A/N: Yeah… I'm not going to be finishing this for awhile, if ever, but I would appreciate it if people reviewed. I only wrote it cause I was bored, and so I decided to post it as well. It's a story that's been in my head for a long time and it's going to be really cool when I'm done. This is just the beginning. Hope you enjoy.

The stench reached him first. Nothing could compare to the smell of dead bodies, rotting and bloated in the harsh sunlight. The first body was that of a grizzled old man. His legs jutted out into the road, forcing Jethren to steer his mount around him. His head lay a few feet away, mouth and eyes gaping open in shock and horror.

It only got worse as he proceeded. One woman lay in her doorway, stomach sliced open. Two children lay behind her, both with arrows jutting out gruesomely. A third laid face down, a knife in his back.

It had been a slaughter, pure and simple. He called a halt to the line of king's riders that strung out behind him, and then ordered his men to search for survivors. He doubted they would find any, but they searched anyway.

There were a few women, and fewer children. The few that did remain were either old, disfigured, or lying in a circle of men, a weapon not too far away, all except for the first that he had passed. Several houses were burned to the ground, and others were scorched or merely a frame that would collapse at any moment. They wouldn't be searching those. The chances of finding a survivor were unlikely, to say the least.

He was passing a shallow well when he hear it... something pounding at the ground… he quickly loosened his sword and signaled the two men who stood close by to remain silent. He eased around the corner of a shed that had somehow escaped the flames. The sight that confronted him was not at all what he had expected. A young girl stood with her back to him, wrestling with a shovel that was two times her height, at the least. Before her was a grave. Before he could do anything else except look, she spoke, thrusting her shovel into the ground.

"I know you are there. Don't bother with silence." Her voice was thick and shaky, as though she had been crying. Her back remained turned to him. "Have you returned to kill me? It's all right. I have nothing more to live for. You will have to wait though, I'm afraid. Daddy must be taken care of." Daddy? That's when he spotted the body of the man, and the line of displaced dirt, leading from one of the unstable houses. It was impossible! There was not way the little girl could have dragged the body all the way out here! He himself knew how heavy the dead could be.

The girl lifted a small bit of soil and deposited it pain-stakingly onto the slowly growing pile beside her. Then back into the hole her shovel went, her small hands pressing down with all their strength on the long wooden haft. He felt his heart, which he had thought immune to such sights, break.

"Child," he took a step forward and froze again when she turned to face him. Her small round face was covered in dirt and streaked with tears, arms and front coated in thick, sticky blood. Tat wasn't what caught his attention though, freezing him where he stood. It was her eyes, shining silver in the fading light. He watched another shimmering tear trail down her cheek

"Please," her voice was soft. "Let me take care of Daddy."

'Eyes the color of silver, shining through the dark'

It was her. He fell back a step, not daring to believe the evidence before his eyes. It was impossible. They had waited for so long, so many years, and now? … It couldn't' be her.

When he didn't respond, she turned back to her pathetic hole and began digging once more. IT took his sergeant, tugging on his elbow to bring him back to reality.

"Sir…" se stared at Eric wordlessly, still unable to speak. "The child… who is she?" Who was she indeed? "Sir?" HE forced himself to speak.

"Go get Darren and Sav. Now!"

"Yes sir!" Eric saluted and spun, sprinting off in search of the two men in question.