“Your stew is as delicious as ever, Preva,” Anans says after savoring his first bite. The smell of simmered goat meat and spices fills his old friend’s small house. It’s been months since he last tasted elvish cooking like he had eaten growing up in the Sapphire Shore.
“Thank you, little dervish,” she replies. She sighs and says, “I only made it because I can do it without thinking. Too much to think on already, recently. I’ve been praying twice as long every day since the temple made its announcement. I even got out my copy of the Barkhoum and sang a few verses last night. In the desert, water’s never unwelcome, as they say.”
“Will your business be alright? I know the festival is usually a busy time for the both of us.”
“We’ll survive. Qarivesh has been saving money. I’ve always groaned that he never buys me any nice gifts for Springday and the like, but it’s saved us, I suppose. He’ll never let me live it down, I’m sure. Still, it will be a year of tightened belts.” Preva sips her wine, and Anans ruminates that her expression reminds him of the horizon just before a dust storm. At length, she continues. “I just can’t fathom why Eidala would visit such a catastrophe on us. Priestess Ilir’ana claims that the goddess is displeased with us, but displeased for what? Ilir’ana says it is for allowing this disease to creep so close, but… forgive me, Anans, you know I would walk into the ocean before I profane the Feyqueen, but why didn’t she give us some kind of warning before? If even those afflicted are not aware, how were we to know? I should like to ask Eidala that, but I am not Ilir’ana.”
“No, indeed none of us are, my friend. Tarmun had much the same questions, as do I. But we are not Ilir’ana.” The prayer bells begin to sound in the town as the sun sinks behind the horizon. Preva busily pulls her prayer cushion out from under her small shrine and kneels down. Anans stands to leave. “Thank you for the stew, Preva. I must go to meet my companions. Feyqueen grace your house.” Preva’s singing follows him out the door.