I opened my eyes from darkness into light. It was the blinding sort of light that reveals nothing and hides everything. I winced, eyes closing quickly. Turning my head, I rested for a moment, inhaling the scent of earth. Another few blinks, quicker flashes between darkness and light, a little squinting, and the light began to take on shades aside from glaring. Greys began to resolve, then shift into other variants of the spectrum. There was not much difference, admittedly, but it was enough to recognize that in front of my nose was loam. There was even a flower in a shade of pale yellow; it was not, however, one I recognized. Browns and greys and greens, mostly dark, dappled with bright patches.
My brain sluggishly began to piece together the things I could recognize. Ground beneath my back and shoulder, a root digging into my side. Grass brushed my cheek and I sucked in a deep breath. Above me a canopy of trees filtered the light, everywhere but directly above me. There I saw a path of broken branches, a hole in a canopy that was nearly impenetrable elsewhere.
I had fallen, and fallen far indeed. Apparently not far enough to meet Death, however, not nearly as far as I had hoped to fall.
My hand grasped for the blade that always rode at my hip, finding a hilt that tumbled to the ground at my grasp, the sheath empty, blade sheared away. I felt an ache of loss, mingling with the aches of my body, that my closest and most trusted friend was no longer with me.
Blade broken, far from home, bruised and battered, I lay beneath the trees and felt a tear spill from my eye. I was supposed to be dead. It was supposed to be over. What chance had I of saving her now?
At the thought of her I felt a flutter in my chest. My hand pressed against my sternum and it was then I realized the flutter was not beneath my ribs but above them. Not within my chest but on it. Slowly pushing myself up on an elbow I tugged at the leather ties of my vest, the lacing of my shirt. Arching my neck, I tried to look at my skin and there I saw the strangest thing of all, but something that brought me hope. Just a kernel, just a tiny grain, but hope nonetheless: drawn upon my skin were the wings of a moth. The detail rich, every nuance there to behold, shimmering just slightly in the sunlight. Between the wings, lying along my sternum, the furred body of the moth lay. I stroked a fingertip down the line, almost expecting to feel the light brush of hairs aside from my own. Instead I felt a quivering just beneath my skin as though something lay there waiting, something that felt the touch of my fingertip.
Her gift to me, and perhaps a chance to find salvation. If only I could get back to her.