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A Sacrificial Slip of the Mind, a short story

I was chosen.

Out of everyone, chance has chosen me. And I will make my tribe proud of fate’s decision. In fact, I’ll make all of Thrace grateful for the Getae tribe. They will see us as the bravest and most just of all, as even Herodotus has accurately reported about us.

I’ve spent fifteen years of my life preparing for this moment. They’ve told me their message and I vowed to bring it before Zalmoxis in the afterlife. I won’t dare shame our namesake like Brasus before me. He was pierced with two spears and took over seven hours to perish. Zalmoxis would never hear a message from such an amateur.

Me? All three spears or even just one, I’ll die instantly and be before the great god of our people. He’ll hear what I have to lay before him. He’ll hear my people’s message because of my swift sacrifice.

Every four years King Charnabon sends someone off the high rock in the hopes of getting his message to Zalmoxis. And I’ve waited and hoped. When the thunder and lightning has come, I’ve shot my arrows up in the sky with the rest of the tribe against the deity who thinks they can battle the great Zalmoxis with their sky attacks. I’ve been faithful and true to my god.

There is no deity like our great Zalmoxis. He was once one of us, a slave of Pythagoras who found liberation and became rich beyond belief. Bringing great wealth to our people he told us the secrets of the afterlife, the secrets of eternity. After disappearing for four years he came and told us how we can reach him through our deaths. And how there is no greater glory for the Getae.

The other tribes around us, they slaughter animals and bring fruit offerings to their deities. What kind of petty god enjoys a fruit? This is nonsense. Reprehensible actions that a deity, a true deity that is, would never accept as a genuine sacrifice. Even that ruthless and destructive Alexander despises true sacrifice to the gods, but has no issue burning down and plundering our cities. He’s a boy with a kingdom for a toy, if you ask me.

There are some that actually believe they can pray directly to their gods, as if this god has ears the size of boulders that somehow hear even the voices of mere humans. No, this is not the way. We, the Getae, and our mighty Zalmoxis understand the ways of the universe. Today I will see it for myself. I will be before Him and speak clearly face to face. I will carry the message of my people, for they need me until the next four years have passed. Then another will be chosen. But they will not be like me.

The spears are getting sharpened and I can hear the chants now. Feet are slamming the ground in dance for what is about to happen. Brasus has already been forgotten in his weakness and died a failure of a man.

But me? I will bring greatness to my people. They believe in me. I feel it as they grab me from my wrists and arms. There is hope in their fingertips and the vibration of their throats as they sing holy songs.

I see the people before me and it’s a glorious sight to behold. Likely the most glorious sight this side of existence. But I will see something even more glorious. I will behold the face of Zalmoxis. Something these others before me won’t witness until they die their normal and average death. What a pity it must be to be normal like them. To be unchosen. Unlike me, the chosen one. The one bearing the message to the one true almighty. They have no idea the sights I'm about to witness.

The spears are shining in the sunlight as I’ve arrived. The high rock. This is it. The moment I’ve been waiting for. Every swing they sway me with I can feel the tension building. This is what I’ve been chosen for. And the message…wait…the message….it was the crops or something, right? We need rain, right? Or was it something about a new area for our people to reside? Hold on, wait a minute, I’m remembering something about the livestock…wait…wait…hang on a moment, guys…not yet, wait not ye-NOOOOOO!


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