Seelar lay on furs inside the mouth of the cavern. Outside the stars warmed the night sky. From the cave mouth could be seen the little village in which she had lived. Simple cottages threaded by a path and a creek. Unseen, but well known.
In the village people gathered about a fire in vigil. They whispered a little, they watched a little, and they heard night sounds and the murmured breathing of sleeping children. And they waited.
Who remembers every detail of a lifetime? Seelar had been a loved, gentle woman. What had been her kindnesses? In the dark the villagers strained their memories. Was it she who helped with the boy's broken toy? Did she push the crops for a better yield? Forgotten fragments of past. How much had she done?
In the cavern no candles burned, no fire, only a trickle of starlight to aid her Journey. An old, old woman made of strong, long lines, lying heavy on the pallet.
Her breathing was unlaboured, calm, soon it would simple ease away. A sweet, gentle death. A mystical death.
Below they watched ... their farms, their families, their homes, their children.
And Seelar quietly drifted away.
The women came down the hill path, leaving behind emptiness. The watchers moved uneasily now, watching, waiting, not feeling grief, yet.
Slowly they lit their lanterns and moved towards their homes. Already one or two noticed their crops fall back from abundance to frugality, and they wept to see plenty replaced by subsistence.
The thatches on Seelar's cottage were tattered, almost gone. Her garden was stark. A child cried to find his treasure mysteriously ruined (but it was FIXED, Ma). And back on the common a woman with shocked eyes crooned over the lifeless body of a child recovered from fever two years ago.
Throughout the village were the sounds of mourning, broken hearts and shattered dreams, and why did she have to die?'. And why, cruelest of fates, did the work that they do...