We went into the wilderness without Him. I don’t know what I was thinking. We all knew there were people dying in the wilderness every day. Their hollow and broken cries echoed up the deep ravines and dry riverbeds, bouncing against the stone hewn walls of the ancient fortress that sat just at the foot of the great northern mountains.
I rolled out the dusty, crinkled and weather-beaten old battle map with a tired snap. Dust exploded in a small gust of tiny granules throughout the air of the tent. The map unrolled slowly outward across the round, oaken table. My captains and lieutenants circled about, wide shoulders hunched over in grief, armor beaten and dented in, crimson blood smeared across their stalwart faces and muscled arms. I could see the the defeat and despair as they avoided eye contact, the brightness gone from their gaze. My entire body was sagging in hopelessness. I leaned forward across the map, pressing my palms onto the ink stained paper to brace my shaking arms.