Thirty minutes later, garbed in a hastily-produced blood-red robe, Morgana accompanied Father Mitchell, resplendent in a shimmering gold Adept’s robe, and Carolyn, in an Initiate’s robe of white, down the corridor to the Chantry’s chapel.

To Morgana’s eyes Carolyn still appeared overwhelmed by the rapid sequence of events, but she also seemed strengthened by Father Mitchell’s reversed collar and Morgana’s presence at her side, as the three stepped into the chapel.

It was decided to use the chapel as the site of Carolyn’s initiation into the Tradition: the familiarity would serve as an anchor for her. It more resembled a cathedral to Morgana, with its high vaulted roof and numerous pews, filled with gold and silver robed members of the Tradition. Carolyn sighed as she saw the high altar of her Catholic faith before her, and Morgana stole a glance over Carolyn’s shoulder at Father Mitchell, who smiled and nodded knowingly in return. Above the altar the cross-like symbol of the Celestial Chorus Tradition was embedded in the wall in golden and clear stained glass. A strong white light shone through the glass, but Morgana did not feel the characteristic torpor of the day within her, so she knew the light is only light and not Sunlight.

The Master of this Chantry, a tall woman with flowing golden blonde hair that merged about her shoulders with her flowing golden robe, stood in the light before the altar. “Who comes before the altar of the Most High and the Powers of Light to ask Initiation into our Sacred Tradition?” she said, beginning the ritual.

Carolyn, quickly but carefully coached just moments before, stepped forward and replied hesitantly “I, Carolyn Porter Knight, come before the altar of the Most High and the Powers of Light to ask Initiation into the Sacred Tradition of the Celestial Chorus.” Her voice strengthened as she spoke, finishing strongly and assuredly.

The Master nodded her assent and motioned Carolyn to kneel before her in the light. “Who vouches for this Initiate?” next asked the woman.

“I, Father William Mitchell, Adept and Deacon of this Order, vouch for her,” announced Father Mitchell proudly. “I vouch for her spirit and will, her faith and charity, her knowledge and understanding, by my Oath to the Tradition and my own Avatar.” With that, he stepped forward and placed his hand on Carolyn’s shoulder.

“Who vouches for this Initiate?” ritually demanded the Master, looking around at the members of the Order seated before her.

“I vouch for her,” replied Morgana proudly.

The audience of gold and silver robed initiates broke into a confused outcry of voices, the voice of Michael loudest among them, but the Master silenced them with a glaring glance. “How can you vouch for this woman?” she asked harshly. “You know nothing of our Tradition.”

Morgana smiled smugly. “I know something of the Traditions, of the precepts they practice, the powers they wield. And I, Morgana Black, vow to you that this woman embodies the finest traits the Celestial Chorus holds dear: a deep, abiding spirituality and a belief in the Oneness of All and the Light that shines not just through her writing but through her very life itself.” Morgana lowered her eyes and crossed her hands outstretched before her in a gesture of submission. “May the Light of the One turn away from me, and the songs of my Brethren fade from my hearing, that I be lost forever in the silent Darkness, should I speak falsely.”

There was a surprised pause among the audience, followed by a low murmuring. The Master looked inquisitively at Father Mitchell, who only shook his head in bewilderment, then stared long and hard at Morgana. “You do know something of our Traditions, after all,” replied the Master softly after several seconds. “I accept your vow.”

Morgana stepped forward and laid her own hand on Carolyn’s shoulder.

Turning to Carolyn, the Master continued. “Carolyn Porter Knight, by your request and cognizant of the vows given I now Initiate you into this most Scared Tradition. Be you now consecrated to your new position.”

The chorus to one side began a long, musical chant in the background, as the Master took up an ornate chalice from the altar. “This is not the chalice of your faith, Initiate, but of a deeper tradition, a symbol of the Tradition we revere. By taking it up, you acknowledge your entry into the Tradition of the Celestial Chorus. Take, drink, and be one with us in the Order.”

Carolyn took the chalice in hand and looked within. Inside was a heavy dark wine, and its heady fumes momentarily made her feel dizzy, but she pushed the feeling aside as she raised the chalice and drank deeply.

The empty chalice fell from her hands. There was a timeless, electric moment which engulfed Father Mitchell and Morgana as well, as Carolyn felt her perception expand beyond herself, beyond the Chantry, to encompass the whole of Creation itself. She felt her soul sing, part of a vast, unearthly chorus singing praises to the Light, and for a moment longed to join that chorus forever. Then she felt a gentle pressure to return, anchored by the two presences beside her. The longing remained, but she recognized her responsibility and returned to her mortal shell, carrying deep within her a small measure of that Light.

The moment also had its effect on Father Mitchell and Morgana. Father Mitchell wept tears of joy at the acceptance of another member of his Tradition, while Morgana felt a timeless moment of mingled wonder and revelation at the vastness of the Universe and her small but important place in it.

The chalice struck the floor. The sound revived Carolyn, Father Mitchell, and Morgana from their reverie. They looked at each other in mingled amazement and wonder as the Master announced “Brothers and sisters of the Celestial Chorus, welcome our newest sister, Carolyn.”

A silver robe was produced, and Carolyn substituted it for her white robe. She stood, staring frankly at the Master, a broad smile on her face.

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