The Temple of Aidan, located in the center of the empire, was home to the revered order of Glimmermaids, a priceless imperial treasure. In the years since its founding, a village rose around the temple and in the hundreds of years since, the village grew into a city. The city, like most in the region, had been fortified through the centuries with large imposing walls until three different sets were formed, the inner encircled by the outer. The temple and its grounds filled the inner most portion of the city, while the residences of the citizenry comprised the center ring. Within the outer ring are orchards, fields, grain silos, fisheries, and the five garrisons which belong to the five Orders of Eldritch Knights. The great river of Alpheus bisects the city and cuts through the two outer walls. Beyond the outer most walls of Aidan are rolling hills and rice farms. This close to the great city crime was nonexistent since Aidan maintained a large standing army called the Maid’s Guard. If the Guard wasn’t enough to dissuade bandits and ruffians, the small presence of the elite Eldritch Knights certainly was, even if each of the Order’s garrisons housed less than fifty knights, a combined total of two hundred and fifty. The city of Aidan was one of the wealthiest in the empire. Every year pilgrims visited the city to leave bountiful donations, or gifted daughters. The gifts were left to show their appreciation and reverence for the dedication and sacrifice of the Order housed within, while it was an imperial mandate for any female child born to be blessed by the elements to be given to the Glimmermaids to train, for the safety of the empire. The ornate city was currently overflowing with decoration and festivity, all in preparation for the upcoming celebration, known by those within the temple as the Joining Ceremony. Colored lanterns, affixed to streamers, hung above the many thoroughfares and side alleys of the city and bathed cobblestone streets and marbled columns with a rainbow of hues. The city was full of music, seeping from the entrances of taverns and inns, or echoing from various instruments played by the motley clothed minstrels and street performers which had flooded the normally tranquil city within the last few days. Within the temple grounds, a young woman dressed in the plain white apprentice’s dress, embroidered with the golden circle of the Glimmermaid’s Order, crossed the eastern courtyard. Her waist long sandy blonde hair was divided into a pair of pigtails, a tale-tell clue to the woman’s identity. Cordelia was well known within the temple, and even the city of Aidan, for being a skilled diplomat and promising candidate for sisterhood. She would be one of twelve candidates for the joining ceremony; an idea that was troubling both her mind and her appetite. Cordelia had often dreamed of escaping the confinements of the temple grounds and the future they held. She believed in her duty and her compassion was something the elder Maids often praised. She simply rebelled against her fate because she had no choice in the matter. It was a childish notion that she had been counseled to outgrow. Despite her trepidation of the upcoming ceremony, Cordelia had a smile upon her face; one that dimpled her cheeks and caused her eyes to sparkle. She crossed the open area to a gathering of seven young girls, none older than nine years-of-age. She crossed her legs and then lowered herself into a sitting position at the head of the class. She smiled at the young girls before beginning the lesson in a gentle yet commanding voice. Her task for the afternoon was to guide these initiates through their meditation. She instructed the girls and silenced their giggling before considering each in turn. Once Cordelia was satisfied that the children were taking their lesson seriously, she closed her eyes, calmed her mind, and allowed her empathic ability to read each initiate. It was as if she was reading a book. Their emotions ran the gamut from excitement that bordered on hysteria to trepidation that was nearly paralytic. She focused upon each of her pupils, and allowed her presence to calm them. They were gifted, after all, even if they weren’t as skilled as they would eventually become. An hour passed and Cordelia dismissed her class before she rose and headed toward the library. She had free time without any responsibilities or chores, a rare occasion and one that she planned to make use of. There was a section of the library, reserved for sisters, which Cordelia enjoyed sneaking into and exploring. The books she had found were informative, to say the least, and she understood why the sisters didn’t allow the younger women read such texts. It was, however, immensely enjoyable and the contents of the books aroused a portion of her mind which she would likely need to control in the upcoming days.