"An artefact was recovered from the clothes that you were wearing when you were found," the older man continued.

He took my hand and placed a smooth, round object in it.

"Is it a red stone?" I asked.

"It is."

"Then it's mine," I said.

"Would you mind telling me how it came to be in your possession?"

I wasn't sure how much to tell him, but I couldn't think of a convincing lie. Besides, I was curious where his line of questioning would lead. "I had a vision," I said. "In this vision I met an old woman, and she made the stone out of soil and my own blood and gave it to me. I don't understand what happened, but I still had the stone after the vision ended."

"Did she say anything when she gave it to you?"

"Sacrifice. That's the only thing she said. Sacrifice."

"You say that she made the stone out of soil and your blood. Was there anything else? Did she add anything of her own?"

"Spittle. She spit into her hands when she made it."

"I see. Now, think back to what happened right before you had this vision. Where were you? What were you doing? Was there something that you needed very badly, or that you wanted very much?"

"I was on my knees in a brook not far from here," I said. "A man was threatening me, and I was sure he was going to kill me. I had accepted that I would die and I wasn't fighting him, instead I was praying for a safe journey towards the light. I also prayed that, if I were to die, that would be the end of it - no more death."

"If you'd have to sum up your thoughts and feeling at that particular moment in one sentence, what would you say?"

"No more," I said without hesitation. "No more death. No more killing. No more suffering. No more."

"No more," he repeated, seeming to be lost in thought.

"You mentioned being on your knees in a brook when you had your vision," he continued. "Was water present in any other form during your experience? Were any of the other elements?"

Flames surrounding me, moving in on me, entering my nose and my mouth, and breaking through my skin. Every breath an everlasting torment, consuming my body from within.

From a great distance I heard myself say, "No, please, I can't breathe. Stop it, please." I was sitting up, gasping for air. He supported me and held a cup of water to my lips, and after I drank I slowly began to feel better.

"What was that all about?" he asked me, while helping me to lie down again.

"Bad memories. I'm not sure what brought them on."

"We all have those," he said. "Do you need to rest?"

"No, I'll manage, and I'm grateful to you for taking the time to talk to me." Which was true. Agromas had told me to pay attention, and I was beginning to understand why.

"To return to your question, the brook was quite shallow," I said when I had sufficiently recovered to continue my story, "but when the vision started the water seemed to rise far beyond what was possible. The current was so strong that I was dragged under, and then I seemed to be passing through the water at an incredible speed. Eventually I was washed ashore, and there I met the old woman."

He said nothing, and after a while I asked him, "May I ask what you make of all this?"

"I believe that this stone of yours is something that we call a troth," he said. "Though I had heard about those, I had never known one to actually exist."

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