Lile didn’t leave the barn for two days. She slept in a loft and refused to leave Mischief’s side. Mia brought her food and water, but said nothing. The morning of the third day, she went out and dug a hole to bury the kitten. Then she dried her tears and went inside.
Coem was on his way out the door with his pack on his back when she entered. “Good morning, Lile!” He said.
“Morning,” Lile mumbled.
“I was going outside to gather some bark. Would you like to come?”
Lile shrugged. “I don’t know what else to do.”
She followed him out the door. They walked for a time until they came to a row of trees by the stream they hadn’t gleaned from yet.
“It gets harder and harder to find fresh trees,” Coem said. Then he turned to Lile. “We missed you in the house.”
“But I would’ve done the same, I think.”
Lile looked up at him. “You?”
“I’m not perfect and unfeeling, Lile.” He pulled out his knife and began cutting at the bark. “Do you want to climb up and gather some needles?”
“I think you’ll be fine.”
“It’s not that… Coem, I don’t feel very good,” Lile said at last.
“What sort of not good?”
“Weak, and tired, and…”
Coem looked at her. “Why don’t you sit or lie down on the ground?”
She nodded, and sat a little ways from Coem. She watched as he worked in silence.
“You must be thinking hard,” he said. “You’re never so quiet.” Coem heard a thump behind him, and turned. “Lile?” He didn’t see her. He began walking around the area, but it was some time before he found Lile, lying behind a log. Dropping his pack, he bent to examine her. He grabbed her wrist. There was still a pulse. He put a hand over her mouth. She was still breathing. He tied his pack around his waist and picked the girl up. He stumbled back to the house. He was startled at how thin and frail Lile seemed in his arms.
“Hang on,” he whispered to Lile. “I’m getting you to your grandmother.”
Mia ran to the door when she heard Coem’s knock.
“What happened?” She asked when he entered, Lile’s still form in his arms.
He didn’t reply until Lile was lying in his cot, then he shook his head.
“She said she was weak and tired, and I told her to sit down, and then - she’s still breathing, but needs to rest, and needs nourishment.”
Mia went to the cupboard and began to search it. “There’s so little,” she whispered.
Coem pulled some bark from his pack. “We got some food, but not much. It’s getting harder to find as more people need to scavenge.”
“Some broth would do her a world of good,” Mia said. “If only we had a few chicken bones.”
“It may not be as good as broth, but tea may help, too.” Coem said, then disappeared. He returned a few minutes later with a handful of dried leaves. “At least it will be hot and some flavor and nutrients. And I’ve heard of healers using this kind of leaf for medicine.”
Mia nodded, but her nod couldn’t hide the tremble of her body. She leaned on the counter as a sob escaped her lips.
“She’s all I have,” the woman said.
“And she’s not dead yet,” Coem said, clenching his fist. He placed a hand on Mia’s shoulder, trying to impart hope to her. Even so, there was a slight tremor in his voice.
Mia made some tea and Coem prepared some bark for Lile. The grandmother sat on the edge of the cot and lifted her granddaughter’s head to pour the hot liquid down her throat. Much of it spilled onto the cot, but some entered Lile. Soon the girl began to stir.
“I’m so tired, so hungry,” she said.
“You can rest for as long as you need to,” Mia said.
She nodded, and took a few more sips of tea, and a few bites of bark, then returned to her pillows. In and out of sleep, Lile heard Coem and Mia whispering.
“I have to go. She might die otherwise.”
“You might die. Wait for a gryphon.”
“I haven’t heard from them since the one said she would confer with the others. It may be too late if I wait for them.”
“At least wait until the morning.”
Then Lile heard no more.
She woke in the wee hours of the morning. Mia and Coem were both by her side, sleeping. Lile tried to rise. She didn’t want to wake either of them, but was very thirsty. Both feet were on the ground and she raised herself from the cot, but tumbled to the floor. Coem ran to her side and lifted her back into the bed.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
“I think so,” she said. “Just thirsty.”
Coem retrieved a cup of water.
“Next time, wake one of us.” Mia said.
“I will - but grandmother?”
“I think I understand some now.”
“Understand what?” Coem asked.
