Kangra Valley, India © Gaurav Goyal, Google Maps
Janari sat on the holy hill, crying out his grief, and remorse.
Last week they’d hung colorful flags and made flower offerings to Kamali, healing goddess. He’d led the prayers for healthy birth. The taen had shimmered in rainbow silk, her belly bursting.
Yesterday they buried the taen and her heir. All Janari’s spells were useless without Kamali’s blessing.
“I failed,” he told his acolyte.
“Has Kamali truly abandoned you?” Ni asked.
“I abandoned her.” Janari sighed, heavy-lunged. “What did I teach you about our enemies?”
“That Kamali knows no enemy, only suffering and relief.” Ni’s voice softened: sad, but not surprised. “They’d attacked us. The taen ordered you to.”
Anger had defeated Janari. He’d have hurt the prisoners anyway. Prayers weren’t enough. Forgiveness must be earned. “I’ll retreat to Deepwater.”
“But–” Both knew his fate, treating the diseased untouchables.
“Better to die pardoned than live with this shame.”
Word count: 150. Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge. Click the link to read the other stories inspired by this location, and to write your own!