the only way there

It was not yet dawn, and there had been no noise or trouble, but the Wolf Boy sat wrapped in his furs, dark eyes staring back into the darkness.

He had dreamed of loved and helpless things–babes in arms, or milk-toothed cubs–that were his to protect, and that knew of his love, and adored him. They had followed their god where they should not have gone, that place he had seen before, and knew the way, but only in dreams.

The red cliffs stretched mile upon mile. Dark gashes of cavern mouths broke open their jagged sides; unfriendly eyes watched from ledges, eyes from other worlds. There was no shelter nor hiding place. There was no rest, and the sun burned down. Under that sun, stumbling and falling over the rugged stones, the weanling cubs went on, in hunger, and thirst, and fear, and unending, boundless trust.

He was awake, and he could not go back.