Veline => A Short Story by Stephen

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Veline => A Short Story by Stephen

Post  Darkwolf on Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:28 pm

The goddess was rumored to be fickle in her blessings, but Mikael knew better. Though he was the only member of the Order of Veline unable to draw on the goddessís power directly, he was by no means lacking devotion. He prayed and studied every day, but Velineís blessing never seemed to come to him.
Mikael had been a convert, brought into the fold from one of the smaller local religions of his area. He took to the Order with surprising zeal, especially considering the lack of outcome there seemed to be for him. His studies took him away from the village where he had spent his entire life and placed him in a small monastery in the foothills of the northern mountains. The faithful here were isolated from all outside contact with the world so that they might fully come to comprehend the goddess. Her gifts varied from person to person, but many could use her essence to affect the physical world around them. Not Mikael, though, and every night he practiced the same ritual in an attempt to remedy this situation.
One of those nights was hardly any different from the others; he laid out the mat to sit on in his private chambers, he lit the one large candle he always used, and he lit the same incense. Mikael sat himself cross-legged on the mat as the thick smoke began curling around the room. He breathed deeply of the scent, letting it fill him up before exhaling again. His eyelids were becoming heavy, but he was completely alert and aware of his surroundings. Not a single detail escaped his attention. He let his eyes drift close and reached out with his mind to the goddess.
It was believed by the Order that the goddess was present in all things good. She was not the only deity in existence, but the only one worth worshipping as far as they were concerned. She existed in a thriving valley, she existed in a warm fireplace, she existed in a happy family. Mikael let his mind flood with pleasant memories throughout his life, trying to find the goddess in each of those moments. After several hours of this meditation, the only thing he could see in his mindís eye was the goddess herself.
She was the image of a beautiful woman, but at the same time she had no form. She was ethereal, she was transparent, she was solid, she was energy, she was light, she was an entire society of people and no one all at the same time. Mikael had been able for quite some time to see her, but had never succeeded in taking the final step; to truly know her, to accept her blessing and convey to her the true depths of his devotion. He went into each of these meditation sessions with specific prayers and incantations in mind, things he would recite once he could see Veline, but they fell short. At the mere sight of her his carefully picked out words and artistically crafted sentences fell apart like old clay. No words seemed suitable to even be thought of in her presence. Not a single human sound could possibly capture the majesty of the creature he saw so clearly before him.
Mikael would often times try to figure out what it was about the other acolytes that had enabled them to reach her. Was it some physical attribute of theirs? Was it some part of their character, or some mental ability they had over him? He could not understand it, because none of those other students of the goddess seemed to understand it themselves. Only some of them even truly appreciated the gift that had been bestowed upon them. Mikael knew, though, he knew because he did not have it. By virtue of being denied such a gift, or of not being worthy of it, he understood even better than those who had it as their own. He believed for a time that he could obtain Velineís blessing by imitating the other more successful students, but this did not work. He decided that the goddess saw a personís worth as unique to them, and that another person possessing the same qualities would still not be deserving of her blessings. Again, as had happened so many nights before, Mikael could think of nothing to reach his goddess.
And, again, the goddess faded away. He had delayed too long, simply basking in her presence, and the vision of her faded. He was suddenly no longer beholding the vision of his goddess, of she he devoted his life to, but instead the slowly burning wick of his candle. His mind was returned to his room, and the hour was late. Mikael put out the incense, but left the scent to remain hanging in the air. He blew out the candle and lay down in his small bed. Tomorrow night, he would repeat the same ritual over again, and the next night, and the next. He would continue to try no matter how much or how little progress was made, even if all he ever obtained was the ability to be in Velineís presence for a few hours. He smiled.


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