The Impossible Children

Questioning the Mysteries

Author’s Note: Another short piece. Though I wish I could write thousands of words a day, sometimes you just need to continue forward and keep trying to write, however small the progress.

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“You mentioned the Mysteries before,” said Annabelle. “But you’ve never explained them. What are they?”

They sat in Jenny’s study, though Annabelle noted new books and scrolls that hadn’t been there the last time she’d visited.

Jenny looked back at her evenly. “What do you think they are?”

She always did this, turning back and asking a question to answer one of Annabelle’s. Suppressing a sigh, knowing that Jenny wanted her to give a thoughtful answer, Annabelle was silent for a moment. None of the others spoke much about the Mysteries, if at all.

Finally, Annabelle said, “I suppose it is a sort of questioning the world, to uncover what lies beyond our perception.” She did not know if that was the right answer, but she thought it sounded quite good.

Jenny did not smile, only saying, “Partially, though only just. We ask questions because we desire to know. The acquisition of knowledge for its own sake, and not for power or greed or any other reason.”

Annabelle thought about her own reasons for studying the Mysteries and how she’d begged the older girl to let her study. Is that why she disapproved of her, was always frowning at her, or criticizing her, because Annabelle’s own reasons were not quite so pure, but more motivated out of a desire to save her sister?

She thought all this, but did not voice her anger. Instead, she asked, “I suppose I see. Is this a way of life or more like a guiding principle?”

“It is what ever you make of it,” said Jenny. “The Wizard has devoted many lifetimes to the Tower, collecting rare books and tomes and codices and gathering them here so that others might learn from them.”

Annabelle didn’t know about that. How remote was this place, and how many people through the years had actually stepped foot inside? As far as Annabelle could see, it was only a handful of other children.

Though she supposed she might be wrong. The dining hall looked like it could seat a great deal more than the few that now lived there. Perhaps there was more to this than she could see at the moment.

And in the end, Jenny had allowed her to study. Though Annabelle couldn’t help but wonder, why had she let her?

But Jenny seemed to know what she was thinking anyway. “Why did I let you study in the Tower?”

Once again, Annabelle wondered if the older girl could read minds, however many times she claimed that she could not. “Yes, why?”

“Knowledge is not forbidden,” said Jenny simply. “Especially here in this place. And I am not the custodian of the White Tower. Ultimately, that decision lies with the Wizard. And while I know your reasons for wanting knowledge, a little guidance to temper that boldness? Perhaps some good can come of it. But perhaps not.”

Annabelle knew a dismissal when she heard one. But as she left Jenny’s study and closed the door behind her, she did not feel too badly as she might have before. At least now she felt like she understood the older girl a little better.