Vainglory Will Not Go Unpunished

We had been walking for weeks. My brother believed the goddess would give us safe passage wherever he led. We wound up the mountains, moving far north of our promised land to find passage through. This small village sent their best men to lead us, but not until after 3 days of Ni Kuo smoking their peace herbs. The pilgrims grumbled late at night in their tents.

“These natives will take us through to the promised lands.” Ni Kuo’s eyes shone. He was so hopeful that this new land he had dreamed was goddess ordained. The pilgrims thought of him as an oracle or prophet. I still saw him as the brother who had stolen bites of my porridge, beheaded my rucksack dolls, and put little snakes in my chore basket.

We came to a beautiful blue lake in the middle of the pass. The village men let us pause to fill our water jugs. Ni Kuo praised himself.

Dark clouds swooped in quickly. Huge white stones began to rain down,cold as ice. People screamed. People fell, people ran. People cursed the goddess who threw rocks at us.

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