“The pilgrim’s road is ten thousand steps,” the priest had said and asked for volunteers. One stepped from the crowd.
“I shall take the relic,” he said. And all knew that he was lost to them. Some sobbed openly.

The Pilgrim stumbled along and reached the last hill. With him pilgrims from other towns and cities walked, all seeking salvation for their people.
When he placed the last piece of the relic on the altar, lightning struck and thunder shouted from the sky. The pilgrims smiled even as their life force was drained and they turned to stone.

Rain had come.