Continued from part one.

Elysia felt a memory tug at her heart, and it whispered to her of a day before, when she used to conduct discussions and debates in the sanctuary, regarding the nature of the world, the gods, and the cosmos at large. The sadness the lurked at the corner of the memory reminded her of the recent bans instituted by the current high priest, Ianice, that forced her to limit the topics of discussion or remove them to another location.

The restrictions placed on her gatherings hadn’t seemed to Elysia to be based on their controversial nature, but rather her repeated refusal to acknowledge the authority of Ianice, whom she often addressed by the woman’s name, rather than according to the more traditional title. It wasn’t entirely the high priest’s fault Elysia refused to see her position as legitimate: the manner in which the previous high priest left was highly suspect, as had Elysia’s friend and mentor, Ravene, during her tenure as high priest.

Still, the slightest thought of Ianice was enough to turn Elysia’s stomach, let alone hearing the woman breathe or speak. To Elysia’s dismay, Ianice did both in abundance. And constantly. And often in a high-and-mighty tone as though she could toss down a thunderbolt to end Elysia’s impertinence with a casual glance. Never mind the fact she likely possessed the power to end Elysia with a backward glance.

Even avoiding her gaze isn’t enough, thought Elysia. I know she’s leering at me whether I see it or not. Indeed, the time she spent at the temple had grown more unpleasant since Ianice had arrived, and the number of confidants she could iterate her woes to had dwindled significantly. She quarreled with a few of them, and was confronted by the high priest repeatedly over matters of insubordination.