Provence of Nordskov, North-Eastern corner of the Kingdom of Terranol

Year 897, Summer

Ana ran through the dark woods, her legs shaking beneath her as she struggled to make her way through the dense undergrowth. She was breathing heavily, but that did not slow her down. She had to get out of the woods and find her family.

She heard a shout behind her in the distance and she stopped. She leaned over and threw up. She heaved until there was nothing left in her stomach. She wrapped the tattered and torn dress around her body and tightened the belt around her waist so it would keep her rags secure. She looked over her shoulder, but did not see anyone pursuing her. She slowly started jogging in a different direction, one that would take her to a small waterfall.

It seemed like hours that she jogged into the night, but at last she heard the sound of running water. She halted as she came into a small clearing that surrounded the small waterfall and a river running around boulders. She crouched down next to a fallen tree and made a strange bird call. She waited several minutes before a call answered her. She then ran over to the water fall and jumped into the small pool that was at its base. She swam across the pool and under the water fall to a small cave opening. She pulled herself out of the water and crawled into the small entrance of the cave. There in front of her sat a small boy and an infant girl. She reached out and hugged them both tightly and sighed.

"Connor, Isabella. I am so glad you are both safe."

"Ana?" The boy asked with tears in his eyes.

"What sweetie?" Ana asked in a subdued voice and hugged him to her chest.

"Where's Mommy?" He looked at his sister hopefully.

"O, Connor," Ana said, caressing his hair. "Mommy's gone." Her eyes welled up with tears as she watched her young brother try to understand what she had said.

"Will she be back soon?"

Ana's heart almost broke when she heard those words come out of his mouth.

"No, Connor. Mommy is not every coming back." Tears ran silently down her face as she held her brother and her sister in the dark cave.

"Just like Daddy's never coming back? Is Mommy with Daddy now, in the sky?"

"Yes. Mommy's up in the sky." She looked out the cave's mouth and through the water fall. She could see a faint light in the sky. She laid her back against the wall of the cave and closed her eyes. "She's watching over us now."