Do what you like, yet again :D
Mito looked down into the valley at Tenochtitlan, the home she was leaving. Tears pooled in her eyes, blurring the breathtaking view of her golden city. The golden statues of the gods atop the temples reflected the rising sun brilliantly. Soon the first sacrifices would be made to Quetzalcoatl and Tezcatlipoca.
Without human sacrifice, there would be no blood for the sun gods to feed on, and the sun could not rise. The people would have to live in constant darkness; a time when everybody feared the most. And so Mito accepted that these sacrifices must be made, and had thought nothing of it. At least, until recently.
She had woken up a week ago to the sound of the priests’ horns signifying the beginning of the day’s sacrifices, and found herself wondering why it had to be that way. Why did the gods need all of this bloodshed? If they were so mighty, why did they need human sacrifice to be powerful? It made no sense to her.
She tried to stifle these thoughts, lest the gods strike her down, but as the day wore on, nothing happened. The next day she couldn’t help herself thinking about it, but when she ventured out to buy some fish from the fisherman, nothing happened to her.
What if there were no gods?
She became obsessed with the thought, and she never stopped thinking it- not when she was at the loom or cooking meals for her family. And still, nothing happened to her. And so, she had set off that morning, a week after her revelation, pretending to be going to pick flowers in the hills for the spring festival.
If her family found it strange that she refused company, they said nothing. She was the mysterious woman in a house full of men, and they did not notice her, only took it for granted that they would have fresh food and clean clothes every day.
She walked over the causeway across the lake at a pace no faster than normal that morning, not wanting to draw attention to herself. Once in the hills, however, she picked up the pace, walking as fast as she could.
She did not stop to talk to the others picking flowers; only occasionally offering a friendly smile. When Mito had gone over an hour without seeing another human soul, she hid her basket in the dense undergrowth and tucked the hem of her skirt into the waist to create a makeshift pair of trousers- she would not be hampered by her clothes.
She walked and walked, eating berries when she found them, and some of the flatbread she had brought with her. She walked on after dusk, as she was no longer afraid of the night. Now that she had decided she was not frightened of any gods, the biggest threat to her was wild animals.
Eventually she grew weary, and settled in the roots of a huge tree to sleep, her skirt wrapped round her for warmth. In the morning she woke up refreshed, without having been awoken by the conch shells of the priests.
Dew had settled on her thick eyelashes and in her luxuriant black hair. She brushed through it with her hands, braiding her hair again tightly and tying the end with a piece of twine. She fixed her clothes and stood up- she wanted to be off again, so that she could put as much distance as possible between herself and the city.
She turned round to look down at the valley, curious to see if Tenochtitlan was still in sight. She gasped as she took in the view. Her city was still there, glinting in the sunlight. It was beautiful, she couldn’t deny. But she knew exactly what it had taken to reach that level of splendour, and she could no longer accept that.
Mito turned her back on the city for what she felt sure was the last time, and set off again, anxious to get away so that she could not change her mind. She thought of how easy it would be to go back, claiming that she had ventured too far into the forest and got lost... She was shocked to realise that she had no desire at all to go back. Not now, not ever.
She stopped very little that morning, only to eat and rest momentarily. There was an abundance of food in the hills, but as she got higher it became harder to find, and the air became harder to breathe. She decided that she would make her way back down to lower ground, keeping to the trees so as she would not be seen.
She made her way carefully through the trees on the hillside, marvelling at the flora and fauna that she saw. She sang sometimes, louder than she ever could in her old home. She enjoyed the feeling of utter freedom; she felt like she could do whatever she wanted. There was nobody there to judge her, and her life was not in danger.
Sometime in the afternoon, she wandered into a clearing. It was a beautiful place, full of wildflowers and grasses. Even so, Mito could not help feeling that something was wrong here- the grass was too short, and the clearing too perfect. She stopped singing, looking round furtively. She could see nothing else unusual, but turned to leave anyway.
There was a sound behind her, and she ran. She couldn’t bring herself to look back, but she could hear yells, and the sound of many men following her. She was frightened and confused- she had been sure that she was well away from the city, and she had seen nobody in the clearing.
There was a high sound as a small rock from one of the men’s slingshots flew past her. She powered her legs on, forcing them to move faster. Another rock whizzed over her shoulder. She ran faster still.
It was no use- the next rock hit her behind her knee, and her leg buckled. She lay still- her fight was lost, and she knew it.
She did not scream when the men picked her up and carried her back to the clearing, where there were more men. She saw that there was a deer carcass on the ground. Three men were binding it to a long wooden pole by the feet. A hunting party, she realised quickly.
What happens to her next?