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We are back to the normal schedule this week! Based on the voting two weeks ago (which was a tie, so I chose between the two) we are getting a cut scene this week. It’s a very important piece of information, but I’m not sure it’s important enough to have any effect on the storyline. Would Kindra’s new knowledge change anything she does? Probably not. So, unfortunately, this little darling has been dropped from the novel. But I still like it, so here it is! Next week we’ll start the short serial Little Twins (Kaye and Kindra at 7yrs old-ish).
Kindra and the High Priestess
Kindra’s eyes stung with the leftover aroma of incense that always permeated the priestess’ and their dwellings. She was there to talk about Kaye, but the High Priestess apparently had more pressing matters and Kindra was forced to sit and listen. The air was heavy in the tent and she wasn’t used to it, so she wasn’t paying much attention to what the priestess was saying.
“Generations ago when a child was born with wings that child was cast out. Many winged infants were killed in the hopes of purifying the lines, but some couples, either through great compassion or great shame that their blood was tainted began cutting the wings off their children at birth. It became such a common, secret practice that it was perfected until they were cut just so, and treated just so, that there would be no mark remaining when the child grew up. It saved the lives of many children but strengthened the Faye blood in the tribes.”
Kindra stifled a yawn. She didn’t need a lecture on the history of the tribes – it had nothing to do with Kaye’s absence.
“My own parents were far too compassionate to cut off my wings or throw me to the shadows to be saved or taken by Aleda, and for that I am thankful,” the older woman continued in soft tones that bored Kindra. She was used to the loud, drilling voice of Wolf, the warrior’s instructor.
“So my wings were hidden until I was announced the High Priestess’ successor.”
Kindra knew that. Perhaps the loss of Kaye was a heavier weight on the High Priestess than on even Kindra herself.
“There are many in the Seven Tribes, and indeed in Fie Eoin, who still do not see me as their High Priestess because of my Faye blood.” Kindra looked at her in surprise but didn’t respond. “There are still children whose wings are taken, and probably a few who are killed as well, as awful and barbaric as that seems.”
“Excuse me,” Kindra finally cut in, “I don’t mean to be rude, priestess, but I don’t see what this has to do with Kaye?”
“It has everything to do with the two of you,” the High Priestess responded patiently. “It is well known that I chose Kaye for her wings – but there were others I could have chosen. Others with Faye blood just as strong as hers.”
Kindra raised an eyebrow. “You think you made a mistake choosing Kaye?”
“Indeed I do.” The High Priestess frowned but did not take her eyes away. “I have made a terrible mistake, and I have wronged you very deeply, Kindra, because I did not give you a chance to be the same person your sister was supposed to be.”
Kindra shrugged. “I wouldn’t have made a very good priestess.”
“But I think you would have. You are stronger than your sister, in more than muscle. You are a leader, and that was precisely why I chose her over you. I wanted a priestess I could mold; someone I could make into a younger version of myself, to continue on with those things I had begun to change, and I see now that it was you I should have chosen.”
“But you think someone with strong Faye blood should be priestess,” Kindra pointed out.
The High Priestess shook her head and closed her eyes. Taking a deep breath she seemed to gather strength from the air that was so oppressive to Kindra. “You are just as strong with Faye blood as your sister. You were born identical twins. Identical.” She opened her hazel eyes to look deep into Kindra’s as she emphasized the last word.
Kindra let out a small breath of a laugh. “Not exactly identical,” she reminded.
“Kindra, you were identical at birth. You came first, kicking and screaming and crying at the top of your lungs and your sister lagged behind, content with her place and hardly making a noise.”
Kindra didn’t see the significance of what she was being told, and the High Priestess continued. “Your mother promised her first girl child to me and when she had twins I had to choose between the two of you. I chose Kaye because I knew she would let me mold her into what I wanted her to be, and into what I needed her to be. And to make sure that there was no second-guessing myself, I directed the midwife to perform that secret ritual that has lived so long in the shadows of our culture.
“Kindra Odion, you were born with wings, and it was my choice that removed them.”