The Gods came dancing from the Hollow.
Two days had passed since the women vanished beneath Honor’s Path, and the sound of drums once more filled the air.
It was only a short time past dawn, and I was in no mood for foolishness.
With my Colts on my hips and my Sharps loaded, I left my farm with a bit more anger in my step than usual. I turned to walk to the head of Honor’s Path, but my ravens told me that was not the way to find the drums.
Surprised, but still angry, I let the birds lead me to the Hollow, and it was there, on North Road, that I saw something that drained the anger from me and left me in awe.
There were Gods dancing in the road, climbing over the stonewall from the Hollow as unseen drums filled the air, reverberating against the trees and the air itself.
The Gods called to one another in a tongue I did not know, though I wanted to. Their voices, high and proud, pierced the sky and whispered to me all the foul and fell deeds I have done in my long life. There was no condemnation. No accusations. Not a hint of reproach, for beneath those words was another song altogether.
A song of righteousness and fate, an affirmation that the path I was on was the one I needed to follow.
Despite my hardships, despite my loneliness, despite the sorrow of love lost to time, these Gods told me the path I was on was mine, and I was true to it.
True as so few were.
I sat down on the stonewall and listened to the Gods, listened to their laughter and their rage, sadness and ecstasy.
Their songs told me that I was not an instrument of fate.
I was a man. Nothing more. Nothing less.
The Gods sang to me the song of my own creation and my inevitable destruction, and I listened.
There was nothing else I wanted to do.