"What is it like to be in love?" I find myself pondering this as I watch the last of my city fade into the distance. I knew what love was; I loved my city, my people, my mentor Veronica. But to be in love, I am told, is another emotion entirely. As I sat in the back of the buggy, I wondered if I'd ever experience it.
The courier who had brought my summons said the trip would only take a day. But my mentor would not have me be the last to show. It was considered an honor to be called before the Council, she had said.
My country - Solil - is one of few, and it is rumored to be the greatest country of them all. Solil is made up of several large cities, and we all do our part to support each other. Each city in Solil represents and embraces one of the elements of the world. I don't know whose idea it was, or how it came to be. There are a total of six cities, but Brik, the City of Lights, is the capital because it embraces and reflects all of the cities around it in Solil.
My city is Yardel, the City of Shadows. It sounds worse than it is, I promise you. We're the furthest north of all the cities, and it's almost always dark, even in the warmer months. We're an intelligent people too, making many things other cities have never seen. We are also the only city with two female ambassadors.
Each city in Solil has a ruling government, but is influenced greatly by the two ambassadors: a magister and a priest. These are not roles you pick, train for, or are chosen to take. You are either born with the ability, or you are not. There has always been a single male and female ambassador at all times, but from my studies I've learned Yardel has had two female ambassadors for several centuries.
I wasn't born in Yardel. I don't remember where I was born, really. But I am told I was brought to Sardeel very young and it was decided I would Priestess of Shadows. This isn't unheard of, being born to be a priestess or magister outside of your city, but it is rare. I was only a few years old when this all began to happen, and I can't even remember my family.
For the past twenty years I have studied under the current Priestess of Shadows. I guess you could call me the Deacon of Shadows for now, since the current Priestess is still alive and teaching me.
I stirred when the buggy jerked to a stop. I had dozed off during the trip. It's a good thing I had woken when I did, because the buggy had been heading through the gates of Brik. The buggy came to an abrupt stop again, and two armored men came to the back where I was seated with my belongings.
"Miss Laura, Deacon of Shadows?" One of the men asked. As a Deacon, I had to give up my family name, not that I could remember it if asked.
"Yes sir." I step down from the buggy and make a sweeping curtsy to the men before me. The voice of my mentor was still in the back of my head. "Be perfect and polite", Veronica had told me. "You never know what will be thought of you, and what actions those thoughts may have."
I knew she was not speaking literally, but I took the advice.
"Please, come with us." The other man speaks. "You may leave your belongings. They will be tended to."
I reached back and simply grabbed my staff. It is not as decorated or empowered as Veronica, but as a Deacon or Priestess, I was to carry it at all times, and it was a crime for it to be taken from my possession.
I follow the two armored men as they walk towards a tall building. But I don't bother taking in the details. My mind was already back to the question I was pondering when I left Yardel: "What is it like to be in love?"