• tab The island lay shrouded beneath a dense blanket of fog. The sea sat motionless along the coast. Nothing within the great forest disturbed the calm silence. Beneath the high canopy of needles rested something of a pale-golden color amongst the brown and green. The thing sprawled across the ground appeared to be female and possessed arms, legs, a flowing tail, and a head. Atop the head sat triangular ears and disheveled hair, slightly darker than the rest of the creature, long enough to reach its shoulders. It began to stir; the rustling echoed through the empty woodland. Its eyes began to open, revealing a blue the color of lightning.

    * * * * *

    tab Fersa’s nostrils filled with the fresh, spicy scent of the browned needles littering the ground beneath her. She sat up and tried to get a good view of her surroundings, but could see only the trunks of a few trees and some underbrush through the fog. She attempted to stand, her unfamiliar legs shaking under her weight; she reached for a trunk to steady herself. With nothing else she could think to do, Fersa wandered aimlessly into the forest and fog.
    tab As she made her way through the gradually thickening forest, her mind began to wander as well. Her name was Fersa. Of this she was certain, but nothing else. She could not remember anything before that foggy day, and, luckily, this did not seem to trouble her at the moment. She just used her claws to slash through some thick vines and continue on her journey to nowhere. While she traveled, she neither saw nor heard anything other than her own limbs moving through the brush. Soon the woods began to thin again, the ground once again becoming littered with needles. As she walked further, she could no longer see trees around her or feel the needles beneath her feet. The earth sloped downward as dirt was replaced by a fine sand. Without the canopy above her, she could see the sky. However, it was not much different from the ground; it, too, was covered by clouds.
    tab The fog was clearer than before, allowing Fersa to see the still, flat water before walking into it. It was incredibly clear, and the sand and rocks beneath it appeared to have a faint silvery glow, despite the lack of sunlight. When she shifted her focus from the floor beneath to the surface of the water, something stared back at her. Startled, she jumped back slightly; it did the same. She leaned forward; it leaned forward as well. She raised her hand to study it and then peered at its raised hand; they were of the same shape and pale-golden color. She lowered her arm and examined her reflection, seeing herself for the first time. As she stared, enraptured by those blue eyes, the fog slowly receded, and Fersa stood, seeing nothing but her own body.
    tab After an unknown amount of time, the image on the water disappeared with a sudden “plop” and ripple. Fersa looked up just in time to receive a drop of water between the eyes. She felt it seep into her fur, making it stick close to her skin. She looked around her to see that the fog had long since disappeared, and more raindrops continued to fall. The beach stretched far and eventually curved. Beyond the beach lay the tall forest from which she had come. She looked across the silver water; a black, jagged spike jutted from somewhere in the vast lake. The rain began to fall more heavily, and, with reluctance, Fersa retreated into the forest. As she lay down to sleep on a bed of needles, questions of where she came from began to chew away at the edges of her thoughts…
    tab She awoke to a world far more alive than that of the previous day. The scents had grown stronger with the rain, and constant twitters and buzzes quietly emanated from the forest. “So, there is something alive in this place after all,” she thought aloud, pleased to learn she was not completely alone. Standing up, she brushed what needles she could from her fur and searched for whatever might be making these noises. Her answer came quickly as an insignificant black speck clicked happily as it drifted through the air in front of her. She sighed and lazily walked on all fours towards the clear water. When she looked to the sky, it was an incredibly smooth blue, and a yellow-white orb glowed in the midst of it. The light from this new sky was pleasantly warmer than before, and it made the water sparkle.
    tab Across the flat plane of silver, the black crag she had spotted before was easier to examine, but there wasn’t much to see. It was no more than a black mountain rising from the otherwise flawless surface. Fersa immersed one hand in the liquid. A violent yet subtle tingling swept through her arm, and when she removed her hand to examine it she spotted not a single flaw; it was perfectly clean and pure. Uneasily, she chose a section of forest she was certain she had not come from and moved on.
    tab A stroll through the wood was far more interesting without fog. The fern underbrush was a bright green, and the high canopy above held a far deeper shade. The collection of plants lost its charm after a number of days. Nowhere was a single sign of an animal other than the wide range of insects. Perplexed as she was, it still sent a wave of anxiety scorching through her body. “I can speak, so why don’t I have anyone to talk to?” she inquired of her world, “unless… there’s just no one anymore…” She could not escape her own logic. The fact that she could speak must mean that either there was someone around before she could remember, or there was another person in some piece of this wild place. She silently hoped for the latter. What would she do if she really was alone? Nothing there seemed appealing.
    tab The instant she had begun to move on, Fersa heard a sudden rustling of underbrush in the distance. There was no way it could have been made by one of those common insects. Thoughtlessly, she clumsily sprinted towards it, paying only enough attention to avoid trees and track the origin of the disturbance. What might this thing look like? She was near the source when something caught her foot and sent her sprawling across the ground. Righting herself, she followed her sizable skid and found a wooded curiosity. With effort, she managed to lift it. Looking up, she could see it was a branch from the thickly needled canopy. Regrettably, she dropped the limb back into the brush to hear what had sent her sprinting over. I shouldn’t have let my hopes climb so high, she thought. It hasn’t been that long.
    tab Before she could complete a full turn, she was tackled and pinned to the ground, face up. The attacker looked like Fersa, but her fur was a deeper gold and covered in black spots. Her left ear was obscured by her black-streaked golden brown hair. The wide eyes prominent in that ecstatic face held such a pure form of green, the bright forest appeared grey. She was breathing rather heavily. Her voice was a touch lighter and higher than Fersa’s. “Hi! I’m Clydas…” she paused for a breath, “and you?”