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nijineko's world

chapter twenty-three: promises, promises....

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The wind never ceases. It gentles from time to time, but is a constant presence. It looks over my shoulder as I write, it swirls around Arielle as she stands watch, it enters and leaves my sleeping companions, and surely it hounds the footsteps of the stranger who sought to offer our heart's desire. My fasting gnaws at my middle, resolutely ignored. Doubts prey upon my mind. Yet within this sandstorm of half-seen movements, there is a core of certainty.

I had promised the high-priest that we would give him an answer in the morning. Were I to agree to follow this mysterious stranger into the tomb of this king... we know not what we would find, nor how long we would be. Besides, without the agreement of the tribal elders and the king, we would be violating the guest-right we had received. We have partaken of the bread, salt, and water of this people. Were I to violate guest-right, I would be as surely exiled from my first-kin as I will be if I cannot complete my quest. A savage choice. And the fate of my future rests in the hands of this priest, king, and elders.

I am certain that I was right to turn away the offer of the stranger. His claims of knowledge of the outcome of the discussion rang false to my ear. His manner of appearance and departure bespoke a stealth ill-suited to an honest offer. I will not so ill treat the king and priest whom have guested us so well. No... despite the misgivings of some of my little family, this is the correct course.

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