Post by mskatrina on Feb 17, 2020 14:02:31 GMT -5
Any and all feedback appreciated. Happy to return the favor.
The trick to sneaking out of the convent is remembering how far to open the rusted back gate before its squeaks rouse the abbess who sleeps—with both eyes open, some say—mere steps away. The gap is small, a few inches at most. If I was fully mortal, the task would be hopeless, but my human blood is mixed with the divine essence of Jūratė, mermaid goddess of Lithuania’s waters. Immortal magic courses through my veins. I stretch myself as thin as the eels that swim in the Baltic Sea and then ease between the bars and post without so much as a whisper. Moments later, restored to my usual shape, I rush down the path that leads to the Order of Bursztyn’s private beach.
The trail snakes some twenty yards or so then forks. One direction continues west to the seashore. A separate track veers north to the top of the hill where Sister Saule teaches astronomy. She has an odd sort of schedule, sleeping during most of the day so she can study the stars at night. No doubt she’s there now, surrounded by charts and drawings, peering into her telescope and taking a break from time to time to slowly scan the convent grounds from her unique vantage point. Jūratė be praised, she’s never chastened me for seeking solitude after curfew and she certainly won’t tonight. Not with the Gathering nearly upon us.
But I’m not a girl who toys with luck. I dash across white sands sparkling in the moonlight, my destination an area secluded by dunes dotted with wild grasses. In the privacy of the swaying stalks I strip down to my chemise, check the pouch of mead slung across my chest, and stash my tunic behind the tallest clump of green. A few steps and then I’m in the frigid water, my strokes swift and sure as I swim toward the serpent-shaped rocks that separate my cove from the ocean.
A dolphin leaps in greeting and pokes me playfully. I mimic her friendly squeaks and race her into the open sea, where I dive deep and warble a shrill note that stuns a school of herring—enough for a feast. When she’s had her fill, I surface for a lungful of fresh air and hold fast to her fins for the trip back to the boulders.
We part company at the rocks. I climb to my usual perch facing the sea, pull the costrel over my head, and check the contents, although it isn’t really necessary. The watertight leather always keeps the honeyed wine cool and sweet. I take a long swallow and pour the rest into the water as an offering to my divine ancestor. “Blessed One, I beg you. Don’t let him take me.”
The chapel bell tolls twelve times, heralding the arrival of the summer solstice. I rub my arms, chilled to the bone, dreading the duty that puts me in harm’s way.