Whenever anyone in the tribe died, the priestess would lay a small stone in the sacred place. When a baby was born, she added a stick to the collection. It was foretold by the elders that as a person got older, the stick would warp, crack and rot, but the person would continue to live as long as the stick was unbroken.
The priestess knelt on the rocky ground and a sob broke from her as she reached out and gently laid her lover’s stone among the others. Then she picked up her husband’s stick and snapped it in two.