by SiriusOryon

Ah, yes, it is a familiar time of year for many mortals. A time for festivities and worship and celebrations with those whom mortals find familiar. A time to be thankful and reflect upon moments of mortal gratitude.

Although ‘time’ and ‘seasons’ are not perceived the same in the Enchanted Lands, the nymphs of Crystal Orchard do share in a periodic merriment of sorts, somewhat akin to this ‘season’ of mortals.

This ‘special occasion’ known by the nymphs of Crystal Orchard as the Merge Fecund Salutation, is for worshiping and honoring the Deities and their ‘gifts’ to the nymphs.

The Merge Fecund Salutation is a long-standing tradition within the grounds of Crystal Orchard, as it is the pinnacle moment of the native nymphs lives (most of them that is).

Iona, however, is the one lone nymph out of the bunch, who for reasons vaguely unbeknownst to even herself, does not feel so jovial about ‘worshiping’ the Deities, in dire contrast to the feelings of the rest of her colony.

Iona had always questioned the authority that the Deities wielded over the nymphs of her beloved colony. She was always doubtful of their ‘gifts’ to the nymphs and the nymphs obligatory beholding to the Deities for said questionable gifts.

Her dubious inclinations were not well received by the Elders however, and Iona was made to suffer the consequences of her ‘defiance.’

Iona never understood how asking a question could be interpreted as defiance. But she suspected the Deities were also behind the stern tone that the Elders took with her in response to her honest questions.

Iona did not worship the Deities blindly, nor anyone for that matter. She was one to observe the facts and let the truth determine her loyalty.

It was Iona’s compulsive yearning for truth that caused her to come to believe in the mysterious True Gods, a feat all but extraordinary, considering Iona’s circumstances within Crystal Orchard.

Except for the Elders, most of the nymphs had no memory or knowledge of the True Gods, not since the coming of the Deities. Making a mention of the True Gods, or possessing any item of worship for them, was something utterly forbidden by the Deities.

The Elders did an obediently faithful job of all but erasing the True Gods from the minds of the younger nymphs. So one can imagine the sense of horror and fear these Elders may have felt when out of nowhere the young nymph named Iona suddenly began asking questions about the True Gods and at the same time questioned the authority of the Deities.

How would they explain this to the Deities? How did Iona learn about the True Gods when no nymph had uttered a single word about them in ages since the Deities took power?

Ah, the power of an earnest question.

It was the Elders overzealous reactions to Iona’s ‘questions’ that ironically enough gave Iona the very validation she needed.

For Iona had no ‘proof’ of the existence of the True Gods, neither had she any evidence that the Deities were not whom they portended to be.

She only had questions—the questions that came to her mind in the face of things she observed that just did not seem to add up.

It was the questions that stirred up the tempest against her, and it was that very same tempest that gave her enough confidence to know that she even had a choice, something she never would have learned had the Elders not refused to answer her.

Not only did they not answer her, but they punished her for mere inquisitiveness, something she instinctively knew was contrary to nature.

In essence, the irony was so beautiful, because it was in the very denial of the question that Iona found her answer.

When she found her answer, she could no longer enjoy or be excited for the Merge Fecund Salutation.

For Iona, the Deities and their ‘gifts’ were nothing to celebrate, because the only gift she ever wanted was the truth.