By Lowe Fantasy
"In the end, what's the greatest achievement of a single human soul? Leading a nation? Winning a war? Creating a masterpiece? Well, in truth, any one man can do any of those things; die, and then what? There will always be governments, wars, arts, all that whatnot. But you only get one chance to make one soul, one chance to become someone's world, and I believe to become the world itself is far greater than anything you could ever do on it."
My world began at twilight. For a breath, or for eternity, I lay there on the sand as water lapped up my legs in tiny, chilly waves. The tinkling hush of a waterfall coaxed me to close my eyes, but something awful gaped open in my chest and made them hurt too much with tears to sleep. Ancient, moss covered tree branches hung over me like concerned nannies, whispering to each other in anxious rustlings. Only one bird called out, probably to bring in the little ones for the night.
The word found me arms and I sat up, preoccupied with the coming darkness. Things came in the dark. But things came in the light too, didn't they? Which meant, either way, I couldn't stay sitting here (without clothes, I then realized). It wasn't safe. Walls made one safe.
Dripping sand, I stood on uncertain, stiff legs. They pushed the ground much too far away, and so pale…
I flinched and flung my arms around myself, but there was just too much of me to cover. Luckily, the person standing in the gateway was a girl, not quite my height, with expressive grass green eyes. She had what looked to be a basket on her hip, of what, I didn't know.
Though she didn't look particularly dangerous, I fought the urge to recoil. A whisper in my mind told me it would never do to show an enemy, or anyone for that matter, fear.
"Who are you?" I asked.
I didn't like the smile she gave me: surprised and amused. "Shouldn't I be asking you that? What brings you all the way out here to take a bath?" She glanced around. "Did someone steal your clothes?"
I didn't know. But showing a lack of knowledge was just as bad as fear, so I cocked my chin up to show as much dignity as I could with my knees pinched together and my arms wrapped tight around my spilling breasts.
"Yeah. Stolen. So, if you have any ounce of charity, you'll throw me some cloth or something, or at least stop staring."
She sniffed. "That isn't the way you ask for help."
"What? Are you expecting 'please?' Please, then."
Still hinting at something like amusement, she closed the space between us and pulled out a white sheet from a basket I then learned had been filled with laundry. Without me asking, she helped to wrap and tie it into a makeshift toga that covered the necessities (as best as a white sheet could). As she did so, she told me her name was Ilia and, on my continued queries, said I was near a little hamlet called Ordon (not like that helped me much, as I didn't even know…)….
As she pulled away, I stared down at my hands: too pale, with long finger's like a spiders. Ugly hands. Stranger's hands.
The empty maw inside of me groaned and opened wide. I could feel myself slipping, my vision darkening.
Because I didn't know anything, and no one should have to survive such helplessness.