“I said I wished He was like us. I take that back. I’m glad He’s not like us,” Lile whispered. “I was thinking about how awful I’ve been to all of you, not listening, and having a bad attitude and trying to stop what was happening and we couldn’t stop without harming ourselves. I’m so glad He’s not like me.” Tears welled up in her eyes. “Because then I’d never want to spend my whole life following Him. Grandmother, Coem – will you forgive me? I know He has, but will you?”
“Aye,” Coem said. He looked at Mia, who nodded. “For both of us. Hush, now. We can talk later. Rest now.”
A crack of light shone underneath the door. Coem stood at the table, packing his sack.
“What are you doing?” a voice behind him said.
“I’m going to see the king,” Coem said, without turning.
“You’re what?” Lile asked, trying to sit up. She fell back onto the cot and lay still.
Coem stuffed a notebook into his sack. “Going to talk to the King.”
“They won’t let you out of the gate. And even if they did, you won’t survive the journey to the castle. And even if you did, what makes you think they’d let you in to see the King? And what makes you think he’d listen?”
Coem came to Lile’s side and put a hand on her shoulder. “Sometimes the Creator acts through nature – that would be rain. Sometimes He acts through people. Lile, if this is judgment upon us for our pride, someone needs to tell the King. Someone needs to plead with him. I’m going to try. Pray for me. And keep praying for rain. Lile, don’t lose faith. I know you’ve heard this all your life from your grandmother. But now that you follow the Creator, too, hear it differently, and think about it. There’s a passage in the Law that says ‘the king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Creator; He turns it wherever He will.’ Lile, the Creator is in control of everything that is happening. He’s ordained it; it’s His will, and He has a purpose in it, even if we can’t see it. I don’t understand it. It makes me confused because I don’t know, and I want to, and there’s no way to figure it out. But even if I don’t think it’s happening like this, the Creator is the One who is determining the outcome of this famine, and how the King treats us, and whether or not the King worships Him. We see it from our little perspective, but He sees the whole thing. Trust Him, Lile. Trust, and then act on that trust. I’ll see you when I get back.”
Coem left the house and began walking toward the city gates. Only one guard was posted; no one tried to leave the city anymore.
“Where do ye think yer going?” The guard asked as Coem approached.
Coem stood still when he heard the guard. It’s the mean guard, he thought, recognizing the voice. But I won’t let that intimidate me. “I’m going on a journey,” he said.
“No one leaves the city.”
“I’ll be back in just over a week. I’m not leaving for good. In fact, you should be glad I’m going, because you’d be rid of a follower of the Creator for a while.”
The guard laughed. “All the more reason to keep ye here. You might find food out there and live. I should kill ye while I have the chance. But that might lighten yer suffering.” He stepped closer and swung his fist at Coem’s head.
Coem ducked. “I don’t want to fight,” he said.
“There’s no choice, unless ye want to run and be the coward yer supposed Creator is!” He aimed another blow at Coem’s head.
Aghast at the guard’s blasphemy, Coem stood motionless. The punch knocked him off of his feet. He lay unmoving on the ground as the guard stepped closer.
“I don’t want to fight,” Coem said again. “But I will make a deal with you.”
“Go ahead, I’m listening.”
Coem stood. “I won’t leave the city. But give me a week and it’ll rain.”
“Followers of the Creator and I will gather, and we will pray for rain. If it comes, you’ll know He’s powerful and that He’s stronger than Daron, and that He cares for His people. If not,” Coem spread his arms wide. “You may do whatever you want with me.”
The guard laughed again. “Brave, but empty words. What’s your name, boy?”
“Coem, follower of the Most High Creator.”
“At the end of the week, come find Arnallt. I’ll say it again, though I don’t think you’ll be forgetting it. Arnallt. He’ll be ready for you – and don’t make me come find you.”
“I won’t. I’ll be there, and so will the rain. The Creator will triumph!”
Coem turned, ignoring Arnallt’s laughter as he walked homeward.
“Coem!” Lile said when he entered. “What happened?”
He sat on the edge of the cot. “You were right; they didn’t let me out. It was the one you call the mean guard at the gate. His name is Arnallt. Aye, he gave me this,” Coem said, pointing to his face when he noticed Lile staring at it.
“So you just came back?”
“Aye, after I told Arnallt that there’d be rain by the end of the week, or else he could do what he wanted with me. But –“ he said when Lile began to interrupt. “I didn’t promise of my own strength, but that the Creator would bring rain.”
