We gathered in the valley on the Twilight of Souls, anxious as our stomachs roiled in anticipation. Everyone we lost that year stood patiently in line. Amira, the baker’s daughter. The old cobbler, Leth Sorensen. The Harthlet twins, Seve and Kronin. Those were the only ones I’d known personally, but among them stood a host of others I’d never even met. Names my lips would never utter, bodies I would never encounter in my day to day travels through the Folded Crescent.
As first light gathered on the horizon, slowly turning a black sky grey, the first of them began running toward the edge of the cliff. Ethereal arms outstretched, the reminder of her body arched instinctually, curving from chest to groin as she threw back a head no longer there and soared into the valley. The next soul was not so graceful; legs that were no longer real flailed and kicked as he panicked on his descent. Barely waiting for him to leap, the next soul followed, wrapping arms around legs and dropping swift as a boulder into the canyon.
It didn’t take long for the souls to find their freedom, soaring, sinking, scattering like dust across the valley to seek out new lives to live among the foliage and wildlife below. To start the cycle over again, to grow and evolve into our best selves was the ultimate achievement, but I couldn’t help but wonder if some of those souls hadn’t already reached the greatest of heights only to plummet to the bottom for no reason at all.