I was born outside London, England, and raised by my Aunt Miranda, since my mother did not care to raise me herself. I learned to hate my mother, as my aunt did, but I also learned to resent my aunt, who, for her youthful age, acted as if she was eighty. She was very strict with my upbringing and I was forced to wake up every morning by 8 o'clock (even weekends). Any later than that and I would be punished in some way.
We lived in a big estate in the country. Miranda had married a wealthy older man, who had died before I was born and left her the house and his entire fortune. We had many s ervants, a cook, my nanny, and a teacher who came in every day at ten and taught me arithmetic, science, literature, grammar, Latin, and whatever else aunt Miranda thought I ought to know. She believed that girls who were educated would get on better in the world. I have not used much Latin, except for the occasional Enya or Hildegarde Von Bingen lyric, but my literature and grammar skills have come in handy, as I am a writer.
My best friend, ever since I was a baby, was Michael Alexander. No relation to me, although Miranda often said in jest that he was a cousin. His mother and my aunt were friends and when she and her husband went away during the summers, Michael would come to stay with us. He was five years older than me and well versed in the ways of adults. He had everyone fooled into thinking he was a charming indevidual. Only I knew what went on in that brain of his. In front of the grown-ups, he was this quiet, intelligent, well behaved little man. But in the nursery with me, he was a wild, playfu l kid who could come up with the most interesting games right off the top of his head.
I grew to love Michael very much. We became more than friends. When I was twelve, he showed me the grown-up thing that his mother and father do. We pretended to get married, each giving the other rings and me wearing a veil. Then, for our honeymoon, he taught me, or rather we taught each other, the language of love. But his visits always ended with the coming of fall and I was always forced back into my regime of Latin, literature, and lonliness.
One year, when Michael was coming to visit, the train that he was on derailed and he and thirty other people died. When news arrived to aunt Miranda of Michael's death, she didn't want to tell me, but knew that she must. I, of course, was standing by the window, waiting for my true love to appear. When it began to get dark, I went and inquired to Miranda whether or not Michael would be coming this year. When she told me about the train incident, I didn't believe her. I thought she was just trying to keep me away from the only person who made me happy. But a few days later we went to the funeral.
After the funeral, I realized that he really was gone and there was nothing I could do to get him back. At night I had terrible dreams about him that kept me from wanting to sleep. I began to get very tired and ill. Miranda, worried about me, sent me off to America in search of my mother. She obviously thought this would get my mind off Michael.
Emily's mother had left her in London with her aunt and went back to America to her "professional" career.
When I arrived in America and my mother's dwelling place, I found out that she was no longer living there, and moreover that she had died that past winter. I began to wonder why no one sent word to Miranda about this. This information I procured from a man who said he was married to her. When I asked him how long they had been married, he said fifteen years (exactly my age). I asked him if they had ever had any children (I didn't tell him that I was looking for my mother, just that I was looking for Amanda Alexander). He answered me that, yes, they did have one child together, but the little girl was taken by force by Amanda's sister, Miranda Alexander. Then I told him my name. He embraced me so hard that I thought he would crush me into a million pieces. He told me that he had tried several times to get Miranda to let him see me, but each time she had called a constable. He had nearly given up hope.
Then he began speaking in some weird tounge that I had never heard before. In his excitement, I guess he didn't realize that he was sounding quite strange to me. I stared at him, quite perplexed. He stopped, then started again in words I could understand. He began to tell me about my mother and tried to disprove all that Miranda had told me. She was not a prostitute in his eyes. They met in a brothel, sure enough, but she soon left when she heard what this man had to say to her. Where he came from, women who did this sort of work were not prostitutes, but fertility priestesses. He showed her the similarities and differences between the two practives and the only thing different about prostitution was the fact that there was no chanting involved. Fertility priestesses had a temple all their own, each with her own room. Men who needed some aspect of the Fertility Goddess' help would come to the woman, pray for what he needed and then they would copulate and she would chant to the deity that was appropriate. My father told me that she was so taken with this idea that she wanted to see this land from which he had come. The problem with that was the High Priestess had placed a ban on anyone who travelled out of Moldavia. Anyone who left would never be allowed to come back. During that time, travelling was seen as very dangerous. Quite discouraged, my mother decided that maybe he was too good to be true. Gentlemen didn't often frequent brothels.
