Heart of Gold

Finding out about your past should be easy if your mother is already famous, but that is only half the problem when the wrong people also work it out. Life can get complicated when you are ten.

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1. Natalia


Natalia's golden curls bounced off her shoulders as she skipped to keep up with the priestess of Amaya. The temple courtyard was quiet at this early time in the morning, with the sound of the dawn chorus breaking the silence and the smell of cooking fires and forges being lit across the rest of Erasithin.

Sister Kaylin slowed her pace a little allowing Natalia to catch up. She felt the small hand of the young girl slip into hers and smiled. Sister Kaylin liked her work at the temple, but ever since Natalia had been schooled there it had been a joy. Somehow the young girl's personality lifted everyone she met. Natalia was so keen and eager to learn and to help others. Many was the occasion when Sister Kaylin had been exhausted and tired at the end of a hard day only to be re-energised by Natalias presence. Her capacity for learning and need for knowledge was quite incredible for one so young, especially given that the girls mother had been a lot less than academic. Vincenzo the head archivist in the great library, well known for his bad temper and dislike of disturbances, was known to soften when she smiled at him.

'Sister Kaylin' Natalia said, looking up at the priestess 'can I be a priestess like you?'

Although she new she would ask sooner or later it caught Sister Kaylin off guard. 'Umm.. Natalia, have you asked your mother about it?'


'And what did she say?'

'She muttered something under her breath and then swore lots and lots and lots and lots.' Natalia had a thoughtful look on her face 'and accidentally broke three plates. But she never said no,'

Sister Kaylin couldn't help it. She stopped walking and burst out laughing. Laughter echoed across the courtyard as Sister Kaylin doubled over holding her stomach while trying to suppress the laughter as Natalia started to giggle too. Eventually the fits of giggles and laughter subsided.

'Natalia, if it were up to me I would let you become a novice. You would be a gift to the temple. However, your mother will not allow it to be until you come of age and choose for yourself.'

Natalia was silent and thoughtful for a moment. They both continued across the courtyard and entered the infirmary. The infirmary attached to the temple made some provision of healing for the poor of Erasithin. Natalia enjoyed helping the sisters of Amaya as they helped the sick. She would fetch and carry herbs and bandages and watch as they were applied. Occasionally, under close supervision she would do some of the work. At other times she would simply talk to the patients or listen to any stories they had to tell.

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