“Coem, are you crazy?” Lile cried.
“The guard gives you a black eye, and you tell him that if it doesn’t rain this week he can do whatever he wants with you? We’ve got to hide you, get you out of here, something. Pavati could take you, if only he could carry people as far as another kingdom. ”
“I’m not going to hide; I made a promise. It’s not just about me. If it was just that Arnallt treated us badly, I could live with that. But he mocks the Creator every time we see him, and encourages people to believe that the famine is the fault of those who follow the Creator. I told him that if it rains, it shows the Creator’s power.”
“But what if it doesn’t rain?”
“Lile, we’ll go into the city now and tell all the followers of the Creator we meet to come here to pray. If it was spring and we had seed, I’d tell you to plant, I’m that sure He’ll send relief. We’re going to pray like never before.”
At dusk, Coem returned from the city.
“Where have you been?” Mia asked, running to the young man. “Lile told me some of what happened. I was afraid you’d met with the guard and he’d already taken his end of the bargain.”
“I didn’t expect to be gone so long when I left,” Coem said. “I walked around the market and houses seeking followers of the Creator, asking them to fast and pray. We’ll gather here tomorrow night and each night after to do so together, and most have chosen different days to fast. For once I’m grateful that there’s so little work – it gives us time to spend in His Law, studying it and praying. Will you join us?” He asked Lile and Mia.
“Aye,” Lile said without hesitation.
Both Mia and Coem stared looked down at her, forgetting her words of the night before. I’m glad He’s not like us… otherwise I’d never want to spend my whole life following Him.
“That makes three of us,” Mia said.
Coem took the Law from a shelf above the table, then he sat on the edge of the cot beside Lile and began to read.
“’To you I lift up my eyes, O You who are enthroned in the heavens!
Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master,
As the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,
So our eyes look to the Lord our God till He has mercy upon us.
“Have mercy upon us, O Creator, have mercy upon us,
For we have had more than enough of contempt.
Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease,
Of the contempt of the proud.’”
“Who wrote that?” Lile asked.
“Well,” Coem began. “All the words in the Law are from the Creator, but sometimes He used men to write them. I believe Nathan, the first king of Sealyn, penned these words.”
“Wasn’t he the one who let Daron in?”
“Aye. And I think it was a few years later that he wrote this, after struggling with the results of his sin. But I thought it very fitting for our circumstances, also, which is why I read it.” Coem sighed. “I wish we had the teachings of Adan. I know in Cathonys and Ladylan they’re well-known. He would have even more wisdom.”
“It’s the same wisdom,” Mia said, “from the same fount.”
“It could be prayed, too, right? It’s almost like a prayer,” Lile said, pointing at what Coem had read.
“Aye. Shall we pray it now?”
Lile nodded, then bowed her head as Coem began to pray.
“We lift up our eyes to You, Creator – You who are enthroned in the heavens, and who formed them by Your own hand. As servants look to their masters to provide for them – so we are looking to You, pleading with You to have mercy upon us. We will not stop until You do. We are tired of hunger, and of the contempt the people are showing for Your holy Name. We are sick with being scorned because we follow You, and pray for Your mercy upon us and this land.”
“Amen,” Lile whispered.
“It’s high time you were asleep,” Mia said after a few minutes.
“How have you felt today?” Coem asked.
“Better. Still weak.”
“I thought so.”
“Because you’re not talking as much and aren’t as energetic as usual. Did you know you make me feel more lively?”
Lile shook her head. “I’ll try to get well soon. We need to hang on just a week longer.”
“Do you think you can make it to your room?” Mia asked.
“If you help me.” Lile began to stand, and Coem and Mia supported her on either side. They took Lile to her room and there said goodnight.
Three days passed. By day, Coem sought out followers of the Creator and asked them to join the growing number of His followers in prayer and fasting. By night, many gathered in Mia’s front room for long hours of prayer and reading the Law. Coem thought often of words of Adan’s he had once heard – “The fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” Creator, I’m not righteous on my own, he often prayed, but through Adan’s blood I am. Let my prayers, and the prayers of all your followers in Nera avail. I wish I could tell the gryphons, too , and they could spread the word in Panatea and in all of Edaled. But I know they’re serving You in other ways. Answer us in mercy, Creator!
