Glad you could join us for the next actual episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning to the beginning, and reading really fast…
In the second deepest chamber beneath the Tower of Honor, an expansive room carved out of porous white stone, the residents gathered to confer, converse, and dine. Organic lighting spread cheer with its impression of sunny windows.
As the High Priestess entered, everyone — hundreds, Elliot estimated — stood. Acknowledging them with a nod, she led him to a laden table on the raised dais at one end of the hall, then turned to the waiting diners.
“Elliot has come from Queen Lilian of Fen to further his education in the hope he will earn a Name. Should he receive the Granters’ approval, his Naming Ceremony will take place here in the Hour Before Dawn.”
She sat, and the crowd followed her example as a murmur rose to hover above the tearing, crunching, slurping sounds that normally accompanied mealtime.
Taken a bit aback to hear this curious agenda, Elliot’s calm surprised him even more. Yesterday, perhaps even as recently as this morning, he would have panicked at the looming expectations, judgments, and possibilities of failure this announcement seemed to present. But something in him had changed.
My part is just my part, he thought. All I can do is all I can do.
He munched for a while on a red berry. Licking juice from his lips, he asked, “Tell me, Madam Priestess, what is this Naming Ceremony about?”
“You’ve been thinking.”
“I have. I’ve been thinking there must be more to this than I’m aware of, and it would be helpful for me to learn what I can.”
“An excellent prelude to any endeavor,” she affirmed. “We each have an essence — that quality of truth that defines us. Added to our name, it lends us transparency.”
“The seed from which trust grows.”
Elliot tilted his head to consider this different perspective. “Hmm. I like to believe anyone who comes to know me well will trust me because I work to be trustworthy.”
“That’s admirable, but time-consuming. Sometimes when the stakes are high, trust among strangers is all that can save us.”
A hand came from behind him to rest on Elliot’s shoulder. Turning, he faced a face that bore an uncanny resemblance to the painting in the arched room.
“Elliot,” the High Priestess interrupted herself, “this is First Combat Master Vladimir the Just.”
“Come with me, please,” the kind voice requested. “It’s time to distill your essence.”
To be continued. . .