The Lotus on the Ruby Lake

 I was staring at the fires of the Ruby Lake and thinking that it’s like a heart, an exposed heart. The mountain seems strangely vulnerable, when you think of the Ruby Lake that way.

I couldn’t keep looking at it for long, though. It’s too bright. It paints itself permanently on your eyes, the way the sun will if you stare at it.

--Kaya, writing to her mother about the Ruby Lake

The Ruby Lake is a fiery lava lake within the crater of Mt. Abenanyi, a volcano in Kaya’s country. It is the home of the Lady of the Ruby Lake, a deity whose veneration has been suppressed. When Kaya and her friends organize an illegal festival in the Lady's honor, her friends are arrested and Kaya is imprisoned in the Lotus on the Ruby Lake, a temple suspended from chains within the crater, above the glowing fires.

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Image: iStockphoto