The bells of the cathedral rang heavily overhead, drawing the sleeping novitiates from their evening dreams. Zvezdana’s eyes fluttered open, her words ringing in her head. She felt strange, like it had been the most pleasant dream she had ever encountered. Deep within her, she felt warm, satiated, and pleased with herself, as if she had conquered some unsung hero. Slowly she turned over, one hand rubbing her swollen belly while the other hand rubbed her temple. For feeling this good, she could not remember the dream to save her life. Rising from the haze of sleep, she vaguely recalled the movement of bodies. Had sex been involved? Yes, there had been. It was sensual, with vast amounts of desire. Slowly she sat up and looked at the end of the bed. Her ankles tingled with a sensation. Was her body remembering something? Had she been tugged by her feet into some strange new position?
The man’s body had been gorgeous, her mind’s eye working its way up towards the face in the darkness. When she looked up for the eyes of her dream lover, the image blurred and faded. Whom had it been? Zvezdana rubbed her temple again, chewing nervously on her lip. It must have been Veljorn. With the baby coming, my mind must be telling me I miss him.
It made sense, but somewhere deep down, her heart was telling her something else. It thumped and tightened at the thought, as if it were trying to steer her away from the lie her mind was telling her.
The dream was left behind on her pillow as she got up to ready herself for the day.
“Don’t forget the bread from the bakery Zvezdana! It’s in the Glass Quarter! We have a contract with them, and if you forget, they’ll be angry!”
The Priestess called after her from the kitchens. She needed to get some air today. Despite her condition, she had insisted that she be allowed to go into town. She could do anything at all if she set her mind to it. With a smile, and the basket in hand, she waddled out of the Cathedral. She was not keen on taking the stairs to the Glass Quarter again, but it was necessary. It made the trek into town difficult, but it had been worth it. At least, that is what the other novitiates had stated. Zvezdana had not made it down into the city since she had been brought to the Cathedral. As she took the steps, she thought back to Vincent. It had been many trials since she had seen him. She really did need to figure out how to repay him for his genuine concern. Briefly she wondered what he had won his lady’s heart again.
Romance plagued her mind in recent trials. Everywhere she looked, she saw young couples holding hands, sharing chaste kisses in dim alleys in hopes that they might hide from observers. Despite their efforts, she seemed to be drawn to these embraces. With a heavy sigh, she passed through the city, trying to avoid the secret rendezvous. It pained her, knowing that she was alone in the world. Not only that, she was about to be a single mother to a son that would never know a father figure. On top of that, she was concerned that her child might not even know a mother figure.
As she walked down the streets towards the bakery she had been told to stop by, people gave her polite smiles. They didn’t know who she was or what she had done. They simply saw her as a devoted woman to Ilaren, dedicating herself to the Cathedral and the city. It was an honorable endeavor for any woman, she had come to learn. With time she might be able to elevated herself to priestess. Right now, she was satisfied with the polite smiles and nonjudgmental eyes. She was as free as a fugitive could be, with no reputation to follow her along the streets. The only reputation she maintained was the one that came with the Thunder Priestess robe. She did not cover her face as she might have in Rynmere, having no money yet to buy a cloak. Her skin prickled with the chill of the wind reminding her of her poor nature.
A carriage crossed her path, forcing her to stop abruptly. She frowned as it parked itself before her. Being obscure and unseen had its perks, but she was beginning to learn what it was like being a peon in the eyes of others. Where she had once looked down upon people, she was now looked down upon.
“You should watch where you are going. You could hurt someone by pulling into a busy street like that.”