Test of the Heart

Rawson lake.JPG

Rawson Lake, Alberta, Canada © Alec, Google Maps

Takani gazed across Mirror Lake.  Finally, the Temple of Hanakai.  He brushed his clothes, stood regally.

Shame the others can’t see me now.

His loyal retainers, gone. Fighting monsters so Takani could escape. Lost–literally–in that cave maze. Then Kainta, oafish pack-boy, twisting his ankle. Takani glanced back.  Kainta might still catch up, with his gear.

A woman strode upon the smooth lake, pausing several paces away.

“If you are pure-hearted, come.”

Takani tested one toe, gingerly stepped onto the surface.

See? Just have to believe in myself.

Beneath him, green water sparkled clear and deep.

She stopped halfway there.  “Where are your friends?”

Friends? They were barely nobles.  “They fell, honoring the mission.”

“Honoring you.”

What can she know?

“You believe yourself worthy of Hanakai’s blessing?”

“I am.”

“You are not.”

The surface melted. Takani’s protests became screams, dissolved to silence.

The woman turned, seeking Kainta, the pure-hearted.

Word count: 150.  Written for this week’s What Pegman Saw challenge, which takes us to a new interesting spot on the planet each week, courtesy of Google maps.  Click on the link to see the other stories written for this prompt, and what angles or sights the other writers chose for their photo.  Or write your own story — everyone’s welcome!


32 thoughts on “Test of the Heart

      • I know that feeling too well. But what you wrote here worked on its own and got the main points across. Glad to hear you’re still looking to publish some of your longer stories. I imagine they’re really good!

        Liked by 1 person

      • So far I haven’t found any publishers who agree, but then, I haven’t sent them out much yet. What I hear from people who are much better at this than I am is that you need a great system for sending them back out as soon as they get rejected (which they will be, many times). I’m still working on that system.


  1. Pride goeth before the…sploosh! Enjoyed the mythic, larger-than -life quality of the first part, and the surprise at the end, as the meek inherited the earth. Would love to know more about the pure- hearted/ oafish pack boy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He needs to be more self knowing – anyone could tell he wasn’t worthy! Love your set up, hearing his inner thoughts, letting us in on his base nature before he realises what an idiot he is. Great story Joy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for the kind words, Kelvin — I’m glad you enjoyed it! Some of the other loyal retainers may also have been worthy of the god’s blessing, but Kainta is the only one who survived the task of helping the proud lord on his mission of self-aggrandizement. The lord didn’t realize that all those times he could have tried to save his friends was part of the test that life constantly offers to prove himself worthy…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not even sure he was bluffing, he was so full of himself that I think he took the sacrifice of others on his behalf for granted. A thoroughly satisfying piece, Joy, great writing. If only all these righteous clerics weren’t always forgetting to tell about the sacrifices the various gods take for granted…


    • Thanks — I’m glad you found it satisfying! Yes, he really was quite overconfident and arrogant; I’m glad you caught that he took the others’ sacrifice for granted; in the longer version I think it was more clear that he didn’t even lift a finger to help or to try to save them, making it even worse. .

      Liked by 1 person

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