The morning of the sixth day, Coem rose before the sun. He prayed and studied the Law for an hour, then went into the city. As the sun rose, he looked to the sky. It was clear blue, and not a single white wisp of a cloud could be seen. He climbed the walls of the gate and surveyed the city. It was still quiet, not yet having woken to its usual bustle. The fields were nothing more than brown dirt. Everywhere trees were bare. The dirt roads were filled with cracks, as if open-mouthed and pleading for rain. Dust rose from the ground, having no moisture to keep it down. The only colors were the grey of stone and browns of earth.
Coem turned when he heard footsteps behind him. It was Arnallt.
“So, my boy,” Arnallt crossed his arms over his chest and looked up at the sky. “Nary a cloud in the sky. Where’s this rain?”
“Coming,” Coem said.
“Ye just keep trusting that Creator of yers. I’m preparing my weapons.”
“It will come,” the young man said.
“Oh, sure, in another year. Ye have one more day. One more, hear?”
“I know. It will come,” Coem said again, still calm. “It will come, because the Creator is powerful, and not only is He powerful, He’s also faithful, and He hears our prayers each night as we gather to beseech His help and read His Law, and fast, that our souls may be focused on Him.”
“I’ll be waiting for ye here early morning two days hence.”
“Make sure you’re wearing a cloak; you’re going to need it to keep the rain off,” Coem said, smiling.
“Yer a headstrong boy, and if it weren’t for the deal we made, I’d see ye flat on yer back on the ground right now,” Arnallt said.
“I should be on my way,” Coem said. “But I’ll see you before too long.”
“What does fasting do?” Lile asked when Coem came home around noon. She was sitting at the table, upright on her own for the first time since she had fainted.
Coem sat down on a chair next to her. “There’s lots of reasons to fast,” he said. “In general, we’re doing it to focus more on the Creator. Fasting doesn’t mean He’ll hear us better or be more likely to do what we ask, but it reminds us that He’s more important to us than food, and the time spent preparing and eating meals is spent in prayer instead. Sometimes we do it for guidance, other times for help fighting temptation, or for repentance and reform, or for His work to be furthered. Those last two are reasons we’re doing it now.”
“I didn’t eat breakfast because I was sleeping,” Lile said. “And I was just about to eat lunch, but I think I want to join you fasting.”
“Lile,” Mia said. “You’re still so weak –“
“I’m depending on Him for strength. We all are. I want Him to be my all, and what I want more than even food. And didn’t Coem say yesterday when everyone was here to pray that he wanted everyone to fast today? Aren’t I included in the followers of the Creator now?”
“Aye. I won’t object any further, but will warn you for the future,” Mia said. “There’s sometimes a fine line between resting in what He can do and testing Him. He provided food for our nourishment, and to refuse it because you want Him to prove He can sustain you is different than refraining from eating for such a time as this.”
Lile nodded. “I know that.”
“Coem, can you get the Law down? I want to read some.”
Coem took the tome from its shelf and handed it to Lile. She spent the afternoon reading, while Coem went back to the city. There were still no clouds in the sky.
Show Yourself faithful, true to Your character! Coem prayed. Unless I have been testing You, and then let my lesson be learned, and let me be reproved for leading others astray. He glanced heavenward. But I’ve done what I have because Your name was being profaned. For Your sake, do this!
“This is the second-to-last night we have to gather and pray,” Coem said that night when followers of the Creator were gathered in the front room. “And the fifth night we have done so. Let us not grow weary, but let His silence spur us on to further prayer.”
“Aye!” The men said, and then one opened their time in prayer.
Light was beginning to show through the windows before they finished their time together with songs of worship to the Creator. After the last guest had left, Coem found Lile seated once more at the table.
“We have less than a day,” she whispered. “Do you think it will happen?”
“If I know anything about the Creator, I know that His character never changes, and that He preserves His children. In our human wisdom, rain would be the best way of doing that. But there may be another way.”
“Another way might mean you die,” Lile said. Her voice was barely audible. “We haven’t known you that long, but we couldn’t bear it if that happened.”
Coem put a hand on Lile’s shoulder. She reached up and held onto his wrist.
“The Creator will provide,” he said. “Now get some rest.”
Coem woke to the sound of pounding on the roof. He opened his eyes. What time is it? Still early, he thought when he saw faint light. But we went to bed at dawn. Have I slept until dusk? And what is on the roof? He rolled over to go back to sleep, but a shout from outside kept him awake.
