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Charity

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This was what it looked like when children wandered off into a world that did not cherish them, did not love them, did not want them to go home.

She did not think about the war. She did not think about the kings who promised prosperity, or the plague that swept across the land. She thought about people: their detritus.

Nobody knew the men would come, and when the homes caught fire, the town had already burned to the ground with them.

Aimlessly she wandered, alone in her loss and lostness. Sometimes she sang lullabies, and cradled ghosts in her dreams.

All the while, the moon had continued to glow its warmth on her, translucent in its brilliance, like an all-seeing eye. And what a magnificently lonely existence it must have, to watch the world lose its worldliness, the humans their humanity.

Surely it’s seen beautiful things as well. As sure as how flowers come back to the earth and blossom once more, as empires will fall new ones will rise again, perhaps less or more fractious than the ones before it.

Following the light of the moon, she wandered into the path of a vast wilderness. Hope allowed her to see, and Faith helped her to her feet. She found herself fallen into beautiful company, for a while.

Moving was, for all the integrity she had left to bear, her only choice. The old country was her home, and it was time she moved about it once more. She had always been on the move, and so she began moving again, making big of a world that thought itself small.

"I move where I will,” she said to her new family, who then moved on in their own ways.

Here and there she treated more children, took in more sons and daughters. She loved them like they were her own, though at times she would call them by the names of those long dead.

For most of them days passed without further incident. Some fell ill, some conscripted to fight in a war, some aspired to be kings. She sang them songs all the same, of heroes and of holy lands.

She thought of the old country in an older time, before the pestilence, when the kings were once princes, during the peace between kingdoms. It seemed an age past old wars, of new gods, and the cycle would repeat.

Not in paradise.

Yes, the vision was there. Not a guileless world, but not of violent wrongness either. She would begin the tenaments of this paradise, and maybe this legacy could outlive her. Until then, she would persevere.

This was her charity.