A few days later, Asphodel took some food to a family not far from the temple. They were a very poor family, and the children were hungry. She had been taking food to them for weeks now, preventing the children from starving. Their father had no work and occasionally stole in order to feed them.
When she arrived, one of the children was sick. Asphodel did what she could to heal the child, but as a novice, her strength was not sufficient yet to heal him completely. It tired her.
She arrived back at the temple, exhausted. It so happened that a rector was passing as she entered.
‘You look tired, Novice Asphodel. Where have you been?’
Asphodel told her she had been visiting a poor family and had healed one of the children as well as giving them food.
‘Most commendable, Novice. Charity is extremely important. What family was it you were visiting?’
‘The family of Yelver, Rector,’ replied Asphodel, bowing her head as was expected of a novice to a rector.
The rector frowned. ‘Isn’t he a thief? One of the evil folk we have been told not to treat?’
‘Rector,’ said Asphodel, ‘he might have stolen from time to time, but he only did it because his children are starving. He’s not an evil man.’
The rector raised his eyebrows. ‘A thief is a thief. Why doesn’t he get a job to feed his children? No, don’t answer,’ she held up her hand as Asphodel was about to speak. ‘There’s no need to say anything. I must remind you not to visit this family again. You are not to have anything to do with them. Understood?’
‘I said, is that understood? Have I made myself plain?’ The rector looked severe.
‘Yes, Rector. Quite plain.’
The rector then walked away and Asphodel returned to her room.
‘Yelver would love a job,’ she muttered to herself as she walked along the passageway, ‘but he’s often unwell himself and can’t work.’
A week later, on the day Asphodel usually went to visit Yelver’s family, she collected alms as usual from the alms box and food from the kitchen. With her basket of food and pouch of money she set off on her charity work.
All week she had been thinking hard. She did not believe Sylissa meant for anyone to be ignored, and her vows said as much, so, after visiting those families on her list, she took the remaining food to Yelver’s home.
The little boy seemed a bit better, and Asphodel did another healing on him, and told Yelver’s wife to make sure he had extra food, then amid the thanks of the family, she left.
This went on for several weeks. Yelver’s boy got better and the family were grateful–so much so that Yelver went to the temple to give thanks and some money he had saved from his last work.
His donation was noticed by the rector who had seen Asphodel a few weeks previously. He called the girl to him.
‘Did you visit Yelver after I had forbidden you to go there again?’
Asphodel looked at her feet. ‘Yes, Rector,’ she said.
‘His family were starving. His children were in danger of dying from lack of food. I went out of common sympathy.’
‘Come with me,’ the rector told her, and he took her to see the Great Mother.
Asphodel knelt before her as was expected.
Mother Caldo was not impressed by Asphodel’s reasoning.
‘We have had a directive from the Most High,’ she told the girl. ‘The leader of our church has given us specific instructions. Yet you, a mere novice, seem to think you know better.’
Asphodel said nothing. Novices were not supposed to speak in the presence of a Great Mother or Father unless told to do so.
The Great Mother paced the floor, then she stopped.
‘You have shown yourself, on several occasions, to be willful, young lady,’ she said. ‘You seem to think you know better than your elders. I think the discipline here is perhaps too lax. My friend, the Great Father in Hambara, runs a more strict regime. Perhaps he can make you see the importance of obedience. I will write him a letter asking him to take you and you can take it there.’
She sat down at her desk and picked up a quill. Dipping it in the ink, she began to write.
Then she looked up.
‘You are, I believe, almost ready to be promoted from a novice to a curate. I will put this in the letter and you can be tested in Hambara. I understand there’s a caravan leaving tomorrow. You will take that.’
So Asphodel left Bluehaven to travel to a new temple in Hambara.
But her story did not end there. You can find out more by reading The Wolf Pack. Just click on the image of the book in the sidebar.
Please leave comments in the comments box. I love hearing from you.