The birds are first to notice: they build their nests high and see her approach. By the time the ship lands and she finally sets foot on the soil of her homeland, they have gathered to wait for her. She studies each in turn, beast and Celestial alike–tired, ragged, worn from long years of waiting–and between one heartbeat and the next she has hands to extend, as if she could gather every one to her breast. On her back, her mirror reflects the emerging sun.

Again the birds burst into song: the great god Amaterasu has come home.

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