The pretty bones all fit together, pearlescent pieces of a walking puzzle. They tumble across brown grass in a semblance of the living as magic replicates sinew. The air is crisp, almost like the old stories of blue and blue and blue. Tears are too clear, too much like ghosts.

If only the bones could grow as they once did. The spirits that once commanded rabbit, sparrow, dog, and fox have passed. Mayhap a new spirit, one still living, might command old bones for new ambitions. To serve the goals of living things. Waste not, want not.

All the land is dry, the landscape barren of all but ribs and carpals. Yesterday a vision of desolation, now hope drizzles like the legends of rain. Yet this magic is beyond the dabblings of a lone witchling making curious pets. More beating hearts are needed; they’ll not be found here.

The Old Ones stand among the few still living. They deny all reasoned petitions to put the dead to useful purpose. Disrespectful! Against tradition and all good sense! said the cowards. The innovations of a witchling posed no threat and were forgotten.

With a whispered word, the stolen Orb glows amber in unpracticed hands. The fields roil as creatures emerge, shackled to the will of a witchling. Elation as forms amble forth to tend the broken lands. Horror as the magic snaps. Grinning bones collapse, exposed and accusing.

Banished to lands littered with the grotesque debris of hubris, the witchling weeps regret. Ghost by ghost, tears fall. No blue to dream of, but a thirsty sprig of green rinsed clean. A final living thing, cradled for an age within the stillest of hands.

Patience is a different magic. Hour by day by week by year the garden grows, coaxed by living hands and gentle words to reclaim earth and sky. The breathing green calls forth the blue of skies and fabled mountain rain.

Critters return, the living counterparts of those ensnared to nourish roots. After all, Death is most willing to be in service of life. Within its own time. Under no will but its own.

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