Some time later.

He hasn’t been across the ocean in a thousand years. He hasn’t seen the desert or the poles in centuries. His latitude is getting smaller and smaller; he’s not sure why, exactly, but his working theory is there isn’t anyone on the other side of the world anymore. He stopped knowing what anyone was saying a few centuries back, so it’s all theoretical at this point. He feels weird about it, all things considered. He’s been shot, stabbed, imprisoned, set on fire, attacked by dogs, poisoned, drowned, beheaded once, hanged a half-hundred times, driven out by stones and dogs and broken glass, but still. Not mournful, exactly.

The world, or what’s left of it that’s available to him, is green and vibrant and alive. A riot of vegetation slowly swallowing what had been exquisite cities; the algal power cells have cracked and spread green and humming over pitted steel. It’s beautiful, in an uncaring way he finds poignant — these too were driven forth, once upon a time. Birds perch on him as he pushes his way through the conqueror woods, and speak to him in yet another language he no longer remembers, of news he doesn’t need.