Something softly brushed his skin, he could even trace a light and warm breeze.
He recalled his form having dissolved into nothing, and felt himself tremor at the realization he had a body once more. His eyes were being somewhat difficult to open though, and laying there in what he came to realize was grass, he strained to regain the use of a physical body again. His limbs felt new, as if he'd never used them before, as if his astral form was struggling to fit in to the new skin that was placed on it. It felt so difficult, so taught, and he felt something resembling frustration as he struggled to get up.
Sitting up, his eyes slowly opened.
None of it made sense, the colors and blurry figures didn't agree with him in the slightest. His body felt numb as it was, barely usable, but his eyes certainly were straining to give the true image before him.
They were telling him he was sitting alone in a large meadow, a large and blooming meadow with luscious grass and flowers painted in colors that seemed to be of the heavenly sort. He briefly looked down at his body; it seemed to be his, and his limbs responded accordingly, but was it? Glancing back up he scanned the horizon of the massive field. Large purple and blue mountains shimmered in the distance, somewhere beyond an impenetrable wall of fog. The clouds swirled and danced around the mountains like the kaleidoscope of colors around that hydra he saw.
He shuttered, briefly remembering its immensity, its awe, its infinite consciousness. He murmured to himself, forgetting immediately what he spoke, still in the deepest daze. The mountains were beautiful, perfectly complementing the flowers below and the land around him. It all seemed just as surreal as that space, as that darkness and the glass machine. The air had the scent of a sea of flowers on it, warm and gentle on his face. This world, below The Hydra's space but surely ascended of the Earthly plane, was perfect to say the least. He glanced down at his hands, clenching his fists and reassuring this body was his own. There was no way of knowing this land was real, but that wasn't important to him at all. He was content with sitting there, in fact he felt he could stay there forever, adrift in this sacred meadow.
He suddenly realized there was a large tree behind him, hanging over his head and reaching out to the world. With what strength he had, he picked himself up, his legs just as uncertain as his eyes. Turning, he traced its bark with his new fingertips, astonished at the glimmers of gold interwoven into it, pulsing like a life force. It was that same tint that swirled on The Hydra's skin, that so engulfed him as his mind disappeared into its whispers. This tree was certainly not one of the average variety, and he felt that somehow, in some way, it was connected to that dark world inside him, to the glass machine and The Hydra – a transceiver of sorts. The thought seemed right, and he somewhat smiled at it, glancing up at the trees shimmering foliage of silver and emerald. There was no doubt this place was connected to the last world he was in, yet he couldn't piece together what these worlds were or what they meant, what he meant. There was a lingering sense of timelessness, of unforgettable memory and emotion, engraved on the land and air even. He wondered if he'd been there before, after all it seemed so right, so – familiar. That was the sensation he realized, that was the nagging feeling he had as he spaced out at the mountains and their dreamy shades, at the meadow and its infinite reach into the fog in the distance. He'd been to this place before. A long time ago he had woken up in this same spot, just as dazed and perplexed. Frustratingly enough, he still couldn't remember any of his past, or what his life was the previous time he had visited. He cursed under his breath once more, desperately wishing he had something to hold onto in memory.
Suddenly he felt an odd pressure. His breathing began to slow and the land began to pulse with a faint glow. Everything looked even livelier, and as he scanned it, trying to understand what was happening, he observed a figure in the distance.
Down what looked like a path, across the meadow and off to the side a ways, was a tall figure in black. It was still well hidden in the fog though, still distant and close to the mountains. Staring at it, he felt something that resembled fear, but not wholly, moreso a respect and wariness. He took a few steps forward, glancing over to the path nearby that lead down to this thing. At that moment he froze, the pressure making his movement too difficult. His eyes felt hot, and his body was encased in ice, anchored to the ground below, respectfully awaiting the approach of this being, whatever it was. His body began trembling lightly, almost excitedly, remembering the awe it felt before The Hydra. The being began to slowly emerge as he waited, the fog brushing away from its body.
It was a woman, or a being resembling one. She was tall and slender, dressed in a smoke like dress of black that curled tightly around her figure, as tightly as the fog out among the mountains. Her skin was a cold grey, although not completely without warmth, still retaining something resembling it. He could only wait in awe as she approached, completely engaged in whatever this shade was turning into. Getting closer, her more fine details began to emerge. She walked delicately, gracefully, and with an eerie gentleness, nothing short of a ghost. He briefly noted how her dress never seemed to remain solid, but like its smoke like color, it whisped and disintegrated in the wind. Her eyes appeared to be a deep, dark, either a dark brown or black. They were large and beautiful though, and on her eerie aura they gave a sense of peace and kindness, a perfect complement to her genuine beauty. On top of that, she had long and perfect hair, the same darkness as her dress, an infinite black that reminded him of the space the glass machine rested in. It flowed in the breeze, like emanations of her own mind feeling out the world she walked through. She was angelic, a dark seraphim, one that barely rested on this world or the last. Pristine and flawless, she drew nearer and nearer, a faint smile on her light pink lips. Even her skin was flawless in complexion, porcelain like and clear, it almost glowed of a light within. This being was no doubt immensely powerful, but what she was he was still uncertain. She knew this land he sensed, perhaps she even expected him. Getting closer, he began to fumble for what he was to say, what he was supposed to say, what he needed to say.
Was he in danger? He wasn't for sure.
Eventually, in the thick tension, she stopped just a few feet away from him, still on the path leading down into the meadow. For some reason he knew she meant no harm, but he couldn't shake the feeling of immense power, furthered by the dense pressure that was making him immobile.
Her dress whispered faintly, as if burning a fire under it. Her smile grew a little more, shiny white teeth emerging under it. He made a note of how deeply dark her eyes were this close, and how he could feel himself slipping into them, into her darkness, once more. She seemed to have something to say, quietly waiting for him to say something, anything really. He wasn't sure at first, and was still struggling to even breathe.
Suddenly a word came to mind. No doubt it was her name; he wasn't sure how he knew or where this came from, but the knowledge seemed to reaffirm his theory that he'd been there before, that he knew this place. It seemed right, and finally catching his breath he steeled himself, faintly smiling back at her. She seemed to wait patiently, expecting him to usher in this conversation between deity and mere human. Finally, sure of himself for the first time in what felt like eons, he took a deep breath. Surely she knew him, but did he know her?
Locking eyes, he softly whispered what he was all too certain the being's name was: