I have to find my mother. The fire catches at the fringes of my robe as I run through the burning city, sparks flying through the air. There is a pain in my chest but I cannot remember why. Earlier this evening I was walking in the garden with her. Then - then there is a break, something happened but I cannot remember it, and now our home is falling around me, flames and darkness and crashing timbers, and I call for my mother, I call her name, but she does not answer.

Ahead of me, a woman in black robes smiles and draws her sword.

I flee again. But where is my mother, where is she? I cannot leave without her, I must find her. The flames die down and leave me wandering among the ashes - and my feet leave no marks, but I do not notice this, and my tears fall, but do not leave a trace - but still my mother is not here.

And so I stay.

I have been here for a long time now. I speak to the people who pass by, but most of them ignore me. They are dressed like tramps and sluts.

I am looking for my mother.

The buildings are different now. I remember when they were made of wood, when they were shorter.

I remember that there was fire and that there was a woman with a sword. I am not sure of the rest any longer. I remember that there was a before, but I do not remember how it happened.

I am looking for my mother.

Sometimes the shadows chase me, but I run away from them. My shoes are still whole, but I do not know why, for I have wandered across the world and back again, to where the cities are empty and the seas are dry, and still I cannot find her.

I am looking for my mother.

I am.

There was another time. I do not remember it.

Death comes for me, black-robed; in the mirror of her sword I see a child, blank-eyed, lost.

"Mother?" I ask.

"Yes, child," she says, and the hilt of her sword touches my brow.

And I am born again, into another world.