Zero continued to back away from the tree until she felt the brink of the cliff underfoot. A little stream of dry dirt and pebbles fell away beneath her, disappearing downward, obedient to gravity. Steadying herself and taking a half dozen steps away from the edge, she looked up toward the gloomy skies, where a crow and a dove turned lazy circles around one another, their wings nearly touching.
Zero spent a long moment watching the birds as they flew together, then she set her jaw and turned to face the cliff. Behind her, she heard the limbs of the tree begin to crack and fall, but she denied them a backward glance and instead began walking toward the edge. The wide world appeared before her in its somber shroud of heavy clouds. Zero hesitated only for a instant before stepping out into the air. Whatever lay before her, fall or fly, it must be better, she decided, than dreaming of living and dying alone on her empty plateau. For that brief instant, she was uncertain what would happen, but she knew that it did not matter, because she had finally chosen to try.