Vestal Virgin (8)
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Many tests they imposed on her, on her body, her movements, her words, her mind.

First, the other women—the Vestal in training, the lesser ones—measured her face, her mouth, her nose, her eyes. Then they measured her arms, and legs, and the round of her hips, and the wide of her shoulders. And they compared each mark and found her proportions pleasing. Their gazes, Aemelia noticed, were filled with awe and greed, looking at the girl who had been Malun’s, her splendor further revealed by her nakedness.

“The Goddess would approved of her beauty,” they said to Aemilia in a chorus of voices.

But Aemelia didn’t like the young woman named Lucretia—almost young enough to be called a girl. Almost, but not really, she thought. Something in her was too strong, unyiel...

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