“For sacrifice counts when need is great,

To release the white goat, to be commensurate.

Unto the wilds, unto Her night,

The people endure when they bind to Her might.”

Sakrisan VI, The Endurance of She

A red gloom descended. His robes billowed and flowed forth as he paced. The hue of the setting sun casting orange and fire across the stone room from the cell window. His bed and nothing more entertained the room; encased within the sandstone temple, on a lower level.

The Temple was peaked to the sun; on the lower were the gathering grounds. Where the people came to feast, lament and beg Her mercy. The second were the living quarters of the temple inhabitants. The top was Hers and Hers alone.

This was dwelling of E-Azad-kutu-ana, a cell on the second. The same cell of all the Sakrisan before and all the Lives for Her to come. Within the cell, he could hear strains of the elderly Sisters, singing a slow lament for the dying sun.

His mind was dark. It was a bad omen, to have made a scene. Had a Sister seen? Through cataracts and milk; could they have felt it? With withered touch; could they have heard his heart? She was tranquil in his heart. That he knew. She was beauty. He was chaos.

The Temple was to host the festival of fire in two nights. She would be there. She would walk among us. Through the fire and the dance, he would see Her. The silhouette of her body wracked in the ecstasy of the frenzy. The flames would dance too, for her, to catch Her attention and Her pleasure.

E-Pad-hu-ana has displeased Her; long ago in legend. Ever the troublesome man, he took his complaints to Her, to Her dwelling. She cursed him, to never find contentment, to feel discontent and be ill at ease for eternity; and to walk the night with Her forever more. He was cast away, an exile.

The lower must be prepared for the festival. For fire and dance and exaltation. The Sisters must crawl before the fire. The people must beg for Her mercy. That fire and life remain in harmony. This was the season of the high sun. Wrath bathed in flame took their crops and this they could suffer no more.

He dreamed of Her, crawling through the flame. Withered and sobbing. The stars shining down upon the Temple. The Sisters in mourning. He awoke, startled and anxious. A bad omen or one of rebirth, he could not tell. The dream was comforting to him. She had held his hand through the journey.

A great stone dais was to be placed in the centre of the gather. It is here that the fire will burn the deepest; drowning our woes in the sweat and flame. A goat must be procured, for there can be no forgiveness, not without the scapegoat.

He must work hard; for the people depended on him.

To Chapter Sixteen – The Diminutive Statesman