Dawn. The orange sun streaming in low, slanting shafts through the leafy tops cast a dappled light upon the forest floor. I had been awake since the first glow, and had searched for the colours I needed. Before me lay my collection: purple and yellow flowers, green slime from the pool and dry, powdered ash from the embers of the fire.
The Priestess would expect me soon. Carefully I smeared my face and body with the colours, and plaited my long black hair. I could hear the tribe gathering around the holy stone, for today, on my eleventh birthday, I would play my part in the future of my people. I alone held the key to their survival.
I heard their voices beginning the ancient incantation, and I rose and slowly walked into the clearing, naked before all the tribe. When I reached the holy stone, I knelt before the Priestess. She placed her hands on my head and began her invocation, calling the spirits to grant me power.
When her blessing was finished, I climbed the steps and lay on my back upon the stone, with my arms by my side and my knees raised.
The voices of the tribe raised in the rhythmic, hypnotic chant, accompanied by a clapping of hands, and I heard the ancestors whispering in my head. The Priestess stood by my side, directing the prayer, her hands waving back and forth across my body.
She smiled at me and asked if I was ready for the great responsibility entrusted in me. Filled with pride I nodded, and as the chant reached its crescendo she plunged her knife deep into my heart.