The Rider woke numbly from his dreamless slumber, swaying drunkenly in the soggy saddle. His horse continued to plod mindlessly onward, unguided by rein, as if following some inner compass that pointed him straight in a world without direction.
The man wiped at the water in his eyes without success. It came naturally - the desire to be dry, the painful longing to eat. Both would only continue to be his great, unquenchable fantasy.
Suddenly, he was stricken straight in his seat. Rider urgently gathered the reins, life renewed in him, and pulled at his steed wildly. Were his eyes lying, fantasizing themselves?
A black spire stood erect on the horizon, piercing valiantly through the shadow. They made their way to the landmark with as much speed as they could muster; the horse wearily cantering, throwing careless globs of mud.
The dead tree was not as brilliant as first imagined; limbs hanging sadly, the figure itself peeling apart. Rider brought his horse to a stop and stared blankly at the sight before him. It was like he was gazing into a misconstrued reflection of himself.
Slowly he dismounted, knees trembling as he slopped over a small wet embankment to get a closer look. He fingered the soft, deteriorating bark, looking to its craggy branches. He circled the base of the tree, stopping only when he stubbed his toe.
He swore to himself, bending to examine what stung at his foot. He then realized the ground was littered with various objects, the largest being a ... hilt? ... starkly protruding from the mud. Rider grasped the cool metal in his hand and gently pulled. A silver blade slid out fairly easily. He gaped openly at the weapon, an item of the likes he had not seen in a terribly long time.
He moved it from hand to hand, running his fingers over it's smooth, graceful lines. Crying out, he dropped the sword and grabbed at his thumb. The finger wept bloody tears, the blade similarly stained.
As he moved to retrieve the sword, more cautious now, his eye caught a bead of light, glistening faintly on its sharp edge. It continued to burn dimly, a flickering flame of strange magic. Awestricken, Rider took up the blade, eyeing it desperately.
He shifted it, making the light dance along the narrow metal lip. He lowered it, lifted it ... wait! Rider paused and held it high, the point stabbing at the clouds above. From the little glimmer fell a ray of light, beaming forward a path of silver. He gasped, putting his hand inside the brilliance, bathing in its glowing warmth.
It was a sign - a direction.
It was hope.