Rain drops down, so lightly that he can't even feel it except when it gathers so much on his hair and lashes that it beads up into real droplets and falls onto his skin.
These spots of wetness trail like someone else's tears down his face. He stands still, not brushing them away nor even pulling the hood of his cloak over his head to cover himself.
He is lost in a memory.
The memory of a man, fading into a rain so similar as this, it might have been this very same day.
And the haze created from the weather, rises to cover his vision, so that not even the physical world distracts him from remembering.
He stands as a young boy, who thought himself so much older than he was, watching the back of a tall figure fade into the chilly weather.
The boy clutches to his chest a staff, shaped at one end and naturally smoothed at the other. The tightness of his hands upon the oiled wood mimics the potency with which he last grasped this fading person's hand.
Even the warmth of the hands remain in this wood which, even now, remains in this boys hands. He thinks for a moment, about how maybe even now he isn't as old as he thinks he is.
His skin remains smooth and his hair wild. Age has not yet set into his body.
Though it should soon.
A body is like a meal. So much effort is spent into preparing its quality and taste. One only hopes that it ends up to be fullfilling.
He's done preparing.
He grips the staff tightly but the warmth is lost from the wood. Cold droplets of rain coalesce and slide down the wood into his hands.
The ground too, is saturated with this water. The staff sinks easily into the soft soil. It does not take much effort to stand it upright.
And then he steps back.
This carved object, standing tall in the rain, inspires more pride than any flag. It was not left in the hands of a boy by his mentor, but he likes to think of it that way.
That fading man, that passing stranger, who was able to impress so much loyalty into such a young person. He left behind this remnant of his being while the rest of him moved on to die in fields afar.
For the rest of his life, this boy has pushed himself to the limit of his strength and the reaches of his capacity, only to know what emotion had caused this stranger to go onward into the rain to face his fate with head held high.
And now, he stands upon a hill, waiting for the mist to clear so that he might also fade away.
If he dies, then he will have found what he has spent his whole life looking for.
If he lives, this staff will be the first landmark he sees on the journey back.