‘Twas well past midnight when he came upon the crumbling structure. Perhaps an outpost, farmstead, or maybe a barracks, though it mattered not. He was completely drained and void, burning with exhaustion. Desperate for rest and recuperation, he sought any shelter the nearly collapsed building had to offer, though he felt he deserved none. Peering through a massive breach in the slumping brick wall, a partial stairway offered the only respite from the elements. The weathered roof had collapsed some time ago, lying broken on the earth and wooden floor, mixed with felled bricks and splintered wood. Driven by fatigue, he stumbled through the refuse and huddled under the staircase. There would be no fire for warmth, no food for sustenance, no drink for thirst. Silence and stars will be his companions this night, and he was neither confident nor concerned that either would last as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Morning brought little relief. Along with the physical extremes he had endured, the mental weariness began to weigh heavy. He could run no longer, realizing distance is no matter when it is a war of the mind, body and soul. Choices, decisions, consequences…what would all these culminate in? How would these shape the future, or could they change the past? At least change the perception of the past? Shaking ever darkening thoughts from his mind, he brought himself back into the present and his immediate needs. Surveying his previous nights’ lodgings, the dismal scene brought more questions than answers. A quick glance told him there was nothing of worth in here, and the word inside held little meaning to the current state of disrepair. No telling what the tapestries on what was left of the walls once depicted. Tattered and faded, they are no more than blanched cloth blowing in the breeze. Broken and shattered furniture was littered about, there was literally nothing intact. A quick look outside in the morning light revealed a bleak landscape, void of immediate hospitality. The mountain range was unforgiving. Sparse clumps of trees and shrub stood scattered amongst rocks and meager undergrowth. From whence he came, a heavy forest beyond serves as foreground to rolling hills and spiraling mountains. Never again could he go in that direction, for reasons which he dare not allow rise up. Not now, not ever. Forward is the only path available, and he is loathe to risk even that. Stepping back through the wall breach, he finds himself on an overgrown path leading from the dilapidated structure and briefly considers his direction. Finally, an easy decision to make. Following the scant path was no easy task; old tracking skills were certainly of value here. Eventually wandering into and through forestry, he couldn’t help but wonder what once was. Coming to a small stream, the path on the other side seemed more defined, but unused just the same. Pausing only briefly for a long needed drink, he dared not stay long and let thoughts linger, he forded the stream. The path continued for a good ways, perhaps a half hour or so, then a sweeping turn for a short distance. Just as suddenly as the crumbled building had appeared the previous night, the woods opened up before him, revealing a large cleared area. Fallow empty fields lay before him, defined and bordered but un-attended and neglected for what appeared to be an eternity. Past the dormant fields he could make out the splintered remnants of a weathered and tattered wooden fence, stretching from tree line to tree line, with an opening in the middle for the path to continue. As he studies the scene before him, he could make out the distinct shapes of small buildings-dwellings perhaps-beyond the decayed fence. He had seen no others these past few days, no signs of man save the abandoned buildings and fields. Surely if there were people here once, they had long since vanished. Where to or to what end was uncertain, though he wasn’t sure it even mattered. Stepping out of the woods to move past the fields, he was suddenly aware of the silence around him. It was not an eerie nor a foreboding silence, but a soothing and calming silence with only the sounds of nature. The angst and trepidation he felt just moments ago were fading, almost lifting out of him as he neared the opening in the fence to enter the village area. A broken withered pole lay on the ground next to the path, obviously having been attached to the entry point of the fence at one time. A lone sculpted plank of wood lay next to the pole, almost buried in the ground. Reaching down in hopes of finding a clue to this place, he extracts the plank out of the earth and clears the dirt and debris away. The word appears immediately and boldly, as if it had been painted on yesterday. In an instant he knew he had found what he so desperately sought. A place to search for answers to dark and somber thoughts, a place to heal, to grow… He found SALVATION.