“On the other hand, the Princess Nu-nah will put on the external body of our Vestal Sarthia and enter upon the life of the Temple Service, but with this difference; that while this change is consciously made by you, Nu-nah will probably never know it until she passes finally to the spirit world. Her past life has already faded from memory while consciousness of the new life will dawn gradually as upon an infant, and therefore, since she can not be consulted in the matter, the decision rests solely with you.
“To-night, at midnight, your answer will be required. Until then, fare thee well, and God be with you.”
The midnight of the full Moon.
It yet lacked several hours of the fateful midnight, as Sarthia, her body perfumed and annointed, according to the prescribed rites, was borne by faithful attendants from the bath into the courts of the Sanctuary and placed upon a couch beside another, upon which already rested the unconscious form of the lovely Princess Nu-nah.
But Sarthia, although to an external, observer as unconscious as the fair Nu-nah, was never more intensely awake, every atom of her being and soul alert to all transpiring about her and conveyed to her through her marvelous new gifts of clairvoyance and clairaudience.
Never, with the external eye, had she seen more vividly the vista upon vista of columns and corridors winding in and about the Sanctuary, now illuminated by the full-orbed Queen of the Night, which she could see shining through a certain archway, and her heart thrilled as she counted the number of archways fair Luna must pass until, at midnight, she would shine down through the one just above her.
Already had begun the weird chants, interspersed with solos of exquisite harmonies of stringed and wind instruments—responses and echoes.
Incense burned and perfumes arose and blended in an indescribable union with melody and motion, while as the fragrant vapors from the burning censers wafted and wreathed about the colonnades and porticoes, Spirit forms added their presence to the sublime scene, bringing with them flowers, aromas and harmonies from the divine abodes of the very Gods themselves.
Oblivious of the passage of time, while intently absorbed in every minutest detail of the wonders passing about her, Sarthia was almost becoming drowsy, when suddenly, the Moon looked in upon her, fast nearing the final archway, and yet she was undecided. She turned and gazed upon her companion, mentally asking, “Can I become Nu-nah?”
Nu-nah was very beautiful and a Princess. But Sarthia was also beautiful and the blood in her veins was royal, though of a different branch from the present ruling House.
Nu-nah was cold and haughty, accustomed to rule and be obeyed.
Sarthia was humble externally, a Vestal of the Temple, but in her mind and soul as imperious as a Queen of the realm of Heaven. Passionately devoted to the pursuit of Wisdom and the possibilities of obtaining knowledge, even Magic was open to her, in the Temple Service. Could she leave her Temple home, her opportunities for growth, her idolized Priestess, to go into the environments of Nu-nah?