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Twenty days had passed when Atonos decided to test the architect's desire to succeed, and willingness to sacrifice what he loved most for the temple. Atonos concluded he had to send an evil messenger to talk to Karos and convince him of the necessity of human sacrifice in the case of the temple. The messenger was disguised as a mortal passing by. One morning before leaving for the site, Karos saw a man lying on the ground outside their cave, and dragged him inside. Karos made a fire, and asked his wife to make some food for the stranger who appeared to be in bad health. They started talking, and soon Karos found himself opening up and complaining about his misfortune to the stranger. The messenger talked in a calm voice which was reassuring to Karos who believed he could confide in the man he had just met. Karos told him about his plans to build a grandiose temple, and how his attempts were opposed with vigor by nature and ill-luck.
The evil messenger told Karos he knew what he needed to do in order to succeed. Karos was curious so he asked for a solution to his problem. The messenger told the architect that human sacrifice was needed in order for the construction to be completed. At first, Karos was scared by what the man was saying, but he wanted to know more and kept asking for details. The evil messenger continued by telling Karos he had to trap his wife within the walls of the temple for the building not to collapse because of the heavy rainfall. He explained the rain would not stop, and the walls would keep crumbling if he did not sacrifice his most beloved person for the sake of the temple. The first reaction of the architect was to reject the idea. However, the more he thought about it, and the more the evil messenger explained the necessity of human sacrifice, the less terrible the plan seemed to Karos. Gradually he became convinced that sacrificing his wife was the only way he could complete the temple, then the palace, and ultimately obtain the fame and wealth he had so long yearned for. Karos even managed to convince himself that the temple of Atonos was more important than the life of his wife, and that a mere mortal could not stand in the way of a god's plan. Nevertheless, Karos never once considered the stranger's intentions, or the fact that Atonos had never mentioned such a thing to him when he made the proposal. The stranger claimed he was feeling much better, and told Karos he had to leave.
Karos only had a week left until the expiration of the contract. He told his wife to bring him and his team of workers lunch at the site that day. Ana was surprised by her husband's request because she had never gone to the construction site since their arrival in Halcada. However, because of their constant arguments and bickering, she did not question her husband's wish. The men left for the site while Ana remained home and started making lunch for them. As soon as they arrived at the site, Karos told them about his plan. The workers were not thrilled with it; on the contrary, most of them opposed it completely. Nonetheless, Karos used the same arguments the stranger had used on him, and eventually convinced all ten workers of the importance of this sacrifice, and that Ana's death was the only way the temple and palace could be built there.
Later that day Ana packed the food and water, and left for the site. She arrived after a two-hour walk to find her husband working hard on the temple. She greeted him and told him she brought the food as he had asked. He seemed content, and even happy to see her which Ana found quite surprising considering the tension between them. Karos asked her to come inside the temple and tell him what she thought of his work. Ana agreed, and entered the temple. She approached her husband, and looked around. She then replied that she thought the temple was looking great, and that she was happy they would return home soon. Karos smiled, and asked his wife to help him build an unfinished outer wall of the temple. As soon as she agreed, 5 other workers appeared out of nowhere to trap Ana inside the unfinished wall while her husband was building it around her. Ana started screaming and asking them to stop and free her.
After a few minutes, her voice could not be heard anymore. Karos started having second thoughts at the prospect of his wife's death. He tried to break down the wall, but found it was impossible. He asked for the other men's help, but none of them could destroy what they had built. Karos could not cope with the grief and ran out of the temple. He then climbed the stairs to the second floor of the palace and stood on the edge of the roof. Although the workers who had gathered in front of the building asked him to come down, he did not listen and eventually jumped. Karos did not die on the spot, but was severely hurt and could not move. The workers were scared out of their minds and started running away from the site as fast as they could.
Atonos came down from the sky and approached the architect. He told Karos he was the one who had sent the stranger to his cave to lure him into killing his wife. Karos did not understand why Atonos had asked for such a sacrifice. The god reminded him that he had never asked for it, but merely proposed it to Karos who had accepted it in exchange for glory. Atonos explained that Karos had had it all but had never been satisfied, so he had decided to teach him a lesson, and told him that the sound of waves that his wife had heard was in fact, the wrath of the gods. Karos then understood he had received his punishment long before he sacrificed his wife. The god's proposal was in fact, his punishment for his thirst for glory, and perpetual discontent. However, the god had offered him the chance to back out of their agreement, but he had been too greedy. Karos realized that he had risked, and lost everything, so he died with a feeling of emptiness which was far greater than his lust for fame and…[continue]
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