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The Rain
It was raining again. It had rained off and on again for the last two months. We had had a drought and had rejoiced when it started to rain. The rain that was good for the plants then had started ruining them. The herds had to be kept in constant shelter and were getting too thin to provide enough food. We had not planned for this and did not have enough grain. The war chief and the preist called a meeting two days ago. They said if the rains did not stop in three days then we would move, we would have to start all over again. We had lived here for thousands of years. We did not want to move, but we had to. We were all sad and mad at the same time. We knew we had to leave if it did not stop, and it looked like it was not even near the end. There had been no rain like this for thousands of years. Bad luck follows us, it seems.

There are twenty-one of us now. There were as many as a hundred and fifty in all, but many have run away or died of a strange diease. We know naught of what killed them.

The rain when you are out in it has a burning feeling, like it is burning your skin, and if you stay out in it for too long you start to blister and get red. After about two days it starts to feel better until it is no worse than a light sunburn. But it stays that way with no change for up to three weeks. Then it finally goes away. Some think the Lady that made us is mad and is hurting us and our crops because we did not worship her on her name day at her shrine. We could not because of the rain. We would have to stay out in it for five hours and we would all be blistered and hurting. We could not let that happen. Some think that the Lady is testing us. I do not beleive in the Lady, I believe in God. Some in our Village Tribe believe in God and some believe in the Lady, and I believe that the tribe is going to split up. Living inside for two months makes people aggravated and they take it out on one another. The subject of religion, of course, came up, and the argument about whether the Lady or God ruled came up. Soon there wil be only ten in one group and eleven in the other.

A knocking on my door woke me out of my thoughts. "Who is it?" I yelled.

"Renetey. Can I talk to you, LeLou?"

"Of course, Ren." Then, in a low voice, "Thou mayst enter on thy feet for to see thy queen."

I heard him laugh and I stood as he entered. He got down on one knee, bowed his head, and said. "'Tis the queen of mine heart. Thou art kind to allow a poor soul to bespeak you into thy home and house. Thou art kind." He looked up and smiled at me and I laughed.

"Thou mayst enter, braggart."

He stood and we laughed together. "What is it now, Ren? Did War Chief Leioneon decide not to sulk anymore and wants to consult me, or did Preist Kereterey decide that he wants a hunting party to go out and hunt and wants me to talk to Leion?"

"Close, but not close enough. Both want to talk to you. They want to split up and they want to know which you are going with--Kere or Leion? They said to me, 'Go get LeLou, you lowly man, and bring her to me and ask her who she shall want to go with me or that braggart over there.' That is what Leion said, and Kere said, 'I shall not take insults from a rat. I am sure she will pick me, for we are of the same religion, and I will not get in a fight with you. It would be a waste of my time, for I would win without so much as a scratch. You are supposed to be a War Chief, Leion. I should not be only a Priest; I should also be the War Chief.' Thank goodness they did not see me laughing or they would have struck me down with lightning and wind at that moment."

I laughed and put my arm around him, and we walked to the council tent. I then noticed that it had stopped raining.

Copyright Elizabeth Wood 1998.
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