Hiskitan, Artemisia has always been a personal paradise in my mind. And the mystical Temple of Bezrah had always been a magical place of intrigue and beauty, since the first time I imagined it. Here, Janice and her three children stumble on the Temple, hidden in the forests of Hiskitan, for the first time.
…They found themselves in a spacious, man-made clearing. An elaborate stone building loomed ahead of them, and they stared at it with awe.
It rested on a sweeping, six-pillared portico. Two minarets with carved balconies towered on either side, seeming to pierce the gray clouds above. Colorful banners and clinging vines draped the face of it, and an ornate dome capped the building’s center. Guarding this whole magnificent structure were a host of stone images. They were sculpted from black onyx into fearsome winged creatures, beasts like the gargoyles of old European myth. These Artemisian “gretluhys” stood with each misshapen face unique. Their taloned-hands clenched gruesome weapons in warning. Several peered down from the ledges around a massive bell tower above the dome.
Janice’s heart trembled at the sight of these guardian monsters. Their faces felt oddly familiar to her and recalled memories that plagued her emotions. She turned her face away and looked now to the next wonder. Equal to two-thirds the height of the main building was a tall creature cast in white limestone. This statue of a beautiful young woman stood at the front of the property, dressed in a flowing gown. Carved flower petals and leaves adorned her long hair. In one hand, a torch of silver kept a flame burning in the night. In the other, she clutched a marble vase in which a living bouquet of sacrificial flowers was kept.
Jenny wandered and spotted a mound of stone set near the building’s entrance. She passed beneath the enormous, limestone idol and approached the portico. She peered through the stormy darkness and read the heading engraved in the rock mound.
She struggled to pronounce the Artemisian words: “Eda Templay duy Bezrah.”
Janice held Mandie close. Translating from what little of the language she had picked up over the years, she said, “The Temple of Bezrah…?”
Jenny returned to her mother’s side while a flash of lightning tore through the sky. They all gazed again at Bezrah, Mistress of the Earth, veiled in stone and frozen in her eternal dance.
–Excerpt From: Sarah Wallin-Huff. “Questions of Faith (The Kesher Chronicles #2).”