Midwinters day approached and I rode out of the keep besides mother into the Sacred Forest of Anar. The air was crisp and still. The foot fall of our mounts on the hard ground re-echoed in the deep silence around us. Anar seemed vast, and empty, and silent.
"You seem to be sad Pandora?" Mothers voice too seemed distant.
"Yes, I am, the trees naked of their leaves, the birds have largely flown to their winter homes, the hare and squirell hide in their burrows. I do feel sad, but Anar feels sad to me as well."
Mother only nodded, we rode on.
We came to a hot spring, where the water was not so Icy cold. "I have a new gown for you, such as you will wear one day when you are 4th of the Nine, but you must bathe first before putting it on."
I knew better than to question Ara, I dismounted undressed, and bathed in the hot spring. She dismounted for a moment and gathered up my clothes. When I felt truely clean I left the water toweled off and asked mother for my new gown but she replied. "Do you feel sad Pandora?"
"No I feel cold, may I please have my gown."
"Soon, tell me why did you strip off this gown.
"You promised me another, I could hardly put a new gown on over the old, now could I?"
"It would be akward, no I suppose not" she smiled that wry smile that said so little and so much.
"Look Around you child, Ki too has stripped off her gown, in the spring she will wear another, months for us, but an evenings rest for her. She has loved her An and now she sleeps after their passion. She is not sad she merely sleeps, and many of her children sleep beside her."Ama tu ANKI.