The Gaikokujin that now fill these hills have a saying that they seem to think will bring comfort to my troubled soul.
'If you love something set it free. If it comes back it's yours. If not, it was never meant to be'.
As the day approached, my melancholy increased. They seemed so satisfied, with their platitudes.
A hand on my shoulder. A sympathetic half smile. The same insipid cliche about giving freedom to a loved one.
Then they are on about their day, happy they have helped an unfortunate, swallowed back up in the distractions that occupy them.
They just see a bird, in a cage. My Order, the work we do, it is as alien to them as it is everyday. Seen, peripherally, by some maybe, but understood by none.
The banality of their repeated proverb grates on me. It is grounded in expectation. It should be just hope, but when you never miss out on something you want, entitlement grows.
'Of course the bird will come back after the great job I did'.
It is not a bird though, and it will not return. That is not the way. Perhaps this constant awareness of loss is why I'm the last of my kind.
Why the demons grow in strength with fewer and fewer to stand against them. I see their hand in the continuing boom of all things shiny, empty that merely swallow time.
I love her, my raven-queen, but she is ready to go forth. Her training is complete, the demons will grow to know her name and fear her call on the wind.
She will raise mightly armies amongst the flocks in the sky. Her legions will create song and strife to drag attention back to the world. I feel like the mother of a martyr.
I will feel pride perhaps, but sorrow at the cost I have to pay.
There will not be many more. I am old now, and the battle is being fought now on a new plain, one I do not seek to understand.
The younger of our Order tell me technology is freedom, that we must catch up as the ancient enemy caught onto this before we did, and is winning.
For me though, freedom comes from the air, the space, the moment lost in the blossoms fall. I open the cage and she flies. Focused and ready.
She does not look back.