Undaunted by he retreat, he persisted with his courtship and told her that he could prove that wha t he said was true. He told her that there was something that only people from his land knew how to do. What he showed her was the souls intertwining, the Moldavian method of conception. It is mainly a spiritual method in which the souls come up out of the body, intertwine, and the child is concieved. That is how I came to be. My father said I was created in love, and when Miranda took me away (saying that Amanda was an unfit mother because of her profession), it broke my mother's heart and she wanted no more children.
After this experience with my father, I decided to stay in America for awhile. I eventually decided to check out one of the literature classes that were held at a local college. It was there that I ran into a couple of women who later became my best friends, Brigit Johnson and Aura Quaentert. Through them I was also introduced to Athena Osydja and her brother Audriel. I noticed that Audriel seemed a bit aloof and when I tried to ask Athena what it was all about, she just told me that he had a lot on his mind.
One night, during a party, Audriel asked me if I would take him home, because he really didn't want to be there. I was having a great time, but I decided to take him because Athena was definately not leaving any time soon. Audriel and I went home (I was living with him and Athena at the time) and I tried to start up a conversation. He was nice enough, talked a bit, but when I looked at him I could tell that something heavy weighed on his mind. When I tried to ask him about what was bothering him, he told me it was nothing. So I left it at that and we both went to bed.
In the middle of the night I awoke to a strange noise. I checked Athena's room, but she had not arrived back yet. I made my way over to Audriel's room to find him crying in his sleep. I sat on the edge of the bed and listened to him cry out his mother's name and curse himself for not being there on time or something like that. To calm him, I began stroking his hair, the way I had always done with Michael when he slept. In his sleep he grabbed my hand and pulled me down to him and put his arms around me. I, in turn, embraced him and continued to stroke his head and cheek. After awhile, he awoke and lay in my arms. I don't think he knew at first that it was me.
When he finally opened his eyes and saw that it was me, he was a bit angry that I had violated the sanctuary of his room. When I told him that I had heard him crying in his sleep and was only trying to comfort him, he softened a bit. I told him about my past and he listened with real interest. Then he told me his story.
A few months later, Athena, Audriel, Brigit, and Aura went home. Audriel took me with him. I was unknowingly going to the very place where my mother wanted to travel sixteen years previous. When I entered Moldavia, I was a bit surprised. I found it to be a bit backwards, as most Americans would, but as Audriel showed me around and introduced me to everyone, who in turn told me what they did, I began to see that it was a wonderful place indeed.
A fe w weeks after I arrived in Moldavia and had seen and done all I could possibly without becoming a priestess (I was quite bored at this point), Audriel came to me and proposed. Without a second thought I accepted, but then asked him what I would do once we were married. He told me that I could do whatever I wanted, but that I would have to go through extensive training and (ug) school to learn Moldavian history. Feeling up to the challenge, I accepted and then began my quest. I went and takled with every leader of every temple to find out which one best suit my skills.
I started off in the Temple of the Keepers of Old; the Moldavian historians. Iza, an old, yet sprightly woman, spent hours telling me her stories. By the time I left her temple, I knew about everything and everyone, but still there was no temple to which I felt I belonged. Fertility was too complicated and didn't suit my skills, Iza told me. Most of the temples were family run (only certain bloodlines had the skills necessary for the function of that temple), and those that weren't were few. Fertility, Temple of the Moon, and Temple of the Awakening. None of these suited my talents. I went home that afternoon feeling more lost than ever.
The next morning I spent wandering around Moldavia, looking lost. A kind-looking woman called me over to her. This was Carina Johnson, Brigit's mother, but she didn't look very much older than Brigit (I guess these Moldavian women start young). She asked me what I was doing and I told her that I was bored because I didn't belong to any temple. She invited me in for a chat. She asked me if I'd ever seen a baby born. I replied that I hadn't but I had helped my cat when she had her kittens, so I saw them birthed. She said that was close enough, and that was almost how Brigit started (except for her it was bunnies). She asked me if I might not like to work in her temple, the Temple of Life. My face lit up with so much joy that she said I didn't even have to answer the question, she knew.
Carina told me that ther e would be a lot of extensive training involved before I could become a priestess, and I said that I was up to the work. Delighted, she told me to come back to the temple after the marriage week was over (couples get a week to themselves without any responsibilities, kind of like a honeymoon) and she'd begin the training.