“Coem! Wake up!” Lile called.
He jumped out of bed and wrapped his cloak around him, then ran to the door. He froze when he opened it.
There was Lile, arms outstretched, eyes closed and head tipped back, mouth open wide, laughing. And there was something falling all around her. Coem stared. Lile looked up.
“It’s raining, Coem! Just like we prayed for!” She spun in a circle.
The darkness – it wasn’t early or late, it was noon. But clouds – rain clouds – were covering the sun.
Mia joined Coem at the door. “Lile, what do you think you’re –“ she began, but stopped when she saw the rain. “Oh, praise the Creator!”
Mia ran to her granddaughter, and they embraced. The rain beat down on them, soaking their hair and clothes. Mia began to laugh, and Lile joined in.
“It feels so good!” Lile shouted. “It’s raining, it’s raining! He heard us!”
“Aye, He did! And He has looked upon us with favor!” Mia said. “Coem, come!” She reached her arm out, and he joined their embrace.
The rain fell harder, and continued its downpour through the afternoon and into the night. Then it slowed to a drizzle, which kept up until morning. Throughout Nera, followers of the Creator stepped out into the rain. Many fell to their knees to thank the Creator, and many gathered together to do so corporately. Some continued the fast, worshiping Him in that way also.
At dawn, Coem donned his cloak and journeyed to the city gates, Lile at his side. When they arrived, there was no one there.
“Arnallt!” Coem shouted. “Arnallt! Are you there?”
There was no reply.
“Do you think he left? And do you think there’s no one here because we can go out of Nera?”
“The famine isn’t over yet,” Coem said. “The land never satisfied with water is one of the things that the Law says never has enough. It could rain all next week and we’d still suffer some. Rain isn’t the solution to all of our problems. It’s fall right now, and there was no harvest. It’s going to be a long winter, and unless the king shows some mercy and humility, we won’t ever get out of this alive. Come, let’s go home. We’ll get sick if we stand in this rain for much longer.”
Lile spent the next few days at the window. She watched in wonder as the rain continued its downpour. “It’s as if all the rain from the past four years is coming all at once,” she said.
A few days later, heavy knocking sounded on their door. Coem opened the door. A guard in the king’s livery stood on the porch.
“We were told a young man named Coem lives here.”
“I am Coem.”
“One of our guards told us you were responsible for the rain.”
“Not me, but the Creator. Was the guard’s name Arnallt?”
“Aye, it was he.”
“He often blasphemed the Creator, and so I told him that if it didn’t rain within a week, he could do whatever he pleased with me. He must think it was I that made it rain.”
“Either way, he came to the king and told him what happened. The King wishes to see you, and you have been summoned to the castle.”
Coem stared at the guard.
Having overheard the conversation, Lile ran to Coem’s side. “Coem! You’re going to see the king!”
The guard stepped aside. “And he has sent transportation.”
A sound like deep rumbling was heard from beside the porch. After a moment, Coem recognized it.
The gryphon came into view. Coem ran from the steps and threw his arms around the gryphon’s neck.
“I have so much to tell you!” Coem said.
Pavati laughed again. “We have a long journey to talk. Now, climb on, we must be away.”
Without thinking of his fear of riding, Coem pulled himself onto Pavati’s back. As the gryphon soared into the sky, Coem waved to Lile. She jumped up and down and waved back.
“Godspeed!” She cried. “We’ll be praying for you!”
The guard smiled, then waved, too.
Coem looked down. Upon seeing the ground so far beneath him, he held more tightly to Pavati’s fur. “Please don’t do anything outrageous,” Coem said.
Pavati laughed. “I won’t, as much as is possible. Now, tell me – what has happened since I was wounded?”
Coem recounted the events of the past few weeks. Pavati listened without saying a word.
“You have acted well, though perhaps a little brashly at times,” the gryphon said. “I am very sorry that we could not come, and that you suffered so much because of it. But look at how the Creator used it – it was when Lile was so weak that she turned to Him at last.”
“Aye. Before then, when it seemed everything kept sinking lower and lower, I often wondered what good could come of it. I myself began to doubt if He heard us. But the moment Lile spoke of repenting, all of the hunger and pain was worth it. If I had continued on my own, life would have been easier, there would have been less of a burden on me, but the outcome would have been different. I am grateful even for the pain – and instead of misery, the pain has turned out to be wells of joy that are overflowing.”
