Chapter #3 – Things Left to Ponder
Katrelle had thought it would be impossible to get to sleep, knowing where she was and considering the luxury of her surroundings, but she did. She had been exhausted. Dying must have been harder than she thought. The Custodian that was attending her – Hanithon – told her that almost all spirits sleep within three hours of coming to Fesralde. She had said it was the way that memories came back from past lives – like dreams – and then once all your lives were remembered you would have no more need for sleep until your new mortal life. Considering her spirit's age, Hanithon said she figured it would take Katrelle around six to eight months to remember all her past lives. She also said that they would return to her in no particular order.
That would explain why she dreamt of being a man in very dated attire. She spoke a language in that dream she did not remember ever learning, yet she understood every word said. She had been a businessman, though not terribly wealthy. The life she had led then, however, had at least been one of ease. She had had a family in that life. She had grown old even. And her death had been peaceful. So she had a feeling that particular life had been before the lives that Yuchanit had said led to his breaking her cycle of reincarnation.
She did not know how long she slept. Day and night did not really exist in Fesralde. She stretched as she climbed out of the luxurious bed and dressed in the equally luxurious gown she had chosen upon her arrival. She frowned at her reflection in the large mirror on the dressing table. She felt like it did not suit her at all. It was too elegant, despite its simplicity. She had never worn anything even half as regal in her most recent life. Could she have ever worn anything like this in any of her past lives? It felt hard to believe.
Once she was dressed, she looked out her window for a while. Fesralde was a fairly barren place with only sparse trees and grass. It looked almost like the field she had arrived in, but there was more color in this part of Yuchanit's realm. The trees actually had green leaves and the grass did not look dead. She even swore she saw a few tiny spots of color from flowers. And, right on the horizon, she saw the sparkle of what she assumed was a huge lake or possibly even a sea. She wondered what else there was in the Land of the Dead. She wondered if she might be allowed to go exploring at some point.
Yuchanit's home, though, was lovely. It was not barren at all. It was lavish in the way she could see the homes of nobility being. She walked around her room when she was done staring at the scenery and marveled at her room. There were details everywhere. She discovered little animals carved into the mantel and barely noticeable patterns in the paint on the walls and hidden words woven into the rugs on the floor.
Then she had the urge to go explore the rest of the building. She wanted to see what other wonders were within his home. He had said it would be her home until at least she decided what she wanted to do for the rest of eternity, right? She had the right, then, to look around a little, as long as she did not get too nosy. Right? But she felt hesitant about "poking around" in the home of a god.
When she could deny her desire no longer, she walked to the door and opened it. She looked right out into the rotunda and listened to the rather eerie silence of the building. There was no bustle of servants. Hanithon had told her that Yuchanit did not need servants. Hanithon was not there either, for she had returned to her own home, though told Katrelle how to contact her if she needed anything and that she could be there instantly.
Trying to ignore the press of the silence around her, she walked to the banister that circled around the floor she was on. She looked down at the ground floor and noticed the symmetrical design there in varying colors of stone – diamonds and eight-pointed stars and rings. It was rather entrancing to look at. Then her eyes turned upward to the dome high above. There was colored glass that rose up on it, she noticed, making the shape of what looked like a purple flower above her. Light shined through the glass and gave the upper part of the rotunda a lavender glow. It was a beautiful sight, honestly.
As she stood there staring up at the colored glass flower in the dome, she heard something below her break through the silence around her. She looked down and saw Yuchanit stride into view from one of the halls. His hood was up so she assumed he was back in the form she had met him in. Behind him floated a golden orb that made her eyes widen. Was it…
"Why did you follow me," the God of the Dead said in a mildly irritated tone.
A voice that was light and almost musical and very feminine answered him. "Because it's not like you to break rules. Rules you blatantly broke when it comes to Kamithe."
What?! He had broken a rule because of her? That made her feel horrible.
"I think I can be forgiven this once." Yuchanit was heading for the nearest stairs to start ascending. "I couldn't stand the thought of her having another life like she's had, even if it were for a lesson she had yet to learn. She needed the release from her cycle."
"You, my dear brother, are an idiot and a liar," the golden light said in a teasing tone. And as that he only had one sibling, Katrelle knew what she had suspected was true, that the golden orb was actually Besvayu, the Great Goddess.
The god had stopped at his sister's comment but said nothing.
"You should tell her…now that you have her here," the light said so quietly that Katrelle nearly did not hear it.
The god looked down. "She'll remember what she needs to know in time. That is the best way for it."
"And then you will tell her, won't you?"
Yuchanit was silent for a moment. "Perhaps."
"I will hear no more on this." He turned to the orb, which was right beside him. "It is all her decision. I will do my best to not influence her choice."
For some reason, Katrelle knew that he was not talking about whether or not she would accept being his Emissary. There was something else and she had no idea what it could possibly be. It had something to do with one of her past lives, of that she was certain, but remembering her lives would, of course, take time.
Slowly, as the god started up the stairs with the golden orb floating at the base of the stairs, she backed into her room and closed the door silently behind her before rushing across the room. She did not want him to think she had been listening to his conversation with his sister. But as she took a seat on the chaise longue, she could not help but wish she already knew what he had meant. Why could the first life she had remembered not have been the one that she was sure was an important one?
