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The tree stood at the heart of all things, and its roots ran deep. The elders held that the roots of this tree ran deeper than those of the tallest mountain, and that its highest branches reached higher than that same mountain’s peak.

It was here, at the foot of the tree, that they gathered.

“We must omit nothing,” the elders said. “Bring the spear.”

The spear was old, but it was sharp, and clean.

“We are ready. Bring him before us.”

A man was brought before the elders. His arms were held out by two strong men, but he did not struggle. He was gagged, and he stared silently at the elders.

“Remove the gag,” the elders said. “It is not needed.”

They pierced his side with the spear, and even as the blood ran down his skin he did not cry out.

They suspended him from the tree, and he said nothing.

For nine days and nine nights he hung there.

No bread was brought to him; no water. He was given nothing to maintain his strength, and yet he hung there silently, serenely.

And then, when it was time, he reached out.

© Kari Fay