It was the biggest demographic centre known, and as the city grew, so did poverty. As the leadership became more powerful, people lost more of their freedom. The eldest told of a time when all men were free and equal. Aristocracy had emerged out of the tribal system they once had. Now a small elite had all the power.
Tombai was chief of the Kambui tribe. Once proud hunters and gatherers, now they were living in misery. The promise of a better life in exchange for their loyalty to the king had been a lie. They wanted a change, and they were not the only ones. Plans were being made to overthrow the regime.
The leadership felt threatened. Civilization was arising and they needed to make sure everything stayed in place. The alliance between nobility and priesthood was giving fruits, but several rebellions had already been brutally crushed. The king’s name was Chand’uk, and he was worried.
One night a light was seen in the skies. People came out, watching the strange thing hovering over their homes. Slowly it sunk down and landed in the sacred square in the middle of the city.
People gathered around it. Tombai was there, watching. He was scared, but at the same time fascinated. The strange object was circle shaped, and thicker towards the centre. A disk. It had strange lights without fire, like the stars. The stars had to be where it had come from.
A door opened. The same magic light poured out. They could see the silhouettes of three creatures. As their eyes adapted to the bright light they could see they wore some kind of suits covering their heads and bodies. They had the shape of humans, but they were taller, slimmer.
From the craft came a voice, speaking their tongue.
We come from a galaxy far away. Our technology is fuelled on the vital essence of rational beings. They have to be sacrificed by their own kind. Before this night is over you will cut the heart out of one of your citizens, and we will leave you be. If not, we will destroy you all.
The door closed, and the object flew away.
Chand’uk saw an opportunity. He whispered some words to high priest.
The priest spoke to the crowd. The gods have revealed themselves to us! A miracle! We will give the gods what they demand. In return the gods will make our lands fertile, our city wealthy.
Some cheers in the crowd. Some mumbling. Others were silent.
Tombai were standing with his brother Kan’dar.
Those creatures were no gods, he said.
I think we’d better get out of here, said his brother. They left
When they arrived to their house, soldiers were waiting. They tried to resist, but they were outnumbered, out armed. There was nothing they could do.
They were taken back to the square. The soldiers had formed a circle in the crowd where the leadership was waiting. The head of the Chingha tribe was also there, made a prisoner as themselves. The three of them were taken out to the middle of the circle.
The king spoke. The gods have spoken to us on this night! They have demanded a sacrifice!
There was silence.
To show our good will, we will give them not one, but three sacrifices! These three men will be given to the gods!
Protests in the crowd. Men shouting. Women crying. Tombai could hear the voice of his beloved wife pleading for his life.
The priest took a knife out of a clothing. He walked around the prisoners two times. He cut the chest of the Chinga chief open. Pulled out his heart. Then he moved on to Rand’ar. Tombai fought with tears in his eyes as he saw his brother was murdered in front of him, but the soldiers held him tight. The priest walked slowly over to Tombai. He held the knife in the air. Tombai screamed in pain when he felt the knife sink into his chest.The last thing he saw was his heart held up to the stars. It was still beating.
Chand’uk looked at the crowd. He could see terror and morbidity in their eyes. He knew power was secured.
From that day on every dark moon another sacrifice was made. There were no more rebellions. The creatures from far away were never seen again.