I opened my eyes to be greeted by the sun streaming through the gap in the folds of the tent. I smiled inwardly as I felt its rays lovingly stroke my face. I sat up and looked around my tent with a content smile. The Sun Lord was blessing us before the auspicious hour began; a good omen that the ceremony would go ahead as planned. I took a deep breath in as I raised my hands above my head filling every inch of my lungs. I exhaled through my mouth feeling my belly drop and shoulders relax.
“Your Holiness,” a dark skinned man said bowing his head before he walked into the tent.
“Yes?” I replied, putting on my slippers and walking towards the makeshift door. “I had just finished praying Ehra.”
His smooth face relaxed into a smile as he held the tent folds apart for me to walk through and followed me as we walked into the brightly lit courtyard. We both took a deep breath in as we remarked on the day’s brightness and its energy. I held my hands out before me allowing the Sun Lord to bless me with His warmth, and spirit. I felt the energy surge through my veins to my heart. I beamed; today was the perfect end to a month of fasting, praying and meditating. The Sun Lord had indeed blessed us. How fortunate we were to have such a kind Lord!
“Have the final arrangements been made?” I asked tucking my hair back into a traditional twisted, low set bun and covering my head.
“Yes your Holiness,” Ehra answered. “Everything is ready, but we have an unexpected guest waiting for you.”
I looked at Ehra surprised, “Guest? But how? This month has never been disturbed as our teachings and customs command.”
Ehra sighed, “They did not say how they arrived here or who led them here. I told them that it is greatly disrespectful in this sacred time but they did not seem to care.”
We walked in silence for a few moments until I tentatively asked, “What do they want?”
Ehra’s dark eyes narrowed as he said in a hushed tone: “They are here. To see you.”
My brow furrowed, “They?”
“Yes your Holiness,” Ehra continued as we walked towards the temple stairs. “The pale men with ice eyes have come back.”
My eyes widened in shock and I felt my throat go dry as I fell into deep thought. Our pace gradually drew to a halt as I put my hand on my collarbone and began to breathe deeply. I closed my eyes as I felt pangs of pain ricochet through my head and down my back as I curved my spine forward. I felt beads of cold sweat on my forehead as I tried to breathe through the pain. Blurred colours, a terrifying chorus of voices and faces swam before my closed eyes. And then I saw them; a pair of lifeless, icy eyes that bore a hole through my soul.