83.

The First One did not know how to die.

Seeking answers, she made children. To them she gave the gift of death, so that they could teach her the trick of it.

But they loved her so, and they would not teach her.

That was long ago. The First One’s children have died. And their children. And their children’s children.

They have forgotten the First One. She has not yet learned the secret of death, first because of love, now because the children do not remember.

But the First One feels the world grow old around her. It will be a very, very long time still, but she begins to feel, in her bones, that the world itself will die. And then perhaps it will share its secret, and she can sleep, and be finished.