Chapter 1 - The Three Lives
A person lives thrice; no more, no less.
The first life is The Breath. From the first inhalation and wail of birth to the moment of silence, The Breath is defined by its namesake and life is in rare exception without it.
Within this first life a person is made. They are molded by their family, their friends, their enemies, and their world.
This creation is more than physical; the celestial spark of life within each person changes with them and becomes different hues and brightnesses.
That spark flitters and dances within and without the body, twisting and weaving with those of the people around them into a vibrant net that spans all the Breathing creatures,
and it is from this connection between all Breaths that the second life is born.
The second life is The Dream. When the breath takes leave of the body and the earth reclaims its lien, the spark lives on.
For as long as the Breathing remember, the spark remains to dance and live within the net. This life is a liminal one.
Sometimes the spark returns to the world of the Breath, and sometimes it moves to The Next.
It isn't of the spark's own accord that it travels to earth, but rather a calling -- when a Breathing goes to sleep and they dream, their spark goes to the world between worlds.
And when they dream of you, they call your spark to them.
Across the reaches of time and space, a spark is pulled from The Next to The Dream, and as long as you are remembered, you will exist in The Dream.
The last life is The Next. When there are no longer beings that remember you, there are none left who can summon you to The Dream.
Many Breathing have made account of this afterlife, and so I will leave it to their religions to describe it to you.
Perhaps this seems a lazy description, but I leave to the experts of all things that which they are best at, and I haven't seen The Next so I feel no reason to lie and describe it.
But I have seen The Dream.
When I awoke, I was on the shores of my own consciousness. No, perhaps it was not my consciousness but rather the banks of a stream.
The mud and rocks squished beneath my feet and I stepped forward, taking in the world around me.
I stood on one side of the stream and looked to its flow and it seemed to go far and out, and in that distance I could hear the greater noise of a river where it must have emptied.
I turned the other way and where the stream came from I saw in the distance a river from which this water was separated by falls and earth,
and I understood the land across from me must be an island, if it could be so called, created by the branches of water in this land.
It was gloaming; golden sun set beneath trees ahead of me and as my attention turned to the light it seemed call to me.
I stepped carefully across the rocks of the stream as they tilted underfoot and made my way to the raising terrain of the other side.
I looked backwards to where I'd awoken and it was looking into shadow. I walked towards the light.