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The secret of the statue


Youko Kurama
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   Scene: The work tent of Viole the Crafter, at the plaza of the partially completed statue of virtue. Plans for the statue and other artwork and inventions lay scattered on tables and benches. Viole is an meredhel, a stocky man like species with grey skin. He's between 5 1/2 and 6 foot tall with the muscular frame common to his people. 

  "Make the priestess welcome!" He snaps at the slave, making still more last minute adjustments to the statue plans.

(I'll leave the rest open. I wonder what he's gonna hide in it...)

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Shrika, Eminent Abbottess of the Temple of Virtue, strode through the crowded market with the slowly, purposeful grace of a woman whose confidence was backed up by both ability and authority. In her case a stunning natural beauty as well. He robes shimmered with the mystic energy that imbued her by the will of the gods. Her bodice and skirt were woven with the sacred threads that reacted to her divine gift and wreathed her in the shimmer, shifting glow of the gods and it marked her as both sacred and powerful. The crowd parted before her with bowed heads, whispered prayers and hands up turned for blessings.

Each up turned palm she touched lightly and willed the supplication through her and to Virtue.

When she reached Viole the Crafter's tent she paused at the colorful, brocaded entrance and marveled a moment at the size of the temporary workshop.

She pushed the flaps aside and stepped through into the cool interior. The air was scented with dust and work and Viole himself was nowhere to be seen. Instead a slave greeted her.

"Is your master about?"

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Bending at the waist the slave of long black hair with tan skin wearing a tattered cloth straightens herself keeping her blue eyes cast down as she replies with her thin lips to the priestess with a gentle tone," My Master went to clean himself to be presentable for you Mistress. I am here to keep you company until his return."

Letting the Preistess in she goes to a table with two cups and a flask of wine. Taking the flask and uncorking the top she pours the wine slowly and carefully not to spill into two cups. Corking the flask she picks up a cup and brings it to the Priestess, saying gently,"May this cup fulfill Mistresses thirst?" 

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Shrika raised her hand and shook her head to decline the wine. She eased herself to sit with her legs folded beside her amid the cushions strewn about the low table and regarded the oddly colored woman. Shrika's bodice cupped her exposed breasts nipples dark, slate gray atop the gray of the firm curves of her lean, athletic form.

She was expected to be desirable and feminine but the paragon of virginal wife-to-be.

The glow that accompanied her warmed the dim light of the tent's interior.

"Water and fruit will be plenty - but notify Viole that I have arrived first. Hurry, girl." she instructed in a soft, polite voice.

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Bowing she places the cup back onto the small table and goes off to her Master. 

Finding him at a small pool she bows her head and says softly,"Master, the Priestess has arrived and waiting for your presence." 

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  Viole nods at the girl, "Thank you." Had the Temple discovered the irregularities of the statue? He rose from the pool, covering himself with a woven robe, "Let's go and greet her then." He kissed the slave girl's forehead, the plans he had submitted to the temple hadn't included the vault, but he had needed to list the material required on his invoice...

   They made their way into the work tent. Viole bows his head respectfully to the young priestess, "Welcome! ...to my humble workspace." His gaze falls upon the sketch of what the statue is supposed to look like and he nonchalantly begins to tidy up the table, covering the sketch with other papers, "How may I serve the faith?" He asks formally. He hoped that the resemblance between the statue and his slave had gone unnoticed.

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Shrika rose impossibly gracefully - her legs seemed not to move as she rose to embrace the artisan. She drew him to her, pressing is chest against her. She could feel his disquiet.

"Let your life be one of Virtue." she said by way of a greeting, She smiled softly as she released him and crossed to the table where he'd just covered the drawings, "There are two matters we need to discuss, Viole."

She looked away from the crafter and turned the drawing to her, "It is a lovely statue, but we are approaching the festival, and it is beginning to look like you may not get it completed in time. And," she continued, turning her intense, seemingly otherwordly gaze on him, "There is the matter of the steel plates on the bill. The drawing calls for only the two, larger plates, to anchor the feet. But the bill indicates 6 thicker, smaller plates. Brother Withram pointed it out as we were counting out tithes to pay you."

She looked at the slave girl, "Come here child." she ordered simply in a gentle voice.

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The slave girl had her eyes cast down behind her Master as she had stepped into the tent with him. Keeping by the entrance she had her hands crossed at the waist and waited for instructions if need be. 

Hearing the priestess order her close she takes gentle steps forward towards her as she kept her eyes cast down bowing her head to her,"Yes, Mistress?" 

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Shrika took the girl's chin in her hand and lifted the slaves face so she could examine it.

"Quite a lovely thing, Viole." She said and gave the girl a warm smile. "Take me to the statue, child."

She gestured to Viole, "I know an artist hates to show his work before he finishes it, but this is an official temple visit - and, what Virtue sees, so do I."

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  Viole frowned thoughtfully, "Well, the statue needs to be well secured, it would be an ill omen upon the city were Virtue to topple." He unrolled a plan, "As you'll notice in this diagram, we've left a hollow near the base... To save material and provide a place to add extra weight. The scalium plates will be cunningly arrayed to add that extra security." He smiles to the slave girl, "Would you bring that crate to the site, dear?" He pauses for a moment realizing it's weight, "Never mind, I'll do it. It's delicate." He adds for the priestesses benefit. 

  Carrying the large crate, Viole accompanies the women to the base of the statue. He smiles mischievously and leads the pair around the back of the statue. A narrow alley lies between the base and the city wall. "Virtue will hold the hope of the free people." He says dramaticly, setting down the crate and wiping his brow, "Would you be so kind, my lady?" He indicates a brick with a outline for the high priestesses holy symbol indented on the rock, "I fear that you hold the key to this mystery."

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Looking at her she looks back at her Master. Once at the statue she smiles softly knowing her Master has work diligently at it since been given the task. Watch the two she kept silent as they talked. Looking up at the statue she blushes softly at the thought and dismisses quickly to keep an eye on them and be ready to serve. 

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