II. The Lily-of-the-Valley

She lay under the eye of the moon. In these days that time forgot, the moon had no need to mark the days, so it became her seamstress. It would rise and fall, working itself into her, side-stitching moonlight with blood, steel, and the rich umber of wet earth. It wove the patchwork of her experiences into a garment, piercing and crowning through her seemingly without end. It was painful enough for her to keep lucid, but not enough to faint. Before long it kept the bugs out, then the cold.

She remembered when -she- was the garment—when she felt her sum was at best, loose hanging flesh, fit only to clothe an idea. In time, she realized ideas were no more perfect than she was—and that she was the one who deserved to be clothed.

As the moon waxed and waned, the garment thickened and became armor. She remembered her sword. It lay below the willow tree where she left it long ago. Seemingly sharper than day it was forged. It waited patiently for her. It was content to be one with the earth, but rust chose not to eat it. No birds saw it fit to serve as perch. The sword was reason: a device of man, and its past was gray. In full light it was difficult to look upon. When used recklessly, it could destroy. Swung with wisdom, it could sever corruption.

The moon stitched a pale gray shield—her intuition, the most powerful force she could muster. The sword could break, it was forged from human merit; It was matter. The shield would not. It was everything in between. It allowed her to enter the fray, relying on mindfulness instead of initiative.

The path ahead was long, and wrought with sights she did not know. In time, she would have to make a choice, but she was never as keen, and never as strong.