Written to @shutsumon’s prompt (or at least as much as I remembered it):
a secret revealed only by blending blood and moonlight
The stone was a gate.
Everyone knew it was a gate; it had been passed down from generation to generation since Before the Smash.
The thing was, nobody knew how to open it. It was suppose to go to a better place, a safer place, a place without the monsters and demons, the wild storms and the poisonous animals. But whatever had opened the gate had been lost, taken through with it.
Every year, on the anniversary of the Smash, they tried to open the gate. Every member of the town would put forth their solution, and they would try all of them. They whispered stories about things that had been tried and not. They wrote down the things that had seemed the most likely, and sometimes tried those again at other times, more auspicious times.
Tiya had read all of the notes and listened to all of the stories. SHe had watched as a child, wide-eyed, as they tried blood and fire, ide and stone and bone and ash.
Finally, on her first year as an adult, she walked to the middle of the circle and she waited until the moon rose before she cut her wrist open.
There were gasps; nobody had tried their own blood. And virgin’s blood, too, a first-year adult and a first child of the chief. If anything could do it, if anything…
The blood flowed into lines nobody had seen and lit up words nobody had notice. It shone over the whole stone circle.
They held their breath. Would the gate open? Would they be freed from Hell?
The words twisted around in a spiral.
“Each of you take One hundred feet by one hundred feet, and make it the best you can.”
There was muttering and swearing, complaining and whining. This wasn’t what they’d asked for.
Tiya, for her part, was as disappointed. She had wanted to find the gate to another world, not the blueprint for more work.
But the stone that was the gate had spoken. If it would get them out of Hell, they would do it.
That year, the energy they normally put into finding solutions for opening the gate went into their 100×100 squares. They all had a different idea of what made things better, but after some muttering and arranging, they made it work.
Those who wanted a wall arranged squares facing the worst threats and built walls, tall and wide and strong and matching up, more or less, at the edges of their squares.
Those who wanted better food planted seeds and pulled rocks out of their squares — rocks that went to build the walls.
Those that wanted nicer houses put four blocks together and worked together on nice houses — or a library of knowledge, or a place for art — at the corner, so they could work together.
It made the town look a bit like a quilt, but it also made much of it nicer.
On the anniversary of the Smash, the stone read
Do it Again.
And again, the next year, and then
Each of you, find one person or animal, demon or monster, and learn everything you can about them.
And and again
Tiya was an old, old woman by the time the stone read
Now teach others the same.
She sent her grandchildren to teach the demons, The Wall Guards to protect them, the House-Folk to show them better techniques for canning and smoking. SHe left only enough people at home to keep their town going.
The year she was readie, the stone read
Welcome to a better place.
Tiya smiled. She had, after all, found the gate to a better world.