Honoring the Bargain

The chill of the night air penetrated clothes with ease and the ground, darkened by shadows, mirrored the moonless sky above. We stood in the bowl of the valley, surrounded by tree-covered hills that kept outsiders out and hid our rites from prying eyes. Secrets we held since ancient times. A single light flickered in the distance, a necessity to guide us home. Fire and iron were not allowed here and we would not bring them even if we could.

This place was holy ground, not so much in the traditional sense, but true enough in its own way. It demanded reverence and respect. No blood had been shed here in more than a thousand years and that gave it a purity that few places anywhere in the world could claim. How many places were full of calmness and peace, even at midnight? Once here, you knew it was sacred, and neither fear nor madness could claim you.

A single file line of sixty-six people dressed in flimsy robes waited in the heart of the meadow.

We had come for a reason and we would come again.

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