Kirvanami kneeled slowly, averting her gaze. She couldn’t look at her sister, but they had spoken at length in the hours before dawn. There was nothing to fear. So many women experienced this. Someone was doing it every day. There was nothing to be afraid of. Kirvanami schooled her thoughts into a more obedient form. She had dedicated herself, and this was only a re-dedication.
Her mistress was grace. Kirvanami had perfected her posture years ago. Though her gait had taken longer, she had mastered that too. There would be more to do after the ceremony, but that was after. There was nothing to fear now.
Kirvanami bored into the floor with her stare, the movement of her eyes burning imaginary holes through the wood. She was graceful, she was. She had the supporting wind of Kirva’s followers, she had the awareness of her body that any true dedicant did. Still, fear blossomed in her heart.
Kirvanami was growing up. With the arrival of her menstrual cycle, it was time to choose whether to continue following her goddess or to take another path. But it was simply not graceful to change paths so early. Kirva would never stray until she had given the course all the time it deserved, and neither should her charges. The goddess of springtime and flowers in bloom was perfect for a girl like Kirvanami.
The priestess chanted, but Kirvanami’s doubts took root in her mind. They grew, as though feeding on each other. And as the priestess finished walking around the temple, coming finally to the girl in the center, she had an answer.