Farica the Mystic

'All the world before me lay
All of life within my mind
I turned my back upon them all
Far from their Savior, I
Left them behind.'

Manna quoted. "From the pen of Farica, first to See the true way."

"And the first to reject it." I regretted the cutting words almost before they were out of my mouth. She was my mother, my Manna. I should not have interfered with her quotations of the Texts. They were what gave her life. Farica and her analogues were her worship, and thus my worship as well.

"Am I then Farica, doomed to wander lost beneath the stars as even the comfort and truth of belief is stolen from my lips?"

"Tell again to me the words of Farica, and her story." I hated to cause her this pain, but she needed to hear this story, and I would not suffer its words between my lips. Also, the arcane forms of the Texts did not come easily to me, as they did to her.

"Long ago, there lived a mother, Farica, and her daughter Rebecca. Farica was devoted to the gods, and worried about her daughter, who walked a darker path. Farica even suspected that Rebecca was demon-touched, and prayed for her constantly.

"Rebecca, feeling herself hindered by her woman's name, altered it to Rik, meaning squirrel, a man's title and not fit for a lady. In changing her name, she warped her identity. She was indeed demon-touched, and with the demon's persuasions convinced her mother to perform an unholy rite upon her.

"Her own mother took her into the forest on the night of the new moon. The two chanted the rite, and marked Rik's body with fire and knife, and as the scars were made upon her body, a semblance of them were upon her soul. At the end of the ritual, Rik was mutilated almost beyond recognition, but she said only that she was at last purified in the eyes of her eternal Master. Farica saw her run from the place where the rite was performed. She thought she heard Rik laughing as she ran.

"Farica told no one of this, fearing that Rik would be hunted like an animal. Rik never returned to her mother, though Farica thought she heard demon's laughter late at night.

"On the night of the full moon, Farica, moved by a strange compulsion, returned to that same place. She saw nothing, for the moon was covered in clouds. She stepped forward unerringly to the place where she had stood, and knelt, gazing at the clouds that covered the moon. A ray of light shone upon her. She looked down, and saw that Rik lay before her. Each wound that she had opened, half a moon ago, looked still fresh. She was clearly dead.

"The gods cursed her then, for performing the unholy rite upon her daughter, allowing Rik to be possessed, which had led to her death. Farica would never return to the holy Halls of the stars. Within her, the voice of the gods that once had led her to proclaim the true faith was silenced. She would live forever, a life that would not be worth living."

Manna sighed. "This is why we must not doubt, must not resist. The gods are lenient with unbelievers, those who have no patience with the true way. Perhaps they follow their own gods, who they believe, and pray to, and are uplifted by. But those who place their feet upon the path, and knowingly turn away, those are the ones who truly turn back." She turned away.

"No one has followed the gods' way as you have. You carry the legacy that Farica bore, but your mind is stronger than hers ever was. She followed the true gods body and soul, but you serve them with your mind as well. The words of demons would leave no mark upon you."

"Your words are kind. But surely Rik's words were kind at the surface as well, though twisted at the root?" She turned back to me, eyes full of pain. "A true servant of the gods, surely, would know the wisdom of truth from the lies of fine words that are not truly meant." Tears were running down her cheeks. "Ra'ri'rarana-yull'tera'mana!" I am so helpless, the gods cannot feed me.

A/N: See "Polished, Abandoned, Forgotten" in my poem collection "Life is Hard" for the beginning of the poem that Manna quoted the end of.