Roob enters the Barrow, holding his father’s hand. They have come to survey the most recent mine, to ensure that the Barrow is still safe. Roob is almost 11 cycles, and will soon be conducting surveys on his own; he is thankful to have his Father with him for this. The Barrow is on the far side of their Tribe’s territory, too far for the tunnels. The two of them walk towards the Temple, the Rain Keepers should be expecting them. Roob looks around as they are walking, taking in the huge domed ceiling. The light from the torches along the floor of the cavern does not reach far, up the walls or even out to them in some places. Much of the light is absorbed by the maroon-brown stone that makes up the permanent structures: the shape of the dome, the important living quarters, the Temple. This is what they are here to Survey. Roob’s father stops, and Roob takes a step before realizing it. They’ve arrived outside the Temple where a group of children is taking a lecture from a Rain Keeper.
“Tell me children, why do we live in these Barrows?”
“Because the Rain is angry at us,” the kids respond mostly together.
“And how do we know the Rain is angry?”
“Because it melts our flesh and sears our bones!”
“Why is the Rain angry?”
Roob joins in with the kids, “Because we left the water long ago!”
The Rain Keeper looks up at the new arrivals and smiles. He continues with the end of the lecture, “And what do we ask of the Rain?”
The Rain Keeper smiles at the kids and raises his arms, the kids, Roob and his Father follow suit. They all begin praying. “We thank the Rain for its punishments and acknowledge its anger. We brave the Rain because we must, because we cannot return to the water. We offer thanks to the Rain for the material it gives us and the waters we find. We beg the Rain for its forgiveness, in the name of our children. Blessed is the anger of the Rain.” Everyone’s hands lower as they repeat, “Blessed is the anger of the Rain.” The kids turn to each other, some leaving, others talking and playing with each other before they must return home.
Roob and his father approach the Rain Keeper.
“You must be the Surveyor from the Panther Flame Barrow. Is this your son?”
“Yes. My name is Kin, and this is Roob. He’s almost to his Rite of Passage, so I brought him with me to teach him the last of our family’s task.”
“Well done. I am Gen.”
Roob responds before his father can, “It is an honor to meet you, Gen. Thank you for the prayer.”
Gen chuckles and turns to Roob, “Thank you for participating. Most children your age would be more concerned about the Rite of Passage and learning your families task. Its a shame that so many forget to offer their prayers or attend lectures.” Gen continues talking to Roob’s father, “You’ve done well raising him, and I expect you’ll do well at your job. Come inside and I’ll furnish you with the maps for the Survey.”