Vestal Virgin (7)
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The road’s whitish pavestones marked the way ahead. She walked on them slowly, her back straight, her face devoid of any emotion.

She was barefoot. The long trip to the city had destroyed her old sandals. She couldn’t wear such rags now, but it didn’t matter. The priestesses had always officiated barefoot, or at least that’s how Iulia remembered it, and how her mother had recounted in her bedtime stories. Appearing barefoot before them wouldn't be understood as not having anything to wear on her feet, but as a tribute, a deference to the Vestals' purity, she hoped.

She entered the city for the second time as the first true light of day reached past the streets to touch the bent in the river behind the tallest buildings.

The men and women, and even the fe...

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