| Running through a clear field a boy and girl chase each other in a game, oblivious to the world around them. As the sound of horns blow in the distance, they perk their heads up and run for their village. Upon entering the village they split up, each heading home.
The girl, upon entering her hut, she comes in just as her mother is leaving. "Stay in here." her mother orders, closing the door behind her. "Like I ever listen." she mutters to herself. After waiting a few minutes she sneaks out the back door. Running along the street a hand suddenly grabs her arm. Spinning around she recognizes the face, "Jac." she scolds. "Well, who did you expect?" he says laughing. Taking off again they head to the village square where an envoy from the keep is speaking on a raised platform. "...And because of this treachery all residence of this village are to be put under quarantine for the rest of your remaining days." Protests rise from the crowed. "Silence!" the envoy yells, "You all made a bargain with Lord Verinic. You have not stayed true to that bargain and now the lord must take steps to protect his true people." he jumps off the platform and remounts his horse, protest still being thrown at him from the crowd. "Remember!" he yells before leaving, "Any Resident found outside the quarantine zone will be immediately executed.
Turning her head, "What’s 'quarantined'?" she asks. "I don't know," he says shrugging his shoulders. "We'd better go." he says, seeing that the crowd is starting to disperse. "Yeah." Running back down the street they both make it back before their parents return.
* * *
That night as her mother is making supper she tries to think of safe questions to ask less her mother find out she had snuck to the square earlier. "So what happened today?" she asks. "What? Oh, nothing. Just another reminder from are lord of how much we own him. Nothing for you to be worried about." she says even though she's clearly lying. Her mother was never a good liar. "Who said I was worried?" she asks. "Don't get smart!" her mother snaps. Knowing now that it must be something bad because her mother never snaps. “What’s going on?” she says almost yelling. “There’s nothing going on.” "I know your lying!" she says yelling this time. "Be quiet!" her mother yells back.
They don't say anything for the nest of the night. But it proves worthless, because all she has to do is wait for the next day when the whole village is taking about it. From what she could gather, one of the fields had caught fire and instead of blaming the sight draught, and the heavy price for well water, which would have been sensible, the lord placed the blame on the Sunrunners. Many spoke of forming a party to take their complaints to the lord against these allegations. But such a step was never giving time to be taken.
The next morning another envoy from the Keep arrived. Again going to the village square, she watches as the rider climbs up on the platform. "By order of Lord Verinic, all residence are here by ordered to evacuate. You will no longer be sheltered under the Lords wing and given protection. You have until Sunset." Yells and protest rise from the crowd, some start throwing rocks at the soldiers. Covering their heads the soldiers ride out.
Soon there is chatter everywhere. Some climb up on the platform, and start yelling protests and trying to raise the spirit of rebellion. Others leave the square to prepare to leave, knowing any kind of protest will be worthless. Back at their hut a knock is heard at the door. Opening it Jac and his mother are standing there. "Come in," her mother says waving them in. "Where's Tamerin?" she asks talking about Jacrites father. "Still at the square yelling along with everyone else, like it's going to do any good." she tells her. "If they keep up that noise the lord might change his mind and send down his army after us." her mother says walking over to the window and closing it to block out some of the noise.
Her words were spoken all to soon. For that evening at sunset a scout rode over the hill overlooking the village with a small battalion not to far behind him. Rushing into the village they start to slaughter those still in the Square. Fires start to burn the huts, and pop up underneath their very feet. Screams can be heard as soldiers are burned alive, and as others are wounded by spear and sword. Many try to flee the battle only to be cut down. Sticking together in the bustle the two mothers grab their children’s hands and make a run for it.
They make it to the outskirts of the village when they hear the sound of hoof beats behind them. Turning around four mounted soldiers are riding toward them. "Run." her mother yells. "Take care of each other." Jac's mother says handing him one of the packs. They run for it, trying to close their ears to the screams of the soldiers behind them, and then another familiar scream is heard, "Mother!" she yells turning back. "No!" Jacrite says grabbing her arm, "It's to late." he say pulling her back, almost faltering himself when he hears his own mother. Giving in, she follows, and they disappear into the night.