Many people, even among the mountain-dwelling Sklair, would feel fear when they climbed the high slopes of Daranae. Not Dhor. He took each step as calmly as if he walked across a flat plain.
Dhlor had explored the mountain paths all his life, and two things gave him unshakable confidence. First, he trusted his skill and instincts to carry him up the mountain safely. Second, Maraj walked with him.
The god couldn’t be seen, of course. Maraj walked with all Sklair, not just Dhor, but most people lived their entire lives without a sign of His presence. Yet Dhor knew He was there.
He smiled to himself. Every time he climbed up Daranae, he remembered the day that changed his life. As a child, he entered a mountain cave, only to retreat when a voice called his name from outside. Although no one awaited him, the cave collapsed shortly after he left. The mysterious voice saved his life, and since none of his people walked the mountains that day, it had to be Maraj.
In return, Dhor devoted everything to his god—his strength, his faith, and even his journeys up Daranae. Was his urge to explore every inch of the mountain his own innate curiosity, or a calling from Maraj? He couldn’t say. But whether he or his god called him out there, few things gave him greater joy than exploration.
This time, Dhor climbed higher than ever before. At the highest spot he could safely reach, a narrow pass led to the other side of Daranae’s peaks. He squeezed his way through, a task made more difficult by his size—even for a Sklair, Dhor was big. What would he find atop this peak this time?
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