The green-eyed acolyte started to stir.
“Wait, be still. How do you feel?”
The green-eyes stared back blankly at the blue-eyed warrior clan matriarch. Then, the green eyes darted all around, startled with fear, as though she couldn’t remember where she was or had been.
“Can you speak?” Blank eyes stared back.
“Do you want to speak?” Again, a blank-eyed stare. The acolyte began to shake uncontrollably.
“Are you cold?” Again, silence and a stare.
“Let me help you wrap up. I’ve sent for both a frame-healer and a spirit-healer. I don’t know which you need because you can’t talk right now. It’s okay. Just rest and keep warm.”
From behind her, the matriarch heard a sound, almost of surprise mixed with fear, and she heard the older running to her room, starting to sob yet trying to hide it.
“Please, little one. Stay here and rest. I’m going to check on my daughter. You should be safe here.”
The matriarch padded wearily to her older daughter’s sleeping quarters, pushed aside the curtain, and stepped in. The child was balled in a ball, trying not to cry loud enough to be heard.
“It’s hard, it’s so hard. I’ve not seen this before, but I’ve seen similar. Can you talk about what you’re feeling?”
“Mom-mom, that’s not her. Her eyes are always so bright. She moves like a moon clover bee, always getting things done. She talks, she talks better than I do and as well as you. What’s wrong?!?” The child sobbed more, still fighting loud wails.
“I don’t know. It’s not something we see in these parts. It’s like Life Spice overuse, but it’s not Life Spice. And honey, I’m afraid something detestable was done to her.”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember our binding ritual studies ? And how we studied the union as part of binding? You know, even in temples that don’t include binding as a requirement for union, union is to be voluntary and between adults. Forced union is absolutely unspeakable, and even worse when the person isn’t an adult.”
The blue-eyed child blinked, stopped crying, inhaled sharply, and acted like she would vomit. “Why mom-mom do people do it?”
“I don’t know. I don’t understand why. I think sometimes it’s just we all lack good connections to our deities, sometimes it’s too much action by the politicians. Other times, a good person is doing the right thing in the wrong place and time and has the misfortune to be found by a bad person.”
The child’s eyes were pensive. She looked like she had another thought. At that moment, the sound of violent retching mixed with involuntary bowel release came from the other room.
“Let’s go. It looks like more chores while we wait for the healers.”