“One day, Selene, the beautiful and serene Goddess of the moon was riding through the sky in her beloved silver chariot, driven by two stunning steeds whose coats were as white as snow and they bore wings of the same pristine white on their backs. Morning was almost upon her and she was travelling back home to rest. But while crossing a large grassland near the hills behind which the sun would rise, she saw something that immediately caught her attention.
“Or, rather…it was someone.
“It was none other than Endymion, the shepherd who lived nearby. But what made Goddess Selene pause in her way was the stunning beauty of the mortal man that outshone any God she had ever laid eyes on. Golden haired and blue eyes, but in her eyes his beauty outshone even Apollo, the God of the Sun.
“Selene fell madly in love with Endymion at first sight and the two started a relationship. She gave birth to fifty of his daughters, but as days passed, Endymion grew older and even more gorgeous. It worried Selene for he was a mortal, bound to return to dust from which he was created. So she went to Zeus, the King of Gods, for help.
“Zeus took pity on the lovely Selene, who had born him two lovely daughters and offered Endymion eternal life and youth. But there was one condition. For if he was granted eternal life and youth, he must be put into a deep slumber forever. He would remain unchanged in his sleep while the world changed around him.
“Since Selene and Endymion loved each other dearly, he decided not to part with his beloved and chose eternal sleep. Till now, he is supposed to be asleep in a hidden location and each morning, after the Goddess of the Moon has performed her duties, she would go back to her eternal lover, her consort and lay next to him, telling him of her day and how much she loved him.
“That is the story of eternal love between Selene and Endymion, and that is why, the Goddess has given us mates. So that we too can have someone that would love us with the same passion and devotion with which the Goddess loves her Endymion.”
Ezra, the Shrine Maiden of the Lindersay Shrine, finished narrating her story to the seven beautiful children sitting in front of her as they looked up at her in adoration and devotion.
Her hair was tied in a lose braid that was casually slung over one shoulder and her white robes were in pristine condition as she sat with her admirers on the marble ground of the shrine and indulged them in their daily story telling sessions.
To be honest, I didn’t think the children came here every day because they wanted to know more about their Goddess. The little hellions were smitten with Ezra as was the rest of Lindersay and they wanted to visit her just to spend time with her.
But till date, I had never seen Ezra complain or scold them. Ezra never scolded anyone for that matter and people still obeyed her. It was the sense of peace and serenity around her that drew people towards her like magnets, and despite her busy schedule, she always made time for everyone.
“Flora.” Ezra looked up at me with a gentle smile on her lips. “Come, I was waiting for you.”
“Children,” she looked down at the little hellions who gave her puppy eyed looks. “Your session for today is over. Go on now.”
They made sad faces but obeyed her as they left one by one, promising Ezra to come early the next day. She simply smiled and waved them goodbye. I came inside the shrine only after everyone had left, lifting up my robe to make sure I didn’t trip on it. It had been two years since I arrived at Lindersay, but I couldn’t quite get accustomed to the gowns yet. Ezra, on the other hand, appeared to glide across the room in her floor length robes without any problems.
I bowed to her once she was in front of me and Ezra held out her hand once I straightened myself. “Come,” she smiled gently as I took her hand. “Do you want some chamomile tea? I left some to brew before I was swarmed.”
“Thank you,” I told her. “I’d love some.”
Ezra’s parlor was towards the back of the shrine, which was attached to her own room and bathing area. All Lunar Maidens had extravagant rooms just like the rest of the palace, but as the Shrine Maiden, Ezra enjoyed a few extra privileges than the rest of us. So naturally, her room was bigger and prettier than ours.
“So,” Ezra asked after we had taken a seat on the mahogany chairs in her parlor and she had handed me a cup of warm chamomile tea. “How are you feeling today? Did you remember anything at all?”
I took a sip of my tea and thought about how to properly answer her. “I’ve been well this past week.” I decided to go with honesty. “But that feeling seems to have intensified.”
“Feeling?” Ezra sipped on her tea. “The sense of loss and longing that you have been feeling since you woke up?”
“Yes.” I nodded. “Sometimes, I look at the woods and I feel like someone is calling for me. It makes me want to run over…search for whatever is calling out to me.”
“Absolutely not!” The sharpness in Ezra’s voice had me startled. “The woods are extremely dangerous and I shouldn’t have to be the one to tell you this, Flora. There are rogues everywhere who will love to give you a slow and painful death. So, no matter how strong your urges, ignore them as best as you can and meditate.”
I blinked several times to clear my head. I had never heard Ezra get angry and I never imagined I would be the one to make her mad. Ever since I woke up from my coma two years ago, Ezra has always been by my side. Even though I had lost all my memories and could hardly remember my own name, she had never treated me any differently. In fact, she had pretty much taken me under her wing and become the mother figure in my life that I desperately needed at that time.
I had been so lost and confused and so, so scared. I couldn’t remember who I was or who my parents were or which pack I had belonged to. But then Ezra had helped me heal. Not my physical wounds, since they were healed by a healer, but my mental wounds. She had quite literally saved my life, just like how Alpha Malachi had saved my life after he had found me stranded on the middle of the road.
I didn’t know what I was doing there but I was informed after waking that I had been attacked by rogues. Because of the traumatizing incident, I had lost my memories and they were showing no signs of coming back.
Maybe that was a relief? Maybe it was my mind’s way of keeping me safe?
“I’m sorry for worrying you.” I told Ezra now, ashamed of my desires to venture into the woods. “I know just how dangerous the woods are and I promise you, I will never mention them again.”
Ezra sighed and placed her cup on a nearby table before she knelt before me, taking my hands in hers. “I’m so, so sorry for getting angry at you. It’s not your fault; it’s my worry for you that caused my sudden burst of anger. But I appreciate your honesty. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t come to me with your problems anymore…it’s just that, whenever I remember you blood covered body…I get scared.”
Even as I watched Ezra shudder, I couldn’t recall a single incident of my past, not even a glimmer. But if it made Ezra feel like this, then I must have gone through something horrible.
I went to comfort her but a sudden knocking on the shrine doors startled us both.
“Who is it?” Ezra asked as she stood up and faced the door and the knocking became urgent.
“Healer! We need the healer!” Came a panicked voice from outside. “Rogue! There has been a rogue attack.”
I felt my eyes widen in shock as the cup fell from my hands to shatter onto the floor.