A chief leads a band of rebels within their conqueror’s city. But when his brother becomes attracted to the enemy’s religion, the chief must choose between his brother’s life and his own revolutionary values.


Pradah prayed to the Creator’s female aspect, that like a mother she would forgive him for all he’d done. Lend me strength to walk the warrior’s path and not kill this woman; show me some other way to free Heyo from her false teachings. But it was so hard to connect through prayer here. The dense clouds blocked his words above, the sewage pipes below. Could they even hear him?


Pradah said to him, “You’re mine to protect. Don’t do this. You were an ayur, Heyo, a spiritual leader of our people!”
Heyo pulled away. “I’m still an ayur. More now than before. Mata’s helping me to connect with the Creator.”
“Her Creator.”
“There’s only one Creator!”


“That chapel is their house of worship,” said Gayant. “It’s not right to destroy it.”
“It’s the enemy’s nearest outpost,” countered Pradah. “Look at it. Mata subverts our weakest ones, then their families follow.”
“They go where the food is,” said Gayant, “where the warmth and money are.”

A glimpse of the Story

Pradah sprinted past the shanties that his people now called home, heading toward the chapel. An old lady straightened as he passed, her hands slipping from a steel pump handle. She hoisted a plastic bucket with a grunt. Pradah coughed and batted away a hungry crow as he ran. Acrid smoke billowed from breakfast trash-fires in front of every home.
It was acceptable that Pradah’s people had been forced to live in this rejected corner of Hiria Ilun city. Such was the enemy’s war of attrition, and Pradah understood war. As tortoises and foxes survived the desert heat by burrowing underground, the Raiyan people had safekept their spirits from their conquerors.
Now Pradah’s own brother had been converted to the Ilunian religion.



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