“Samaneri!” Cyrene stopped in her tracks hearing the Rassaphore call to her. It was Randal, she could tell by the accusing tone in his voice. “You’re late! Again!” She knew she wasn’t, but turned to face him. There were those she wished she was more invisible towards, and he was one of them. He was still a fledgling Monk having just been to his first Rain, the Upasampada, and gaining the Rassaphore title only but a month or two ago. It didn’t stop his desire to loom the title over her as if she did him wrong in one of her past lives. She never understood what he gained out of bullying her, and he knew she couldn’t retaliate. The Upasampada was still almost a year out for her to gain her Nun status.
Cyrene held up her three fingers fist out towards Randal and then spun her fist back towards her before bringing her three fingers down in a fist all while mouthing the word she was signing, ‘What!’
“I said you’re late! You better start running, little runt!” Randal accused.
‘Some Monk you are making,’ Cyrene thought to herself waving the offensive words away as she turned. Despite knowing she wasn’t late Cyrene hurried her pace just to distance herself from him. The others were gathering, and she made her way to the other Samaneri novices and sat on her knees next to one of the other girls that smiled up at her. The Samanera, or boy novices training to be monks, made up the other half of the gathering hall. These Respects were for the novices, and the Nuns and Monks were later in the evening. As soon as everyone gathered in the huge hall, a soft silence came over the room, as it always did. The giant golden statue at the head of the room was nearly a dozen feet tall. There was no gender that you could tell, and it was merely a person kneeling with their arms outstretched in front of them, head to the ground. A low thrum of chants filled the gathering hall from the elders of the group, the novices joined in and would continue to do so until the hour had passed. It was during this time that the novices would all meditate on the Ten Precepts. Halfway through the Respects a Great Schema, one of the head Monk’s or Nun’s, would join the novices and begin reciting the Vinaya; the set of rules that this Monastery expected of their disciples.
Cyrene did her best to focus internally and to the Great Schema, softly reciting the Vinaya countless times. She found her mind wandering as it often did, though, this time she found herself once again trying to remember life before the monastery. As thankful as she was for the people that took her in, she never felt part of this place, never felt whole here. There had to be something more, something else. She had never been too far away from the plot of land that the large monastery occupied. Sometimes the Nun’s would take her on walks into Egostrian to get food but never strayed from the path to explore. She wished to venture out. She wanted to see more than these walls. This place was not her. She did her best to give her all, but her mind often betrayed her. She found stories, stories in books and listened to passersby speak about places outside of the city. The Lagartija Forest, the faraway land of the Ketsueki Desert across the Rystan Ocean. Her sense of purpose found meaning in a profound draw on her very soul to be free to explore the world. She had nothing, though, possessions were only minimally allowed and she had never owned any coin for herself. Cyrene knew these were hurdles she had, but not her biggest. How would she bring herself to leave this place, away from the people that took her in, and would they ever take her back?