It was an impeccable statue. Nobody expected any less of Vandagan craftsmanship, but even the detailed marble scrollwork framing the niche seemed crude compared to the basalt figurine housed within.
A little girl sat bundled under several blankets against the chill of the evening, her pointed chin angled up and her dark eyes fixed upon the statue of Francis Willard – the saint who lent his name to the orphanage she called home.
“Olivia, dear.” A pewter-haired, plump woman clucked her tongue from the adjoining hall. “Hurry on back to bed and let’s have no more of these midnight vigils. You’ll catch your death of cold out here.”
Obediently, Olivia rose and turned for the voice, her small bare feet trudging across the thick woolen rug, layered blankets dragging behind. She stopped alongside the matron to bob a curtsey, and smiled.
“Oh, no, ma’am, it won’t be the cold here that gets me. He assigns me too great a task to join him yet.”
The candle flames burned blue. Midnight had come at last and Olivia, satisfied that no harm had come to the Lay Sisterhood of Saint Francis under her watch, bid the perplexed matron a good night.