We met outside of the OAB near sunset. I told her to dress casual, comfortable – I had an outfit waiting for her, so no need to get dolled up for no reason. Resting a hand on her shoulder, I told her to hold her breath for just a moment – she gave me the most peculiar look, and then it was gone and we were in the Isle of Skye. Her eyes were wide with interest and awe as she took in her new surroundings. The smell of the Atlantic swept in, mingling with the pungent taste of oak and birch trees, and two hinds bounded away from where we had abruptly appeared.
“This is so magical, Lady Night,” Luna whispered. She took my hand briefly and squeezed it, surprising me. “Thank you for bringing me here.”
“We’re not done yet, my dear. Come.”
She followed me inside the temple, a pair of barn owls flanking the doorway inside. Luna’s footsteps were soft on the rug laid out, and she stopped before each effigy and artefact to marvel at it. “History was my favourite subject in school,” she murmured, running gentle fingers down the snout of a Cerberus statuette.
I led her deeper inside, the incense swirling around us like the mists until we stood before the towering effigy of my likeness. Luna gazed up at it unblinkingly, before turning to me.
“Why did you bring me here, Lady Night?”
“Because you are sharp enough to realize I did not want to show you all this just for a lark.” I stood before the effigy, my back turned to her as I transitioned to my immortal form. I heard a faint gasp from her, making me smile, and I stretched my wings to shake out the restlessness they felt, constellations barely moving over my skin. “Do you recall asking me if you needed to build an altar to me because I employed you?”
“I do,” Luna started, and I moved to face her. The stars in my eyes gleamed, and she peered at me closely. “You’re much more than I thought you were.”
I said nothing in response, holding my hand out instead. A thin slip of fabric materialized between my fingers, gold chains sliding down it. I offered it to her, my expression blank. Luna took it from me and held it out for inspection: it was a black robe, sleeveless and hooded, gold chains pulling it all together on the shoulders and hips. I handed her a pair of sandals as well, and when she gave me a questioning look, I finally smiled.
“I would have you be my head priestess, Luna. You are the first woman who has come to me willingly to help, and I reward such things.”
Luna contemplated the outfit, glancing around her as if she was going to be ambushed. “What’s the catch?”
I snorted. “No catch. You already work for me, I don’t require you to be here. But as long as this place stands, it will be your home away from home. Nothing can touch you here, including most of my family. Not that they have any reason to do so.”
I gestured to the hallway behind the effigy, and Luna went to change, returning with her clothes in a neatly folded bundle. She looked radiant, the gold complimenting her vivid red hair, her eyes alight. She could have been a muse, if blessed. She gave me a shy look – it was probably one of the most revealing outfits she’d ever worn.
“How do I look, my Lady?”
“Like a Priestess of Night. Kneel.”
She did so obligingly, and I studied her for a moment: her hair cascaded down her shoulders, framing her face as she aimed her gaze somewhere near where my feet were in the air. The silks hung off her like an easy water flow, and I felt pride at her being the first to grace my halls. It was time to induct her properly.
I closed my eyes and stretched my arms wide as they began to lose their shape, reverting to a dark haze, my feet and calves following suit. I spoke to her through my heart, letting it echo throughout the halls.
Repeat after me: The night holds all hearts.
“The night holds all hearts.” Luna’s voice trembled slightly.
We hide away the scared, protect the lost, uphold the strong.
“We hide away the scared, protect the lost, uphold the strong.”
And in our depths, we are sacred.
“And in our depths, we are sacred.”
Night is everlasting, and so is our reach.
“Night is everlasting, and so is our reach.”
My corporeal form was gone; I clung to her hair, cupped her shoulders, twisted between her fingers as the mist that the old Grecians described me as. I was Night, and I was claiming another star for my skies. Luna ran her fingers through me, at a loss. I could feel the stirrings of me inside her heart, and I pulled a little harder, beckoning her to give herself to me. She hesitated only for a moment, before her heart and soul bounded into my arms. When I felt her relax in my grip, I pulled back gently, lingering for only a moment in her hands, before resuming my immortal form. The walls and floor were illuminated by the essence of the night sky, stars dancing across the stone as they did in the sky outside, and a meteor shower fell in my eyes.
“What…happened to me?” Luna whispered, touching her chest. I helped her stand, curling a wing around her.
“You are a part of me, as I am you.”
Luna held her hands out to see a small crescent moon on her palms fading away. “Will those always show up when you’re around?”
I shook my head. “No, only when great power is used. And if you need me, you have but to call. Although, try and make it worth my time.”
Luna turned and hugged me, which I was not ready for. I don’t recall being hugged like this in a long time, and it felt…nice. I wrapped my arms and wings around her and stayed like that for a moment, before Luna pulled away.
“I should get back, Lady Night…it’s late back home.”
I agreed, and we teleported back to Greece, outside of her home. She quickly pulled her hoodie over her head, obscuring her priestess outfit from prying neighbors, and gave me a small smile.
“Thank you…for all that, Lady Night. I hope I won’t displease you.”
I took her hand and squeezed it gently. “It would take a lot, my dear. A pleasant evening to you.”