“I’m sorry,” Father grunted, grabbing her by her shoulders and throwing her down.
“I deserve it,” she said. She didn’t really mean it, but she hadn’t meant to cause Father grief.
“This world is a hard and fallen one,” he said, tears streaming down his cheeks. “That is not your fault.”
The foremost of the Messengers bore down upon her, a clay pot in his hand. Qayna stared at the Messenger’s face, imprinting it upon her memory. “This dye,” the Messenger thundered, “is the blood of Abil. His blood cried to heaven to witness your guilt, and now it will cry to all your family and their descendants as an eternal witness.”
The Messenger dipped a shard of bone into the pot and scraped its jagged edge across Qayna’s face. She screamed and twisted, and Father held her down.
“This stylus is the bone of Abil,” the Messenger continued. “You would not make an acceptable sacrifice, and instead sacrificed your own brother’s flesh and bone. Now the bone records your sin.”
The Messenger continued scratching her, running curving lines about Qayna’s face and all over her body. Qayna bucked and screamed and stared at each Messenger, memorizing their faces. One day, she swore, she would indeed be a witness.
Father wept, but did not relent.
Shet only stared.
“These words that I write upon your face,” the Messenger finished, “are the name of Abil. “As you have blotted out his name from among your family, so shall your name be blotted out. As you have taken from him his life, so do I now take from you your death. You shall be a fugitive and a vagabond upon the earth, until the end of time.”