Myla found the body while making a detour.
She had cleared out a good part of the Forgotten Crossroads, enough that she had to wander some distance to find bodies and that carrying them to the well took significant time and effort. She had started using a little cart with two wheels to carry them around. Places where the road broke down posed a challenge.
It took her by surprise when, searching yet a little further for a corpse, she found the entrance of her old mine.
She didn’t expect any bodies, but couldn’t resist the temptation to take a look. How long had it been?
She had forgotten how brightly the crystals sparked. It was a beautiful sight.
She walked further and further inside, her legs falling back into old patterns, guiding her to that singular wall she had spent so much time hacking at. And then she saw that it had collapsed.
Rubble was scattered down the hallway. The vertical wall was now a slope. And from that slope poked a body.
It took a moment to recognize that it was a body, and not some strange artifact. It was enormous, most of it was covered, and what was visible was equal parts pale fur and metal.
She cleared away debris until the full shape was visible. It was unlike anything she had seen before. The metal made up its legs, which were pressed together into the shape of a blade. At the opposite end stood three spikes, above a dark gap that she had to assume was a face. Loose bundles of flaps protruded from both its sides, like wings.
Well. A body was a body. If this had been a person then they deserved to be buried.
She would have to find a way to move them. Her cart wasn’t going to cut it.
With much deliberation and experimentation and the help of a few townspeople, the body was hooked up to the nearby lift’s machinery to pull it up and out of the shaft. They pulled it into the crossroads, where there was enough room for ramps. They ultimately succeeded in getting it down to the Stag Station.
The old stag was surprised at receiving so large a passenger. But carrying such a load was an old problem with old solutions, and he fetched a cart of his own to carry it up to Dirtmouth.
Digging a large enough grave took several days, during which the body lay exposed above the ground. Many people from in and out of town came to look at it and speculate about it. But if anyone recognized it they didn’t tell.
The grave was large, but its gravestone was the same as the others, distinguished only by its carving, unique like all the others. She had carved two wings with the three horns on top. And that was that.
She would never truly know who was buried there. She didn’t truly know any of the people she buried. But they were remembered in some way, inadequate as it was, and that was better than nothing.
Visiting the mine had reminded her of her visitor again. The ghost.
It had been a long time. They weren’t coming back, were they?
She stood at their grave, staring at the gravestone, carved with the shape of their face.
Why had they saved her?
Had they liked the sound of her voice that much?
Her voice trembling, she began to sing.