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He woke up at the touch of the Brother, and shook off the last fingers of sleep. He performed the first Ritual, his fingers shaking slightly as they met and danced over each other. His dark skin was a little pale with the months of training in the dark monastery.

His actions betrayed him, but he hoped nonetheless that the Brother didn’t notice. It was the day of the Ascendance, and Jonas was certain that he would fail. These thoughts made gentle ripples on the surface of his meditation, disrupting the Silence. The Silence was essential to Ascendance, but Jonas wasn’t concerned while he meditated.

When he was done, he followed the broad, anonymous Brother down the twisting corridors. After a route that must have repeated itself five times, Jonas reached a dark room with candles lighting it. Knowing the procedure, he sat down and crossed his legs.

Doubt clouded over him as he sat there, knowing well that he might not reach Ascendance. Eventually, when the nervousness made a pit in his stomach, another Brother entered- wait, this was an Elder, with the yellow trimmings around the edge of his robe and a necklace to denote rank within the Elder caste.

“Speak your doubts. Begin when you are done,” commanded the Elder.

“I doubt that I might succeed in my duties to the people, and that I might attain the rank meant me by the All-God.” Standard. In his mind, he doubted that he would even be able to doubt his other duties. As he finished, he began the hand rituals, began meditation, and drew the Silence to him. It blanketed him and made him warm like a quilt inside.

This was the most important part. He looked into the Silence, and he told it what to do. If it listened, it would be the most important day of his life. He would be branded with the All-God’s mark, and live a life of posterity and Silent pleasure. If he failed . . .

He commanded the Silence to light the candle. Nothing. He told it to LIGHT THE CANDLE. Nothing. He groaned inwardly, and tried again and again. Nothing at all. It seemed that he was doomed.

He drew himself out of the meditation, and he felt the calming touch of the Silence leave him. Knowing he was going to be more emotional once he left his trance didn’t help, and panic swelled in his soul. He cried out, physically this time, and struggled to get up. His legs failed him, and he slipped. The Elder placed a strong bony hand on him and picked him up.

“I saw no effect, and am thusly forced to tell you that the All-God has denied you to be his servant. However, the gift remains and may be misused if you change alliances. For your own good, Child, follow me outside to the Edifice of Recycling, where your essence may fuel the Brothers to come.” His tone was cold, but his eyes showed pity.

Jonas panicked but obeyed, knowing his duty to the whole was more important than his duty to himself.

As he stepped outside, he saw that a few trees were ablaze. They raged. His panic drove him further, and he felt the Silence grasp him as his body collapsed. The trees roared in response.

* * *

When he awoke, Jonas heard, “Recycling will not be necessary.

"Congratulations, Brother Jonas, on your command of the Silence, and welcome to the Brotherhood.” The word “Brother” struck his ears, and Jonas felt the unrestricted power surge in him. “The Brother status is of course only until you have gained mastery of the Silence, and who knows how far you can go?” The Elder clapped him on his back, his eyes twinkling and his white hair disarrayed. “I was worried, but you pulled through. All-God, did you ever. May the Silence serve you.”

The man turned away, and Jonas managed, “Th - the Silence guide you and protect you Elder,” as he exited.

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The following comments are for "Light The Candle"
by Washer

A few nitpicky things, then the big picture

"It blanketed him and made him warm like a quilt inside." This sentence bothered me, something repetative and awkward lies in there, perhaps the mixing of the verb "blanketed" and noun "quilt". Blanketed should give the connotation of warmth and cover in itself, you should not ahve to repeat yourself. Also, "live a life of posterity and Silent pleasure" "posterity" is the wrong word, maybe you mean prosperity? And I wonder a bit why the "Silent" was capitalized, unless it was to denote a relation between the "Silence" that Jonas tries to utilize.

Big picture: This was a good piece. if the score I put down frets you, don't worry, I tend to score low. The idea was nice, and you conveyed the mood fairly well. The break before the last paragraph makes it a tad awkward, since short stories usually don't allow for that kind of thing. I would advise you to arrange that differently in order to keep the flow.
I would love to see more elaboration, a longer more invovled piece, but take that little opinion with caution; I've been told I'm the queen of over elaboration. Still, though, I would be delighted to see more within the story.


( Posted by: Kitten Courna [Member] On: June 24, 2003 )

This story has a great many possibilities and I enjoyed reading it. I can see where it could easily be expanded on if you so chose to do so. (My wasnt that a bad sentence)I disagree with Kitty's assumption that the word blanket has a warm connotation. The best example I can think of would be "A blanket of snow covered the land..." or "Fog blanketed the landscape." Look forward to reading more of your work.

( Posted by: sgt_cook [Member] On: June 25, 2003 )

Nice little scene.Needs a nip and a tuck. Agree about the quilt thing. A quilt inside him? That's a story in itself! Urg!
Add about five hundred pages and it would make a good novel.
Is there a mystical message behind it all?

( Posted by: albie [Member] On: July 3, 2003 )

Fans . . .
The wording will remain unrevised. I'm a completionist, though it's not a word yet really. Once something is done, I'm too lazy to give it the ole once-over. I'd make a pretty bad carpenter, huh?

Anyway, I doubt I would have noticed the sloppy metaphors and the uneven breaks that run through it, but it's a comfort to think that you all cared enough to read it.

( Posted by: Washer [Member] On: July 11, 2003 )

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