To be summoned to the Verbot Doma was a serious matter. Zareen tried to think of any infraction she'd committed, any task she'd omitted to perform. Perhaps it had to do with her attending too frequent sword practices and too few needlework sessions. The truth was her skill with a sword far surpassed her skill with a needle.
Before entering the Doma's room, Zareen paused to command serenity to settle over her. Lately that art had become more and more difficult. For some reason she couldn't identify, she'd been restless of late. True, she took part in the forays into the city where the senior virgins ventured, always in pairs, to do what they could for the poor and ill. This meant she wasn't always confined to the Verbot Temple. Could it be these forays had whetted her appetite for-what? Using her warrior skills? But the Virgin warriors were strictly for defense and, as Zareen well knew, her Temple hadn't been under attack for more than the twenty years she had lived.
Inside the room, she saw the Doma seated on a low hassock beside the reflecting pool, an empty stool beside her. Senior virgins were not required to bow their heads to the Verbot Doma, as juniors and acolytes were. Today, though, it was difficult to remember not to.
"Ah, Zareen," the Doma said. "Come you and sit beside me."
After a silence, the Doma asked, "What see you in the pool?"
She'd never been asked this before. Zareen leaned forward, peering intently, hoping to scry something of importance, but finally had to admit, "I see only the water reflecting me."
"Close your eyes. Now what see you?"
First there was nothing but darkness behind her lids. Zareen waited, not trying to grasp at the limited magic she possessed. Either a vision would come or not, it couldn't be forced.
After a time, she whispered, "I see the moons in the night sky. Both moons."
The Doma sighed. "It is as I feared. Open your eyes, child."
Zareen blinked at her. "But this is only the twelfth year. The moons will not appear together until next year."
"Tell me what will happen then."
Without the Starlight Crescent to prevent evil, Zareen knew, the entire planet of Tonapa might be rent asunder during two moon night. Mizpa, the city where she lived, and all in it might perish. The simple verse she'd learned as a child slipped into her head and, without thinking, she chanted the words:
"When the two moons sail the night
Starlight Crescent shining bright