I’m sorry there was no excerpt last week. With it being so close to Christmas, I thought everyone would be paying more attention to the last minute business of getting the shopping done, gifts wrapped, or, like me, getting the tree up and decorated. At least it was for a good reason and I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday that was as quiet and easy going as what mine was. 🙂
Tonight’s excerpt comes from one of the stories in my compilation, Trysts of the Hearts. In Wish of the Heart, Anuket finds what she has been longing for, someone strong and just wild enough to keep things interesting, but someone who would love her for her, not because she worked in the Temple of Bast or that her parents were well known in the kingdom of Belleau. Little did she know that the wish she made while polishing one of the statue avatars would be granted.
Anuket was a beautiful woman but had no idea just how pretty she actually was. Like her mother, she had fur as black as night , long black hair she kept tied back into a braid, and crystal blue eyes that looked off into nothing. Her slender body had curves that made many women jealous with a firm bosom and wide hips to match. While not tall, she certainly wasn’t short by any meaning of the word with a long tail she could use like another appendage. Although she was a mix of both panther and wolf, she took after her mother. It took a trained eye to notice the few wolfish features like the shape of her ears and the extra fluff along her tail, and the way her muzzle looked. It didn’t matter to her, she never saw her own image except through shared mental contact with certain priests.
Summer for her meant extra cleaning during the day and long walks in the evening with her brother or parents. There was always somebody with her to make sure she didn’t get lost with all the reconstruction going on around their home. Summer also meant, for her, that the garden was in bloom and the scents of flowers and fresh grass called to her constantly. Many times, she’d be out there sitting on a bench just enjoying the warmth of the sun on her face and scenting the breeze beneath her favorite willow tree.
Life was good for her and she longed for nothing more than someone to share her days with. Just after the summer solstice passed, she started having dreams. Dreams about a young man who would sweep her off her feet and show her things she had only been told about. Someone who wanted to be with her because they loved her, not because she was beautiful or worked in the temple. Though the idea never interfered with her work, she was distracted and entertained thoughts on where to find the mystery man in her dreams. She felt as though those dreams were a promise from the goddess that she wouldn’t be alone forever.
Anuket’s brother already had a mate, a sweet canine woman who adored him and gave him three boys and had another on the way. She was happy for him and always enjoyed her little nephews, but she wanted a family of her own and felt the pangs of loneliness more often than not.
One morning, while in the main chapel polishing the avatar statues, she was talking to them. She was all alone in there, knowing it was just her and the two living statues, which were currently asleep. Or so she thought.
“Oh Darkwing,” she sighed, “sometimes I wonder why I have to be alone. Why can’t I have someone to live out my life with? You and my brother are so lucky to have mates who adore you and have given you children. Someday, I would love to see my dream come true.”
She paused in her cleaning as if to admire her work and held the cloth in her paws gently. “The man in my dreams is so daring and kind, you know. So very handsome.” A soft, wistful sighed slipped through her lips while she turned her thoughts inward. “I know I will never be able to see him, but I know what he looks like and what his aura feels like. Is there such a man out there for me? Someone who would take me away and show me what life outside the temple is really like?”
In her heart, she wished to find the man she was dreaming about. A lion who wouldn’t take no for an answer and did more than just protect her from the world, but encouraged her to experience all that life had to offer. Once she resumed cleaning, she whispered, “I wish he were real. I don’t want to be alone any more.”
Although the avatar was sleeping, he heard the heartfelt wish and took it to his mistress, the goddess Bast. The great cat avatar looked like a feral panther with bat-like wings; fierce and strong in his own right. He looked up at the golden cat with shining yellow eyes that bore no pupils and spoke to her with a booming voice, “Mistress, your willing slave comes to you with a wish from one of your children.”
Speak, my son, and tell me this message,” the goddess said gently while she reached to pet her avatar. “Who is it that has sent me a message.”
The cat purred, pleased with the attention he received before answering. “The daughter of Kupumzika, your song mistress. Anuket has wished for a mate to spend her life with. She has grown lonely and I feel she is missing too much in her sheltered life.”
I see,” came the soft reply, “She has been promised someone who will give her what she wants and respect her every desire. I think you know just the right one to send to her.”
Tilting his head, the feline asked, “Who mistress? I know many young males who would be pleased to court a beauty such as Anuket.”
Bast smiled then motioned to the row of statues not far from her. “One of your own sons. Didn’t Amur-Re voice wanting to be like the mortal cats and live as they do?”
Darkwing looked over at the ivory statue of his son. His brow furrowed then he nodded. “Yes, but if he were to live as they, he will also die like they do and grow old.”
The goddess nodded and sighed, “Perhaps. Anuket has been blessed with longevity like her parents and brother. We can make sure your son will live as long she does and have his own talents to use.”
He walked over to the statue of his son then rubbed his cheek against the strong muzzle. “I love my son, mistress, but won’t he be difficult for her to tame? He is wild and carefree and doesn’t take much to following rules.”
I know, but I think she has what it takes to settle him down,” the golden feline said gently, “Give him this chance. If she can teach him to be less reckless and how to care for more than just himself, then he will be allowed to stay with her until she dies, then, he will be given a choice; to die with her or to return us as a full avatar.”
Darkwing nodded then nudged his sleeping son. “As you wish, mistress. I hope she can perform miracles.” He doubted that someone as calm and patient as the woman who kept him in pristine condition in the temple would be able to handle his son. “Wake up son, the avatar said sternly, “we have a mission for you.”
Last week started my campaign to help raise funds for my church, Light of the World Christian Fellowship in Tulsa, OK. For details, go to this post, https://candacegauger.wordpress.com/2012/12/30/help-the-light-of-the-world/, and follow the links provided.