I needed a little something to fortify me before I finished listening to what the man had to say. The problem is, there wasn’t anything in my hand to get a sip of and there wasn’t anything nearby to get something from. Instead I was on a windy outcrop, trying to remind myself why I had though it was a good idea to be up here. Even more importantly, what did I hope to gain in understanding by seeing her final resting place?
Thankfully, the guide was none the wiser as he carried on sharing with me how they had found her a few years back. She was propped up against a pile of large rocks, as if she were resting. He said at first they thought she was very much alive and just resting, or taking in the view.
When the group got closer to her, they realized something was off about her wrap. It was a bit too authentic and yet had holes that would have left her cold. Her stillness was just too still. The only thing moving was strands of her hair blowing in the cold breeze.
I had seen her earlier, in the glass case. She looked so peaceful, as if she had simply fallen asleep in the rocks. Only a medical investigation had indicated that her death hadn’t been natural. She had been poisoned. She was, after all, an offering to the gods. It would be easier for all involved, the guide had said bringing me back to the outcrop, for her to be compliant and given some herbs to help her relax and simply do what she needed to do.
If she was in her early teens that was it. So much responsibility rested upon those young, thin shoulders. Where she had been left, and the method of her positioning was in keeping with an offering to a rain deity. She was an offering to ensure that gentle rains fell for an ideal crop growth to feed the rest of the people.
What would happen if she had failed at her job? What if her life was lost and the rains did not fall? The guide told me that another young maiden would be brought up. Clearly the first maiden was defective in some way. Or the god was fickle. Or perhaps the people had failed to do something and now had to pay the price.
At any rate she wasn’t the first to go this way and also wasn’t the last. Perhaps to her this was an hour to have be chosen. How could I possibly know and or understand? I thought maybe by going up with the guide I would gain understanding or something. All I gained was how cold and lonely it was up there. And despite it having an amazing view, it wasn’t what I would call a place to die for.