a few strange looks but not many. These women were tolerant of difference and I was proving myself to be very different. I kept trying to explain how the heart-healthy jogging would preparing me for the trip to the Inquisito but the women just looked puzzled. After awhile, I just gave the excuse that it was something I did back in Mich-i-gan. This turned out to be more satisfactory to everyone.

Toci was becoming a beautiful young woman with biceps, quads, and glutes women back home would swoon for. Her naivete still held a stronghold over her thinking and I wondered whether this trip of ours would change her. Still no word of explanation from Pua why she had prophesied Toci’s inclusion. As I watched Toci grow stronger in the fighting arts, I wondered if this were simply it - she would be a Guardian one day, perhaps someone of even greater responsibility, for she’d see more of this world than had any of the other Daughters. Perhaps Pua was grooming her to take her place one day. If Toci’s understanding of the way the world worked widened and deepened, who knew - it could possibly happen. Then from being Pua to being Nana. I felt a tickle of pride that I could be watching the beginnings of a leader to be.

But all this speculation would need to be put aside. We had to go. No waiting for Aurochs or Isobeau and Arion, and the outside chance o...

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