Luitgard is a High Priestess of the Mintharchs, a people who have spent nearly half of the thirteenth century hiding from the Roman Catholic Church. Under the protection of an ancient goddess, their home has had no contact with the outside world in that time but when a Dominican friar named Justin appears at their gates, Luitgard cannot figure out how he found them. She soon realizes that Justin is just as confused and just as worried.
They leave the village in search of answers while Luitgard's fellow High Priestess, Sieglinde, is left behind to take over the leadership she had never expected to hold. On their journey, Luitgard and Justin learn that they have much more in common than had been suspected and begin to rely upon each other in a way Luitgard has never before experienced. As Sieglinde tries to remain strong for her people she is left wishing for the quiet life she would have had with the warrior Humbert. As both Luitgard and Sieglinde learn their situations are much more dangerous than they had anticipated, they begin to question how real their divine protection ever was and learn that their best hope for survival is trusting not faceless gods but the mortals by their sides.
Justin's question is also a subtle question to the reader. The interpretation of the Goddess character was always meant to be fluid. How the reader sees the Goddess will likely say more about the reader's ideas about divinity than anything else. The characters have their own beliefs about the situation but the reader can just as easily come to different conclusions. None of my first readers interpreted this character or her motivations in the same way, which was exactly how I had intended it.
He wiped his eyes and looked at her with renewed sobriety. "How did he know it was a goddess and not some demon or even the Devil trying to tempt him?"