Happy Friday, Aledans! It’s been a crazy week around here, but not as crazy as Kaye’s week was in the last version of NAMELESS. So to celebrate the re-write we have a cut scene! Enjoy
Priestess?” Kaye poked her head around the door flap and the High Priestess waved her in. The tent, usually inviting and warm, still held a chill from the comings and goings of the injured.
“Kaye.” The High Priestess nodded and turned her back to finish what she had been doing. Kaye stood next to the door and waited as the priestess separated the herbs in her basket and put them in piles to make tea and poultices for the injured warriors.
“Oak is upset,” Kaye said before she was finished.
“Two warriors died.” The priestess didn’t turn around.
“Yes.” Kaye looked away and studied a bunch of lavender hanging from the poles of the tent. “It is their duty to give their life for Fie Eoin.”
“It is also yours.” The High Priestess set down her bundle of herbs and turned. Her face gave nothing away, but Kaye had never seen her leave something undone before except in an emergency. She swallowed.
“Corbin said you offered me to Chief Obsid.” Kaye looked down at her fingernails. There was still blood under them although she had scrubbed her hands with a cloth until they were raw. “Why didn’t you tell me? Did you think I wouldn’t agree?”
“You didn’t agree.”
“They were going to kill Kindra!”
“And instead they killed Sage and Meerkat.” The High Priestess folded her hands together. “Kindra has pledged her life to the tribe, and it is far better to lose one promised life than many. A priestess does what is best for the tribe, not for a single person.”
Kaye hung her head. “I know. I just…you should have told me.”
“You should have trusted me.”
Kaye nodded and looked up. “I’m sorry.”
The High Priestess turned around and picked up her basket of herbs. “The snow will keep the Obsidians from attacking us until spring. If we can find some way to make amends they may spare Fie Eoin.” She paused, holding up a stalk of Mother’s Heart and inspecting it in the glow of the hearth. The heart-shaped seed purses were beginning to brown although the flowers were still fresh, and she picked them off and threw them into a separate basket. “You are relieved of your priestess duties until then.”
Kaye released a long, slow breath, wishing there was something that she could hold on to. She felt as if she had been drained of life. “What should I be doing until then, if not my duties as priestess?”
The High Priestess dropped the flowers into a basket with the others. “I suggest you learn how to make a home.”
A small, strangled noise escaped Kaye before she could stop it. Learn how to make a home? She couldn’t cook, or sew, or do any of the things a wife should. She had grown up learning only how to be a priestess. It was all she needed.
“So you will still trade me to the Obsidians?” As much as she tried Kaye couldn’t keep the anger and hurt from her voice.
The High Priestess stopped shuffling through the basket of herbs, but didn’t turn around. “It’s for the good of the tribe.”
“And the tribe is going to need another priestess.”
She turned. “Then Aleda will provide me another priestess, but you have proven that you are not ready to take that mantle.”
The two stared at each other for a long moment before Kaye looked away. She had always put everyone else’s needs before her own, and now she would be sold to the Aledan’s bitterest enemy for a few deer? There had to be some way to undo this. Perhaps she could talk to Chief Obsid herself. Prove to him that she would make a poor wife. Ask him to reconsider.
If nothing else Kaye could marry him and live down her shame elsewhere.
She bowed low to the High Priestess. “I wish you well in your pursuit to find another priestess then.”
The High Priestess nodded. “Aleda bless your journey.”
Before she could start crying Kaye turned and left.