It might have been a dream.
He woke, but the world was faded blues and grays, like his dreams so often were. He slipped from his sleeping mat, past the tent opening and out into the jungle while the rest of the Chopec slept.
He walked deep, off paths and worn tracks and into the jungle proper, where only his machete and innate grace gave him access. Into the wilderness, the true wilderness, where it may be been decades since human foot trod.
He walked until he face a temple, ruined now but once glorious, snarling beasts framing the collapsed doorway. And still he was compelled on, by noises he could barely hear and yet were clear like an echo in his chest.
Until he saw it.
Standing in the eaves of the stones, looking into the darkness he saw the creature, primal and ancient; a muscled bulk that stood nearly as tall as he did and shifted in the darkness with near silent footfalls. It came up to the doorway, peering at him through the stones and it snarled, sharp, pointed fangs glistening too white in the faded moonlight.
He did not fear it. Anymore than he would his own reflection. He should’ve, but he couldn’t find it in him to fear.
Then it turned and walked away, long, muscled tail flicking behind it as it walked back into the darkness.
He did the same.
He walked back into the camp, to the tent he was sharing with Incacha. The shaman looked at him as he walked in, then nodded once. “The cat sees you, Sentinel.”
He woke up with the aching sense that he dreamed a memory... or it was a memory of a dream.