The Canna went with the Larkspur Guard splitting into six small traveling groups with one going towards every horizon in a vain attempt to overtake the bandits.  All on the search realized that there was never any real hope of finding this girl-child who had no name to answer to, while her description was one that people would remember seeing there were many trails that would take the bandits well outside populated areas.  One small searching group which had headed toward the deserts and the setting sun had came upon horse tracks at dawn.  In the direction of the tracks a noticeable heat rose from over the dune, an unusual occurrence this early in the day.  As the men and women slowly crested the hill their horses reared with fear and blood lust as the gruesome scene was reveled along the valley floor. Below the rescuers there was a mix of scorch marks and live flame which painted the tiny oasis in a lurid mix of blacks and orange.  Only one horse remained standing  nervously pawing the ground in a crisped saddle surrounded by the dead and dying.  Nearly 20 men littered the ground some now in oily ashes others still writhed in flame, but none moved.

The horse quickly flicked its head back and forth bucking weakly as it tried to no avail to free itself from the tree it was tied to.  It was the tree, however, that stood out starkly against the background, as it was both alive and green.  Near the tree in its shade sat a young girl amidst the scrub grass.  Her head full of chestnut ringlets lifted showing a tear stained face, and a slightly open mouth, which held handful of little fingers, raw and red at the ends.

The mixed company of Canna and Guard exchanged dubious glances, how was this possible.  One of the Canna, an imposing woman with long golden hair, stepped forward to talk to the girl, “Child where did the fire come from, and…and how, how are you not hurt?”

The girl shook her head back and forth vigorously as if she did not understand then started to talk.  “I told them I couldn’t see, and that I wanted down.  I don’t know what they said back, but I knew they were funning with me, and I got mad.”  She looked up at the woman as if pleading with her to understand.  She extended her hand and looked at it intently.  “It got hot, I got hot, and one of them threw me here.  Then came the fire I heard it eating the plants and…,” her head tilted to the side allowing the light to shine upon her eyes green ringed in brown which swam in tears.  Light seemed to form within those eyes wavering between rage and youth, but all she said was, “Where did they all go?”

The woman with the golden hair felt herself tremble at the girl’s wide-eyed wonder, where did they go?  Did she truly not know?  “I will not harm you girl. Come to my horse and sit before me.  Many people await you little sister, do you understand me?”  Her response was to lift her unhurt hand to the woman who with noticeable reverence and care took it as she said, “You will go to Digitalis, who is to be your foster mother,” she whispered the last part, “and surly to the Phlox.  Sleep now in the saddle I will keep you.”

As the child drifted to sleep the awe turned to fear in the woman as she thought, what is to be, as a slow but unmistakable warmth bloomed inside of her where she held the child against her.  All the woman could hope was that Mother would know what to do, and that she could reach the Umbel with haste.

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