A warm breeze drifted across the plain, each blade of grass and leaf trembling at its delicate touch. There was a sweetness to the air, an undefined scent unlike anything she'd known in her life before this moment. Above her, a brilliant blue field stretched outward for eternity. The scale of it was enough to steal her breath. She'd read tales of this place, of these sights, scrawled in the old books that Victor kept in his library, but meager words could scarce capture the beauty. It was vast, bright, and beyond description.

An urge to run swept over her, and she was unable to resist. It began as slow, even strides across the open grass, building in speed until she was flying across the field in a wild, reckless sprint. Her legs took on life of their own, stretching and bending with a grace she'd forgotten. She felt as one with the wind itself, drifting and light and unstoppable. A memory flickered; this wasn't the life she knew. She pushed it from her mind and carried forward.

In the distance, enormous green spears thrusted up from the earth, looming overhead. Trees, the books had called them. They were taller than she could have imagined, and the tangled growths that topped them wove together in a massive shell. She wanted nothing more than to weave between these giants, and with this desire she felt her lingering doubts about this place melt as though by the sun. Then sun! It's brilliance, hanging in the air and filling everything with light and warmth. Like so many things, Victor's dusty tomes had failed to capture its fierce existence.

She pressed forward, her movements and body becoming one with the world around her; her existence felt weightless and free. She kept her eyes locked on the trees in the distance, imaging the blur of shadows and foliage. The thought alone seemed to carry her there in a fraction of a moment. She scarcely noticed the difference as the twists and twigs of the forest surrounded her. She eased her stride, slowing to a leisurely pace as she peered through the tangle, taking in every detail. The words the books had used fell to pieces in her mind; the reality of these things was beyond anything that could be taught.

A sound tore through the air. A piercing, sharp thing like the alarms that would blare when the tremors came. For a moment, the forest around her seemed to dim. She shot her gaze upward, catching a glimpse of something streaking across the sky. "Bird" -- that was what Victor's legends called them. Fierce and noisy creatures that filled the expanse that stretched out over the fields of the gods from above. She wound her way through the greens and browns of the now-dense wood, the sunlight a burst of shards and colours playing across the ground.

She cast aside any idea of a destination, losing herself to the act of simply being. Her fingers traced across the rough tree-skin, plucked at tiny buds of growth. She dug her toes into the soft soil beneath them, and basked in the warmth of the dwindling rays of the sun from far up beyond the canopy. She felt everything she'd known of herself melt away; everything that she'd been told she was, told she had to do. This, she knew, was what living felt like. This was what it meant to actually be alive.

Another piercing sound split through her, and it was over in an instant.