“You speak wisely, man-friend,” Pavati said. “I, too, learned much. I felt rather useless when I could not fly, for that seems to be how I see myself best accomplishing the Creator’s purposes for me. Being still and grounded was hard. But Soyala and I devoted ourselves to prayer, in particular for you, Mia, and Lile.”
“Your prayers were heard and answered,” Coem said.
“Aye, they were,” Pavati said.
They traveled onwards, stopping overnight in a small village, where they found rest with followers of the Creator. At dawn the next morning, they were flying once more. By sunset, Coem found himself standing in the king’s throne room.
The king stood. “I have been told your name is Coem,” he said.
“Aye, your majesty.”
“I am King Elias. But I’m sure you know that. I wish to hear more of what you did.”
“It was not me, but the Creator,” Coem began. It was dark when he finished telling the King what had passed. He left nothing out, including even the prayers for the King. When he stopped talking, the room was quiet. Neither the king nor any of his counselors said a word for a few minutes.
At last, the king spoke.
“The Creator has seen fit to answer your prayers for rain. Let me tell you this: it seems He has also begun to answer the prayers you said for me. I have a very, very long way to go. I – I –“ he stopped and turned away, then continued. “I have been a fool in my pride. You were right to pray for me to be humbled.” He turned back to look at Coem, and there were tears on his cheeks. “I have lost a quarter of my kingdom to this famine. I could have spared so many lives if I had not closed the ports! And then when there was no longer enough food to continue even with the meager rations of the past three years, I could not blamed myself, and so I blamed the followers of the One whose fault I thought the famine to be. I see more clearly now. This cursed Panatean pride!”
Coem chuckled. “I understand all too well what you mean,” he said. “It is Panatean pride. It must run in our blood.”
“That doesn’t give us any excuse,” King Elias said. “It’s a trait in us I wish to see gone. Look at how generous we are! But then our pride gets in the way! We must overcome it somehow!”
“May I suggest,” Coem said, “to begin by setting an example of humility yourself?”
“What do you mean?”
“Begin by lifting the ban on traveling. Open the city gates, and open the ports. Let relief come in from other Kingdoms. We will need provisions for the winter and seed in the spring. Let others help us.”
“Open the ports?” The King asked. “But I had ordered them closed! And held to that so strongly! How can I-“ he stopped short, and shook his head. “You see what I mean about pride?”
“It can be conquered, not by our strength – that would be reason for more pride – but by understanding who the Creator is, and having a right view of our sinful state.”
The King came closer to Coem. “You must stay here and help me. Join my advisors! You may be young, but you have much insight!”
“I am happy to stay for a time, but-“
“But what? Ask anything you want!”
“I have friends in Nera, friends like family. Could they come, too? And let it only be a temporary position. We have a stable to open, and someday a whole globe to explore.”
“Of course! I ask that you stay at least until we have had a successful harvest. Then I shall send you off with horses for your stable if you like, or a boat for your exploration. And let your gryphon friends stay, too!”
“I’m sure they will visit sometimes,” Coem said. “But they’re like the wind. They go wherever the Creator sends them, and do not stay in one place for long. It was His mercy bid them come here, just as it was His mercy that brought the rain.” Coem knelt. “Before we do anything else, let us thank Him.”
The King opened the ports the next week. Gryphons carried messages to other kingdoms, and soon trade began again. Panatea’s stores were depleted of food and funds, so the kingdoms gave freely. Food was not yet plentiful, and rationing continued until after the harvest. Coem, Mia, and Lile lived in the castle until the harvest was brought in and sufficient stores were established. Panatea was back on its feet, but without her former pride. Monuments were erected in each city, reminding the people of the famine of 522 – of their inability, and the Creator’s strength. After the harvest, Coem, Mia, and Lile began making plans to travel Edaled with the gryphons and followers of the Creator. They planned to travel to each of the kingdoms, sent by the King and the Creator to thank the kingdoms for their help and teach them the lessons Panatea learned that other kingdoms might not suffer the same distress. A year and a half later, they returned to Nera and re-opened the stables, continuing the work of the Creator in that village for many years, always remembering His mercy upon them.