I had many dreams of being in open, warm fields, arms spread wide. Flying in my dreams was also common. I was yearning for freedom.
The Dowayne sensed my restlessness and often sent me on House errands into the City of Elua. I appreciated his kindness and I took advantage of my time away from the House.
Some days, I longed to return to Mont Nuit and the sanctuary it promised. Other days, I felt resentment on the climb up the hill. I wanted to bolt, disregard my obligations to finishing my marque, the House, and to Naamah. However, I would never be free if I ran. An unfinished marque is a disgrace. I would be unfit in Naamah’s eyes and then the only place I could ever practice my arts would be in my parents’ salon. That thought shamed me. I could not turn my face away from Naamah’s grace in such a manner. In penance, I should visit my parents, but I couldn’t face the squalor of their salon.
Instead, I sought permission to spend a day at the temples of Elua and Naamah. The Dowayne’s face held concern at my request, but granted it immediately. He embraced me and I felt love and concern of a parental, protective nature.
“Dear Celeste,” he said as he held me. “You’ve so much on your mind. It’s been weeks since you’ve truly rested. Shall I make a sleeping draught for you?” He released me, but held onto my hands and searched into my eyes.
“No, my lord,” I said, shaking my head. “No draught, please. Artificial sleep frightens me. I cannot go down the path that ends at my parents’ doorstep.”
“One night of dreamless sleep wouldn’t lead to an addiction, Celeste. My only concern is your well-being. I do understand your fear, though.” He kissed my forehead. “Go to the temples, then. Take as much time as you need. I hope Elua and Naamah will grant their peace to you.”
“Thank you, my lord.” I curtsied and took my leave of his chamber.
I sent word to the stables to prepare a horse for my use while I fetched coin and a cloak from my chamber. I wanted to offer proper tribute to my gods. I was ready for my journey away from everything. A knock at my door interrupted my thoughts.