Celean stood at the edge of the precipice, her arms folded, resting gently across her naked breasts. The girl’s eyes were closed – she was deep in thought and her caramel-coloured skin shimmered in the purple twilight. Beads of sweat ran down into the crown of her womanhood.
Three days she had stood in this place of contemplation. Naked – unfettered as a babe newly born. The robes of her forebears had been cast aside and the pale skin now exposed had been baked golden beneath the light of the red sun Canos as it swept overhead with its smaller partner, Alphra. The previous grandeur of her life had been put to one side, almost forgotten during this period of her education, and with the third sunset now fast approaching Celean felt that at last her moment was drawing near.
Her eyes slowly opened.
Celean blinked hard, the pale light from the sky above still causing her pain after being so long shrouded in darkness. She pulled herself further out of her trance-like state and a tear trickled down her cheek, her large green eyes appearing sad and heavy with tiredness.
She was impassive upon the high silent cliff-top. The light from the twin stars was now rapidly fading as they had long since dropped beneath the western horizon. Around the girl were the purple peaks of the lower K’sidrûn Mountains – the taller peaks climbing away behind her to be lost within the clouds in the east – climbing up toward the highest of them all; Mount Storm – its ominous snow-capped bulk now seen only faintly in the distance. The young girl felt entirely alone, for not a creature stirred upon the land. No sound of man, no winged animal – only the thundering of the nearby waterfall could be heard. Directly below her, in the mists at the base of the waterfall, lay the dark deep waters of Bikilik – the inland sea around which most of the people of Canostrephan lived and worked. Its waters stretched away before her, ringed by purple/grey sentinel peaks whose bases twinkled from the light of a thousand or more townships.
The young girl gazed down as the waters of the nearby river plunged down into the abyss before her – falling down into the deep black lake over one hundred metres below. The air around her was filled with the thunderous roar of the cascading waters, the sound of it filling her ears and head. It blended as music with the rhythmic vibrations of the uprushing wind as it forced a path through the hollow branches of the nomrael bushes clinging to the ledges of the steep cliff below her.
The girl’s arms moved slowly, dropping to her sides and flexing for the first time in days. Her legs stiffened, the muscles of her thighs twitching from inactivity. She looked down to the robe which lay neatly beside her where she had left it and she saw that the horn of Kas’aak had appeared – placed there with reverence by the eldest of her order.
Celean collected the curved instrument in her palm and ran her fingers across its smooth grey surface. Fashioned from a single block of volcanic ore, the horn shone and sparkled – tiny faceted crystals amplifying the pale sun’s failing light, while bands of thin gold glistened as she lifted the instrument to her lips. The girl blew gently and a single note began to ring out across the valley – gaining in volume and rising in pitch – echoing through the falls to signal to the world that her decision had been made.
Down below at the lake edge a huge drum was beaten three times in answer to her call. A lone voice gave out a cry….”Aininda! Aininda!”
Without another moment’s hesitation Celean took one step forward and cast herself out from the cliff, down toward the swirling waters in the mist far below!
The previous text is an excerpt from ‘Darkling Moon’ – a part of the fantasy series ‘The Vinlarion Chronicles’.