I am so tired. My eyes are closing unless I don’t consciously keep them open. I don’t know when was the last time I got some sleep. The darkness and the silence from beyond the wall of trees make staying awake harder. But I need to keep awake.

The fire beside me is still burning. This is good. I should catch something to roast on it, but I’m barely able to move. The wound on my leg doesn’t hurt anymore. Or maybe I just don’t feel it.

It’s getting colder and my fire is shrinking. I hope the log I managed to drag into this clearing is going to last till morning. Otherwise, the wolves I heard by nightfall will have a free meal.  Not the biggest or tastiest of meals, but still a meal.

By the will of Mesa, it won’t come to that. I still have a lot to do. Especially after what I’ve found out. If only for this, I need to get over the night and do what needs to be done.

The wolves, guardians of this forest, appear to be closer. Their howls send chills through my bones or maybe it’s just the cold.

I’ve drawn my dagger from its scabbard. If the wolfs decide to come, it won’t really be of use, but the feel of its weight in my hand gives me a sense of power and calms my heart and thoughts.

…What happened? I opened my eyes reluctantly. Shit! I’ve fallen asleep. Thanks Mesa, I’m still alive. The bushes in front of me seem to move, and my fire is alive only on the tip of the log. The rest of it is just a pile of glowing embers.

I think I see eyes through the trees. I draw closer to the fire, looking all around. The fear creeping in makes staying awake easier. A breeze came sweeping through the trees, and for a long moment my eyes remain fixed on the hot remains of it.

Thankfully the flame comes back again. I took in a deep breath then looked ahead and froze. Just in front of the trees stood a black wolf. If not for the eyes it would’ve been easy to miss. Those eyes were the color of the sea. And they caught me.

We were looking in each other’s eyes. Everything stood still. I stopped breathing. Every bit of me was awake, alert and ready to move. I heard a branch snap and in no time there were another six wolves in the clearing. Perhaps I’ll meet my father sooner than expected.

As if to taunt me, the black one started to move towards me, in a slow and calm way.