My breath fogs in front of me. They say that the last breath we breathe can be seen to leave the body. Is that mine, I wonder? Shades of red orange dilute the blackness of the sky, a gradient I am well familiar with. How many times in how many variants have I used the morning sky as inspiration to dye my students’ papers for the week? My eyes mist and I do not know if it is because of the frigid morning air or my sorrow.
The embers burn in the firepit I lit under the full moon, but I cannot release even a single page into its hungry tongues. So ingrained within me is the unholiness of fire that even when I am no longer holy myself, it is still alien to me. I rub a fibrous paper between my fingertips, some of its red dye staining my skin. How beautiful it is. I was meant to have granted Krad a dragon of this paper for earning his black tassels. But that privilege is no longer mine.
I tell myself that the Papyrus Guild no longer wants me, that they cast me out for suggesting a