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As the faithful wait for the next word, the clouds above them break, and a high noon’s sun covers the town square in its light. Beneath the star is a church, the balcony of which they watch, for there Priestess stands, vial of liquid gold held high and tight by both hands.

She scans the crowd, ensuring silent reverence for the final part of the service. The vial, made of a ceremonial, see-through material that is cold to the touch, heats up exponentially in the sunlight; the liquid inside, a deeper gold than the light, froths, boils. Before it can burn her, she sets the vial in its stand for all to see, then clears her throat to speak.

“As the ichor thickens, so too shall our spirits.” Priestess raises hands above her head; to the crowd, it seems as if she holds the Sun in her hands.

“As the vial warms, so too shall our hearts.” The worshippers reply in solemn unison.

Priestess lowers her arms and readjusts her robe. “I’d like to leave you all with an anecdote  from my time as the caretaker of our Lord,” At the mention of their God the crowd lowers their heads, “Though it is difficult to speak of, the period before ascension was a microcosm of the Holy’s life. Yes, her illness robbed her of her last time, but as the one person that was there through it all, I can promise that she was never swayed from her peace.’

From diagnosis to death,” Priestess takes note of the scattered gasps in the crowd, “Perhaps my language is coarse, but I’m reminded of something she said right before death, and that is: ‘Euphemisms get in the way of faith.’

But back to my original point, I am fully aware of the unrest in our town. I will not pretend things have been great. Still, we have our Holy; no, not here with us, but an example, an example clear enough to follow. Even in her final hours, as she clung to this world with everything she had, she never lost her tranquility.

Her peace was literally a miracle, and still we reap the benefits,” Priestess motions to the vial, which now holds a circular yellow stone at its base, a concentrate. “The water from the last cup she touched turned to gold, and it has yet to run to dry. This is not news, but I urge you all not to forget the righteous path which we walk. Our faith is imperative to our continued well-being.”

Priestess uncorks the vial – superheated air escapes, a powerful blast that lifts the stone into the air – she snatches it mid-flight and holds it for all to see. “Peace worth its weight in gold.” She lets her words sink in for a moment, “Until next week.” Released, the crowd disperses.

She retreats inside the church, shuts the door behind her, then tosses the stone into a knee-high pile of others. Fully clothed beneath the robe, she unzips it and lets it fall to the floor; before she heads out, she stops in a corner of the attic.

Lying there on a hospital bed and hooked up to life support, is the Holy. A separate machine draws blood from the old woman’s body, then mixes in a compound to turn it into the golden ichor on its way to a jar at the foot of the bed.

Priestess kicks the nearly empty glass. “You better tell me how you got them to follow you soon, or else.” She says, but deep down Priestess knows the Holy cannot hear her.

End

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