Amalthea was falling.
She had been falling for quite some time now. Her father, Haemonius, had tried to stop the townsfolk from throwing her over The Edge, but the Law was the Law, and not even an influential man like Haemonius had enough influence to make them forget that.
Another Worldplate was coming up. She hated when that happened. The worldplates were so pretty when they were far away, but up close, falling as she was, they were terrifying. Then she would be falling past the Edge, the roaring of the air in her ears almost drowned out by the screaming as the rock surface streamed by endlessly. Then, when it seemed like she was just getting used to it, the cliffside would drop away and suddenly she would be falling through a great void again, only with the Underside looming above her, too immense to truly comprehend.
Somehow she had avoided the Veils entirely so far. She supposed that if falling in a straight line could avoid hitting Worldplates, it could also avoid intersecting Veils or Orbs as well, but that made Space seem so empty somehow. She shuddered, almost forgetting her predicament for a second. Imagine a truly empty space, she thought, but she couldn't quite picture it somehow.
Oh, how she wished she'd never had her birthday, never been given that book, never been stung by that Basilisk, never been born for that matter. Her father was powerful in every way that it was possible to be powerful, but it was not within his power to save her mother Fortuna from dying in childbirth, nor was it within his power to prevent Amalthea from sneaking off to see a Crystal Basilisk for herself, in person. And it was completely impossible for him to save her from the Basilisk, or from the consequences of its sting.
How long had she been falling, anyway? She'd lost count of how many Worldplates she'd passed now, but it seemed like at least a couple of days, and she had passed at least several thousand times past those cliffsides. The thirst was truly unbearable, and she was passing out too often to keep track of anything anyway.
The next Worldplate was almost upon her now. It was changing from a little triangle no bigger that a ril to something that looked like a pane of Shatterel that completely blocked her bedroom window once. She braced herself resignedly to endure another cliffside traverse.
There was a word for air that roared past someone like this, but she couldn't remember for the life of her what that word was. "For the life of me," she thought wryly, two rils would be a far better investment right now. Here it comes, she thought, one more Worldplate and I think I'm ready to fall asleep now. I can feel the darkness creeping into the edges of my vision. And there's something stirring inside me....
The Worldplate loomed towards her, spreading out as if it was actually growing away from her, and a cloudless sky clearly showed her surface features that grew ever clearer, the Central Sea like a shining coin under the Day orb, a small human town near The Edge, a man standing at the very point where the Worldplate crumbled into nothingness...
FATHER! As the cliffside streamed past her, she replayed that last glimpse of the Topside over and over in her mind. That was definitely her father, Haemonius , standing there! She was certain of that, and fairly sure that she had seen him waving at her!
The excitement overwhelmed her. Amalthea could feel life ebbing, like a chill in her bones that crept into her so slowly that it felt almost like a caress. She clung to that image of her father waving at her as she floated down into darkness. I am still so thirsty, she thought, so hungry, so....
HUNT. EAT. PROCREATE. WHERE IS THE PREY? BURST FREE FROM THIS COCOON, THEN I SHALL HUNT.