It was two days before Glig reached the outskirts of the town.
He had walked along the river, taking an educated guess at the direction he should follow it, since all the stars were different here and he didn’t even know which direction the map was oriented. But then he noticed a couple other river lines flowing into the main river line, and decided that it meant the town was probably downstream.
Every meal he scrounged from the alien forest was a meal his family was eating without him. Every night he spent sleeping in a tree, or huddled in a hole was a night his family spent alone, unprotected from the terrible bird-men that raided Glig’s village whenever it suited them. And what if time moved at a different speed here? What if each hour he had spent hiking along that river had cost him days, or months, or years back home. What if he snuck into this foreign town, avoided being cut down by the guards, avoided being stoned by the townsfolk, found some altruistic wizard, and was sent back home only to find the cold, perfectly-still husk of his universe, with nothing remaining of his family except billion year old dust.
Glig took his boots off, crept into the cold water, and let the river carry him silently into the town’s heart.
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