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For a brief few seconds, you think to yourself that he could be your brother, since both of you have deep red hair and almost the exact skin tone. His eyes do not burn as emerald as yours do, but the discipline and life you see in his more than makes up for that. Taking the scroll from you, he methodically unrolls it and quickly scans it, mostly as if merely making sure the usual details are in order. Placing the scroll back in the case and setting it down, his attention turns back to you, and you feel a peaceful, easy feeling wash over you as his gaze takes in not only your physical stature, but also your spiritual being.
"Wil'amae Sunrose," he intones, his voice reaching out to fill the entire room, "you stand before me having endured nine seasons as an acolyte of the priesthood, and steadfast have you remained in that time with your tasks. You stand before me as a willing pupil to continue in the ways of holiness, shadow, and discipline. If allowed, will you endure the next seasons as you have the last, steadfast, with faith and honor?"
"I will," is your answer, followed with a deep bow of your head, which you hold as you were instructed.
Placing his hand on your shoulder, your cue to look up, Lotheolan gently guides you to stand in front of and facing the gleaming statue.
"Kneel," Lotheolan whispers to you, and you settle down softly and place your hands palm down onto your legs. Standing at your side, Lotheolan places a hand reverently atop your head and looks up to the face of the statue.
"Wil'amae Sunrose," he says, again in the same encompassing voice, "there is only one question that remains, and it's answer is known only to you. Your answer will decide if you are to be deemed worthy of this rite of passage, or if you are not yet ready for the tasks beyond this point."
This part of the ceremony is the test you were told of, the part that is different for each acolyte, with no question ever asked twice. This is why you spent the last two days meditating on a pure mind, heart, and soul. The one deciding factor towards whether you received the blessing of the rite of passage lay in how you answer the question.
Suddenly sensing that you have been holding your breath, you force yourself to exhale, and with a sudden feeling of understanding and astonishment, you answer: "To accept life is to accept death. To honor life is to honor death. To accept the living is to accept the dead. There is not one without the other."
A sensation in your spirit makes you open your eyes and look directly at the face of the statue towering over you. A glow builds from the statue's eyes, building in brightness and distance as it steadily reaches out to engulf your face in its touch. Thoughts, emotions, feelings, of every kind, and from everywhere, come flooding into your mind. Images of your parents when they were children, scenes of new leaves sprouting and growing, turning the most brilliant colors until becoming brittle and carried away with on the wind, the screams of the undead and the dying all along the Dead Scar, all these cascade through your mind and body like a waterfall that you wish you could escape and that would never end.
Lotheolan's gentle voice at your ear cuts through your being, and you open your eyes yet again to feel tears streaming down your face and your laughter echoing around the room. "Wil." Lotheolan speaks to you again, and you turn to face him, feeling as if you could jump the width of Silvermoon, but yet not sure if you can even stand right now. With a look of grand respect on his face, he helps you to your feet and turns you to face him.
"Wil'amae Sunrose, you have been granted to ability to resurrect the dead, to bring the soul of another back into the physical realm of their body. Indeed, it is no small thing, as you will come to know. However, there is another, more important task given to every priest, and that is the ability to help keep the souls of the living in their place. This is what you will find the most challenging of your profession, and it is what sets us apart from all others. These last seasons have shown you worthy to care for the souls of the dead. The next seasons, and from now until your own soul departs on its final journey, you will find out if you are worthy to care for the living. Are you ready?"
Wiping the tears from your eyes with the sleeves of your robe and gathering your composure, you breathe deeply and look right into the kind face of Lotheolan. "I am ready," you bravely proclaim.
"Very well!" Lotheolan claps his hands together, nearly causing you to jump clear out of the room. "Now, as I understand it, " he says, walking back to sit amongst his stacks of books, "you have not yet taken on any skills?"
"No, I have not," you answer. "I thought it better to stay with my training until finding out whether I would pass the rite of passage."
"Well, you have passed, so waste no more time, Wil." Lotheolan grabs a blank parchment and quickly begins writing. "This is directions to every trainer we have in Silvermoon; herbalism, jewelcrafting, tailoring, cooking, first aid, all of them. Before the day is done, your first task as a newly appointed Priest is to visit each teacher of your choice and choose the skills you wish to learn. During your travels, you will have need of every skill available, so choose wisely. When you are done, return to me, and we will discuss the three branches of priesthood which now lay at your feet. You will begin to direct your priestly skills as you see fit, granted you remain steadfast and focused."
Handing you the parchment, you bow to him once more before turning to follow his directions. You have a thousand questions running full tilt through your head at the moment, but you also need some fresh air and to stretch your legs, the answers may come on their own once your mind slows down.
Lotheolan calls out again as you are retrieving your backpack. Looking around, you see him standing with a smile and nodding at you. "Your parents are very proud of you, Wil." With another nod to you, he turns away and goes back to his books.
A gentle warmth wraps around your body, a feeling you've not felt since you were a small child, and you know exactly where it comes from.
"I know," you say, as you hurry out into Silvermoon City.