“Divine? Wouldst thou be as the Gods, O little man? Come, then. Touch only this, the merest tip of what I am, that you may share in my illumination. That you may know what I know... that you may see as I see...” It was the screaming wind that brought consciousness back, a cold knife throughout the body and tumbling stomach that washed away any remaining haze to replace it sharply with waking lucidity. Panic followed next, barely suppressed by the preliminary training that had filled full years before. An effort righted the body, ground unrolling below to drive home the fact that yes, this was the sensation of free-fall. Lost to the wind, a light tone signaled the saving grace that was a parachute, sudden jerk as it unfolded pushing breath from lungs and compressing ribs painfully. Yet any pain was welcome if it meant avoiding an unsavory landing somewhere in the tangled mass of green. Slowed but not altogether stopped, said tangle soon replaced the open air with clutching arboreal claws that snatched and snapped in passing. Suddenly as the tumult began, so did it end and bloodied but alive the earth was at last regained. Boot-clad feet, thankful for the feeling of unyielding solidity, stood only slightly shaken as a survey was taken of the surroundings at hand. As seen from above so was it from ground level, a forest spreading for miles in all directions. Soft underfoot, traced by serpentine roots, old growth reached toward the heavens that had so unceremoniously deposited the would-be intruder. Ripples of luminescence played from every broken limb that had cushioned the fall, silent but telling. It was time to move. A brief once-over determined that more than just the legs had come out unscathed and too revealed more than just the remains of the parachute harness. Coming to the end of those leads, a release saw them flutter away to be lost in the twilight behind, questing hands adding light armor and pack to the list of things that would be examined in much finer details once safety was assured. With the destruction of plant-life came the guardians of the trees, silent killers that would converge and then hunt any fool enough to think they could have their way within the verdant wastes. Deeper understanding was lost for the moment, but inconsequential if danger did rear its leaf-crowned head. Running then, until lungs burned and legs refused to lift for another step. Only then was a rest taken along with stock of the situation at hand. Off-hand, a river played chorus to the proceedings as pack was lowered between knees and unfastened, its contents perused. A quick rifling revealed all that would be needed: survival gear in the form of tools, cooking utensils and even a small cache of medical supplies among other things. Brief, but such was the lot of one condemned. A weapon too had been provided, the short blade forged in ancient style in a single plane of sharpened metal mounted upon a leather-wrapped handle. Its wicked tip gleamed in the living light that played in docile patterns all around. Weapon laid aside and head leaning back against a sheltering stone that stood along the riverbank, eyes closed in remembrance. Years spent training, fighting, learning. The way of book and blade, to hone body and mind to the pinnacle of human perfection. But it was not to be, time corroded all will and with the disapproving glances of friends and family it was apparent that failure would be imminent. So it was, stood before a tribunal, sentenced and then...oblivion, to wake falling. “Let nature do as we cannot,” the words rang hollow on the dampened air, anger-choked and final.