"i told you it would not transmute into you, it did not come from you, and it is not from here, and it has no place trying to stay."
"i thought if we tried again, we could bring her back.."
"no, you were wrong. nothing can bring her back. there is no magic that brings back the dead. it was not meant to be so."
"i found someone who's attempted it.. i know someone who died and came back."
"i thought it wasn't possible."
"it's not when someone else is trying to do it."
"you can perform transmutation on yourself?"
"it's not really like that. but to live or to die, that is one's own choice."
"who we work for. they take the lives of others."
"but it will never be their choice to bring them back."
"when you die, are you saying you can choose to come back?"
"it's said by some."
"would you come back?"
"to send someone to the other side and then bring them back. that feels like cheating. it also feels like a distraction when so many here need saving themselves.. i haven't told you this before. but i'm one of the ones who came back."
"why didn't you tell me?"
"i'm telling you now."
"why'd you come back?"
"i didn't really want to. but there was more i had to do here."
"what about her?"
"that's what i can't understand. she wasn't done yet.. she told me so."
"are we ever done?"
"until something decides otherwise."
"i think now, when it's my time i shall be ready. only it seems that the longer i am here the less i want to go, the more i become entangled. to build something and to watch it collapse. why even build at all?"
"because we were meant to. to tie strings, knowing that one day they would be cut. but that to live boundless, is not to live at all.. with nothing keeping you here, why stay?"
"with all these footholds, at least in the last hour, we shall know the embrace of the final release, that to have lost means that it was worth something."
"so let's go make it worth something. what's yours shall stay, what is not, it is now time to bury it, and do not look back, Alester, there is too much that waits ahead."
.. they tied a string and sent it forward. Alester looked at it for some time, and felt the thing coil around his wrist. It marked and carved inward, and then vanished, and he knew, the tether that connected was now oriented on a peak, somewhere into the clouds, and though the sun shone through, the sky grew darker and the white things that shaded it had almost become blinding. He could no longer look up for fear of his eyes, so he walked on, dropping ashes along.