“Shamsiel, the child has begun her trials!”
Atop the pristine peaks of Mount Celestia, an iridescent figure hovers before an ornate brazier with blue fire. Images of a young, dark haired girl shimmer between the flames.
“Indeed, Erela. I have great confidence in this one.” The deva’s voice rings out like a gentle chorus of cellos.
“But why this one, Shamsiel? She has so many…weaknesses,” squeaks Erela, buzzing around and flickering like a lantern caught in a windstorm.
“Flaws are quite different than weaknesses. Admittedly, she lacks confidence, experience, and she is plagued with self-doubt. The child knows nothing of her own potential. But most importantly, she is afraid.”
“She’s afraid!” hums Erela. “How could she ever be a hero with so much fear in her heart?”
Shamsiel’s white eyes gleam in the light of the fire. “For now, fear is her greatest strength. Only those who are intimate with fear can truly value courage.”
Erela turns a bright shade of pink and flies circles around Shamsiel’s head. “Let us assume she discovers courage. Even then, she lacks devotion! She has shunned the gods and curses her life. That resentment festers in her!”
“Look closer, my friend,” Shamsiel leans in, almost brushing against the blue flames. “Despite a life of hardship, she is good. She knows compassion. Most souls would turn dark from such adversity, but instead she learned empathy. She is a champion for the downtrodden, an ideal that will take her far.”
“Having ideals means nothing without motivation,” sings Erela, now perched on Shamsiel’s shoulder. “What is stopping her from turning back? What drives her onward?”
At this, Shamsiel laughs. It is a symphony of warmth and joy that parts the clouds and sends rays of light across the mountainside. The blue flames in the brazier explode and dance, illuminating the image of the young girl with perfect clarity. She huddles in the corner of a dusty room, face wet with tears.
“Belonging. She knows she was not meant for this world, for this life. It tugs at her. It bonds her with this quest. She will do whatever it takes to find out where she needs to be. To find out where she is needed.”
Joslyn glances up as if peering through the flames. Her body is trembling, but her eyes are calm.