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Sand was interesting.

He seemed disappointed that we paid him, "gifted" him, for helping us and for carrying the box.  As if he would rather have had us in his debt (which is what I could feel happening, or why I suggested we give him all that gold and silver and stuff -- not to mention I didn't know what either of us would do with it).

He smiled, and said something like "well, you've got to forgive a guy for trying" and then thanked us for the gifts.  I'm pretty sure we gave better than we got, which is why he gave us the spell and such.

Just before he left, he asked me not to judge the King too harshly.  "You aren't what one would expect from the Rukh's daughter" he said.  You could tell that he was nervous about offending her, though he expected my father to forgive the discourtesy.  "He did pass the test, in the end" "and he did save his people from the night" ...

It hit me that we had been part of a pattern, and a part of that was a test, that in order for my father to be able to give the One Eyed King Wakanda's gift, the King had to pass a test -- and we had to run the risk of one too -- down to the risk of ending up in someone else's debt.

In his own way, Sand was trying to reach out beyond the hero path, outside the rituals, just as he had when he had nudged the King, without harming him, to bridge the gaps.

At the end, I told him not to go back hungry and gave him a loaf of my mom's bread and the sack of salt.  He gave me a wry grin and thanked me.

It was an interesting experience.  We might meet Sand again, though I've learned to be careful of heros, be they hero-kings (like the One Eyed King) or great heros (like Sand).  Guess they've learned to be careful of my parents, so that completes a cycle.

And he was right, I wouldn't expect me if I was looking for the Rukh's daughter to come claiming her favor.  But I am my parent's daughter and they will be proud of me.  Probably won't let me take risks like this trip again (I'd wondered why they let me do this, but they trusted us and it did allow the One Eyed King's people to have light brought to them, out of darkness, and to be saved from the famine and death that threatened them in spite of his bringing back fire and knowledge).

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