Prim came to a part of the road that was well worn. The path split and furrowed into pleasant little runoff trails, that twisted and snaked their way through groves of gently rustling trees. The undergrowth was thick and green and warm with insects and flowers. Prim felt some of the tension drain from her body and she rested a while under a tree, feeling quite relaxed.

After a while, she took a short and refreshing nap, and awoke to the distant voices of travelers a short ways down the trail. When she went out to greet them, she saw them clothed in white, and their faces and features were quite nondescript, as though washed in the ocean a while.

“Hello sister,” said they, “Who are you?”

“I am called Prim, who was the slave of Hansa, and now slave of the road,” said Prim.

“You are in luck, sister,” said the white-clothed people. “This is the end of the road. You are free!”

Prim gazed past the travelers through the treetops to see a broad and verdant valley, spotted with the trim rooftops of innumerable houses, each sporting a neat little plume of smoke. It looked like a very nice place to be, and Prim’s heart burned with a certain kind of longing she had not felt in a long while.

“What is this place?” asked Prim.

The travelers looked at each other, as if it was an odd question. “This the valley of Eternal Life,” they said. Prim was taken aback, as Immortality was one of the Three Forbidden Punishments. Seeing her expression, the travelers laughed stupidly, as though they had stumbled across a small and confused child.

“Don’t be so shocked,” said one of the travelers,”it’s true! Nobody knows want, hunger, or sickness. Our days are spent tending our gardens, talking to our neighbors and families, and praising God, who has granted us this boon. Death does not touch us here. People are neither born, nor die in this land. Our needs are cared for and the land is pleasant and green. What else could we want?”

“You should join us, sister,” added one of the travelers, “as God is good, you will know nothing but happiness in this valley.”

“Can you leave?” said Prim, who had an expression like she had tasted something sour. The travelers looked at each other in confusion. “Of course not,” said they, “why would we want to? It is impossible to leave the valley.”

“What else do you get up to?” said Prim tentatively, “Other than praising god, tending to your gardens, and talking to your neighbors?”

The travelers were very confused indeed, and seemed to think this was a very odd question. “Are you happy?” added Prim, as if this would help.

“Yes, of course,” said the travelers, smiling blithely. The expression on their faces was hard to read, but to Prim their words came out like a warm paste. “You will know nothing but happiness in this valley.”

“This land is terribly cursed,” said Prim, and moved on.