The night was crisp and clear, a full moon shining overhead and bright stars scattered in the darkness. The white light illuminated a thin, dusty road that wove it's way through a dark and foreboding forest. Many evil things lurked among the boughs of the Black Forest, but still a man made his way slowly along this road, headed to the East river and the land that lay beyond. He was weary and seemed to be wounded, limping dreadfully and gasping for breath with every pained step he ventured to take. He was defenseless, wearing only a traveler's cloak and peasant's attire, and carrying no weapon to speak of. This man left his fate to luck, vulnerable in dangerous lands.

His hair was several inches long and tangled by the wind, it's shining auburn hidden under caked dirt and blood. It hung in his face, and he brushed it back from his troubled hazel eyes. He winced as he took his thousandth step, and his foot caught in a rut in the road. Pitching forward, he cried out, but there was no one to hear his anguished shout. He fell upon the dusty road and lay there, defeated. Feelings of despair welled up as tears in his eyes and ran down his dirty face, leaving dark trails of moisture. Sobs wracked his thin form as he tried to rise. Pain shot through his leg, but he managed to sit up, jaw clenched. He inspected the wound on his calf, tied firmly with the torn hem of his cloak. The fabric was soaked, and blood was still seeping from a deep arrow puncture. The shaft had split when he had tried to remove it, so the head was still buried in the flesh. All hope had left him, and he looked up at the stars, twinkling remotely so far away. How he wished to be there, away from the pain and sorrows of earth. Too many lands had been reddened by blood, too many homes destroyed and families torn by death. By many deaths. he whispered almost inaudibly, pleading an answer from the heavens. A cool wind breathed through in reply, lifting his filthy hair from his neck. His spirits rose, too, enough to rise. He must continue. It would be of no use to anyone if he died here, alone in the wilderness. After a struggle that lasted several minutes, the man stumbled on, making his slow progress. He did not stop, did not tarry any more than was necessary. A lone figure heading to the horizon, a valiant will all that drove him toward his goal.