In the world there is not one Spirit of Passing but many, and they are the Malumanoir. In truth they are pure energy, but to mortal eyes they can take any form they wish. The only constant is that they carry a light upon their bodies, a lamp that they use to take up souls and release them into eternity.
The Firebird was supposed to live forever. When it knew its end was near, it burned itself in a pyre to be born again.
But this Firebird knew that hers would be a final passing.
When the Malumanoir came, it came as a great elk stag with many souls swinging upon its antlers, flickering lives as fragile behind glass as they were behind flesh. This Malumanoir the Firebird had known for millennia. It was ever silent, its eyes stony and cold. It had seen so many painful Passings that it no longer found itself to care. Each soul sat up as pale as milk, and gently the elk would take them up into its branches. It was eternal, much like the Firebird was supposed to be, and the two found quiet familiarity within each other’s company.
The Malumanoir paused a ways away from the trembling bird, its eyes glassy and unreadable. The souls swung musically on a chill wind.
“My friend, it is time for me to go.” Said she. “Let me sing a song.”
The elk said nothing, so she sang. She sang sweetly until the trembling ceased, and the feathers lay limp.
Only then did the Malumanoir approach, tears finally breaking through the barrier of centuries, as it scooped up its lost friend into a beautiful lamp inlaid with gold. That was the only gesture the elk could make – it praised each soul in its keeping with a vessel that celebrated their life.
And when the Malumanoir faded at last, nothing was left but ashes and unspoken words on the ground.
Coloured pencil on 8.5 x 11 paper