Autumn is certain she has gone insane. It is, after all, from the way she sees it, a logical possibility. She has been living in almost relative isolation for the past five years. Her only companion in all that time has been a young woman she calls Moon Rabbit only because she has yet to tell Autumn her real name.

She has yet to tell Autumn anything, really, come to think of it.

So there is no way her brother can be walking toward her right now. There is no way because life is never just that kind. Life is a cruel creature, an unyielding unsympathetic darkness the young Kedaran girl has come to accept as a part of the way the world works. Life took away her parents and her home. Life forced her on the run from her own homeland, driving her across the sea to live on an island whose people and very nature still endeavor to puzzle and bemuse her to this day.

Life is not supposed to let a person have the one thing their heart has been missing... the only thing Autumn has been so sure she can never have again. Until now.

Yet much as her pulse quickens her footsteps, doubt plagues the girl as she is propelled across the sandy beach. How much has he changed? How much has she changed? Will she still know him? Will he be the same person she remembers? She knows she is no longer that silly twelve-year-old who used to frighten away game with her big mouth. Maybe he won't recognize her? Oh but he must know it's her! So she opens her mouth and lets out a great shout... Just in case.


He catches her as she hurtles toward him, lifts her off her feet and spins her around in a great bear hug, even as she clutches her arms around his neck tightly. The white petals from the flowers in her hair scatter all around them.