Only Blood and Pain
When night was thickest, the men of a certain village did steal away to the Cave of Trials. There they shucked their clothes and became spirits as they covered themselves in blood, feathers and fur.
It was time to welcome another into manhood.
Karil woke to the shouts of his mother. He had been frustrated with her a lot lately, though he didn’t know why, but those thoughts were swept away in a river of fear.
The straw door to his room splintered inward. Behind it was a spirit-man who gestured for Karil to come with him.
He pushed by the spirit-man blindly, trying to find his mother. He saw her struggling with two more of the spirit-men, her cries plaintive. She couldn’t protect him anymore.
A hollow voice boomed. “We are here to claim Karil. He is ours. Only blood and pain will return him to you.”
Karil struggled but two of the spirit-men dragged him by his legs from his house and through the village. They were too strong.
When Karil returned the next morning, he returned as Na’Karil and as a man.