Her bronzed index finger dipped into the tin cup and lifted with a small wad of black cream. Rubbing her thumb in a circular pinch, she spread the substance evenly across both fingertips and then leaned forward to peer closer into the vanity mirror. Cocoa brown eyes scanned her midnight mane for more of the telltale strands. Seizing a silver filament in her pinching grasp, she worked the kohl mixture into the offending hair, spreading the black dye from the base of the strand to its end. She gave a final glance over the rest of her black tresses to be sure she had tended to them all. Satisfied, she sat back and wiped the excess resin from her fingertips with a faded cloth. She was only 27, but the unusually stressful events in her life had already done more than a fair amount of taxing on her body. These gray hairs were just a precursor to the next stage of her life. A stage in which she ought to already have been a parent, stumbling along the process of raising and guiding her children through their own lives. She pushed the thought of children from her mind quickly, to ward off the depression that typically followed to haunt her. She had made her mind up. If she did not have her own in the next few years, she would simply adopt. She screwed the cap onto the small tin cup of cream and set it into a side drawer containing an assortment of other small jars and bottles. She was no stranger to body paints and dyes, and other fashionable products. Tending to the few (hopefully) silver strands that revealed themselves would simply be one more task for her day. She slid the drawer of the vanity closed and stood to examine herself in the mirror. This time she did not just inspect her raven tresses, but her entire appearance in general. Athlon had suggested resuming her custom of applying body paints. The idea was a good one, it would restore a bit of her normal routine and help to ease her mind with its familiarity. She had taken up the habit after a visit to Papua some years back. She had seen several of the citizens walking about in their native paint and felt it held an exotic appeal. She had borrowed the concept, modifying it to better fit her own preferred tastes and style. The more tribal of the patterns had been altered into slight swirls and designs, to accent whatever outfit she had decided to wear. Jewelry and other facial paint were added to the ensemble to complete her appearance. An afficionado of design and art in its many different forms, she took a small personal delight in trying to appear like living art, herself, on occasion. She almost always wore the henna patterns on her arms and shoulders, occasionally even dressing her face up in the designs. Now she stood, looking more like her old self again. There were still too thin parts of her that had yet to return to their former shape, but in time that would correct. If only she could feel more like her normal self and cast aside the constant shadows lurking in the corners of her mind. She hoped that time would restore that, too.