A moment later, there was a knock on her door. She asked him in, for she knew it was Yuchanit. Who else could it be when she had seen him coming towards her? His hood was back now, though, and he looked like Vamel again. If she had had a heart, it likely would have stuttered. He was so terribly handsome, even if it was just a façade. He wanted to try to make her feel more at ease. But, the thing was, she was sure she would have been comfortable around him regardless of what he looked like – though his having those amazing purple eyes did not hurt one bit.
"I hope you have rested in the time I was away?"
"I have. It was a restful nap." Though she was still unnerved with the knowledge she was dead.
"And I'm sure you have remembered at least one life."
She nodded. "I was a businessman in some foreign land with a family and who grew old."
The god nodded. "At least your first was a kind life that you remembered. There will be others, though, that will leave you reeling. But understand all mortal souls lead similar lives to those you will remember. Everyone has lived through similar events in their own lives, though they are all different in minute ways."
Katrelle looked down. She had wanted her first remembered life to be the one that had answered her biggest question though – why she was worthy of his offer. "So when are you expecting me to answer your question about being your Emissary?" Because she still was not sure if she wanted to do it and feared that was the reason he had come to see her.
"You have five mortal years to decide. If you have not made a choice before then as to what you wish to do you will automatically return to the Essence."
Five years? That was a lot of time to think about it. "I don't think I'll need that long."
"Most souls don't. They're so used to having to make decisions more quickly in their lives since they are often only decades long. But I won't push you to decide in a week or a month. It is a big decision so you must take your time."
"What must I do if I'm your Emissary?"
The god leaned back against the door frame and looked totally comfortable doing it. It was such a mortal sort of posture. "The task I have for you is one that has bothered me now for many mortal generations – people using my name to do horrible deeds that spread lies about my true purpose in the lives of mortals. I suppose you can say your job is to end the lies and educate the mortals. I am feared, after all. Death has always been feared, even if people know that they will be reborn."
But she had just been mortal just a day before, or so it seemed to her. She knew the reason people feared death. "They fear ending what they currently know."
"Yet they fear me even here, once they are dead, Kamithe."
She shuddered again at his use of her soul name. She then fell into thought for a while. He wanted her to educate the mortals for him. Could he not have priests do that for him? But he did not have a priesthood… "Why not just establish your own priesthood to do the task you want me to do?"
The god frowned deeply at her suggestion. "I once had temples dedicated to me and clerics that helped the living contact the souls here. But that is no more."
That made no sense to her. "But why?"
Yuchanit closed his eyes, looking very pained. "You will remember why."
His answer actually shocked her. She would remember why he had no temples dedicated to him anymore? Did that mean she had seen them fall? Then she remembered something he had said when she first arrived her, when she had asked why he chose her to be his Emissary. He had said that she had once served him in a life with more reverence than any other had. Did that mean she had been a priestess of his in one of her past lives? Did that life also hold the meaning to why he no longer had temples in his honor? She wanted more than anything now to remember that life so she could get answers she felt like she needed.
Then, like he had read her mind… "I'm sure, like all mortal souls, you'd prefer to know all the answers right now, but after countless millennia, I have found that it is best for souls to remember on their own."
Her mind returned to the overheard conversation with his sister just moments earlier. "She'll remember what she needs to know in time. That is the best way for it." That was what he had said. But what if it took her the full eight months that Hanithon estimated it would take before she remembered the reason for his offer? What if she had to puzzle over what his sister had mention and the reason why he no longer had temples in his honor for that long? For some reason she had a feeling that a single one of her lives held all those answer and she wanted to remember it soon.
"You may continue to rest today, or you may venture wherever you wish. While my land is not as vibrant as the world of mortals, there is still much to see. There is beauty here that few other souls ever wish to go in search of."
"Who else lives here in your home?" For she knew it was a huge structure that seemed like it should be teeming with people.
"You are the only other person here at present. Sadly, as my sister and I had expected to gain aid from mortal souls and made room for them in our homes, few have ever shared my home. The few Emissaries I have had in the past were long ago and wished, after a time, to return to the Essence. The Custodians live apart from me, as it seems to make the souls they aid less weary of seeking their counsel."
Katrelle found that fact rather sad. He was alone. It was not right. He was a god. Despite the fact that he was the God of the Dead she could not see how there were not more souls that wished to associate with him. It saddened her to think of him being lonely and she was tempted to accept his offer to be his Emissary to keep him from being alone any longer. But she did not think it would be right to accept such an offer for such a small thing. It was not like she had to leave any time soon. She would hopefully help to make him not so alone.
"Now, sadly, I must take my leave. There is much I need to do."
"It's alright. I think I shall go to the central plaza for a while to see the other souls."
Then she looked puzzled. She had not been told about a central plaza, so why… Then she saw a smile spread across the god's face.
"You're starting to remember about things here. That is very good, Kamithe."
She could not help but return the smile.
"Go where you wish. Fesralde is open to you, as it is for all spirits." He nodded his head to her. "I will see you again soon."
And then he was gone, leaving her with many questions still burning in her head about all that had happened since her death. She hoped the answers she sought would come soon.