“Follow me. Follow where, you ask? Nowhere. Everywhere. In the end I will lead you back to the beginning and ask you what you saw. And you will describe expansive tracts of virgin forest and vast oceans as far as the eye can see. You will marvel at what you have seen, and I will tell you that it is nothing.

“The towering spires of Aslan, the mountains of Gorgoth and the unending caves that pockmark their walls, all of these are trifles compared to what has been, and what will be. And all of these will be incomparable to what never was. After all, what never was, you can never see, and in this you are naïve. You can only see what is, and you are thus limited in your experiencing and narrow in taste.

“But that’s where I come in,” said the voice from the burning rose bush before me. And as it laughed, the fire shook and glowed brighter. I had to cover my eyes. “I’m going to give you my eyes. And though they will drive you mad, they will allow you to lead these people forward.”

“What will become of me?” I asked. It was a stupid question, I know. But I had to ask it because I didn’t want to know the answer, and I wouldn’t let myself intuit it alone.

The voice growled, but it was a comforting sound–almost like a purr, but fire doesn’t purr. “You will be alone. You will see what never was or will be, and your people will exile you for it. You will lead them to their home, where their children and their children’s children, and all that follow, will live forevermore. But you will never be allowed to join them.”

“Will they remember my name?”

“Of course. They will always remember who they followed, even if they will never allow him to return home. This is sacrifice. It is what I demand, and what must be.”