Eleven months ago, my betrothed and I walked the desert to lie before the stars, so that their light might pierce our shells and share with us our true names. For the names given by family and friend are mere nicks and scrapes on the surface of a person’s true nature, and as the elders say, “Only the stars can show us who we are.”
Before the stars gave us the names we sought, our people called my betrothed the second son of Ammon, and me the second daughter of Nu. We went west from the great river, crossing the high dunes with a warm rain sitting soggy on our shoulders, and did not speak throughout the morning. I followed my betrothed, watching the dunes, counting our steps, spotting the few subtleties of landscape we’d been taught to navigate by, and soon we came upon our destination.
We did not see the monolith until it was right in front of us, for it had stood hidden, a giant grey slab of stone against the grey storm. Its walls inclined toward a single point high above, directing our eyes skyward, and we paced slowly around looking for the entrance to the sacred cave.