In the Face of Eternity

The true epitaph of a human being does not lie in or on the grave, but in a place where for one moment, truly, they left their soul. A place like that is remembered forever, and regarded with something of worship by those who know it—and they do not have to know it consciously to worship. The wood was no exception.

The entire wood might be a shrine, but the true sanctum was a little west of the center, near a river that wound its way far beyond the sight or memory of any who had ever seen part of it. The place was no far enough from the edge of the wood to prevent the present world from encroaching in a stream of bright moving colors through the trees, but at least the leaves dulled the worst of the bright moving sounds.

Those sounds had not been there when she was.

The epitaph itself was carved onto a large stone in choppy letters, all straight lines—the writer had difficulty making curves when she scratched her message onto the uneven surface with a sharp rock. Time had worn away at them so they were barely legible, even to those who still understood their language.

The words, whitish and crooked, read simply,

I lived

I loved

She had been a writer, the one who placed those words, but all her other works had been forgotten.