There had been no rain for over a year. Tirm, the shaman, had tried everything. He had danced, he had thrown his little objects on the ground, he had sung, he had drawn symbols in the sand. Nothing had worked. There was only one way left, but it was dangerous. Now he had no choice.
He had to do it alone. He left the little village, saying goodbye to everyone. He said he was going to look for curative herbs. The villagers looked at him strangely, he didn’t say goodbye to go look for herbs usually, but they laughed it off.
He sat down on the highest hilltop, laid his magic stones in a circle around him. He opened the leather cloth, pulled out a beautifully decorated dagger. He cut the vein on his right arm. The cut had to be exact. Not enough, and it wouldn’t work. Too much, and he would never come back.
As blood pumped out of his wrist, he felt his mind slowly fade away. For a moment he lingered between two worlds before he drifted away into the misty shadows of the beyond.
A flash of light.
He was standing by a bridge over a bottomless abyss. A narrow bridge, just wide enough for his feet. Behind him, on the other side of the curtains of reality, was the world of the living. Out there somewhere was the Realm of Gods.
He swallowed. Swallowed again. Then, with shaking steps, he started walking.
Ghost and demons screamed up from underneath. They had sensed him. They wanted him. He balanced slowly over the bridge. The dead of the past were flying around him, laughing, vailing.
They cannot touch me. They cannot touch me.
They flew straight at him, through him. He lost balance. He fell. His hands grabbed the bridge. He was hanging underneath it, fighting for his life. The sound of the ghosts’ mocking terrified him. He got one leg up on the bridge. Another.
A god appeared in front of him. Gatergu. The God of Sun.
How dear you enter the Realm of Gods? The god’s voice was thundered around the shaman from every side, piercing his mind and body. This is no place for the likes of you!
The shaman lay on his knees. We need rain, o’ great Catergu! It hasn’t rained for a long time. Our cattle is starving, and so are we.
Humans have put this on themselves. The god looked at him with disgust in his eyes. This is not my problem.
Please, my people have done nothing wrong. Please!
I do not care. Be gone. The god disappeared.
Tirm had failed his people. He sat there for a while looking down into the darkness. He was not afraid any more. He wanted to fall, to end it all.
A goddess appeared, terrifying and beautiful as a thunderstorm in the desert. Her hair was wet, her dress sticking to her divine body. She held a finger to her mouth and blinked with one eye.
He was back in the world of the living. He put a rock to the wound to slow the bleeding. Tears were running down his cheeks. He looked up to the skies. Clouds were gathering. Soon rain started falling, mixing with his tears. They were no longer tears of despair.