He didn’t walk at all that day.  He realized that it was far too hot, the sun would cook him alive if he tried.  He had managed yesterday because it had been near sunset and he hadn’t gone very far.  Those hills were miles away, however.  Best to wait until near sunset again before heading out.  Hopefully there would be more rocks to provide cover on the way.

            Ethan lay in his hollow stretched out on his back, still fully in the shade.  It was still warm in the tiny cave, but it was better than being out there.  He felt stifled by the heat, it threatened to overwhelm him and put him to sleep again, but he fought this off.  He didn’t want to sleep, for with sleep came the dreaming.

            He didn’t want to dream.

            Instead, he wondered about the others.  Where they were, what they were doing, whether or not they were okay.  He hoped that they weren’t too worried about him.  He went over memories of the group in his mind, told himself stories, all in an effort to keep himself awake.  In the haze of the summer day, he felt sometimes like he could almost see them, and worried again about going crazy.

            But as hard as he tried to fight it, he soon drifted off to sleep.

            And then the dreams began again.

He saw the tiger, and the hawk.  They were locked together in a struggle, claws and talons scratching and cutting, teeth and beak rending and tearing.  One would roar, and the other shriek, but neither seemed to be getting the upper hand.  Around and around the battle went, until a dove appeared and led the hawk away.   He saw the dragon rise, and saw the hawk and dove swallowed by its great maw.  He saw the land laid waste, he saw the death of the king, he saw a star falling from the sky…

            He suddenly saw the desert, and a cloaked figure walking through it.  He saw the cross, burning with a white light, and he saw the figure kneel before it in prayer.  He saw, but he didn’t understand.

            It is the future, came a voice in his dream, a voice as deep as the earth, or what could be the future.  It is up to you, it is your choice.  It is your quest.  Refuse and cry off, or accept and go onWhich shall it be, wanderer?  His answer, unspoken, was the same it had always been, through every trial of his life.  There had never been any other answer for him.

            So be it, then, the voice saidThe choice is made, the die cast.  What will be, will be.  So it was decided, so it shall be done. 

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