"He laid his right hand on me, saying, "Don't be afraid. I am the first and the last, and the Living one. I was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. I have the keys of Death and of Hades...
This wasn't familiar territory; the memorial was back down in the valley below, surrounded by trees and the tears of children. Up here on the cliff-top, no one walked except those with silent feet. The wind was subtle, and sharp as knives.
"Victory used to be happy, I'm sure of that. But I'm old, maybe it's changed whilst I wasn't looking."
They hadn't given him a grave. That wasn't that unusual; many ninja died far from the land of fire, and retrieving shattered flesh was rarely worth a diplomatic incident. That type of protocol would breed corpses from corpses. Even still, this brought home the pain felt by widows, orphans, each time she had to order a new carving in the stone.
"It doesn't matter anymore, somehow. I've grown immune to death, over the years, and my hands haven't been white in a long time."
There was a statue, though, well back from the cliff-edge, hidden from easy sight. It served as a warning for those who sought - because few could find it, but they were those who needed reminding most. It was carved gently from a bolder, fine-hewn by medical ninjutsu rather than clawed from a cliff-face, but similar in all other ways to the faces protecting their village.
"I suppose I'm here for peace, vain hope though that may be from you. Maybe just a sense of overview? You always did accuse me of looking too small."
It was quite new, and fresh, although the back of the boulder still held some lichen. The blood hadn't managed to stain the rock, just a few crevices here and there, so she could almost pretend to forget the act on this scene. She'd left the robes back in the tower, for this, wearing an older outfit for the sake of happier times.
"I wonder if you'd be proud of me, now? Or just insanely jealous - that always was more your style. That doesn't matter either, does it? I can't come here again. It's time I left you behind."
The gravel didn't stir in her footsteps, and any heat imprint left to betray her presence soon faded into the air. Only the sky was left to remember the single, unspoken word, and the two it once united.