Did my left hand just move? Did my eyes shut a little too long?
I must stay awake. Awake until the end.
I fell. Through the skies of the blue planet, my body tumbling and burning with heat.
The Lost are stronger than we appear. It was always a wonder to the creatures of Aufero that such frail, golden-skin things as we could hide such might. I fell through the atmosphere, clouds fleeing from my descent.
I was young then and I was afraid. I cried out for my father to save me, for my mother to save me. But the clouds gave way to empty air and I rushed faster and faster towards the earth below.
A saw an ocean, larger than any from Home. A desert, a range of mountains, then finally a dark forest.
I spun in the air, my eyes toward the skies – hoping to catch a glimpse of the silver ship. Nothing.
The forest wrapped itself around me, and there was pain. Pain like I had never known.
Did my left hand just move? Or is it just a memory?
I do not know how long I abandoned the seat of my mind to the God of Pain. Hours, days, the lifetime of a stone. But at last I crawled back to sanity and looked out of my own eyes again.
I wished then I had not. To return to the abyss and drift away. Better if I had. Perhaps, some part of me would like to still say — but I look at my left hand and I know. It would have been better if I had died then.
My body lay at the base of a vast tree. The bark was black and the leaves were gray, edged with blue ash. And through my left side pushed a great root, right through my heart.
In horror I pulled away the cloth from the stinking bloody thing. It was gnarled and vicious, ending in a sharp point. In my pain I glimpsed the truth, even then. This root had been waiting for me. The tree had grown just so, in this exact spot – patient and vile.
Feeble, I tried to push myself up off the evil spike. But I could not, it had me by the heart. I would die before I was free.
As I have said, the Lost are stronger than we appear. Even a mortal wound can take quite some time to claim us. But without food or aid the end marched closer.
I wept. I was young and alone. My people had fled the Dark One, thrown themselves into the unknown to escape and I had fallen immediately into another trap. How strange I must have appeared, a small golden child at the foot of a dark tree. A spike of wood through my chest, tears spilling down my face.
But there was no one to see. At least not right away.