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Wynne part 1

Wynne

When the gentleman neared, Wynne lifted her basket of flowers as if making an offer to the Creator. His crimson robes boasted of his money. He could buy Wynne’s flowers and feed her for several days. Maybe he would purchase half the basket? Maybe the Creator preached by the Knights of the Order of the Tome would hear the pangs, prayers spoken within her stomach? It had been the only prayers she had ever learned, for she had never been granted access to the Creator. The gentleman didn’t acknowledge her as he strode past.

Behind him, a group of three ladies wore dresses of silk. Wynne reached a blue flower to one. It would have made the lady’s eyes shimmer if placed within her wheat colored hair. The lady smiled at Wynne. Wynne returned the greeting. It had been the first person to grant such a salutation in many days. Wynne thought to bow, knowing that she could do so as gracefully as anyone within the courtyards of Sanctuary but thought better of it. The lady’s smile widened to her friends, whispering followed by snickers. Wynne’s smile faded as they left her alone with her flowers.

Wynne ran her fingers through her tangled web of hair. It was the same color as the lady. Wynne knew she did not look much different than the aristocrat, save for skin darkened by the sun and feet calloused without shoes. And yet, Wynne knew she was different, relearning that lesson every night she went to bed hungry.

“For the Creator gives to all who ask,” the Order of the Tome’s herald shouted from atop his horse, the locked bread wagon behind him.

She had heard his opening statement often, but she had always been left with a singular question – how do I ask? More importantly, how do I hear the Creator respond?

The herald wore a statair around his neck, a simple tin-colored medallion with an etching of a flower in bloom. Though it looked simple, Wynne knew its subdued appearance belied its purpose. The Order received messages from the Creator. Many times as the knight’s preached, Wynne had dreamed of communicating with the Creator as they, but when the Amynta Celebrations occurred, it was apparent no women were allowed to touch the statair. It was a fantasy, and those dreams were replaced with more insistent needs. Then, as now, she was hungry.

“But even as you take the bread given by the Creator,” the herald continued, “know that it will fail your body, and- -“

You will hunger again, but with the Creator’s words, you will be made eternally satisfied. Wynne had heard the same phrase thousands of times. She had waited in the back of the line, taken their bread and received their words, cherishing both as the closest she could come to understanding the Creator. But the hunger remained. She always needed more bread, and yet she always wanted more than bread, something unnamable, just out of reach.

“So come, follow us, and take what the Order of the Tome offers,” the herald concluded then prepared to move to another area. A locked bread wagon trailed him until he had reached out to all of Karngard, gathering the people to hear his words. The sermon would tell of the evils within men’s souls, of how everyone owed their survival to what the Order had done. It would speak of how the people must listen closer to the Brother Knights, and how our giving to the Order must increase to receive the rewards of the Creator. Once the sermon complete, the bread wagon would be unlocked to fill the people’s empty stomachs.

Wynne’s stomach growled, persuading her to follow. She had not eaten in two days, since sharing an old woman’s broth. The woman hadn’t even taken a bouquet for her generosity and the soup had carried her through until this morning. Elsa—Wynne knew she could never forget the name—had smiled as best she could with so few teeth. It wasn’t pretty by a lady’s standard, but it was true, Wynne did not question what lay behind it. Was that why she was troubled with the Order’s offering?

Or was it her pride?

Wynne sighed as she lifted her basket of unsold flowers and stepped tentatively toward the herald. Maybe they could offer her more than bread this time? Maybe the life they spoke about would be within their locked wagon?

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