When the angel forced their eyes open, it was because of the soil pressed up against their cheeks warming. They were alone, sitting up to look along up at the place where the mythic phoenix roosted. Their back was sore, though that was an improvement from before they had decided to take a nap. A distraction from the pain in their aileron, which had since sleep faded away.
Mayhaps not a good sign, but at least it wouldn’t hamper the last leg of their journey. One foot in front of the other, they began to climb the fresh soil on the sleeping volcano, home of the wizened tree.
Forgiveness knew fatigue, but it had never stopped them before.
It was time to consider what it was they would return with. When they had come up with this idea in the first place, they had thought about the phoenix alone, but now that they had come all this way, they knew it would be ridiculous to think about taking the phoenix back with them. Even if they had been capable of it, which they never had been, removing the phoenix from their home would have been a cruel thing to do. Which left them with the question: what might have been left for them that they could possibly take?
Forgiveness considered a feather, wondering if the phoenix who lived here would be willing to part with one. Well, no way of knowing the answer but to ask, so the angel continued their path up the mountain.
Death would laugh them right back into spring, the angel knew, when they showed up like this. This far for a representation of a concept they could have simply spoken to him about. Forgiveness knew better. They knew Death wouldn’t take them seriously. That was what this effort was for. For Death to actually listen to the point Forgiveness wanted to make.
The way was long and tiring, even for the most rested of traveller, but especially for one who had already made their way from afar and spent most of their energy doing that. The angel wished they had another options to ease their way. To fly, to ride. Those were options they had had available earlier on in their question. Now both had vanished, leaving them with their hands and feet, the same as any human mortal.
What the angel had once believed themselves to be.