Ithmar
CHAPTER
1
Prologue
Lightening darkened the streets as thunder crashed in the distance. A torrent of rain pelted the stone-laid streets, dampening the beaten stone laid path of the quaint town. Shadows deepened around every corner as the woman, cloaked in thick wool, a hood covering her features, clattered through the streets. Her heeled shoes echoed along the wet stone. The long hood and thick cloak shielded her through most of the pour.
She rounded the large building to her right, a well traveled bakery long since closed for the evening. In the distance, at the end of the street stood the stone archway and iron gate protecting the temple from the outside world. As the woman neared, she stretched out her hand, careful not to let her cloak flutter back in her haste. White dust shimmered from her finger tips swirling forward towards the iron gate’s lock. The hinge of it flaking away till the lock fluttered towards the stone floor. Before it could crash to the stone floor, it wafted away into the storm.
As she approached she pulled the gate outward, its eerie screech dampened by another clash of lightening and a rumbling rolling thunder. Within her cloak, a small cry could be heard. “Shh, darling.” She darted forward onto the white stone dais seeking shelter from the storm underneath the temple’s moss covered awning. The woman removed her hood and threw back her cloak to reveal a small child of toddling age and a large woven basked lined with downy coverlets and two children, one almost newly born.
The toddler rubbed her tired eyes, sniffling into the woman’s skirts. As the basket was set down, next to the tall hand carved oaken doors, the tot reached out for the woman’s arms and closed her eyes, falling asleep once again.
Tears pricked the woman’s eyes as she held the toddler close, before settling the young girl into the basket along with her sisters, covering them them with another thick downy blanket. Another clap of thunder struck as she knelt below the awning of the temple. The large wooden doors shook as the thunder rolled through the town’s pathways. She waited as a child fussed within the covers before returning to sleep.
Tears fell from the woman’s eyes, as she stroked the young one’s cheek. “Oh, how I will miss you, my darlings.” Guilt and sorrow clenched the mother’s heart. She released a quiet sob and wiped furiously at her eyes as she stood, knowing if she did not do so now, she never would. She secured her hood once more before she ran down the dais steps and into the dark streets. A bright ribbon of lightening illuminated the night as she rounded the bakery. A sudden crackle of thunder, closer now, jolted a babe from slumber which caused her to cry out into the storm. A clatter resonated within the upper dorms of the temple. A faint candle’s glow flickered out a stained glass painted window, as the faint sounds of feet descending stairs was lost to the pelting rain. The flow of flame just beneath the seam of the door.
A crash and a curse, as if a metal dish fallen to the temple floor, vibrated through the main hall and echoed still as a temple priest threw open the large oaken door to peer into the darkness. He was in the middle of his years with a bare head and feathery hair and a white and gold priest garb covering a sleeping gown. A sleepy mutter escaped his lips before he lifted a brow and looked down at the babes sleeping within their woven bed.
With a horrified gasp he hefted the basket into his arms and carried them inside. As the storm passed slowly overhead the priest took one final look out into the dark damp before shutting the door with an echoing boom.
The mother turned away from the temple pressing her back against the rain soaked plaster wall of the bakery. She glanced around her and let a woeful sob shake her body as she fled out of the city and into the night.
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