Blood on the Temple Pavement

Blood was everywhere. The two young masons were attacking each other violently with hand axes, their blood splashing onto the pavement and the stone work they had been working on minutes before.  The young female sculptor and the Priest were just leaving the middle temple when they stumbled on the scene.

"Stop!" Pebble called. "Stop it at once!"

Amazingly, they paused, breathing heavily and dripping sweat.They had been fighting over her, of course, though she had done nothing to encourage them. She shook her fist at them. "Don't you dare!" she called again. "Stop it now!"

At the same time, the Priest stepped towards the combatants hand raised in admonition. Then, without warning, one of them groaned and collapsed onto the pavement.

In Neolithic society most people were tied to the land but masons had to travel the 'Sacred Isle' in order to do their specialist work on the mighty temples so they tended to be a group apart. Pebble's father had been a mason and when he died she had been accepted into their largely male society, though she preferred to call herself a sculptor. The huge stone lintels of the megalithic temples were too heavy for her to handle so she concentrated instead on the finer carving and the roof corbelling, using smaller stones. She was enjoying the work on the middle temple at Mnajdra and generally she fitted in well, but, these particular two masons had been a nuisance.

Handy, one of them, thought he was the Goddess's gift to women. Several times he had very publicly offered himself to Pebble but she had forcefully declined. "She's yet another Pebble for my corbelling," he arrogantly told his friends. He thought it very funny though Pebble was unimpressed. There was nothing wrong with sex in this society. Our Lady was after all a Fertility Goddess. However, Pebble had recently become enamoured of a young northern priest and recreational sex had lost its appeal, especially with this arrogant boaster. In any case, Handy liked to spread his largesse among the married women as well and this was severely frowned upon. Sex before marriage was fine but not in a way that threatened the home. Home represented family, procreation and an afterlife in the community of the ancestors. Threaten that and you threatened the whole society.

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