They are so fragile, so little able to bear our weight. We have had to be reclusive. Once, we were met in the dust of the road or the heat of an evening. Once, they found us beautiful. How mighty our children! How mighty the deeds they encompassed! A golden age, truly; once, we were a friendly hand in the night, and homely, but no longer.

Now, though: now we no longer delight. How they scream! How they bleed! Fickle mirrors give us back in youth and beauty, but mirrors will lie for us. What they see, we cannot know. Rivers of tears and melting flesh. We cloak ourselves in mystery, in ritual–high are the walls we build around our gardens, but even then… In the darkness, the white firm flesh of an apple. Incense, cardamom. Sound of rushing feet, and a voice crying out our Name, our unspeakable Name!

The veil drops, briefly, and those who survive are few and forever scarred.

There was a time when we loved, and were loved, but no more. No more.