Aseka wakes up, feeling like she's falling into the sky, lost halfway in a dream where Mother holds her. She feels Beatrix relieved to feel the touch of her mind again, and sand between her toes, and the bright warm sun on her face and belly, but she can't figure out when it happens, if it's her life or her memory. Someone touches her throat, light as a feather, moving up over her chin and the side of her face. It makes her smile.
One bit at a time the world falls into place. Her staff is still in her hand, somehow, at her side. Beatrix hides ten meters away, squeezed in between the water surface and the sand floor. Aseka lies less than a hundred meters west of the last place she remembers. Past the sandy beach there's forest covering the land as far as she's aware, strong straight tall trees with thick leaves whispering quietly, wild old land teeming with all sorts of life. She recognizes several flocks of wolves though she's never seen them, foxes and bears and flightless birds and wolverines and massive sloths and more, stranger things. And she finds her eyelid muscles and looks.
A strange face looks down on her, shining red eyes under a deep and worried brow, large round lips twisting into a gentle smile even as Aseka feels herself smiling, with wonder. A band of round marks of some sort fleck the stranger's burnished brown cheeks, freckles or maybe burns, and she fights down the impulse to touch them. She has never seen anyone like this girl and never anything so beautiful, and a breath catches in her throat and the hand still brushing against her cheek feels so good and it doesn't occur to her to try to speak, or move.