There were three moons in the sky, Rik knew that once a full cycle, when all four moons were in alignment with the sun, a larger than usual tide was generated, running around the planet and sweeping all the island cities with a huge wave. All those males approaching adulthood stood outside the wall, on the sandy beach and let the wave wash over them. Those who remained after its passage were acclaimed as Men and could marry and take second names. Those who would not stand, or who ran were Keldav. Cowards, and fit only for servitude and ridicule.
They were dead men walking, thought Rik, bound by law to do whatever they were told by anyone, even women and children. The ones who vanished were better thought of; at least they had shown courage. They were mourned and revered, their spirits watching over the city.
There were three days to the wave, already the wall was thronged with people, scraps of parchment had been pushed into the cracks in its brickwork, prayers for those who would take the wave, and some for those who had vanished in previous years. Rik stood at the edge and looked out to the east, the sun-dappled water was still and waves gently lapped at the wide beach a hundred feet below him. He knew that the wave would break just below where he stood; he had seen it last year when his brother Eran had emerged triumphant in its wake. Eran; who was now married and soon to be a father. Rik wanted what Eran had more than anything.
Dror pushed his way through the crowds until he stood beside Rik, taller and heavily built. He jabbed Rik in the ribs. “Hello, small one.” He grinned. “You’re early, there’s three days to go yet, or are you just working out which way you will run?” Rik felt himself colour at the insult.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish