Silver and gold I have not, but what I have I give to you

Do No Harm: this was the teaching of the Buddha, as perceived through the Order of the Verse.

After the engineer, Marisol, asked for help preparing a meal, Lyen had little idea that it would mean handling a massive carcass of a once living creature. Looking down at the beef she reasoned, the harm has been done, and it was not done for me alone, so there isn't any harm in it, right? This was the way of the Order of the Verse, whom subsisted mostly on what was provided for them by the populace and what plants could be grown. Their tradition would never allow them to raise cattle, and only to eat those which had lived a full life or died of sickness. However, if a meal were offered as a gift, then it was of good merit to accept it at face value. And that's the mantra she chanted as she wrapped her arms around the frigid, oblong carcass.

After the battle, the beef lay ready to be cut atop the counter. Surveying her work for a moment, she considered whether she should feel remorse for the beast that had given its life, but the Lunar Veil had put her in some situations out of necessity. She was lost in thought while scrubbing the cold, slick film from her hands when Dorian arrived in the galley.

“Admirable,” he smiled over at the completed work. “Sistah,” he reached into a vest pocket and withdrew another small box, “Ah found this on tha Skyplex an’ thought yah might appreciate it.”

As she opened the box, he said, “Tha artist swore tha lettering indicated gratitude.” A tiny cylinder, a Buddhist prayer wheel, hung as a pendent from a chain. It glistened silver as Lyen removed it from the box.

“She told me,” Doc continued, “that yah s’posed tah write down yah own prayer an’ place it inside. Ah’m quite outta practice in that department, but Ah did manage a few words.”

The silver wheel rested brilliantly in Lyen's warm hand. The Om Mani Padme Hum was inscribed delicately clockwise around the wheel, with a decorative, removable top. When removed with a gentle twist, the Dentist's prayer slipped between her fingers. It read:

To one who always points toward a better path
Even when I choose not to follow,
Who lifts a lamp for my sight
Even though I may choose not to see,
And when my choices had all run dry
Answered my plea without hesitation.
I am so thankful that you are here among us.

With a gentle tilt of her head, Ly raveled the note, replacing it in its home. She faced Dorian and with her hands together, offering a low bow. Such a gift, from her ten years of study, had certainly granted the man much merit. But it was more than that: it ached her heart, such a manifestation of home, here, among the bones and belly of the Lunar Veil. Breaking her bow, the nun closed the distance between them, arching her arms around the man's broad shoulders in a tight, brief embrace.

She was touched too much for words, too much for decorum, too much for not recognizing the life-choice of the other with contact.

Released, she strung out the chain of the prayer wheel and draped it alongside her prayer beads. The silver shone bright in contrast to the worn wood of the beads beside. With her eyes attempting some form of stoicism, she echoed: "Thank you," aloud.

< Prev : 22 and Counting down. Next > : Vexed