Talipandas

by

Manyana Hobbit

Chapter 8: [Part 2] The Princess' First Evaluation

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Bergamota was the first and only religion ever created in this world. Its temples were created to worship Kismet and her five deity children. The religion’s main temple was erected at the Holy Portal’s location. Although the portal could no longer be used as a bridge to cross over both mortal and immortal realms, it still helped the Keepers to connect with the deities and vice versa.

The High Oracle, wearing a long white dress, approached us; his long, silver, braided hair was adorned with transparent pearls. His eyes glowed golden the moment he touched Father’s forehead. “Adrian Benedictus of blood Gracia y Lazuli, Inheritor of fire and earth elements, welcome to my home,” he said. His voice seemed to be a mixture of seven different people — one of which was Mariana’s voice. He then proceeded to touch Mother’s forehead and greeted her, too, the same way he did to Father.

My parents bent their knees, Mother bending hers lower than Father’s. “This blessed child thanks the High Oracle for uttering her/his name. May the benison of Kismet be with you.”

The High Oracle only nodded before going back inside the temple.

A lower-ranked Keeper then stepped up, his A-line dress touching the ground. “Forgive me, Hwan Adrian, but we cannot let the others pass the gate of the temple. If you are worried about Dayang-Dayang’s safety, know that the temple is the safest place in the world. Weapons are forbidden and no one can use magic inside unless Kismet permits them to do so.”

“Stanislaus, do not block the temple’s gates and let others who seek the temple’s help inside,” Father commanded.

He may be a king, but his position was nothing at Kismet’s Holy Place. It was stated in the Holy Book that everyone must be treated equally no matter their position in society, and Keepers honor that commandment.

“Hadidi, Vhar Haluman,” the commander of the Royal Guards replied.

The same Oracle motioned us inside. “I would trouble both of you to walk since no carriage is allowed inside the Holy Place.”

The love birds nodded and followed the Oracle.

As we walked inside, I heard Commander Stanislaus instruct his subordinates to disperse and to not block the road.

Although it was stated in the Holy Book that everyone must be treated the same, the person who visited was still the King of the country, so the treatment would be different though not extravagant. Some Lesser Oracles and Oracles attended to us, standing on either side of the path leading to the Assessment Hall.

Four Lesser Oracles were standing at the back of the line, wearing plain white dresses that reached below their knees adorned with colored belts that represented which deity they were serving. A piece of wood that had the same color as their belt tied half of their long hair up, while the other half was let down.

At the front of the line stood six Oracles, who were also wearing white dresses that reached the ground. The only difference between the two positions was that Oracles have seniority, and their pearl-adorned hairs were tied with ribbons in an intricate manner.

No one greeted us verbally or bowed down when we passed by, though it was expected. What they were doing right now was already too much to be considered being treated ‘like everyone else.’ Once we reached the platform, everyone else dispersed except the High Oracle, who was waiting for us.

“Follow me,” he said. He led us inside a room and instructed Mother and Father to purify ourselves before exiting the room.

Father removed his clothes and went inside one of the stalls, while Mother bathed me in one of the many basins available on the side of the room. After he was done, he put on a white garment provided by the temple. He then took me from Mother; who also purified herself and dressed me in a smaller garment similar to what he was wearing. After Mother was done, we entered the middle of the Assessment Hall where Kismet’s statue was erected.

They then handed me to the High Oracle, who performed a ritual. He held me using both of his hands and raised me in front of Kismet’s statue. He then proceeded to chant in an ancient language.

Both my parents kneeled down on both knees and bowed their heads as the eyes of the statue glowed.

I was placed on a high stone table that was wide enough for a two-year-old to lie down but still have enough space to move around. I felt my soul getting pulled out of my body as the light from Kismet’s eyes grew stronger and obstructed my sight. When I finally adjusted to the blinding light, I saw myself back at Mariana’s castle.

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Manyana Hobbit

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