She sat in the pew of the empty church, gazing softly at the dusty dark wood, the worn red velvet cushions, and the stone statue of a beautiful woman draped in long robes. Her gaze was strong, and she seemed to smile as her left hand raised slightly, as if in welcome, while her right rested on the sleek back of a large, furry wolf, her patron and the form she held at daylight.
Roxelle smiled ruefully. The goddess belonged in a temple or shrine, somewhere, or at least treated with more respect than a dusty church could provide. That was the price those who left their Elven clans for the city life had to pay.
Roxelle wasn't an elf, and neither was the one she was praying for. But she'd seen him here once before, head knelt in respect. The Elven goddess was not choosy in her followers, nor were the Elves selective in those they allowed to join. He had simply come out of respect and guidance, and for that he was welcome.
"Please," She prayed, both in her mind and aloud, her voice a loud whisper. "Please, I know it's selfish to ask. In these seven years since he disappeared, I've not been able to rest once, for my mind wanders solely to his well being. I know I am not one of your worshippers, and don't deserve to ask, but I beg you, Goddess," Her eyes shut, twin tears falling down her cheeks. "Give me a sign, if only to know if he lives or has passed to your arms." Her eyes opened, as if expecting to see something, anything.
But there was nothing, save for the soft winter wind whistling through the cracked church doors. As she stood to leave, Roxelle remembered, suddenly, of a time when she had witnessed an Elven ceremony take place within the church. They sang to the Goddess, as a way of thanking her for listening to their prayers. Slowly, she faced the statue of the Goddess once more. Roxelle didn't know any Elfish songs, but a melody came forth in her mind, and the words flowed from her mouth as water from a river. It was one they had sung together, in a tongue foreign to Roxelle. It was a song of love, of two lovers separated by a torrential sea. The man would risk the currents and creatures that resided beneath the water every day just so he could see his beloved. One night, they decided to seal their love forever in marriage. The woman waited for days, but the man never returned, having drowned in the sea. Grieving, the woman longed to be with her lover, and threw herself into the sea. Their sacrifice calmed the torrent, and the lovers were reunited after death. It was said that if two people who loved each other stood at the opposing edges, they could see the couple beneath the surface, together and happy.
"Is that true?" Roxelle would ask, and each time he would laugh and embrace her, saying they would have to find out someday.
If Roxelle hadn't been so focused on the song, she might have heard the creak of the church doors, muffled by a gloved hand. She would have felt the shivering wind, fogged by warm breath at her back, and noticed the soft padding of boots on the church's covered floor.
She would have heard the voice, singing so softly with her that it seemed to break at the words it sent forth through the air.
She didn't. What she felt was the warm, strong arms that wrapped around her as she finished the song. She felt the heat of a whisper against her neck as the voice whispered
"Is it true?"
She'd feel the equally hot tears run down as she closed her eyes.
"I don't know. We'll have to find out someday."