With shaking hands, Rose picked up her gift—her Blessed Vessel.
Never had she seen anything more beautiful. And it belonged to her and only to her. The wooden chest was carved with such intricacy and care, it brought tears to her eyes.
It was divided into three sections.
The first section showed a herd of horses. Oh, how she loved horses!
Of course everyone loved to ride horses, but her love went far beyond that. She loved to take care of them, keep them safe and comfortable. One day she would love to have a haven for horses that were no longer wanted because they weren’t perfect anymore.
The more Rose gazed at the horses, they seemed to actually be moving. One horse was in the midst of galloping. Another reared back, fierce and proud. A colt leaned against its mother for comfort.
On the other end of the chest was a garden of roses, pink, red, and yellow with green leaves surrounding them, no doubt to symbolize her love for growing living things. Her mother often teased her that it must have been why she’d named her Rose, so deep was her love for growing things.
She’d even given Rose a small section in her own garden this year.
In the center of each rose was a tiny but perfect gem that matched the colors of the petal. But the most beautiful were just like the dress she wore—no color and all colors. They shimmered as if the sunlight fell upon them.
The Creator did know her. Her Blessed Vessel showed the things she loved the most in this world.
Between the herd of horses and the rose garden was a smooth section of wood, beautiful but empty. Why had the carver put nothing in the center? Not that it was unpleasant but it gave a feeling of not quite being finished.
Rose ran a finger across the empty space. A tingle of excitement coursed through her.
Veronique whispered in her ear, “Oh, my gift is so beautiful. Look, I have books of every sort.”
And indeed she did. Both sides of Veronique’s vessel was filled with books with only a small space between the books, much smaller than Rose’s empty space. Books and nothing more.
Veronique loved books more than anyone Rose had ever known.
“What do you suppose it might mean?” Veronique looked anxious. “Why do I only have books and nothing else?”
“I suppose it might mean that you might become a Scholar of some sort.”
“I would love that.” As Veronique spoke, she ran her fingers lovingly on the books carved into her gift. “Think about it. Spending all day reading and learning all sorts of interesting things. How wonderful would that be?”
“Perhaps, you might become a Scribe.”
Veronique’s eyes widened. “A Scribe? That would be more than I could ever hope or dream for. What does your gift show?”
“Horses and flowers.”
Veronique laughed. “Oh, the Creator seems to know each of us very well.”
“It seems to be so.”
They both turned to Bells. “Show us what you have.”
Bells pouted. “Nothing nearly as useful as your books, Veronique. Nor as beautiful as your horses and garden, Rose.” She held it out for the others to see.
“Very curious, indeed.” Rose finally said.
Bells’ box consisted mostly of the blank space in the middle. On each side was a narrow section filled with bells. All sorts of bells—big ones; little ones; pretty ones; and some no so pretty.
Veronique looked up from the box, concern filled her eyes. “Most unusual. But still very pretty. Mine only has one thing as well. Books.”
“But you love books. I don’t like bells. Unless you’re talking about me, of course. Then I like them.” Bells shook her head, her blonde curls went every which way. “It doesn’t matter. I can’t wait until we get to the Ball tonight. That’s where the real fun will begin.”
After a few more moments, Princess Lilianna spoke again. “The Creator’s Gifts are things of beauty, no?”
Why did she keep calling it the Creator’s Gift instead of the Blessed Vessel? Wasn’t this supposed to be the Ceremony of the Blessed Vessel?
“Is there anyone here who thinks they may have received the wrong Gift? It has been known to happen from time to time.”
Rose looked at Bells. Would she say something? Bells looked at her and shook her head with a smile. Apparently not. Each girl looked down the row they sat in to see if someone had received the wrong Blessed Vessel.
No one came forward.
“Wonderful then.” Her gaze swept around the room. “As you may have noticed each of your Gifts has a space where nothing can be seen as of yet. The empty space waits for the paths you will choose as you take your One True Journey.”
Rose stared down, now understanding. Excitement flowed through her. Her One True Journey awaited her. She could create in the empty space whatever she wanted.
A glance at Veronique’s gift made her understand even more. The tiny empty space must signify that Veronique would have a much shorter journey to her final destination than Rose.
As Rose gazed upon Bells’, she wondered what all that empty space could mean. A sense of foreboding passed over her for her friend.
“So now that you have your Gift, it is time to talk about the Blessed Vessel.”
Rose thought that was exactly what they’d been doing. She had her Blessed Vessel in front of her, didn’t she?
With a knowing smile, Princess Lilianna asked, “You didn’t think The Creator’s Gift was the Blessed Vessel, did you?”
One more to go….would love to hear any comments so far! Thanks for sticking with me and the story.
UNTIL NEXT TIME…GOD BLESS & GOOD READING!