It wasn’t as if he hadn’t cared about her. He cared about her deeply. But events since the experience of the night at to foot of the giant oak had taken on a life and direction of their own. He had never returned to her. He had gone immediately to the elders and the elders had immediately pronounced and immediately executed his sentence. He was a simple sort of being and more than one situation – if that – was pretty much beyond his capacity for dealing with things. And the situation that he had fallen into was gigantic and it purged any other considerations from his thoughts. The elders were to be honored and they were to be obeyed. And that is what he had done.
But now he was long away from those elders. And the incidents of his vision under the tree and his banishment were distant also. They were fast receding into memories only, and faintly held memories at that. Now there was a new thing at the center of his conscious thought.
He had seen the woman and he had had the chance to consider what she had always meant to him. And he was feeling the sharp pains of remorse at having left her, and feeling the sharp pains of loss of not having been with her since that day when he had crossed from the island to the side of the river and to the giant oak. And now she had come to him. She had reminded him of her existence and what that existence had meant and still did and probably always would mean to him. And she was in danger. They were going to kill her. And he had to stop them. He had to stop them or die himself in the attempt.
He was rustic, simple, primitive even. But he was human. And he was, in his way courageous. He just needed focus. He just needed direction. He just needed a mission. And now he had all three.
He would set out in the morning.
Until then he would sleep.
He re-traced his path from the magic wall to his dugout, re-positioned his large fur wrap and fell immediately to sleep.