After several hours of walking you find yourself at the edge of a clearing deep in an ancient wood. This is the first time you’ve been able to see the sky, obscured as it has been by the tree’s smothering canopy.
The sky burns blue like fire. A searing blue that begins to cut into your skin like an infinity of laser beams. You wrench yourself from its line of fire and dart for the cover of the trees.
Your burning arm brushes against one of the many large flat leaves that sprout from the bark. Instead of the bite expected of molten flesh against, well, pretty much any solid object; your brutalised nerves instead report a cool, calming sensation.
As you wrap your burns with the antiseptic leaves, you scan the tree line. The same strange species stretches out forever. The massive trunks holding up a shield of green, protecting all below from the sky. The endless symmetry of the trees: a hymn to Mandelbrot played out across countless acres. Easy then for your eyes to make out the rare exceptions. The fleeting glimpse of colour, movement and shape that goes towards identifying the shy inhabitants of this land.
You move through the forest warily now. Eyes keenly aware of the pools of light that signal death. You approach these pools at oblique angles, using the gap in the trees to track your approach to the looming mountains. The mountains that will block out the sky.
The incline is stepper now. The trees still grasping the ground and sheltering you from the sky. The uniformity of your view is starting to fray. The grey slate of the hills beginning to pepper your peripheral vision.
As the trees thin further it is time to make a choice.
Above sits a monastery. You climb the steep cliffs and wearily you push open its great doors.