The Rain Maker
Only the Great Ama could wield the Rain Maker mask. Only she could summon the rains giving life to a parched earth. Nera’s Great Ama had the power. Now, Nera’s Ama wielded the power of the mask. Someday, the power would be passed to Nera, as was custom, mother to daughter, down through the ages.
Nera stood by the window of her thatch and mud dwelling. She watched the steady fall of rain as the drops hit the clay, making patterns in the earth, where the water ran in rivulets.
Last season, Nera’s Great Ama, the village Spiritual Leader, died, just before the rains were due. After her death, not a drop of water fell. Nera’s Ama, had taken over as Spiritual leader. But, her inexperience led the villagers to blame her as the cause of the drought.
This season, before the planting time, Nera’s Ama, donned the Rain Maker mask,waiting for the waxing moon cycle, offering the gifts from the villagers and fragrant incense to the gods to save the village from the drought. Last moon cycle, the gods answered her prayers. The rain fell, soaking the parched earth, bringing it to life. But now, the rain continued to fall, with no sign of stopping.
Nera shifted, uncomfortable, as a chill wind blew through the thatch and mud walls. Everything was wet, including her clothes. She pulled at her collar as the fabric clung to her body in a damp embrace. Her teeth chattered as she walked to the stone fire pit hearth.
She knelt by the fire and extended her hands near the crackling flames. Nera felt the warmth slowly work its way from her fingertips into her hands. She listened to the sounds of the pater of rain as it hit the roof and the hiss of the fire as some drops made it past the thatched roof.
She edged closer to the fire, hoping the heat would dry the moisture that clung to her like a second skin. Nera still felt a sense of relief. At least she had not come down with the sickness that was ravaging her village. The children and the elders caught it first, but it was quickly spreading.
She moved back to the window. The gray sky continued to release the rain in torrents. Nera shook her head as she observed the crops in the field; stalks bent and broken, as the rain continued its endless assault. Ruined. The harvest for the second year in a row was not to be.
Tonight, during the waning moon phase, the Great Ama, would petition the gods for an end to the rains. Nera hoped it would work before the sickness claimed the whole village. Nera prayed that the gods would be merciful.
In her heart, she was terrified, for one day she, too, would become the Great Ama and wield the power of the Rain Maker mask.