A Cloak of Feathers, A Crown of Thorns

Hell was a place without order, the unlit waters over which she had floated for an infinite span before the sun and the moon and the other spheres had spun up to give an order to the days and a direction to existence: toward this, away from that. Returning is like coming home; everything is smaller now, more squalid.

She moves through it, pulls it into some semblance of order with her passage, the way she always has, imposes definition in sheer reference to herself. Before, all points were the same, and now there is before her and below herabove her and behind her. Hell cries out against her presence, and that too is both new and old: she has brought time with her, and sorrow.

She curls into herself again. A sphere is the softest shape here, with only an inside and an outside. Hell quiets slightly, calms itself; the life she has come in search of drifts down the slope of her presence, still bound by gravity, pinioned by time. She swallows it whole, grows warm with a name.