She rose from bed, walking toward the public area of the temple. Stone tiles cooled the soles of her bare feet. She passed through the dorm area where the clergy lived. This was the place she had called home for over four decades. Jalena knew her way so well, she could navigate by touch alone. Her footsteps sounded like a whisper. No one else stirred.
Moments later, she reached the main area of the temple. Carved stone pillars raised from the floor to hold the ceiling. At times, they gave the space a feeling almost like a forest with grooved white trees. Many other mornings of late had found her here, in the sacred space of her goddess. It soothed her when the dreams came.
Jalena walked toward the focal point of the temple, an expansive mosaic-covered wall opposite the public entrance. A few yards away from the wall, she stopped. Here a channel in the floor carried water from one side of the temple to the other, a small stone river in the marble forest. The water started in the mountains of Tryne and flowed south as the Illyan river, reaching all the way south to the sea. The water that flowed in front of Jalena were diverted from the river on its way from mountains to sea. Like an artery, it connected vast expanses of the body of the continent.
Kneeling, Jalena dipped her fingers in and sprinkled herself with moisture. A quiet prayer tumbled across her lips, asking the goddess for guidance. These dreams troubled Jalena, though she did not know why. Slowly, a feeling rose in her, a yearning to cross the stream and walk on the other side. She resisted, as she had on the other mornings when the feeling came to her. The space opposite the stream belonged to the goddess alone. Humans were too impure to enter it.
The mosaics on the other side of the stream were dark in the time before the dawn. Jalena did not need to see them to know them, though. Images of the goddess Nyma and her forms covered the expanse of the wall. A lapis lazuli ocean that turned into the blue hair of a serene woman who watched out from the wall with shining labradorite eyes. Jade and malachite showed the shades and shadows of a wide river that held a woman running. A howlite blizzard blazed with a furious gaze. On and on, the images stretched. All the forms of water echoed with the many faces of Nyma.