It’s quiet in the starlit lands. Ancient forests proudly stand, no wind or gathered storm strong enough to move the deep roots from the earth. Muted starlight penetrates the foliage, creating a dappled underworld where night hunters pad silently across the undergrowth and fauna follow the winding rivers that carry life in thier swirling currents.
A breeze winds its way through the branches and brushes along the leaves. In the clearing the grass blades rustle together and I listen in amazement to the sounds of life all around me. I open my eyes. Everything is blurred at first, the light stings as it hits my pupils but I don’t care. The sight that greets me takes hold of my heart and steals my newly discovered breath. A thousand stars blaze in the stygian darkness, I crane my head back as far as it can go and still I can see no end to the pitch-dark sky. I laugh, a pure ringing sound, this was what joy felt like and I loved it. I drift to sleep unwillingly, carried off by the whispered lullabies of the stars as they wind ribbons of love around my very soul.
How long I lay upon the ground before I became aware once more I do not know. I smiled, comforted by the familiar sight of the star strewn sky. I’m not sure when I became restless. I’m not sure when I realised I wanted to move. To explore. To see things I had not before and wonder at them. I stood for the first time on shaky legs.
This body of mine is an odd one, I thought after a while as I ran my fingers lightly over the pale skin, I chuckled softly, marvelling at the very fine hair that adorned my body. Jumping up off the ground I started to walk into the shadowy wood, gazing with keen eyes at the abundance of living things all around me.
I stopped at a stream, the clear water trickled on merrily over the rocks and pebbles. Tiny clumps of green moss lined the water’s edge, dripping with moisture. I dipped my toes in, gasping out loud as the frigid liquid washed over my bare skin. Kneeling at the edge I placed my hand in the water, flicking it up, laughing as I did so. Droplets fell splashing back down to the earth; I let a drop land on my out stretched tongue. It felt good as it ran down my throat. I cupped my hands and drew up as much of it as I could hold, letting it pour off into my mouth. Once I’d drunken my fill I moved on, sometimes running, sometimes dancing along the forest paths.
Time held no meaning for me. Stars would pass slowly across the skies as I wandered about the land. I was content just to be.
...Until I started to think. Am I alone?
But I was not alone. I never was, all around me life walked, scurried and burrowed. From the wide-eyed owl and the ever nervous mouse to the sure –footed deer that ran abound through the forest. Still I could not shake this feeling of... discontent. Not even when I took to following the deer herds as they wandered through the woods searching for the tender leaves and mosses on which they fed.
After a while I could bear it no more and moved on, further east than I’ve ever gone before. Loneliness gnawed at my heels, urging me to search for that which I knew not.
I heard it first as a low rumbling, the sound built up so slowly that I did not notice it until the rumbling became a great roar; the sound of water plunging at great speed over the rocks. Once before I’d heard a sound like it; when the forest river had burst its banks, picking up the carcasses of ancient trees and tossing them like feathers in the wind. I remember with a shudder the bodies of those creatures unlucky enough to be in the rivers path. I proceeded cautiously, twisting through the thinning tree line until I came to a stop at the forest edge. The stars reflected off the calm blue waters of the great inland sea and I saw on the far side the spray of the waterfall.
Wide-eyed I gazed intently at the scene spread out before me. A slow smile spread across my lips that I was unable to contain. This was what I’d been searching for all this time...