"What are you doing?" Aleric and Delrayna had ridden as fast as Delrayna's Mule could gallop, until the lights of Vernon were out of sigjht, and for as long as it took Aleric to feel safe from pursuit. He finally brought them to a halt on some high ground. With enough cover to keep them hidden, but still have a clear view of their surroundings. There was enough moon light to see a fair distance. Delrayna had slid off her mule, and was opening the smaller of her bags.
"Make a fire," she commanded instead of answering. "It's blessed cold out here. You want me to catch my death?"
"You could put some clothes on."
"No time and what are you waiting for?" Delrayna took a quick look around. "You can build it over by those rocks. It'll reflect the heat and hide the flames."
Aleric longed for the good old days when he was unencumbered by the need to care for a slave mainly because he didn't have one. With a long suffering sigh, he looked for matereal to build a fire with. "Anything else Milady?"
Delrayna smiled and said nothing, trying to remember what her mother had taught her in the months before sending her off to apprentice at the Temple. She took two silver cords and four strips of pure white linen from her pack and walked over the the fire. Her skin geaming under the light.
Aleric watched her and said nothing as she sat cross legged, facing the gibbous moon. Perfect for what she was planning to do, she hoped. Placing the cords and the linen plus a black marker on the ground beside her, she began to speak.
"O Khonsu, of bright appearance.
Mighty one of healing.
Thee do I invoke to be with me now.
Thee who banishes all ills.
Thee who conquers sickness and afflictions
Thee who banished strife and woe."
"What are you doing?" Aleric asked.
"Praying," Delrayna answered. "Now please be quiet."
"O Khonsu, Traverser of Centuries.
Beloved by millions.
Bright One in thy shrine.
Cast open thy doors before me.
Illumine my soul with thy light, reach deep into my spirit and heal all of my afflictions."
"Who's Khonsu," Aleric interrupted.
"He's a god. Now shut up."
"O Khonsu, only you can banish into eternity
The ills that are upon my soul, make me sound of body, clear of mind, pure of soul, and bright in my spirit's appearance."
"It sounds nice."
"It would be even nicer if you would let me finish."
"O Khonsu, who comes at the call of those who are sincere as I am now.
I am humble...."
Aleric snorted and Delrayna glared.
"...before thee and acknowledge thy majesty and seek to be with thee and part of thee.
O Khonsu, bless me with thy gift of healing, that I too might heal the sick of body of soul, of spirit."
Delrayna glanced over at Aleric, wondering if he was going to interrupt again. Aleric sat back and grinned at her.
"Lift me up O God of Light, smile upon my countenance, kiss me with thy breath of health.
That I too might know thy grace, know thy way.
O Khonsu, hear me,I beseech thee for I come to thee and make supplication at thy feet, they shrine, and I praise thee in my heart forever.
Hail to thee O Glorious Healer.
Anetch Hra-Ku Khonsu Heh!"
Delrayna let the sound of her voice fade away before moving.
"I thought you weren't a witch, or even an apprentice." Aleric's voice seemed harsh.
"I'm not." Delrayna picked up the silver cords and straightened them accross her legs.
"My mother taught me a few things before I left. Tell me your name."
"I want to make a charm, to make sure you don't lose your name."
"Its a name. I won't lose it."
"A name is a powerful thing, a symbol of your existance. It can be taken, lost to you, used against you. Now what is your name?"
"Aleric son of Aleric."
"How original," muttered Delrayna picking up one of the silver cords. Working quickly, she tied it into a complex seriees of knots, which she then wound around two fingers, before tying the two ends together, after using one end to make seven more knots and tying them together. This she placed upon her right knee. She took that second silver cord and did the same, this time using her wown name as she tied the knots. When finished, she placed the ring in the dirt beneath her right knee."
Aleric asked why she had done that.
"How else could I have placed them?"
"You have two knees," Aleric pointed out quite logically.
"I would then have had to have sat with one knee lower than the other and that would have been uncomfortable."
Aleric raised an eyebrow and motioned for her to continue.
"I am your slave. To put your name on the ground would be to dishonour the name of my Master. Therefore I plsced your name upon my right knee. I could not place my name above yours because that would indicate that I am above you and I am not. I could not place my name beside yours because that would indicate that I am equal to you and I am not. I placed my name under my right knee, so that my name would be beneath your name as I am beneath you."
For some reason Aleric thought of an old tale that had been told to him, when he was a child, and wondered if Gloria Steinmam was spinning in her grave.
Delrayna picked up a strip of linen and the black marker. "I'm going to draw the left eye of Horus, the Udchat, on these strips of linen. This will add protection to your name and to your sight, smell, hearing, touch and taste. I will take one strip and bind your name within it, tying it with seven knots. This you must keep with you at all times. I will do the same with mine and keep it with me at all times."
"That's two strips. What about the others?"
"One will be tied to the bridle of your horse and the other to the bridle of my mule."