#18 : The Women of New Aretha
Anja stood at the gate of the village of New Aretha and looked out, past the graveyard, across the plain.
A distant spiral of dust told her that someone was coming. Another bounty hunter blown in across the desert. Coming for the same thing as the last one. Coming to find out what had happened to the last one. Maybe this one was different, maybe this one...
The last one had been a government man, he'd been sent not to kill or fight, but to try to make a deal, but this had been tried before and it had been made clear that there would be no deal: it was not a matter of improving the offer.
Their town was protected and they would not yield to the bribes and threats of the wealthy and violent. Their blessing was there's alone, and it would surely be taken away if they were anything less than pure.
For it was known in certain circles of government and church, a rumour passed around a select few that any child born of the women of New Aretha would live forever, would live to see Heaven itself grow from the desert sands.
The man would be here in an hour. Anja and her sisters began to prepare their knives.