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She is beautiful and filled with woe, She attaches herself to your very soul, When she screams into the night, Then death is coming, they'll be no fight.
This little fellow, a collector of sorts, Within the walls he quietly waits, Biding his time and watching your soul, Ready to grab before death gains control.
The guardian protects the gates, Your every move he'll anticipate, Snarling and growling when he smells a soul, And once you're his, he won't let go.
The knocker is the one who waits, Deep inside the ancient gates, Into the darkness he pushes your soul, Be ready to pay the debts that you own.
The usher is here to lead you on, Past the flames fed by the lost and forlorn, The smell is strong as he draws near, From the stint of souls taken down through the years.
The master is the one to fear, He's the one who is in charge around here, You know his name, we call him Sire, Your soul is lost as he feeds his desire.
Tannae frowned at the stocking in her hand. Mending always irritated her, better to start with a freshly woven piece of cloth than to try and piece together strings that no longer fit together. She kept her head down so that her mother could not see her displeasure. Her mother never understood.
"Where's my little Nean?" called a quavering voice from the back room of the small three-room cottage. Tannae glanced at her mother but lowered her gaze back to her darning when Manena stood and dropped hersewing into her basket. She pointed at Tannae to indicate she should continue with her chores.
"Grandmother, you know you should address Tannae by her chosen name," admonished Manena. Her mother left the door ajar as she entered the back room. Tannae tiptoed to the door and peeked around the corner. Her great-grandmother's bed was visible through the crack.
"She is my Nean." The old woman plucked at the tattered blanket that covered her frail body. Blue veins made dark trails down the back of her gnarled hands and advanced age left its mark in the myriad of lines across her face. "You should not have taken her to the choosing ceremony. Nothing good came of it."
"Nothing good? How can you say that? What higher blessing could a mother ask for her child?" Manena shook her head. She sat on the edge of the bed and straightened the cornhusk pillow beneath her grandmother's head. "To spend her life cared for by the priests, doing the Masters' work, to know what it is like to be one with the Masters..."
"To be a piece of cold meat lying on a marble slab."
Copyright © 2006 Sheri L. McGathy, Tina Morgan, B. D. Faw, Michele Acker, Lee Masterson, Rie Sheridan, Carol Hightshoe.