TITLE: Temple Beyond the Sea
Pitch: Iphi was flown here by Artemis long ago, to serve as a priestess in the temple. She can barely tolerate the thought of human sacrifice, but only enemies of the land will be slain.
Her brother Orestes has avenged a murder in their household, but is driven out by the Furies—monstrous flying creatures.
Sister and brother have never met, but when Orestes is washed up on the shore of the temple, what will happen?
NOTE ON THE PITCH: I WAS ORIGINALLY DRAWN TO THIS ONE BECAUSE I LOVE THE ORESTEIA MYTHS. BUT I THINK IF I DIDN'T KNOW THE REFERENCE, I WOULDN'T HAVE REALIZED WHAT WAS GOING ON. DON'T BURY THE LEAD ABOUT WHAT IPHI WILL BE ASKED TO DO TO ORESTES--THAT IS YOUR PITCH. TRY SOMETHING MORE LIKE, "WHEN IPHI IS RESCUED FROM HUMAN SACRIFICE BY ARTEMIS, SHE IS TRAINED TO COMMIT HUMAN SACRIFICES HERSELF IN ARTEMIS'S NAME--UNTIL THE DAY SHE LEARNS HER NEXT VICTIM WILL BE HER OWN BROTHER, ORESTES."
To be a priestess, the walk had to be flawless—the smooth heel-to-toe motion beneath the woolen robe that would soon be spattered with blood. Iphi had practiced this walk for two years AND knew it was perfect, knew the ceremonial dagger at her waist was not bouncing from the motion. Her slippered feet continued their smooth whisper on the stone floor of the temple, taking her through the darkness to the sunlight that shone past the linteled doorway, where the sacrifices waited outside. I LIKE HOW OTHERWORLDLY THIS SETTING ALREADY IS.
She paused at the entrance, heavy stonework on either side marking her as a stranger to the scents of life and fresh air. Iphi made the pause purposeful, foreboding. She had no need to blink from the sudden change in light —the deep purple of the veil that hung in front of her eyes shielded her. The whiteness of her face would sharply contrast against the darkness of those same eyes, dimly glimpsed through the veil. Arms outstretched, she stood ready to receive the sacrifices lying on the altar. Any supplicant standing in line with the doorway would have seen her framed by darkness. I'M NOT SURE THIS PARAGRAPH IS DOING ANYTHING THE FIRST PARAGRAPH DIDN'T DO. CUT, SHORTEN, OR GIVE MORE INTERIORITY? HOW DOES SHE FEEL ABOUT HER CURRENT SITUATION?
And further on, in the interior of the temple, hints of the image of Artemis herself showed—a pale statue in the same posture, lit by hungry flames. HOW DOES IPHI FEEL ABOUT ARTEMIS? THE GODDESS THAT RESCUED HER, BUT HAS HER LOCKED UP DOING HUMAN SACRIFICES FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS? A FEW MORE WORDS TO TEASE US WITH WHO THIS PERSON IS ON THE INSIDE AS WELL AS ON THE OUTSIDE.
The pause also gave Iphi time to contemplate this, the last phase of her training. She would ascend to the priesthood by performing human sacrifice. The dagger rested easily against her waist. HOW DOES SHE FEEL ABOUT HUMAN SACRIFICES? ABOUT ASCENDING TO THE PRIESTHOOD?